After the Soviet Army crushed the Hungarian Revolution, sporadic arms resistance continued in various cities until mid-December. But it was the passive resistance, the silent political struggle, the calls for strikes that continued to present a challenge to the puppet government of Soviet-picked János Kádár. His communist colleagues, especially the Soviets and Romanians, pressured him to hit the revolutionaries hard.
Reprisals began in late November with mass arrests, deportations to Ukraine, special courts and military trials, and the establishment of internment camps. More than 200,000 Hungarians escaped to the West. In order to gain legitimacy, Kádár had to destroy the Revolution’s Prime Minister, Imre Nagy, and accordingly, his trial, secret execution and burial took place in June, 1958. General amnesty for most prisoners took place only in 1963.
Although the governments of the free world watched the Hungarian Revolution with deep admiration, they never seriously considered providing military support, nor condemnation strong enough to stop the brutal actions of the Soviet Union.
However, the heroes of 1956 did not die or suffer in vain. They demonstrated such uncommon bravery, such a universal yearning for freedom from foreign tyranny, that the whole world was forced to see the true face of communism at last. The Revolution’s spirit came full circle in June, 1989, when Imre Nagy and others were finally given the public burial by a grateful Hungarian nation that had waited 33 years to pay homage to their sacrifice.
The 1956 Revolution was the first step in the dissolution of Communism to be followed by the Prague Spring in 1968, the founding of Solidarity in Poland in 1980, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The Communist system, that received its first mortal blow in Hungary in 1956, disintegrated across the region in 1989. Soon thereafter the Warsaw Pact dissolved. The last Soviet soldiers left Hungarian soil in June, 1991, and at long last Hungary was free.
**This was originally published on www.freedomfighter56.com, written by Andrea Lauer Rice.