This Week's Story

Will freedom last or will Soviet Union military forces return to Budapest?

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

Leadership Riddles, part eight

Peter walked curiously with his brother. This is our city, our country. Budapest, Hungary! I see blood stains on sidewalks and streets, debris from fighting, and something different!

“Alex, are you watching the people around us?”

“Yes, and I feel like them! For the first time in many years we are publicly talking, smiling, and arguing about how we want our lives and government to be. We have hope! The Russian soldiers left, the secret police are hiding, and the Russians have put Imre Nagy into leadership. He wants reform. Once before he led our government. The Russians removed him, because he wanted reforms. For nearly eleven years our communist leaders have been brutal.

“300,000 Hungarians have disappeared. We never know who might next be gone. Our people have been imprisoned, exiled, or killed. The great riddle is that as we have been intimidated, we have been told by radio, newspaper, teachers, and indoctrination classes that our lives are improving. The outside world is off limits. It is the enemy, especially the United States.

“Peter, two weeks ago you were a fifteen-year-old schoolboy under the spell of a communist indoctrination class. When Papa disappeared, you went looking for him. You saw protestors given no chance to present their grievances with our government. You witnessed the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution October 23, 1956. University students, factory workers, boys and girls, and people like our family were fired upon by Russian troops and Hungarian AVO. We fought back.

“That first night the top communist leader of Hungary, Erno Gero, made a radio announcement. ‘Dear comrades, beloved friends, the working people of Hungary, today it is the chief aim of the enemies of our people to try to shake the power of the workers’ class, to loosen the peasant-worker alliance, to undermine the leading role of the workers’ class in our country and to upset their faith in its party, in the Hungarian Workers’ Party.’”

“But, Alex, workers fought against the government.”

“Yes, Gero’s words were lies.”

“Alex, do you think the Russian troops and tanks will stay out of Budapest?”

“The Russians may be trying to calm us down with a few temporary reforms. We need help from the West!”

November 4, 1956 at 4:00 A.M. Russian tanks returned to Budapest. The revolution had begun thirteen days earlier. At 5:20 A.M. Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy announced on radio, “Today at daybreak Soviet forces started an attack against our capital, obviously with the intention to overthrow the legal Hungarian democratic government. Our troops are still fighting; the Government is still in its place. I notify the people of our country and the entire world of this fact.’

Later in the morning a last appeal was heard. “Help Hungary…help, help, help….” The broadcast was stopped.

This is Barbara Steiner. Unlike what I earlier wrote, I would like to return and close with the response of the West and the escape of more than 200,000 Hungarians.

You are invited to

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