The Freedom Fight of Hungary in 1956 was a bold attempt by the Hungarians to estabish solidarity away from the long arm of Soviet rule.
Written by Natalie Jaro
"October 23, 1956, is a day that will live forever in the annals of free men and nations. It was a day of courage, conscience and triumph. No other day since history began has shown more clearly the eternal unquenchability of man's desire to be free, whatever the odds against success, whatever the sacrifice required."
- John F. Kennedy, on the first anniversary of the
For those living in Hungary, October 23rd is a National Holiday that is celebrated with speeches and exhibitions in remembrance of the 1956 revolution when the Hungarians declared their independence against Soviet rule. The first shots of the revolution rang out on October 23rd in 1956. Imre Nagy was to assume the position of prime minister the following day. Fights broke out all over the streets. The uprising took place spontaneously as a student demonstration marched through central Budapest and to the Parliament building. It was a nationwide revolt against the Stalinist government, of the People’s Republic of Hungary, and its Soviet-imposed policies. The demonstrating students even tried to enter into the MTV radio building in an effort to broadcast their demands, but they were hindered in their aim. Instead the demonstrators outside were fired upon by the State Security Police otherwise known as the ÁVH. Thousands of civilians organized into militias and began battling both the State Security Police and the Soviet troops. It was on that night that the Hungarian Working People’s Party Secretary, Ernő Gerő, asked for military action by the Soviets “to suppress a demonstration that was reaching an ever greater and unprecedented scale”. The following day Soviet tanks crossed over the Hungarian border.
The Soviets attacked on November 4th and the Hungarians fought bravely but were defeated and crushed. The Hungarians maintained their resistance until November 10th of that year and the government fell. By the end of that time over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops were killed and 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. The conflict continued for months after with many mass arrests and denunciations. Once the Soviets installed their government they suppressed all public opposition for over 30 years until the 1980’s. Those who fought at that time in history are referred to as ‘freedom fighters’ and in that year the faces of the Hungarians fighting appeared on the front of Time Magazine in America. The effect that Hungary had on world history at this time was significant in that it represented to the world the myth of the unity of the Communist world and the unity of Russia’s East European Empire. To this day the holiday can be touchy with conflicts arising between the two major political parties: The Hungarian Socialists and the Young Democrats.
Upcoming events include:
OCTOBER 23 COMMEMORATION
The HUNGARIAN REFORMED FEDERATION OF AMERICA cordially invites its members and guests to the viewing of the film Torn from the Flag commemorating the 1956 Hungarian revolt against Soviet rule.
Friday, October 23, 2009 at 6:30 pm
HRFA Kossuth House
OKTÓBER 23-I MEGEMLÉKEZÉS