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Hungarian Tragedy cover: from Hungary 1956

Hungarian Tragedy
and other writings on the1956 Hungarian revolution


Peter Fryer's classic account of the armed confrontation between the Hungarian people and the Stalinist regime in 1956. Peter Fryer was the British Communist Party Daily Worker's correspondent in Hungary whose dispatches were censored in London. This edition is expanded to include Fryer's other writings of the period which show how the shock waves affected the Communist Party in Britain.

1-871518-14-8 192pp. £11.99


"There are really two Hungarian tragedies. There is the immediate and heart-breaking tragedy of a people's revolution - a mass uprising against tyranny and poverty that had become insupportable - being crushed by the army of the world's first Socialist State.

I was in Hungary when this happened. I saw for myself that the uprising was neither organised nor controlled by fascists or reactionaries, though reactionaries were undeniably trying to gain control of it. I saw for myself that the Soviet troops who were thrown into battle against 'counter-revolution' fought in fact not fascists or reactionaries but the common people of Hungary: workers, peasants, students and soldiers. The army that liberated Hungary in 1944-5 from German fascist rule, that chased away the collaborating big landowners and big capitalists and made possible the land reform and the beginning of Socialist construction - this army now had to fight the best sons of the Hungarian people.

At least 20,000 Hungarians dead; at least 3,500 Russians dead; tens of thousands wounded; the devastation of large areas of Budapest; mass deportations of Hungarian patriots; hunger verging on starvation; widespread despair and the virtual breakdown of economic life; a burning hatred in the hearts of the people against Russia and all things Russian that will last at least a generation: these are the bitter fruits of the Soviet leaders' decision to intervene a second time.

There is another tragedy, too. It, too, is written in blood on the streets and squares of Budapest. It, too, can be read in the lines of suffering long-endured on the faces of Hungarian citizens, in the forlorn gaze of the children who press their noses against the windows of Western cars and beg for chocolate, in the tears of men and women who have been promised much and given little. It is the long-term tragedy of the absolute failure of the Hungarian Communist Party, after eight years in complete control of their country, to give the people either happiness or security, either freedom from want or freedom from fear."


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