Hungary ATK

The uprising photographed above is not Hungary, but Berlin, 1953, reduced to a parenthetical reference in this chapter.   Berlin in 1953, Poland and Hungary in 1956 – what was happening?

In Berlin new policies were being implemented driving prices up, taxes up, quotas up and leaving pay the same, or even reduced if quotas not met.  A mass exodus of the professionals to the west (pre-wall remember) was taking place but the policies also led to a massive worker uprising / strike which was crushed under the treads of Soviet tanks.  The number killed, wounded and arrested remains difficult to say but we can say that there certainly were many.

Remember the little talk we had about diplomacy and language the other day?  When Khrushchev goes to Poland this is the reason he is not recieved by the official party.  When Eisenhower goes on the air to discuss world developments in Suez, diplomacy is the reason (though maybe mistakenly according to my read of Kissinger) that he says nothing of consequence about events in Hungary.

Remember the last elections in Iran?  People in the Iranian government said, and probably still say that all the agitation was caused by the west (by the US).  Obama was very careful in his language to try to show that the US was entirely hands off in the actions of the Iranian people and I think similarly here Eisenhower did not want there to be any semblence of a possibility that someone would believe the Hungarians were being aided by the US lest there be a discrediting of the movement and an excuse for the Soviets to treat the uprising as an international provocation.  Of course it turns out the Soviets needed no such excuse.

It is interesting to note as well that Kissinger points out from the days of the Tsar, to the Soviets to the post Cold-War world Russians have treated bordering states similarly, or at least tried to.  He was writing 15 years ago before the events in Chechnya.

So why did things go differently in Poland than in Hungary? Why did Soviet tanks turn around in Poland and why were leaders executed in Hungary?  How might Eisenhower or the UN played things differently here?  Please remember all of this when we get to “Prague Spring” of 1968 and the Solidarity movement in Poland in 1980.


2 Responses to “Hungary ATK”

  1. James O'Keefe says:

    I found it interesting when Kissinger was talking about the Tsar years, and how he relates Stalin to the Tsar, EXCEPT WORSE! It was like the Russian Revolution for the removal of the Tsar was pointless because then a new “Tsar” comes in and does worse. So annoying.

    Leaders were executed in Hungary because “Nagy took the final, irrevocable step of declaring Hungary’s neutrality and its withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact” (Kissinger 561). This step caused the Soviets to move into Hungary and attack without warning. The Soviets then executed Nagy and his officers and they were replaced and “Stalin’s spirit remained alive and well in the Kremlin” (Kissinger 562). Eisenhower and/or the UN could of played things differently by ACTUALLY GETTING INVOLVED IN HUNGARY like Dulles said they would earlier in the chapter.

  2. Claire Olmstead says:

    I think that the United States had a real disparity between what they said publicly and their actions. They claimed to uphold some sort of moral code which prompted their involvement in other countries, yet in the case of Hungary, did nothing to help. When Dulles claimed to give aid to any country that left the Warsaw Pact (regardless of political system, interestingly enough) somehow this didn’t include Hungary? I think that it made a lot of sense when Kissinger said that the Soviets didn’t care about American morals, only their actions. This makes so much sense! Although the United States wanted to come across as this morally superior nation with no military interests, only in the freedom of their “friends”, none of that really mattered. The important part of American diplomacy would ultimately be how they responded to certain crises, not why they responded.

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