On this day in 1956, there was a general uprising in Hungary, revolting against the Communist Party control. This was quickly squashed by the USSR with the Soviet troops invading Hungary, and by November 10 the Communists were restored to power. About 3,000 were killed and another 200,000 soon thereafter fled Hungary.
However, those wishing for freedom had the last laugh eventually.
Here’s a little known fact: the “Iron curtain” actually fell in Hungary. It started in May 1989, with the removal of the border fences along the Austrian border, but the border was still heavily protected. There was fear the Soviet troops stationed in Hungary might interfere. They did not.
Then in August the first wave of folks were allowed to cross into Austria; no questions asked. There were several hundred East Germans on ‘vacation’ in Hungary (think most, if not all of them ended up in West Germany). What followed was a bit of free for all. Then the much publicized crossing of East Berliner’s into the West occurred in November 1989 at checkpoints along the Berlin Wall.
The Communists were peacefully removed from power, ironically on this same day in 1989, and the Hungarian Republic was established. Today is Republic day in Hungary.
Here is a map of Hungary from 1579 by Abraham Ortelius.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.