This Week's Story

Day three of the revolution! Is freedom possible in Hungary?

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Leadership Is Born, part seven

“Day three of our revolution!” Peter mumbled. “Is freedom possible here?”

His eyes scanned the crowd of thousands gathered on Budapest’s Kossuth Square. AVO men with machine guns were on the roof of Parliament. More were on the Supreme Court building and at the Agricultural Ministry. The front of Parliament was lined with Russian tanks and soldiers.

Suddenly gunshots were heard. AVO men were firing into the crowd. A bullet from an AVO gun killed a Hungarian baby and the mother lifted her baby into the air. “You have killed my child. Kill me.” Shots continued into the crowd.

In defiance of his orders a Russian tank commander directed his tank guns against the AVO men on the Supreme Court Building. Tanks and guns rained death. Eventually the dead were stacked in heaps.

October 25, 1956 continued and then the 26th. In the evening Peter’s brother Alex returned from an assignment.

“Alex, what is going on outside Budapest?”

“Fighting against the Russian-controlled Hungarian government has been spreading throughout Hungary. What is happening here?”

“Fighting continues. Many buildings have been badly damaged from tanks. Streets are a disaster with burnt-out cars and tanks, uprooted trees, holes in the pavement, and sagging wires. Our people continue resisting with great courage and determination. You see people of nearly all ages carrying bullet belts and rifles. We are gaining more control of the city.”

“Peter, what about the Hungarian military?”

“Though they have been trained and indoctrinated by the Russian communists, many are defecting. The most senior one to defect is Colonel Pal Maleter. He is coordinating teams of our fighters.

“Alex, what is certain? We know that lies from the Russian government will continue! Yesterday Russian leaders in the Soviet Union appointed Imre Nagy the communist head of Hungary. He has a fancy title that means nothing: Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Hungarian People’s Republic. Republic! What a twist! When have we had fair election of our officials under the Russian communists?

“Can we trust Nagy? He’s Hungarian and promises reform in return for violence to stop. What will the Russian leadership allow him to do?”

“Nothing, except what keeps their power!”

“Some of our people are wildly searching the city for AVO officers. They have tortured and killed secret police with no mercy. I agree they must be punished, and we must be rid of the secret police system. But, brother, we must not use the AVO tactics of fear, pain, humiliation, and death.”

October 28th, the revolution’s sixth day, Nagy called for a ceasefire. He made promises. There would be amnesty for the resistance, negotiation with its leaders, removal of Soviet troops from Hungary, replacement of the AVO with a democratic police force.

Fighting stopped and people waited. They gained hope and reorganized political parties and started newspapers. Demonstrators chanted for democracy and freedom. October 30th Khrushchev, the communist leader of Soviet Russia, announced withdrawal of his troops from Hungary. The next day, without telling the Hungarians, Khrushchev changed his mind.

This is Barbara Steiner. I will return with the last installment of the stories on the Hungarian Revolution.

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