a  b  c  d  e  f  g  h  i  j  k  l  m  n  o  p  q  r  s  t  u  v   w  x  y  z  
81. Revolutionary Special Forces Committee (Forradalmi Karhatalmi Bizottság), The revolution brought the dissolution of the hated and feared ÁVH, but a new armed organization was immediately formed to assist in consolidating the situation. Representatives of the army, the police, the rebels and other civilian armed units met at Budapest police headquarters on October 30, 1956. The Revolutionary Armed Forces Committee formed at the meeting was to operate until the new government was established. Its main task was to organize the national guard, and so to keep law and order. Army General Béla Király was elected as its commander, with Sándor Kopácsi as his deputy. It was headed by a ten-man Operative Committee, which included representatives of the armed rebels.
82. Socialist International, The international organization of socialist and social democratic parties was founded in Frankfurt/Main in 1951, mainly by parties from Western Europe, although some Eastern European parties were represented by emigré politicians. All forms of cooperation with communist parties were rejected. The affiliated parties had a combined membership of about 10.7 million in 1960. The headquarters were in Brussels and London.
83. Sovietization, This term was used for the post-war 'export' to Central and Eastern Europe of the kind of communist system that had developed in the Soviet Union, in line with the conditions there in the Stalinist period. Sovietization also entailed ignoring the traditions, culture and degree of economic development in a country such as Hungary, as the alien system was applied. Several salient characteristics of the Soviet Union were imposed. One was a single-party system (the HWP, later the HSWP), with absolute dictatorship by the communist party, which led and ran the country. This involved a personality cult around an all-powerful leader (Rákosi). All self-management was suppressed. Political life and the economy were centralized in such a way that everything became subordinate to the appropriate section of the party apparatus, which formed a parallel organization controlling the state bureaucracy. There was one centralized bank, for instance. Economic planning was based on central five or six-year economic plans, with strong emphasis on heavy industry and arms production. These were 'disaggregated' down to the level of individual factories and farms, each of which received its compulsory production quota. This system of centrally controlled production rewarded quantity rather than quality, for instance through a system of compulsory work competitions. National characteristics in the economy and society were suppressed in favour of a compulsory 'socialist internationalism' that served the economic and security interests of the Soviet Union. Public life and culture became uniform. For example, there was a single Writers' Union, a single youth organization (Disz and later Kisz) and a single trade-union structure (Szot). The development of other organizations or civil initiatives from below was strictly prohibited. The mass 'social' organizations imposed and controlled from above had the sole task of serving the system by the means at their disposal. There were mass, public festivities on communist and labour-movement festivals, while private life and private activity were discouraged. There was collectivization of agriculture, with peasants who refused to join and the richer kulaks suffering persecution and imprisonment. There was a constant search for enemies, terror, intimidation, the constant presence of the security police, and frequent political and economic show trials. Those criticizing the system in any way were subject to merciless reprisals. Religion was repressed and many priests and believers imprisoned. The previous political system was totally rejected and its elite and ruling classes persecuted. Non-communist traditions were eliminated. The communist ideology of Marxism-Leninism was a compulsory subject of study, so that any work of science, scholarship, history or literature needed to have been conceived in its spirit. This kind of system applied especially strongly in Hungary between 1948 and 1953. Concern that it should never recur was what united the radicals and reformers who gave the impetus to the 1956 revolution.
84. Soviets, The soviets (councils) in Russia originally embodied state power and popular representation after the collapse of Tsarist authority in 1917 and performed public administrative functions. From the outset, they supported the Bolsheviks (communists) led by Lenin. According to their composition, there were workers', peasants' and soldiers' soviets. After the Bolsheviks took power in November 1917, the soviets rapidly turned into bureaucratic, hierarchical organizations of communist central power, losing irrevocably the self-determining, self-governing character of organizations built up from below. During the Hungarian revolution of 1956, the workers' councils came into being and operated as self-governing organizations of people's power, similar to those found in pre-Bolshevik Russia.
85. Stalin (later Duna) Ironworks (Sztálin Vasmű), One of Hungary's largest heavy-industry complexes and a textbook example of forced, uneconomic industrialization, what became the Stalin Ironworks were begun at Dunapentele in 1950. (The town was renamed Sztálinváros in 1951 and Dunaújváros in 1961.) The complex also formed part of Stalin's rearmament drive for the third world war, which was thought to be imminent. The town became a stronghold of rebel activity during the 1956 revolution.
86. Suez, President Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal on July 26, 1956, to bring it under Egyptian jurisdiction. Britain and France decided to regain control by force of arms if need be, and were joined by Israel, which aimed to strengthen its regional position and gain territory at Egypt's expense. The three agreed secretly on October 22, 1956 to attack Egypt within a week. Israel invaded Sinai on 29 October. British and French planes bombed Egyptian bases on 31 October and landed airborne forces round Port Said on 5 November. However, their aggression caused strains within the Western alliance. The United States was especially annoyed at not being consulted by its allies. The Suez crisis distracted world attention from the plight of Hungary. Both crises appeared on the UN General Assembly agenda at the same time. Assessment of them became a bargaining counter between the two sides in the Cold War, as the Suez invasion bore similarities to the Soviet intervention in Hungary.
87. Summary justice (statárium), Summary courts offered immediate prosecution for certain previously determined acts. The sentences were extremely severe, often the death penalty, and were implemented very rapidly. The main purpose of summary justice was deterrence. It was only used under special conditions, in a state of emergency, when the security of the state or society was under a serious internal or external threat. See also accelerated criminal proceedings, people's courts.
88. Szabad Nép (Free People), The Szabad Nép began as an illegal communist paper on February 1, 1942. In February 1945, it became the central daily paper of the Hungarian Communist Party (from June 1948 of the HWP). The editor-in-chief until 1948 was József Révai. The 1953 circulation exceeded 700,000. Up to 1953, journalists on the paper showed total loyalty to the party leadership, only hard-line communist journalists who served the system unquestioningly were hired. During Imre Nagy's first term as prime minister, groups for and against him emerged on the paper. On October 23, 1956, the crowd stormed the Szabad Nép building behind the old National Theatre in Blaha Lujza tér (8th District). A week later the offices and adjacent printing press were occupied by József Dudás and his Hungarian National Revolutionary Committee. The Szabad Nép supported the Nagy government during the revolution, but did not succeed in gaining the confidence of the public. The last issue appeared on October 29, 1956, after which it was replaced by Népszabadság (People's Freedom). Szabad Nép half-hours were held in the early 1950s as a form of political debate in work places. Attendance was compulsory at the meetings, where news and leading articles from Szabad Nép would be explained to the employees, who were given a chance to compete in showing their devotion and commitment to the ruling party.
89. SZER (Szabad Európa Rádió), See Radio Free Europe (SZER)
90. SZOT, See Szot (National Council of Trade Unions)
91. Szot (National Council of Trade Unions), This was established after the communist take-over in 1948. The purpose was to disarm the real industrial and other trade unions by forming a uniform structure that could be fully controlled by the HWP and later the HSWP. Whereas the unions had traditionally protected the interests of their members and the working class, Szot acted mainly as a transmission mechanism for implementing the five-year economic plans, organizing work competitions, and disseminating and imposing the objectives and economic targets of the ruling party. Its centralized, hierarchical structure mirrored that of the party. Its central daily paper was the Népszava, which it took over from the Social Democratic Party in 1948. One of the most enduring figures in Szot was the hard-liner Sándor Gáspár, who headed the organization (with short breaks) from 1952 until the downfall of the communist system.
92. Trade-Union Young-Worker and Apprentice Movement (SZIT), The youth secretariat of the Trade-Union Council founded the ~ in February 1945 for economic and social purposes, with parity for the two workers' parties. It became a national movement in March 1946, and in March 1948, an organization within the communist-dominated People's League of Hungarian Youth (MINSZ). The ~ lost its autonomy in June 1950 with the establishment of the League of Working Youth (DISZ), the youth wing of the Hungarian Workers' Party (MDP), into which it was subsumed.
93. Transdanubian National Council (Dunántúli Nemzeti Tanács), Delegates from revolutionary organizations in Transdanubia (Hungary west of the Danube) met in Győr on October 30, 1956 to report on local events and put forward their plans and proposals. Csepel (21st District), Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County and Bács-Kiskun County were also represented. Based on these reports, they formulated a common position towards the government and its measures, in a 14-point resolution that gave it conditional recognition. On 31 October, a delegation from the council, headed by Attila Szigethy, had talks with Imre Nagy and Zoltán Tildy, in which the disputed issues were clarified. The next day a leadership consisting of Szigethy, Endre Horváth (Tatabánya) and Colonel Béla Kemendy (Székesfehérvár) was elected. Activities ceased on 4 November, after the Soviet intervention.
94. Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, The Communist Party of the Soviet Union held its 20th Congress on February 14-25, 1956. Among the main events was a secret speech by the party leader, Nikita Khrushchev, delivered behind closed doors. Khrushchev confirmed some of the crimes committed under the Stalin regime, placing the sole blame for them on the dictator, who had died in 1953. There were strong reactions to Khrushchev's speech among the Soviet and foreign (Hungarian, Polish, Czechoslovak etc.) party leaders present. Most of the satellite countries refrained from publishing the speech. Rákosi gave a short report to the HWP Central Committee at its meeting on March 12-13, but the full text did not appear in print until the fall of the Kádár system. However, it was distributed in Poland and through Western countries. The fact that the Soviet party leader had disclosed the crimes of the Stalinist system, even in a truncated form, meant that distortions in the communist system could now be criticized publicly. After the speech, ferment began to spread in Hungary and Poland, in the ruling party and in society, with demands that their communist leaders should be taken to task. During the autumn and winter of 1956, Khrushchev's opponents accused him of precipitating the Polish disturbances and the Hungarian 'counter-revolution' with his speech at the 20th Congress. So Khrushchev himself put the brakes on de-Stalinization, although the speech was still cited frequently in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.
95. UN (United Nations Organization), Based in New York, the UN had been formed by 50 countries, which signed the UN Charter in San Francisco in June 1945. (Today there are more than 180 member-countries.) Its main objectives-international peace and security, respect for equality and self-determination among nations and peoples, economic, social, cultural and human cooperation, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms-prompt it to intervene and try to adjudicate in cases such as the Hungarian revolution, which have an international dimension. There are numerous specialized agencies working alongside the UN covering special, global tasks. The Security Council is the senior arm of the UN, with primary responsibility for world peace and security. It has five permanent members-Britain, China, France, the Soviet Union (since 1991, Russia) and the United States-and ten non-permanent members. The former have powers of veto, which were frequently used in the Cold War period. Otherwise, nine votes are required for a binding resolution. The latter serve two-year terms, five of them being elected each year by the General Assembly, according to principles of equitable geographical distribution. Where there is an armed conflict, the Security Council may appeal for a ceasefire or a withdrawal of troops. If both sides agree, it may send in observers or peacekeeping forces. In the last resort, it may take economic or military measures. The rotating presidency may convene a meeting at any time if international peace and security are threatened. The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the UN, in which each member-state has five permanent and five alternate representatives, but only one vote. There is an annual session, but special sessions can also be held. This happened in the autumn of 1956 with the Suez crisis and the suppression of the Hungarian revolution. General Assembly resolutions require a simple majority of the votes of the members present, but a qualified, two-thirds majority is needed for certain important matters, such as the admission of new members. Unlike the resolutions of the Security Council, General Assembly resolutions are not binding on members.
96. University Revolutionary Students' Committee (Egyetemi Forradalmi Diákbizottság), The committee was formed spontaneously, mainly by arts students on October 25, 1956, in the Pesti Barnabás utca (5th District) building of Loránd Eötvös University of Sciences. It was headed by István Pozsár, an assistant lecturer, assisted later by János Varga, assistant dean of the history department, József Molnár, an assistant lecturer, and Ferenc Mérei. The committee was re-elected on 3 November at the Budapest students' parliament. The committee controlled an armed force of about 250-300 national guards recruited from the arts students, which was the second largest armed force of students in Budapest after the Technical University's. When the Soviet intervention came on November 4, the committee came out in support of armed struggle and began illegal activity. Many of its members emigrated. Most of the remainder were arrested in the spring of 1957 and given prison sentences ranging from a few months to several years.
97. Voice of America, This radio station under the control of the US State Department began broadcasting in February 1942 in German. After 1945, its Hungarian service broadcast news, reports, commentaries and entertainment programmes. With its objective tone, it was mainly of importance to listeners in communist countries.
98. Warsaw Pact, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union signed a friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance treaty in Warsaw on May 14, 1955. (Albania ceased to cooperate with the pact in 1961 and withdrew in 1968. Finland declined a Soviet invitation to join in 1955.) Although the Warsaw Pact was formally a defensive military alliance, plans for offensive military actions against Western European countries were drawn up and the Combined Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty Countries were used to defend the communist social system by force of arms. The pact became one of the institutional frameworks through which the Soviet Union maintained its hold over its Eastern European satellites. The Soviet Union was the exclusive leading force, dominating both the Political Advisory Body and the Combined Armed Forces. The latter disposed over the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact countries (although only over some of the Soviet forces). They had a Soviet commander-in-chief in charge of about four million men. The only occasion on which they went into action was in the intervention to restore a Soviet-style communist regime in Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Although Soviet troops attached to the Combined Armed Forces were deployed in Hungary in 1956, the other member-countries did not take part. The pact was dissolved in 1991.
99. Worker-peasant alliance, According to communist theory, the worker-peasant alliance was a special form of cooperation between the working class and the peasantry, found during the dictatorship of the proletariat and the period of building socialism. The ideological basis was that although the working class could prevail alone in the proletarian revolution, it could not retain power without the support of the peasantry. The peasantry, on the other hand, could not conduct a successful revolution without the working class. In other words, the two classes were reliant on each other. So a special class alliance arose, in which the working class played the leading role, while the peasantry, imbued with socialist awareness, became its principal ally.
100. Workers' councils, These began to appear all over the country on October 24, 1956, as bodies to represent the political aspirations of the workers. The movement gained impetus on 26 October, when the HWP and the trade union federation Szot came out in favour of them. Once established, the workers' councils took over the running of the factories, functioning at once as an employer and a union and representing themselves in the new local political leadership. In many cases they set up an armed guard to protect the factory. The workers' councils played an important part in preparing for the turn of events on 28 October, by directing what became a general strike, formulating demands and forwarding them to the party leadership. Between 1 and 3 November, all the workers' councils decided to suspend the strike and resume work on November 5, but this was prevented by the Soviet intervention. From 4 November onwards, the workers' councils were in the forefront of the revolutionary struggle. They insisted that the national demands should be met and the Nagy government reinstated, declaring a national strike in support of these aims. In many places, district and area workers' councils were established by the factories, the most important of these being the Greater Budapest Central Workers' Council, which had national influence. The workers' councils lost their vestigial political influence in the spring of 1957, as the Kádár regime consolidated and mass, systematic reprisals began. They were abolished by a legal decree of November 17.
prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 next
Copyright © 2004 Public Foundation of the Documentary and Research Institute of the 1956 Hungarian Revolutioncredits