Hall of the 1956 Revolution

The hall conjures up the Revolution's events, and is a memorial to the fallen heroes. We can view here the leather coat of Gergely Pongrátz, the coat of one of the victims of the Mosonmagyaróvár fusillade, as well as a DP automatic rifle. A Molotov cocktail and a bicycle fork damaged by a shell can be seen in the glass case.

On 5 March 1953 Stalin died.  In the Kremlin, the power struggle began.  On June 17th, a mass demonstration broke out in Berlin against the Communist and Soviet system. The Soviet troops and the East German interior units beat down this disturbance in two days.  In spring 1955, the victorious powers from WWII signed the agreement founding the Austrian state. Austria became an independent, neutral country, and the occupation troops withdrew. The special Soviet forces that were stationed in Austria, withdrew to Hungary. One day before the signing of the founding document, under the leadership of Prime Minister András Hegedűs, Hungary became a member of the Warsaw Pact, which created a new legal basis for the stationing of the Red Army in Hungary. 

In February 1956, at the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, the new first secretary of the party, Khruschev denounced the criminal nature of the Communist system in his secret speech. With this, the communist system became morally unmanageable. 

On 23 October 1956, protests were held in Budapest and several cities around the country. The demands were conceived by the students, who also organized the demonstrations.  Large crowds immediately joined them, since virtually every layer of society was harshly oppressed by the crisis affecting all of social and economic life. 
Since Communists fired on unarmed protestors, first in Debrecen and then at the building of Hungarian Radio in Budapest, Hungarian society revolted against the Communist elite, that was serving unconditionally the Soviet interests and refused to reform the system. They called for a radical transformation of society and the creation of an independent, free and democratic Hungary.

The armed fight began in front of the radio building and spread from there, then, following the Soviet intervention, it became a freedom fight.
The spontaneously organizing revolutionary and freedom fighting groups became more and more organized and increasingly efficient battles were going on between the Soviet and Hungarian troops. The civic population was confronted virtually everywhere with the Communist dictatorship, which either dismantled or rendered non-operational its national and regional institutions. On 28 October, the Soviet and Hungarian political and military leaders forced a withdrawal, and Prime Minister Imre Nagy ordered a general ceasefire.  One day later, the Soviet troops started to withdraw from Budapest and negotiations began on their departure. The government dissolved the hated and feared State Security Authority and brought into the work of the government the representatives of the coalition parties who were in power after 1945. There were hopes of free elections.

Despite the different viewpoints of the democratic institutions set up during the Revolution - the National Committees, Work Councils, Revolutionary Military Councils, the National Guard as well as Democratic political parties - they all had the goal of creating a democratic and independent Hungary. 

On 30 October, the Soviet government analyzed in a statement how it wished to modify its relations with its ˝brother Socialist country˝.  Then, 24 hours later, the order was given to beat down the Hungarian freedom fight.  New Soviet troops moved over the Hungarian border.

In response, the Hungarian government pulled out of the Warsaw Pact and announced that Hungary wanted neutrality and asked help from the United Nations.  However, the government was not capable of ending the Soviet aggression. 
On November 4th, the sweeping Soviet military attack began, which broke the resistance by mid-November of the armed defense troops set up under the Revolution.

Faced with the protesting crowds against the Soviet military occupation, the puppet-government led by Moscow´s delegate János Kádár, the Revolutionary Workers-Peasant government, put into action all tools of terror and a dictatorship.
Following the fighting, Budapest was once again in ruins 14 years after WWII.  Around 20,000 people were wounded, more than 2500 died, 2000 of whom were from Budapest. Approximately 200,000 people were forced to leave their homeland. 
In the first few days of November, the Soviet authorities caught around 5000 people, of whom 860, including young children, were sent by the KGB to the Soviet Union as prisoners of war.  Around 300-450 people died in volleys.  On the basis of instructions given by Soviet advisors, around 15,000 people were sentenced in Hungary, and 229 people were executed.

During closed negotiations in 1958, Prime Minister Imre Nagy was sentenced to death in a show trial and executed.

In October 1956, the Hungarian people proved to themselves and the world, that there are no small nations, just helpless ones. There are no permanently oppressed people, and even against the power believed to be the strongest, one can and must take up the fight, if the oppression and terror are so unbearable that it endangers a nation´s character and existence.  With the courage of the self-sacrificing Hungarian freedom fighters, they left a bloody wound on the great Soviet empire.

Basement