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Preface || 1: "Those Heroic Days"

"The times of that superstition which attributed revolutions to the ill-will of a few agitators have long passed away. Everyone knows nowadays that, wherever there is a revolutionary convulsion, there must be some social want in the background which is prevented by outworn institutions from satisfying itself... Every attempt at forcible repression will only bring it forth stronger until it bursts its fetters."



"The Hungarian Revolution is already history; this fact, however, does not exempt mankind from its moral obligation to solve the Hungarian problem." These words of Imre Kovacs explain why we offer this text to college students. The Hungarian Revolt is important historically and ideologically-important because it is a sample, a symbol, an epitome of the individual human resistance to tyranny in our time. On one level the Hungarian Revolt is a great and terrible moment of Hungarian history; on another, it is a gallant if abortive strike by a captive people against Communist oppression; and on still another, it is a magnificent revolt of the individual against collective dictatorial machinery. No matter how an American college student looks at the Revolt, it has meaning for him. If it does not, more than a revolt has been lost.

Mind you, no Hungarian Freedom Fighter admits that his Revolt is over, that it has been lost. And speaking to these veterans or reading their writings, one believes with them. This is the difficulty about doing research on such a topic: one gets involved emotionally. Research writing must be based on fact and cold-blooded evaluation. It is especially important in using this source book that the student weigh evidence carefully and consider its source. He should remember that many of the reports were made by men under stress, amid savage street fighting, who saw the Revolt only in part. He should also remember that much of the reporting was politically biased. But of such material scholarly analyses are made; it is the raw material of historical research writing. You will have at your disposal in this volume what we believe is an equitable representation (we could not hope to include all) of the available primary material on the Hungarian Revolt.

Represented here are radio broadcasts, newspaper and magazine articles, and portions of books on the Revolt, all of which record what viewers of the Revolt saw, heard, and believed during the thirteen days.

Since the body of available material is large and because we wanted to cover the events in Hungary in sufficient depth for research writing, it has been necessary to limit our scope to the key days of the Revolt, from October 23 to November 4, 1956-from the outbreak of armed conflict to the day on which the returning Russian troops regained general control. Naturally there is a long prelude to the October 23 uprising-the long story of Communist rule. After November 4 there is more fighting, and there is the bloody history of punishments and renewed oppression under the Kadar regime. The aftermath continues to this day, and it is important. There is the United Nations debate on the Hungarian problem, with its many pages of printed testimony, both during and after the Revolt. Also there are the reactions in many countries outside Hungary, all of which are relevant to what was happening and had happened in Hungary. But, for reasons of space and student research time, the editors have concentrated on the vital thirteen days of Paradise Regained-and lost again in Hungary.

At the end of the book there are suggested topics for controlled research and sources and topics for library research. It is our hope that the present text will be but the beginning of your interest in the Hungarian Revolt. There is much more to know about the subject, and it continues to be fascinating.

The details of the Hungarian Revolt are not pleasant reading. There is much horror, blood, fear, and pain. There are reprisals and atrocities; a children's hospital is machine gunned, twelve-year-old children blow themselves to pieces to destroy Russian tanks, men and women are slaughtered in the streets, men are deliberately burned alive. And all these things are described without restraint in this book. But we do not apologize, for these events are what this Revolt was, what it cost. You need to learn of these incidents, and you need to learn of them from eyewitnesses if you are going to study the Hungarian Revolt for research writing. How the Hungarians died illuminates why they died. The horror will not be lessened for you by this, but you need to note it: the Hungarian people realized what their Revolt would cost them, and they dared it with this knowledge.

We hope that you will realize as you read that these people are very much like you. They are not professional soldiers; they are shopkeepers, businessmen, housewives, laborers, farmers, school children, and college students. Most of all they are human beings who want to be free more than anything else.

We have been told that this subject is too grisly, too controversial for undergraduates in American colleges. To this we can reply only that we disagree, that we believe it is time for you, even if you are a college freshman-no, especially if you are a college freshman -to encounter the problems raised by the Hungarian Revolt. If the problems disturb you, so much the better.

Arrangement of material has been a problem in editing this book. Doubtless strict chronological progression would have been more readable, but in research one does not find material in chronological sequence. Therefore, we have grouped the material according to kinds of sources, as one would encounter them in library research. Within this framework we have tried to maintain chronology and readability.

A note on accent marks: the Hungarian use of accents is a complicated business which sources in this text further complicate by their inconsistency. We advise students to avoid the use of accents, except where the quotation of a source demands their inclusion for accuracy.

For assistance with this book we thank the following people: Miss Nora Hegedus of the Kossuth Foundation for sending us a great deal of material on the Revolt and for her helpful advice; the Free Europe Committee for generous cooperation; Miss Catherine Nelson of the Ohio University Library for supplying source material; Misses Suzanne Cavanagh, Mary McKnight, and Mary Mills, our undergraduate assistants at Ohio University for research aid; Professor Robert F. McDonnell of Ohio University, who presented us with the idea for the book and did preliminary research on it; and Mrs. Florence Morris for assistance in preparing the manuscript.

Athens, Ohio R. L. & W. F. M.

June 16, 1960

This book is respectfully dedicated to the

Hungarian Freedom Fighters

R. Lettis and W.E. Morris