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1: "Those Heroic Days"

Introduction || 2: Radio Broadcasts from Hungary >>

"Those Heroic Days"(1)



Student demonstration in Budapest takes place in front of the statue of General Bem and the Polish Embassy. Students demand reforms, democratization, the return of Imre Nagy. Police try to disperse crowd when students attempt to be heard over Budapest radio. Tear gas was used and then students are arrested. The crowd attempts to free the students and the police open fire. The demonstration turns into a riot and street fighting breaks out.

Martial law is declared, a call for Russian troops issued, and, during the night, Soviet tanks and jets are reported used against demonstrators.


Additional Soviet military units enter Budapest at the request of the Communist regime. Fighting breaks out between Soviet troops and the Hungarian people. Changes in the Party Central Committee and in the government are announced. Imre Nagy replaces Andras Hegedus as Premier, but Erno Gero remains First Secretary of the Party. Nagy appeals to the people to stop fighting. Surrender deadlines are announced as fighting continues. The deadlines are moved forward several times, and finally altogether abandoned. Rebels capture factories in Budapest. Fighting reported in Debrecen, Szolnok, and Szeged. [83/84]


The Nagy government claims its forces have restored order in Budapest, but admits fighting continues. Erno Gero is relieved as First Secretary of the Party and replaced by Janos Kadar. Nagy and Kadar announce that, following restoration of order, negotiations for withdrawal of Soviet troops will be initiated. Nagy promises to reconvene parliament and to consider a reform program and reorganization of the government.


Fighting continues throughout the country. Insurgents take the entire area between Magyarovar and the Hungarian frontier station of Hegyeshalom. The Party Central Committee pledges: (1) election of a new government based on the Patriotic People's Front; (2) correction of past mistakes; (3) negotiations with the Soviet Union for withdrawal of Soviet troops; (4) the establishment of relations between the two countries on the basis of complete equality; (5) acceptance of workers' councils and raising of wage rates; (6) a complete amnesty to all participants in the fighting.


Formation of a new government is announced. The cabinet is headed by Imre Nagy. Non-Communist personalities in the government include Zoltan Tildy, former President of the Republic, and Bela Kovacs, former Secretary General of the Smallholders' Party.


Local negotiations with Soviet troop commanders reported and in some cases Soviet forces join the insurgents. The government announces a cease-fire and Nagy states that Soviet troops will withdraw from Budapest immediately, and that the security police will be dissolved.

An emergency committee, composed of Janos Kadar, Antal Apro, Karoly Kiss, Ferenc Munnich, Imre Nagy and Zoltan Szabo, assumes temporary leadership of the Party. [84/85]

Spontaneous rise to power of revolutionary workers' councils and local national committees. A series of political and economic demands accompanies this rise. The major ones include: withdrawal of Soviet troops, political and economic equality of relations between the Soviet Union and Hungary, revision of the economy, greater democratization of life, changes in government organization and personnel, dissolution of the security police, protection of those taking part in the revolution, withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, Hungarian neutrality, a call for free elections, free speech, press, assembly and worship.

The Patriotic People's Front announces that a countrywide Committee has been created to coordinate the activities of these various national committees. The Budapest Chief of Police announces formation of Hungarian National Guard units.


Central Party organ Szabad Nep answers the Soviet Pravda attack on the revolution and defends the Hungarian uprising.

Radio Free Miskolc calls for immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungarian soil, not merely their return to bases outside Budapest. The Minister of Defense announces withdrawal of Soviet units from Budapest; Hungarian Army units are replacing them.

Heavy fighting continues in Budapest, particularly at Kilian (Maria Theresia) Barracks.


Nagy announces abolition of the one-party system, a return to the political conditions prevailing after 1945, and negotiations for immediate withdrawal of all Soviet forces from Hungary. A new coalition government is formed with Imre Nagy as Premier. Three non-Communists -Bela Kovacs, Zoltan Tildy and Ferenc Erdei- are included. The recall of the Hungarian representative to the U.N., Peter Kos, is announced [85/86]

Tildy calls for reconstituting the Smallholders' Party; Ferenc Erdei makes a similar appeal for the Peasant Party, and Kadar implies to Communist Party members that he agrees with both reconstructions.

Cardinal Mindszenty is freed.

Revolutionary Home Defense Committee formed. Co-chairmen: Gen. Béla Király and Gen. Pál Maléter.

Hungarian Air Force threatens to bomb Soviet tanks unless they leave Budapest. Insurgents storm security police headquarters in Pest, and burn down Party head-quarters in Buda. The security police appeals to the Writers' Union to intervene for its 10,000 members: they will surrender if guaranteed amnesty.


Radio Free Kossuth broadcasts Soviet declaration concerning changes in relations between Soviet Union and Satellite States. Ministry of Agriculture announces suspension of compulsory deliveries of farm produce.

Cardinal Mindszenty arrives in Budapest.

Independent Smallholders' Party announces formation of a new executive committee and resumes control of its former news paper,"Kis Ujsag." Hungarian Social Democratic Party is reorganized in Budapest, with Anna Kethly as president, and "Nepszava" as its official publication.

Pal Maleter replaces Lajos Toth as First Deputy Defense Minister and Istvan Kovacs takes Toth's former job as Army Chief of Staff. Nagy announces that the Hungarian government is prepared to leave the Warsaw Pact and has asked for negotiations on withdrawal of Soviet forces from Hungary.

The Council of Ministers appoints Maj. Gen. Bela Kiraly as military commander of the capital.

A Trans-Danubian National Council is organized from various area councils. It requests immediate evacuation of Soviet troops, repudiation of the Warsaw Pact, free elections, a declaration of Hungary's neutrality, and freedom of speech, press, assembly and worship. [86/87]


Imre Nagy announces Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, proclaims Hungarian neutrality, and asks the United Nations to put the Hungarian question on its agenda. "Nepakarat," newspaper of the Free Hungarian Trade Unions, is published for the first time. The National Peasant Party, now called Petofi Party, is reorganized. Kadar attacks past leaders and policies of the Hungarian Communist Party and announces the reorganization of the Party under the name of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party.

Coordinating and controlling all the Revolutionary forces, National Guard formed. Commander-in-chief: Bela Kiraly. Deputy: Police Colonel Bela Kopacsy.

Soviet units surround Hungarian airfields, allegedly to protect evacuation of Soviet dependents. Budapest ringed by Soviet tanks. Social Democrat leader Anna Kethly left for Vienna to attend the meeting of the Socialist International.


Hungarian government protests to the Soviet Embassy the re-entry of Soviet troops on Hungarian soil. The United Nations is notified of Soviet activities in the second official note within two days, and is requested to appeal to the great powers to recognize Hungarian neutrality.

Soviet troops take rail line from Zahony to Nyiregyhaza; hold Budapest International Airport, and Kalocsa Airfield. United Hungarian Youth Federation is organized in Budapest.

The Budapest National Committee elects Jozsef Kovago as its president, i.e., Mayor of Budapest.


Considerable Soviet reinforcements and troop movements to the Austro-Hungarian border are reported. Russian tanks surround uranium mines at Pecs.

The Hungarian government is reorganized after resignation of most of its ministers. The new ministers, many of them non-Communists, take over the administration.[87/88] New cabinet includes: Imre Nagy, Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Zoltan Tildy, Istvan Bibo, Anna Kethly, Ferenc Farkas, Geza Losonczy, and Janos Kadar as Minister of State and Pal Maleter, Minister of Defense.

Jozsef Kovago elected Secretary General of the Smallholders' Party.

Negotiations for withdrawal of Soviet troops continue, and further Soviet troop movements are reported.

Cardinal Mindszenty addresses the people.

The National Council of Dunapentele appeals to all free radio stations to broadcast to Soviet troops in Russian to counteract Soviet propaganda.


Imre Nagy announces Soviet attack on Budapest. Russian forces take over most of the country: airfields, highway junctions, bridges, railway yards. Heavy fighting reported in Csepel and Kobanya. Soviet paratroops in action near Gyor. Fighting at Pecs as Hungarian troops resist Soviet efforts to take uranium mines and airfields. Heavy fighting in Budapest. Gyor and Sopron fall to the Russians. Fighting continues in all parts of the country and the situation remains confused.

New government changes announced from Szolnok: Janos Kadar, Premier; Ferenc Munnich, Deputy Premier and Minister of Security; Imre Horvath, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Istvan Kossa, Minister of Finance; Antal Apro, Minister of Industry.

State Minister Bibo: "I appeal to the great powers of the world for a wise and courageous decision in the interest of my enslaved nation and of the liberty of all Eastern European nations. God preserve Hungary..."

Repeated free radio broadcasts call for Western help.

The Hungarian Writers' Union appeals for Western aid: "To every writer in the world, to all scientists, to all writers' federations, to all science academies and associations, to the intelligentsia of the world!

. . . HELP HUNGARY!" [88]

1. "Those Heroic Days . . . ," Facts about Hungary, Ed. Imre Kovacs [New York, Hungarian Committee, 1958), pp.83-68. Reprinted by permission of the Hungarian Committee.

Introduction || 2: Radio Broadcasts from Hungary >>