Presentation on theme: "The Hungarian Crisis 1956 L/O – To identify the causes, events and effects of the Hungarian Uprising."— Presentation transcript:
The Hungarian Crisis 1956 L/O – To identify the causes, events and effects of the Hungarian Uprising
Hungary under Stalin Hungary was liberated by Soviet troops after WW2 and in 1949, COMINFORM imposed an oppressive communist regime on Hungary. Land was redistributed to other Eastern European countries. Hungarian coal, oil and wheat were shipped to Russia. Non-communist parties were abolished. COMINFORM began a reign of terror, executing political leaders and supported. Matyas Rakosi was appointed as dictator.
Matyas Rakosi – Hungary’s Dictator Rakosi was dictator from He described himself as ‘Stalin’s best pupil’ but Hungarians nicknamed him ‘the bald butcher’. He was famous for what he called ‘salami tactics’. He dealt with his opposition ‘slice by slice’, i.e. dividing his opposition bit by bit. His regime imprisoned over 380,000 and was responsible for more than 2,000 deaths. He effectively introduced a Stalinist police state.
Peaceful Co-existence Stalin died in 1953 and in the resulting power struggle, Nikita Krushchev became leader of the USSR. Stalin and ‘Stalinism’ was responsible for more than 20 million deaths of his own people during his reign of terror. Most victims were innocent. Krushchev sought a more liberal approach to government and sought to distance himself from Stalinism. He gave a ‘secret speech’ in 1956 promising ‘peaceful co-existence’ with the West and an end to Stalinism.
Hungarian Protests Krushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’ was interpreted by many in Eastern Europe as an end to Soviet Rule. People believed that Krushchev would let them rule themselves. In Hungary, students rioted and attacked Soviet troops with petrol bombs and grenades. It was illegal to demonstrate by law but huge demonstrations took place in Budapest. The protests became violent and police lost control. Protests began to spread to other cities in Hungary.
Nagy’s Reform Programme In response, Khruschev agreed to the appointment of a more liberal leader, Imre Nagy. Nagy proposed reforms: Hungary should leave the Warsaw Pact and become neutral. Communist government in Hungary should end. Hungary should became a Western-style democracy with free elections. Hungary should ask the UN for protection from Russia. How do you think Khrushchev would react to these proposals?
Khrushchev responds to Nagy The reforms essentially ended Hungary’s alliance with the USSR. Khrushchev believed this was unacceptable and if Hungary left the Warsaw Pact, others would soon follow. Khrushchev knew that people were unhappy with communism across Eastern Europe. To allow greater freedom for these countries would mean the end to Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe. In Nov 1956, he sent 200,000 Soviet troops and tanks to crush Nagy’s government. 20,000 Hungarians were killed and 200,000 escaped to Austria.
Nagy’s trial and execution Nagy sought protection in the Yugoslavian embassy but was arrested by Soviet troops when he tried to leave. He was accused of treason and was found guilty in a trial overseen by Khruschev. He was hanged in June Khrushchev stated that Nagy’s execution was ‘a lesson to the leaders of all socialist countries’.
International Reaction America had encouraged the uprising and gave economic support. $20 million worth of food and medical aid. New US President Dwight D. Eisenhower ( ) praised the bravery of the Hungarian people and encouraged them to fight on. The UN officially condemned the Soviet invasion but did nothing more.
International Reaction The US stopped short of offering military help. The American government believed it was ‘a matter of highest priority to prevent the outbreak of a war’, which could lead to nuclear war. American’s failure to support the Hungarians proved that is commitment to liberating Europe from communism did not include offering military support. This discouraged other radicals in Eastern Europe from following Hungary’s example.
Reasserting Soviet control Khrushchev appointed Janos Kadar as the new Hungarian leader. Kadar had no real power as Hungary was under the control of the Soviet army. But he did published a 15-point programme of reform: Re-establish communist control of Hungary Use Hungarian troops to stop attacks on Soviet forces Remain in the Warsaw Pact Negotiate the withdrawal of Soviet troops.