The ironically named Hungarian Working People’s Party was not installed by workers, but rather by the conquering Red Army in September 1944. The Communist regime for years was guilty of all sorts of atrocities and persecutions, eventually stirring deep discontent which blossomed into armed resistance. In October 1956, national revolution took Hungary by storm. Unlike the Hungarian communist oligarchs, a grassroots effort by Workers’ Councils and patriotic youth began to take over streets and squares in defiance of Bolshevism. The similarity to which this anti-Communist uprising of workers, students, and peasents had to Soviet propaganda portrayals of Communist revolutions was uncanny. It is noteworthy to point out that the most revolutionary of the anti-Communists were workers organizing in the factories. Despite knowing the consequences and certain retaliation of the Soviet empire, the patriotic workers and youths fought enthusiastically and courageously in self-started councils. The youth of the freedom fighters was what surprised many, the uprising of the young people was not limited to violently crushed demonstrations, in the next phase they began to neutralize police forces and even Russian tanks with their make shift weapons. The Stalinist Left at the time of the ’56 revolution attempted to do damage control by claiming the Hungarian rebels were a conspiracy of the Western capitalists, but in reality it was a war against red totalitarianism and ethnic/cultural persecution of native Hungarians and their culture. When American President Dwight D. Eisenhower made it clear he had no interest in supporting the Hungarian rebels, Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev saw it as a green light to invade Hungary.
In the context of the Cold War, many in Conservative circles have misinterpreted the actions of 1956 Hungary for their own benefit. However, the reality is that the Hungarian patriots were not affiliated what so ever with NATO or the West, which is precisely why these forces did not aid them. American sociologist Jay Schulman interviewed countless Hungarian emigres who had witnessed the incident, and he found that almost 100% of the Hungarian people at the time perceived the Hungarian Communist leadership as being a Jewish dictatorship. Indeed, the “Jewish Quartet” of Hungary’s most powerful and brutal Communist butchers such as General Secretary Matyas Rakosi (birth name: “Roth”), Ernest Gero (birth name: “Singer”), defense minister Michael Farkas (birth name “Wolf”), and propaganda minister Joseph Revai were of Jewish ancestry. The Hungarian secret police, the AVH, known for its excessive acts of torture and inhumanity even by Eastern Bloc standards, was headed by a Jew named Gabor Peter (birth name: “Benjamin Auschpitz”). The fact that Hungary’s most powerful oligarchs were Jewish created discontent among Hungarians, who sought ethnic representation in their own government.
By the 1950’s, popular discontent forced Soviet leadership to install Imre Nagy as Chairman of Ministry from 1953-1955, to develop an alternative route to developing the nations struggling economy. The Hungarian economy was suffering after World War II due to being forced to export its raw materials and technology for Soviet benefit, chronic shortages also contributed to popular discontent. When Nagy attempted to establish an autonomous political body outside of the control of the Hungarian Communist Party, named “Patriotic People’s Front”, he was sacked by the Soviets and Rakozi.
The deposing of the popular Nagy created a popular backlash, which in turn prompted the Stalinist reactionaries to take new brutal tactics. A social club named “Petofi Circle” (named after the famous Hungarian nationalist Petofi Sandor) was prominent in dissent. The circle generally dealt with the welfare of workers groups, art/culture, and other items related. The circle had figures that were popular representatives in factories, universities, government ministries and even the military. Soon, this protest movement took on an expansive character, launching dozens of chapters. With the help of the student movement, the opposition was now on the counter-attack. On October 22nd, a student assembly drew up the manifesto of the soon to come Hungarian revolution. When the Soviets saw the people’s anger growing, they asked HWP General Secretary Rakozi to step down in favor of an the even more brutal Ernest Gero, who outlawed the demonstration on October 23rd. The decree did not stop the insurgents, which caused the October 23rd protest to spiral into violence breaking loose on the streets of Budapest, with 300,000 Hungarians marching under the tri color banner of their fatherland. The starting time of the protest coincided with the end of the working day, which meant that many workers chose to defy the government ban and join the crowd, instead of going home. When the protesters ended their course in front of the barracks of the military academy, a group of cadets came from the courtyard of the school and marched along side them. Soon after, a group of anti-communists demolished a statue of Joseph Stalin.
Another group broke away from the main assembly and headed for the office of the radio station to spread information about the locations of popular protest around Hungary. Inside the building however, awaited 500 Hungarian secret police guards, armed with automatic weapons and grenades. The executive of the radio station tried to buy time until they got orders from the Communist Party’s Ministry Of the Interior. Soon after, General Secretary Geros took to the airwaves to denounce the patriots as “Fascists”, “counter revolutionaries”, and “Nazis”, which infuriated the crowd and caused them to start attacking the building with stones, Molotov cocktails, and other improvisations such as using a van to break down the doors of the radio station. The AVH guards responded by using water cannons and tear gas without any success. During the conflict, soldiers were called in along with 3 Hungarian tanks. The soldiers however, did not attack the crowd, instead they simply lined up just outside the national museum. Around 11 pm, with no warning, agents of the secret police emerged from a side door and began to open fire on the demonstrators. The dead and injured were dozens, but they fled.
Seeing the grave injustice of protesters being gunned down, members of the professional army began to give their weapons to the demonstrators, who began to shoot the AVH agents. What was planned to be a normal demonstration had now become an armed rebellion not only against the Hungarian Communist party, but also Soviet imperialism. At dawn, when the last magazine of the armed AVH members was spent, the enraged crowd poured inside the station, and massacred those who had fired against them.
With this and other dramatic victories of the Hungarian people, Imre Nagy is re-elected to resume leadership as Prime Minister with Janos Kadar as Communist Party General Secretary, where soon after he called for negotiations with the USSR, which were actually successful in withdrawing Soviet troops on October 28th. On November 3rd, the cabinet voted unanimously to exit the Warsaw Pact, and Nagy appealed to the United Nations and the West to recognize Hungary as a neutral state, which was largely unsuccessful. In dawn of November 4th, these actions prompted 2,000 thousand Soviet tanks to invade Budapest and drown the revolution with blood. 2,500 Hungarians were killed in street fighting, 450 were executed in trials that followed, 12,000 were imprisoned as counter-revolutionaries, and 200,000 took the road of exile. Nagy took refuge in Yugoslavia, but he was later executed after 2 years. The Red Army took heavy casualties, 700 Soviet troops were killed and 1250 were wounded.
The Hungarian revolution demonstrated the difference between the workers and the workers “state” is the difference between life and death. A telling lesson that certainly demoralized Marxists even if they refused to admit so, is that the working people would prefer to die fighting the communist’s “workers state” than to live as slaves beneath a Jewish Commissar’s heel in the “workers’ state”.