Counterrevolutionary Revolt of 1956 in Hungary

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Counterrevolutionary Revolt of 1956 in Hungary


an armed action against the people's democratic system during October 23-November 4, prepared by the forces of domestic reaction with the support of international imperialism; its goal was to liquidate the socialist achievements of the Hungarian people and restore in Hungary the rule of the capitalists who, along with the petit-bourgeois elements that joined them, made up the class base of the counterrevolutionary revolt.

In the struggle against the worker and peasant government, domestic counterrevolutionary forces, who maintained close ties with the imperialist circles of the USA and the Western European powers, took advantage of the errors and distortions committed by the leadership (M. Rákosi and E. Gerő) of the Hungarian Workers' Party (HWP). This gave the forces of reaction the opportunity to draw a certain section of the population into the struggle on the side of the counterrevolution. The Rakosi-Gerő errors facilitated the subversive work of the revisionist I. Nagy-G. Losonczy group, which had formed long before the counterrevolutionary revolt of 1956. Nagy and his group sup-ported counterrevolutionary elements in various party organizations, the Union of Writers, Union of Journalists, and Petofi Circle. On Oct. 23, 1956, a demonstration, initially peaceful in nature, was held in Budapest; along with workers demanding the rectification of the errors and distortions that had been committed, counterrevolutionary conspirators participated.

On the night of October 23 there was a session of the Central Committee of the HWP at which Nagy, who had concealed his intentions from the party, was brought into the Political Bureau and recommended for the post of chairman of the Council of Ministers. Other leaders of the revisionist center also penetrated the party leadership. After assuming leading posts in the government and party, Nagy began implementing a policy of outright complicity with the counterrevolution—he disbanded state security detachments, connived for the release of state criminals and counterrevolutionary and criminal elements from prisons, and promoted the creation of bourgeois parties, so-called workers' councils, “revolutionary” committees, and other counterrevolutionary organizations. Bloody counterrevolutionary terror was unleashed throughout the country. Nagy declared Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Treaty organization and appealed to the UN, counting on overt aid from the imperialist states.

In this context, a group of Communists under the leadership of J. Kadar rallied the working people to struggle against counterrevolution and to strengthen the people's democratic system; the revolutionary worker and peasant government headed by J. Kádár was formed on Nov. 3, 1956, and the temporary leadership of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party was established. The new government turned to the government of the USSR for aid in liquidating the revolt. Units of the Soviet Army temporarily stationed in the Hungarian People's Republic under the Warsaw Treaty aided the Hungarian revolutionary forces in smashing the revolt (November 4). Other states of the socialist concord also provided the Hungarian People's Republic with much political, moral, and material aid. The counterrevolutionary revolt of 1956 inflicted damages totaling 22 billion forints on Hungary's national economy. The smashing of the revolt was a major victory for the Hungarian people, the socialist system, and the world communist movement.


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Nemes, D. Vengriia, 1945–1961. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Hungarian.)
Kontrrevoliutsionnye sily v Vengrii v oktiabr'skikh sobytiiakh, parts 1–4. Moscow-Budapest, 1956–57. (Translated from Hungarian.)
Revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie i stroitel’stvo sotsializma v Vengrii (collection of articles). Moscow, 1963. Pages 102–44.
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A magyar forradalmi munkásmozgalom története, 3rd ed. [Budapest] 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.