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Soviets quashed uprising that aimed for reforms



Published: Mon, October 23, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Hungarians dared to challenge a communist giant.

The Hungarian Revolution began Oct. 23, 1956, when thousands of university students and workers conducted a peaceful demonstration in Budapest.

During the demonstration, students produced a list of 16 demands for government reform and political freedom.

When the students attempted to broadcast their demands on a Budapest radio station, the Hungarian secret police arrested delegates and tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas. When protesters attempted to free those who had been arrested, the secret police fired guns into the crowd.

The next day Soviet forces arrived in Budapest, and bitter fighting began between the Red Army and the Hungarians.

Firing on protesters

On Oct. 25, 1956, Russian tanks opened fire on protesters in Parliament Square, and many unarmed demonstrators were killed and hundreds were wounded. Although most of the fighting was confined to the city, the uprising soon spread across the country, and the entire nation became swept up in the turmoil.

During this time, workers went on strike and the country underwent political reorganization.

Although Hungary was a small country of only 10 million people, its citizens dared to challenge the communist giant of 220 million.

By Oct. 30, 1956, when Russian forces retreated from Budapest, the Hungarian people thought the revolution had been won.

The victorious mood ended abruptly, however, on Nov. 4 when Soviet forces returned to Budapest and strangled the uprising.

By Nov. 9, all resistance in Budapest and throughout the country had been crushed.

Today Hungary is a democratic country, but during the revolution, an estimated 50,000 Hungarians were killed, and in its aftermath, 150,000 were sent to Siberian concentration camps.

Sources: Leslie Polgar and Wikipedia.org




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