In search of a peaceful solution

Following the end of the one-party state the day before and the earlier announcement that the ÁVH secret police would be disbanded, General Béla Király, a political prisoner who had been just recently released, was chosen to lead the newly formed National Guard by the Revolutionary Defense Committee. Efforts to form a new security authority untainted by the Rákosi era were going ahead.

Later that day in the afternoon Imre Nagy announced that he would begin negotiations on Hungary leaving the Warsaw Pact. It is worth recalling that Yugoslavia, which was also communist, was not a member of the Warsaw Pact.

In most likelihood realizing that their name was forever tarnished, the Hungarian Worker’s Party renamed itself the Hungarian Socialist Worker’s Party, which it would go on to use until October, 1989, when it changed its name again. In neither case where these name changes particularly significant.

What would hold the worst news for Hungary, however, was that Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow decided on this day to invade Hungary and put an end to the revolution. Furthermore, in acknowledgement of the unreliability of the Soviet troops who had been stationed in Eastern Europe and had gotten to know the local populations, troops from Central Asia were dispatched who would have no qualms about firing upon the Hungarians in order to crush the revolution. Many of these troops we misled to believe they had been sent to Egypt and mistook the Danube for the Suez Canal.

And speaking of the Suez Crisis, France and the United Kingdom join Israel against Egypt, thereby unintentionally creating an even bigger distraction from the events going on in Hungary. It has also been argued that the Suez Crisis was what made up Khrushchev’s mind. The reasoning is that Moscow was convinced that the United States would join Britain and France in the Suez (which it did not), and consequently the Soviet Union had to make its own show of force, lest it appear weak.

Zoltán Csipke