The fate of East-Central Europe until the fall of the communist regimes was determined by the status quo that the allies set up in 1945. Despite the fact that it has never been formally recorded in any official document, both superpowers, which controlled the bipolar world order after World War II - namely the United States and the Soviet Union - attributed a pivotal role to this tacit agreement in the East-West relationship. Their mutual consent started to work as an automatic rule of thumb in the chilliest years of the Cold War era, and developed afterwards, when the sporadic East-West conflicts needed to be managed. On the basis of this conception, the passivity of the West at the time of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 is not as surprising and incomprehensible as contemporary public opinion in Hungary regarded it. The Hungarian uprising was not merely inconvenient for the western powers but it totally contradicted their policy, which especially after 1955 aimed at a compromise with the Soviet Union through the mutual acquiescence of the existing status quo.
This paper will look
at the East-West military balance in 1956 and at each side's (i.e., Moscow's
and Washington's) understanding of the balance. It will look also at the way in
which each side regarded the danger of nuclear war, and at how each side
regarded the other's approach to nuclear war. Finally, the paper will address
Moscow and Washington's views of the danger that the Hungarian revolution might
escalate to general war, and at the communication between the two sides on that
score during the revolution.
Armed teenagers who
fought in the 1956 revolution are preserved in the nation's memory as “the kids
from Pest”, among them, there were several girls who did not get a separate
designation, however several photographs of them survived and some appeared
widely in the world press. My fellow researcher, a French journalist Phil
Casoar, and I selected a captivating photograph of an armed young man and a
young woman wearing a red-cross armband that might be described as the
extraordinary starting point of our research. In November 1956, numerous
prominent western weekly magazines published the photo; subsequently books,
documentary films and exhibitions made it widely known. It first appeared as
the opening image in a series of articles about the Hungarian revolution, entitled
“Budapest Heroes”, appearing in the magazine Paris Match. During the Cold War,
the image became well-known in the west as well as the east, but it was placed
on opposite poles. In the west, the characters were portrayed as heroes who
defied the Soviet tanks; in socialist Hungary and in the east, they were
officially considered to be criminals along with other armed rebels.
Subsequently, the Hungarian political police used the photos as conclusive
evidence during trials. In my presentation I use approximately 35 photographs
and documents related to the Paris Match picture to discuss our investigation
since 1999, the fate of the young woman appearing in that picture, and the
different usages of the Paris Match picture.
Since the middle of the 1990s, more than 25,000 North Koreans have settled in South Korea, and researchers estimate that a further 20,000 North Korean refugees have migrated mainly to China, Southeast Asia, America, and Europe. Many of these refugees cite economic factors as the main motive for their escape, which more or less coincided with the North Korean famine, but before the 1990s there were two other periods that saw relatively large-scale emigration from North Korea, which occurred for other reasons. This paper identifies and compares the three periods, using archival sources from Korea, Hungary, and the former Soviet Union. It also uses the representative case of a North Korean medical student in Hungary to provide a unique perspective on a number of important historical events, including the August Incident in North Korea and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
This article is a verbatim reproduction of a talk. In it I
posed two questions: 1. To what extent my writing of Hungarian history,
1944–1948 was influenced by my past? 2. To what extent my writing of an
autobiography was influenced by the fact that I am a historian?
Tivadar Rombauer was a less well-known, but important personality in Hungarian history. His entrepreneur career contains several business and technological innovations in iron industry, among which the foundation of the Metallurgical Factory in Ózd stands out. During the Revolution and War of Independence his role for managing arms supply nationwide is rarely emphasized by the regular commemorations of the most important historical momentum in Hungarian collective remembrance, although its relevance is undisputable. His Protestant Saxon origin interweaved with his patriotism resulted a typical Hungarian middle-class civic virtue, which never disappeared in later generations in the US, after his obligate immigration. In this study we scope on both the origins and influence of this valuesystem detailing Rombauer’s life-span, complemented with the family roots and some descendants’ fates.
Kossuth hoped that during his tour of the United States he would be able to persuade the American Government to intervene on behalf of the Hungarian cause. He was mistaken. Following his so-called “triumphal tour,”he was forced to return to Europe as a bitter and disappointed man. Kossuth's disillusionment was not with American democracy. Rather, it was with his inability to persuade America's political leadership to part with the principle of nonintervention laid down by George Washington.
“The Impact of 1956 on
the Hungarians of Transylvania”, provides a 50-year retrospective analysis of
the political consequences of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 on the
Hungarians in neighboring Romania. It focuses on the inter-ethnic knock-on
effects in the Romanian Workers Party, the “Hungarian/Mures-Hungarian
Autonomous Region”of Transylvania, and the cultural institutions of the
Hungarian minority. It links these developments to present-day
Romanian-Hungarian relations, both on the interstate and the intrastate levels.
There can be no doubt that the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and the subse- quent war of independence belong to the events that significantly contributed to the development of modern Hungarian historical consciousness. Decisive alter- natives emerged during this critical period: national sovereignty versus develop- ment under foreign power, or the cultivation of friendly compromises reached through negotiations versus violent confrontations. The patterns of thinking asso- ciated with these choices also imposed their influence on the interpretations of other recent historic turning points such as the events of 1956.
This article looks at
Soviet policy toward Eastern Europe in 1953-1956, prior to the start of the
Hungarian revolution. It shows that the leadership succession struggle in
Moscow often caused sharp, and undesirable, fluctuations in Soviet relations
with Hungary and the other East European countries. Abrupt shifts in Soviet
policy, stemming mainly from internal political maneuvering, helped to produce
a volatile situation in both Hungary and Poland in 1956. Soviet leaders were so
preoccupied by domestic concerns that they failed to take timely action to cope
with the deepening instability in Hungary and Poland. By the time events came
to a head in October 1956, the Soviet Union was faced with the prospect of the
collapse of Communist rule in Hungary.