Monday, October 23, 2006

Budapest, 1956

Today marks the day 50 years ago when thousands of Hungarians from all walks of life marched through streets of the capital city, Budapest, demanding an end to communist rule and calling for free elections.

It was the start of what became known as the Hungarian Revolution.

A week or so later it was all over. Soviet tanks rolled in to crush the revolt, with support from Communist parties in other parts of Eastern Europe – and from Soviet apologists in the West.

To their eternal shame, Western governments didn’t lift a finger to help the Hungarians, scared of “provoking” Moscow.

The uprising resulted in the death of some 25,000 Hungarians. An estimated 200,000 escaped, including some 14,000 who made it to safety in Australia, making a huge contribution to Australian life, especially in the arts and business.

Following the spectacular collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the new Russian authorities apologised to the Hungarians.

As far as I know, there has never been any apology from those in the West who supported the Soviet invasion, which was described by the Kremlin in predictable terms, as a “fascist” counter-revolution.

Anyway, I recommend an interesting piece published in The Australian today to commemorate the start of the Hungarian Revolution. It’s written by Neil Brown, QC, a former Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. Read it here.


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