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Hungarian–Soviet relations were characterized by political, economic, and cultural interventions by the Soviet Union in internal Hungarian politics for 45 years, the length of the Cold War. Hungary became a member of the Warsaw Pact in 1955; since the end of World War II, Russian troops were stationed in the country, intervening at the time of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Starting in March 1990, the Soviet Army began leaving Hungary, with the last troops being withdrawn on June 19, 1991.
By 1943–1944, the tide of World War II had turned. The Red Army regained the pre-war Soviet territory, and advanced westward from its borders to defeat Germany and its allies, including Hungary. Officially, Soviet military operations in Hungary ended on 4 April 1945, when the last German troops were expelled, although Soviet troops (and political advisers) remained within the country.
During the period of Soviet occupation of Hungary in World War II (1944–45) under a system known in Hungary as malenki robot (Russian for "little work") it is estimated that up to 600,000 Hungarians (of which up to 200,000 were civilians) were captured by the occupying Soviets and deported to labour camps in the Soviet Union - of those deported, up to 200,000 perished.The first deported Hungarians started to return to Hungary in June 1946, with the last returning in the years 1953-1955, after Stalin's death. The Soviet policy of deportations for forced labor extended to other occupied nations, however no other Soviet occupied nation was hit as hard as Hungary - for comparison, it is estimated that 155,000 to 218,000 Germans were deported from mainland Germany.
The Soviets made sure that a post-war government dominated by Communists was installed in the country before transferring authority from the occupation force to the Hungarians.
In elections held in November 1945, the Independent Smallholders' Party won 57 percent of the vote. The Hungarian Communist Party, under the leadership of Mátyás Rákosi and Ernő Gerő, received support from only 17 percent of the population. The Soviet commander in Hungary, Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, refused to allow the Smallholders Party to form a government. Instead, Voroshilov established a coalition government with the Communists holding some of the key posts. Later, Mátyás Rákosi boasted that he had dealt with his partners in the government one by one, "cutting them off like slices of salami." The Hungarian monarchy was formally abolished on February 1, 1946, and replaced by the Republic of Hungary. The gradual takeover by the Communists was completed on August 18, 1949, when Hungary became the People's Republic of Hungary.
The presence of Soviet troops in Hungary was formalized by the 1949 mutual assistance treaty, which granted the Soviet Union rights to a continued military presence, assuring ultimate political control. The Soviet forces in Hungary were part of the so-called Central Group of Forces headquartered in Baden, near Vienna.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Communist government of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies. After announcing their willingness to negotiate the withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Soviet Politburo changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution. On November 4, 1956, a large joint military force of the Warsaw Pact, led by Moscow, entered Budapest to crush the armed resistance.
The Soviet intervention, codenamed "Operation Whirlwind", was launched by Marshal Ivan Konev.The five Soviet divisions stationed in Hungary before October 23 in the first intervention ("Operation Wave") were augmented to a total strength of 17 divisions. The 8th Mechanized Army under command of Lieutenant General Hamazasp Babadzhanian and the 38th Army under command of Lieutenant General Hadzhi-Umar Mamsurov from the nearby Carpathian Military District were deployed to Hungary for the operation. This second intervention came after three days of deception. The Russians negotiated with the Hungarians (the so-called mixed commission headed by Pál Maléter) about the withdrawal of Soviet troops on the island of Tököl, but at the same time flew János Kádár and Ferenc Münnich secretly to the Soviet Union on November 1 to establish a new pro-Soviet Hungarian government.
At 3:00 a.m. on November 4, Soviet tanks penetrated Budapest along the Pest side of the Danube in two thrusts—one from the south, and one from the north—thus splitting the city in half. Armored units crossed into Buda, and at 4:25 a.m. fired the first shots at the army barracks on Budaörsi road. Soon after, Soviet artillery and tank fire was heard in all districts of Budapest. Operation Whirlwind combined air strikes, artillery, and the coordinated tank-infantry action of 17 divisions. By 8:00 am organised defence of the city evaporated after the radio station was seized, and many defenders fell back to fortified positions. Hungarian civilians bore the brunt of the fighting, and it was often impossible for Soviet troops to differentiate military from civilian targets. For this reason, Soviet tanks often crept along main roads firing indiscriminately into buildings. Hungarian resistance was strongest in the industrial areas of Budapest, which were heavily targeted by Soviet artillery and air strikes. Soviet army officers, largely unable to speak Hungarian, began indiscriminately arresting anyone showing resistance, including sixty-eight minors, among them nine young girls, pro-Soviet Hungarian officers, and German employees of the Red Cross. According to KGB chief Ivan Serov's report on November 11, as many as 3,773 insurgents were arrested, and by November 13, the number grew to 4,056. Several hundreds were illegally deported by train to Uzhgorod (Ungvár) in Soviet Ukraine and transported to several prisons in Stryi, Drohobych, Chernivtsi, and Stanislav (Ivano-Frankivsk). After international protests by the United Nations, they were transported back to Hungary in December. Within Hungary, the last pocket of resistance called for ceasefire on 10 November. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 722 Soviet troops had been killed and thousands more were wounded.
The crushing of the Hungarian Revolution strengthened Soviet control over the Eastern Bloc. The Soviets had Imre Nagy replaced as Prime Minister of Hungary with János Kádár, the leader of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party. Nagy, with a few others, was given sanctuary in the Yugoslav Embassy. In spite of a written safe conduct of free passage by János Kádár, on 22 November 1956, Nagy was arrested by the Soviet forces as he was leaving the Yugoslav Embassy, and taken to Snagov, Romania. Subsequently, the Soviets returned him to Hungary, where he was secretly charged with organizing to overthrow the Hungarian people's democratic state and with treason. Nagy was secretly tried, found guilty, sentenced to death and executed by hanging in June 1958.According to Fedor Burlatsky, a Kremlin insider, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had Nagy executed, "as a lesson to all other leaders in socialist countries."
In the wake of the Revolutions of 1989, the Soviet troops –the Southern Group of Forces –started leaving Hungary. By July 1990, some 15,000 Soviet soldiers and their dependents had left, taking about 60,000 of the 560,000 tons of equipment they had stored there. There were 5,750 buildings left on the 60 army camps and 10 air bases maintained by the Soviet Army in Hungary. The Soviets reportedly asked for 50 billion forints (some 800 million US dollars at the time), as compensation for the "Soviet investment" in Hungary; the then-commander of Soviet troops in Hungary, Col. Gen. Matvei Burlakov (succeeded by Lt. Gen. Shilov), said that the troop withdrawals may be held up if the Hungarians refused to pay.
The remaining 40,000 Soviet troops left Hungary, starting in March 1990, with the last leaving on June 19, 1991.
Imre Nagy was a Hungarian communist politician who served as Prime Minister and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Hungarian People's Republic from 1953 to 1955 and in 1956 Nagy became leader of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 against the Soviet-backed government, for which he was executed two years later.
The State Protection Authority was the secret police of the People's Republic of Hungary from 1945 until 1956. It was conceived as an external appendage of the Soviet Union's secret police forces and gained an indigenous reputation for brutality during a series of purges beginning in 1948, intensifying in 1949 and ending in 1953. In 1953 Joseph Stalin died, and Imre Nagy was appointed Prime Minister of Hungary. Under Nagy's first government from 1953 to 1955, the ÁVH was gradually reined in.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, or the Hungarian Uprising, was a nationwide revolution against the Hungarian People's Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. Leaderless at the beginning, it was the first major threat to Soviet control since the Red Army drove Nazi Germany from its territory at the End of World War II in Europe.
The Hungarian Working People's Party was the ruling communist party of Hungary from 1948 to 1956. It was formed by a merger of the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP) and the Hungarian Social Democratic Party. Ostensibly a union of equals, the merger had actually occurred as a result of massive pressure brought to bear on the Social Democrats by both the Hungarian Communists, as well as the Soviet Union. The few independent-minded Social Democrats who had not been sidelined by Communist salami tactics were pushed out in short order after the merger, leaving the party as essentially the MKP under a new name.
János Kádár was a Hungarian communist leader and the General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, presiding over the country from 1956 until his retirement in 1988. His 32-year term as General Secretary covered most of the period the People's Republic of Hungary existed. Due to Kádár's age, declining health and declining political mastery, he retired as General Secretary of the party in 1988 and a younger generation consisting mostly of reformers took over.
Ernő Gerő[ˈɛrnøː ˈɡɛrøː] was a Hungarian Communist Party leader in the period after World War II and briefly in 1956 the most powerful man in Hungary as the second secretary of its ruling communist party.
Mátyás Rákosi[ˈmaːcaːʃ ˈraːkoʃi] was a Hungarian communist politician. He was born Mátyás Rosenfeld in Ada. He was the leader of Hungary's Communist Party from 1945 to 1956 — first as General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party (1945–1948) and later holding the same post with the Hungarian Working People's Party (1948–1956). As such, from 1949 to 1956, he was the de facto ruler of Communist Hungary. An ardent Stalinist, his government was very loyal to the Soviet Union, and he presided over the mass imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian people and the deaths of thousands.
The Party of Communists in Hungary, renamed Hungarian Communist Party in October 1944, was founded on November 24, 1918, and was in power in Hungary briefly from March to August 1919 under Béla Kun and the Hungarian Soviet Republic. The communist government was overthrown by the Romanian Army and driven underground. The party regained power following World War II and held power from 1945 under the leadership of Mátyás Rákosi. In 1948 the party merged with the Social Democrats to become the Hungarian Working People's Party. The Communist Party of Hungary was a member of the Communist International.
Ferenc Münnich was a Hungarian Communist politician who served as Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People's Republic of Hungary from 1958 to 1961.
The Hungarian People's Republic was a one-party socialist republic from 20 August 1949 to 23 October 1989. It was governed by the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, which was under the influence of the Soviet Union. Pursuant to the 1944 Moscow Conference, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin had agreed that after the war Hungary was to be included in the Soviet sphere of influence.
Goulash Communism, also commonly referenced as Kadarism or the Hungarian Thaw, refers to the variety of communism in Hungary following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. János Kádár and the Hungarian People's Republic imposed policies with the goal to create high-quality living standards for the people of Hungary coupled with economic reforms. These reforms fostered a sense of well-being and relative cultural freedom in Hungary with the reputation of being "the happiest barracks" of the Eastern Bloc during the 1960s to the 1970s. With elements of regulated market economics as well as an improved human rights record, it represented a quiet reform and deviation from the Stalinist principles applied to Hungary in the previous decade.
During World War II, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed several countries effectively handed over by Nazi Germany in the secret Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. These included the eastern regions of Poland, as well as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, part of eastern Finland and eastern Romania. Apart from the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and post-war division of Germany, the USSR also occupied and annexed Carpathian Ruthenia from Czechoslovakia in 1945.
Jenő Szervánszky (1906–2005) was a Hungarian post-impressionist artist.
The topic of forced labor of Hungarians in the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II was not researched until the fall of Communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. While exact numbers are not known, it is estimated that up to 600,000 Hungarians were captured altogether, including an estimated 200,000 civilians. An estimated 200,000 citizens perished. It was part of a larger system of the usage of foreign forced labor in the Soviet Union.
The city of Budapest was officially created on 17 November 1873 from a merger of the three neighboring cities of Pest, Buda and Óbuda. Smaller towns on the outskirts of the original city were amalgamated into Greater Budapest in 1950. The origins of Budapest can be traced to Celts who occupied the plains of Hungary in the 4th century BC. The area was later conquered by the Roman Empire, which established the fortress and town of Aquincum on the site of today's Budapest around AD 100. The Romans were expelled in the 5th century by the Huns, who were challenged by various tribes during the next several centuries. The Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin started at the end of the 9th century, and the Kingdom of Hungary was established at the end of the 11th century.
Hungary–Russia relations refer to bilateral foreign relations between the two countries, Hungary and Russia. After the Second World War, Hungary and the Soviet Union became economic and military allies; both were signatories of the Warsaw Pact. The relations between both countries were damaged in 1956 due to the Soviet intervention in the revolution occurring in Hungary. However both countries reestablished diplomatic relations after the breakup of the USSR.
Béla Kovács was a Hungarian politician, who served as Minister of Agriculture from 1945 to 1946 and in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
The Hungarian Soviet Republic, literally the Republic of Councils in Hungary was a short-lived small communist rump state. When the Republic of Councils in Hungary was established in 1919, it controlled only approximately 23% of the territory of Hungary's classic pre-World War I territories.
Gyula Kádár was a Hungarian military officer who was the head of the Hungarian military intelligence from August 1943 until the occupation of Hungary by Nazi German forces during World War II.
Over the course of its history, the Soviet Union intervened in foreign countries on numerous occasions.