1945 - A Break with the Past by Zdenko Cepic (Editor)

By Zdenko Cepic (Editor)

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But the Hungarian uprising was far from defeated on the afternoon of November 4. In addition to a general strike that was called that day, four independent radio stations were still broadcasting Hungarian events and the uprising itself persisted in a number of larger industrial centers (Csepel, Pecs). As late as November 11, even Kádár had to admit that peace in the country – which is to say in Budapest and most of the hinterland – had been established only a few days later. He promised a number of reforms that on the symbolic-national level would advance parliamentary democracy: a government of national unity that would include all the parties that derived their ideology from people's democracy, members of the various parties would be allowed to hold public office, the secret police would be dissolved, the Hungarian coat-of-arms of the national hero Lajos Kossuth from 1848 would replace the red star, the Hungarian national holiday would be March 15, the symbolic date of the 1848 revolution, Hungarian soldiers would wear traditional rather than Soviet uniforms.

The Red Army attack on Budapest began on the morning of November 4, despite the fact that the UN Security Council which met the same day opposed the attack. The passing of a resolution to this effect was prevented by the Soviet veto. The attack was massive. Some data indicates that the Soviet Union used fifteen percent of its armored divisions. Events that day unfolded quickly. At eight in the morning of November 4, the legitimate government of Imre Nagy received an ultimatum, demanding that it step down or the Red Army would begin to bombard Budapest.

Substantial reforms took place within the Polish government and the Central Committee of the Polish Communist Party. In the economic sector, workers' salaries were increased. Nevertheless, conditions in the eastern bloc, Poland included, were extremely bad and this material improvement was not viewed as sufficient. The population of these countries, and the workers in particular, saw in these reforms the real possibility for real improvement of their general conditions and for political democratization.

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