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The 1956 Hungarian Revolution

Hungarian Revolution (1956), a revolt in Hungary (23 October-4 November). It was provoked by the presence in the country of Soviet troops, the repressive nature of the government led by Ernõ Gerõ, and the general atmosphere of de-Stalinisation created in February at the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU. Initial demonstrations in Budapest led to the arrival of Soviet tanks in the city, which served only to exacerbate discontent, Hungarian soldiers joining the uprising. Soviet forces were then withdrawn. Imre Nagy became Prime Minister, appointed non-communists to his coalition, announced Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, and sought a neutral status for the country. This was unacceptable to the Soviet Union. Powerful, mainly Soviet but some Hungarian, forces attacked Budapest. Resistance in the capital was soon overcome. Nagy was replaced by János Kádár, while 190,000 Hungarians fled into exile. The Soviet Union reneged on its pledge of safe conduct, handing Nagy and other prominent figures over to the new Hungarian regime, which executed them in secret.
Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia 1997

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1956 Hungarian Revolution


Erwin Bernhardt

It was my Revolution too.

I was one of the thousands of young Hungarian students (reluctant at first) who peacefully demonstrated at the beginning, than took up arms after being fired on, killed, maimed or escaped the following retaliation.

The 1956 Hungarian Revolution.(My Story)

A brief introduction and links to other articles and works.


Index - (Table of Contents)

Author's notes


Chapter 1 - 1956

Chapter 2 - The Revolution

Chapter 3 - We are free!

Chapter 4 - The Soviets return with a vengeance

Chapter 5 - Escape to freedom

Chapter 6 - On the way to New Zealand

Chapter 7 - New Zealand

Appendix 1 - Some statistics of the Revolution

Appendix 2 - Some statistics of the Emigration

Appendix 3 - Some of the Correspondences

Links - Recommended reading

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A link here to an Official site: History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The Hungarian documentary archive.

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Other pages about The 1956 Hungarian Revolution I would like to recommended.

  • The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, a well documented, researched, 'timelined' story of the events.

  • Ten years after the fall of communism

  • The Cold War Studies, The Iron Curtain, Hungarian Revolution, Fall of the Berlin Wall, etc.

  • History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution historical archive pages.

  • I begin to write this in 1995, for the 40th Anniversary of the Revolution. First when I wrote it, I wrote it in third person (As told…and the title of it was 'Forty Years of War & Love'). I often make alterations as I read it and rewrite it, to improve the style, the story remains, it's history.

    Since 1996 I have been back to Hungary a few times, most of the buildings, the shop, my old schools, etc are still there. The Hostel is now an office or apartment. My wife, son, and I enjoyed our stay, the freedom and happiness of the people of Budapest and the whole of Hungary.

    I would be very pleased if anybody recognise me or the events, as I witnessed them, would get in touch with me, for a friendly raconteur.   The author.

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    Well, you can say I've asked for it, I do get a load of mail about my pages and I'm not complaining, please keep them coming.
    However some of my recent emails touched me more than the others and with kind permission I'll repeat excerpts some of the best ones here.

    From Stephen Hetzel
    Houston Texas USA
    22 February 2002
    This is a great and informative site.
    I am doing a massive research project on the Hungarian Revolution and hope to make it to a national competition.
    This topic is not exposed to us American students in detail, but my documentary is very informative to let students know of what normal people (not just soldiers) went through.
    These people were mainly my age and I find that hard to imagine myself doing the things I've read about.
    Thanks for the informative site!

    Thanks Steve, very nice to know, that there are some interested sympathisers, especially young fellows like you, who have only learnt about it as history.

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    I received some very interesting emails from Ben Ellickson of Chicago

    I was reading your story and it is one I have heard before. My name is Ben Ellickson I am the son of Audi Koberi a lovely lady who as teen fled Budapest. I have just ordered for her an excellent tape from the history channel it is called "Caught on film" it contains an astounding amount of footage of the revolution. My hope is take my mother back to Budapest some day soon thank you for sharing your story. Ben

    and the other

    I have sent you an email about the history channel show on the revolution not realising you were in new Zealand. I do not know if you even get the history channel there. I am in a city you visited "Chicago" and I just got off of the phone with my mother. She told me many similar stories about her escape from Hungary. Like you she was detained by the ÁVÓ and had to escape a second time bartering jewellery and such in order to secure the advice of smugglers. She would love to correspond. I am half Magyar the other half of my genes from my father date back to the earliest history of the United States. I am impressed by what I have read, it gives me a much better taste for what my mother went through. She went from Austria to the United States and made her home in LA where she worked briefly for Walt Disney. To her luck her entire family managed to escape but not all at the same time. If you ever travel through Chicago again please do email us so you can meet my mother. Here is the link to the tape containing footage of the revolution AandE.com Store - Product Detail PS I so envy all your travels.

    and another

    .... I also want you to know my mother was glued to your web page she was not surprised to read about Aniko's mother standing on the ledge threatening to jump, she calls it the famous over dramatic Hungarian mother. She was also very emotional when reading about the Russians jumping up from behind the bushes the same had happened with her. My hope is to bring her back to Buda Pest but this all depends on her eye condition as cabin pressure can bring about glaucoma complications. I again must ad if you and your family trek through the States again I would be happy to have you get in touch with us, it is always best to have a native as a tour guide and in Chicago with a proper tour guide you can visit many countries without ever leaving the city. Audi Ellickson (Koberi) in the time of the revolution. I found your page almost by accident. I am a history buff and my eyes began to hurt reading about General Sherman's march through Atlanta so I typed "Hungarian revolution" and your page came up and it was by far the most in depth. I included another link I found that day I am writing the man in the story to see if he can scan the picture mentioned in it here is the link God bless and thank you for taking the time to tell your story.

    Thank you very much Ben.
    Please pass on my heartfelt greeting to your mum, Audi.

    My grateful thanks to both of you for the very interesting video.

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    "Hang in there" my good friends.

    God Bless You All

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