The of speech. The Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and

The Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and the Prague Spring Uprisings in 1968 were indeed similar to an extent. There are many reasons to support this statement, from both events occurring with the same cause because of the dissatisfaction with Communism restrictions and losing their freedom of speech, to both new leaders creating the desired reforms in their country but having no support from the Soviet Union and being forced to resign. However, there is evidence that proves that the Uprisings were unalike. An example would be: In Hungary, reforms were demanded as the Hungarians had no desire to stay in the Warsaw Pact and wanted the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Budapest. Knowing the outcomes of the Hungarian revolt, Czechoslovakia did not want to repeat the same mistakes and instead opted for less censorship and more freedom of speech. The Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and the Prague Spring Uprisings were similar to an extent. Soviet troops occupied Hungary and continued doing so after WW2. Matyas Rakosi (the ‘Stalinist’ Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party) became leader and used dictatorship. ‘He used terror and brutality to keep control, killing an estimated 2000 in the purges and imprisoning 200,000 political opponents’ (GREEN BOOK PAGE 41) and the secret police (AVH) became a despised part of life. Stalin’s death led to a temporary cease in the Cold War and Nikita Khrushchev took over the Soviet leadership title, being much more lenient during his ruling. Furthermore, Rakosi fell from power. ‘The next year, Khrushchev denounced Stalin and his policies at the 20th Communist Party conference (1ST ONE) and introduced De-Stalinization. Encouraged by the relaxation of political controls and the new freedom of criticism in Hungary, discontent broke out into active fighting in October. This led to the replacement of Hungarian leader by Imre Nagy, a communist politician. University students expressed Solidarity with the Polish rebels. The rebels aimed for free elections, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and no censorship, freedom of speech, free trade unions, freedom of worship, an end to the one party system, the Soviet tanks and troops out of Budapest, Hungary to become a neutral state and to develop trade links with the West. As the rebels were successful in the first phase of the revolution, Nagy introduced reforms such as: removing state control of mass media, promising to increase the production and distribution of consumer goods, withdrawing Hungary from the Warsaw Pact and raising the living standards, and appealed to the UNO for support. However, the Western powers were unwilling to risk a global conflict. Czechoslovakia was an economically successful and democratic nation before being controlled by the USSR as well. Similarly to Hungary, students complained about the poor performance of the Czechoslovak economy. ‘They resented their lack of freedom of speech and called for greater democracy through student demonstrations in 1966’ (2ND ONE). Rebels aimed for reforms such as: freedom of movement, freedom of speech and increased rights for trade unions. Czechoslovakia under President Antonin Novotny, a Stalinist communist equal to Rakosi, suffered an economic recession and he fell from power in favour of Alexander Dubcek in 1968. According to HIS BOOK SHIT(2) Alexander Dubcek, Hope Dies Last (1992), ‘Narrow professional or other interests could no longer take priority. Freedom of assembly and association, guaranteed in the constitution but not respected in the past, had to be put into practice’. ‘Dubeck started to introduce a ‘new model’ for socialist Czechoslovakia, expecting that it would join Communists and non-Communists together’ (THING). Called ‘Socialism with a Human Face’, it reduced the press censorship and promised to guarantee civil rights. Free elections were to be held as well. This is why the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and the Prague Spring Uprisings were similar to an extent. The Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and the Prague Spring Uprisings were similar to an extent. When comparing the events in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, both events took place because Soviet oppression and the refusal to support the old regime drove the nations to revolt. Reforms took place in the countries and both events covered the USSR’s reactions to the reforms. Both began with the same cause, dissatisfaction with Communism and its restrictions. The economy in Hungary was weak and Rakosi was very loyal to the USSR whilst Novotny had no control over Czechoslovakia and the economy was in disarray. Poverty across both lands was immense. Another reason that the two events were similar was: the Hungarians fought for independence because of their strong history of resistance and Czechoslovakia attempted to end Soviet oppression after thirty years of oppression from the Nazis and then the USSR. Both Hungary and Czechoslovakia lived in fear of the AVH (secret police) and both loathed losing their freedom of speech. In addition, the rebels of both countries wanted their people to gain more rights and lessen the control of the USSR. Furthermore, Russia invaded both countries with an inordinate force. When Nagy announced that Hungary was going to leave the Warsaw Pact and appealed to the UN, on 4th November 1000 tanks invaded Budapest, taking control of Hungary’s airfields and bridges. When the talks held with Dubcek failed to convince him, 2000 tanks and 50,000 Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia, capturing the streets and Prague’s airport. Moreover, both leaders had to resign and did not receive any support from the West. During 1956, Britain and France were occupied with the Suez Canal Crisis and in both cases, the US was not willing to risk war with the USSR. The results of both the uprisings were close as well. In 1956, Russia remained in control under the Iron Curtain and in 1968, the Brezhnev Doctrine stated that the Iron Curtain countries could not abandon communism. Lastly, both events sparked the same reactions from the wider world. ‘Reactions to both were wholly negative to Soviet use of force. The situation in Hungary was discussed at the United Nations; with Czechoslovakia the Soviet actions were condemned by different countries including the USA’ (RED BOOK PAGE 122). This is why the Hungarian Uprising and the Prague Spring were alike. However, there is evidence to suggest that the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and the Prague Spring Uprisings were different. This is because different events inspired the two countries to rebel. Hungary chose to have an uprising as they were affected by the revolt in Poland which encouraged rioting to take place and caused the leader to make changes whilst in Czechoslovakia, there was an economic depression taking place and a wish for political transformation and the action was mostly established by their leader. Another reason why the two events were dissimilar was because of the reforms. Alexander Dubcek knew the outcomes of the Hungarian uprising and did not want to make the same mistakes. Instead of demanding to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet influence like Hungary, Czechoslovakia specifically told Brezhnev that the Czechs had no intention in leaving the Pact but instead: less censorship and a reduction in the AVH. Furthermore, Alexander Dubcek wanted ‘democratic communism’ while the Hungarians introduced democracy. During the Hungarian uprising in October 1956, workers and soldiers alike armed themselves in a people- led rebellion and attacked the Russian soldiers and the AVH, destroying a statue of Stalin. However, the Czechs created Socialism with a Human Face, following orders from the government and having passive resistance. For four months during the Prague Spring, Czechoslovakia had freedom while in Hungary, there was only five days. In July 1968 troops from countries across the Warsaw Pact (led by the USSR) invaded Czechoslovakia and the Prague Spring came to an end with Czechoslovakia abandoning its reforms and returning to Communist control. 47 anti – communists were arrested while Dubcek was taken to Moscow and incarcerated. Contrariwise, as the protesters took control of Hungary, Khrushchev agreed to remove troops to avoid casualties. However, when announcing Hungary leave of the Warsaw Pact, one thousand Soviet took over Hungary and 4000 Hungarians were arrested. Nagy was executed for treason. This is why the Hungarian Uprisings and the Prague Spring Uprisings were dissimilar. In conclusion, the Hungarian Uprisings of 1956 and the Prague Spring Uprisings of 1968 were similar as both events occured from loathing Communism and its restrictions to both leaders (Imre Nagy and Alexander Dubcek) being forced to resign. However, there is evidence that proves that the two uprisings were poles apart, with examples being Alexander Dubcek not wanting to make the same mistakes as Nagy did during the Hungarian revolt and the features of both uprisings.

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