In 1956, the Hungarian population organised a revolution to show the government, which was communist and influenced by the Soviets, their discontent about their way of living. Each of the leaders of the differently involved countries, Khrushchev, Eisenhower and Nagy, responded in various ways to the Uprising. The aim of this essay is to discuss in which ways they did this and how this contributed to it.
First of all, we have Nikita Khrushchev, the new leader of the USSR after Stalin’s death. The impact of his Secret Speech about De-Stalinisation, in which he talked about the crimes committed by Stalin, destroyed Stalin’s image as an infallible leader, and promised a return to “true socialism”, was of great importance in the Hungarian society, as people felt encouraged by the apparent new freedom of debate and criticism. This was one of the main causes of the Hungarian Uprising, so Khrushchev could be blamed for the revolution in that aspect. He also ended the uprising by introducing 1000 soviet tanks into Hungary, which destroyed the Hungarian army, suppressing the uprising.
The population felt victorious when their president at that time, Rakosi, fell from power and Imra Nagy, a much less strict with communism and a more open to debate with the West president, became the new leader of the country. He asked for the withdrawal of soviet troops from Hungarian territory, and he had it, but, when he decided to leave the Warsaw Pact, Khrushchev could not let him continue in power, no matter how much the population liked their new leader. The taking away of the respected Nagy caused the rebels to get even more furious and to be willing to continue with the uprising, in order to end with communism once and for all.
In the other side of the world, the president of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower, had two choices: he could either intervene in the revolution by helping the Hungarian population, saving them from communism and, therefore, turning them into capitalism, or he could just sit and watch the situation, without interfering on it. His choice was the latter, what, in my opinion, was very smart to do, as in this way he assured that there would not be a war caused by USA’s intervention in the Hungarian Uprising.
All in all, we can say Khrushchev had a lot to do in the cause of the revolution, as he opened the door for Hungarian population’s fury being released by telling his Secret Speech, but he also suppressed it by sending troops that destroyed Hungary’s army, so he was not only an important part in the cause of the uprising, but also in the suppression of it. The fact that Nagy lost his power, made the population even more willing to get rid of communism. In terms of Eisenhower, although he had the possibility to support the uprising, he did not, what meant he made no meaningful contribution to the revolution. In one way or another, it is impossible to deny that all these leaders’ acts and decisions had a great impact on the future of not only Hungary, but also the whole world.