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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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1956 Polish and Hungarian Crises

The uprising began in Hungary as a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, while in Poland similar political uprisings began in October 1956. The documents, most of which are working notes, are from 1956 and come from Russian and Bulgarian archives. See also, the Nikita Khrushchev Collection, and the Warsaw Pact. (Image, head of a toppled Stalin statue in Budapest, 1956)

  • September 04, 1930

    Imre Nagy’s OGPU (Unified State Political Directorate) Enlistment

    Certificate signed by Imre Nagy upon enlistment in the OGPU secret police (later the NKVD).

  • March 10, 1938

    Report on Imre Nagy’s Arrest by the NKVD (Commissariat of Internal Affairs)

    Matusov and Altman report on Nagy's arrest on 4/5 March 1938 and subsequent release on 8 March, and describe some of his work.

  • June, 1941

    Report from the People’s Committee of Internal Affairs to the Central Committee of the Hungarian Communist Party, about Agent 'Volodya' (Imre Nagy)

    Sverdlov provides a brief overview of agent "Volodya" (Imre Nagy) and his work.

  • February 20, 1950

    Notes from Conversation with General Chmurowicz

    Col. J. Burgin remembers General Chmurowicz describing his refusal to comply with German officers concerning the Katyn affair while imprisoned as a POW at Woldenburg. Chmurowicz also spoke of Stefan Mossor's compliance with the Germans.

  • 1956

    Memorandum from Major General Marian Spychalski to Minister of Foreign Affairs Adam Rapacki

    Spychalski conveys the Ministry of National Defense's proposed supplement to the Treaty on the Status of Soviet Forces Stationed in Poland. The supplement addresses the movement of Soviet units by air and sea.

  • April 26, 1956

    Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University, Prague, 'Resolution Adopted by the Faculty Organization of the Czechoslovak Youth Union'

    A student resolution written during the 1956 student protests in Czechoslovakia. It argues for a review of the national education system, specifically to allow for more focus on practical subjects than on Communism and Russian language classes. Additionally, it demands fairer political trials and punishments, while noting the overall deleterious affect that "the Soviet experience" has had on the country.

  • July 09, 1956

    Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 9 and 12 July 1956

    In their meeting on July 9 and 12, 1956, the CPSU Presidium calls for an article to be prepared on the subversive activities of “imperialists” in Poznan and Hungary. Italian communist, Palmiro Togliatti, is to assist in writing an article in the Italian press. The working notes also refer to the situation developing over the rehabilitation of Hungarian communist, Laszlo Rajk, with a reference to HWP leader Rakosi.

  • October 19, 1956

    Protocol No. 129, Meeting of the Polish Politburo

    The Politburo discusses the meeting with the Soviet delegation shortly before and how to proceed with regard to the Soviets and the Plenum.

  • October 19, 1956

    Gomulka's Notes from the 19-20 October Polish-Soviet Talks

    Gomulka's private notes from the Soviet-Russian confrontation at Belvedere Palace.

  • October 19, 1956

    Aleksander Zawadzki’s Notes from the 19-20 October Polish-Soviet Talks

    The Soviet-Polish talks at the Belve-dere Palace began at about 11 a.m. on October 19 and ended at 3 a.m. on October 20. The talks included Khrushchev, Mikoyan, Molotov, and Kaganovich on the Soviet side, and Gomulka, with fourteen members of the PUWP Politburo, on the Polish side. Zawadzki made detailed notes and endeavored to include comments made by a wider range of participants on both sides.

  • October 20, 1956

    Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 20 October 1956

    Notes from the meeting of the CPSU Presidium on the issues of Poland and Hungary. Soviet officials discuss preventing the ouster of Polish Marshal Konstantin Rokossowski and forming a committee to possibly replace Gomulka. The Presidium considers events in Hungary with recommendations to dispatch Mikoyan, recall troops to their units, and draft an informational report.

  • October 21, 1956

    Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 21 October 1956 On the Situation in Poland

    Khrushchev calls for patience and a refrain from military intervention in Poland. The entire Presidium supports Krushchev.

  • October 22, 1956

    Memorandum from Khrushchev to Gomulka Recalling Soviet Advisors

    Recalling Soviet military advisers from Poland.

  • October 23, 1956

    Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 23 October 1956

    The Presidium is updated on events unfolding in Budapest. Khrushchev favors deploying troops to quell the uprising. Mikoyan, alone in his dissent, advocates political measures followed by troops if necessary. Nagy’s capacity to control the situation is discussed, Presidium members assert the incongruities with Poland, and Khrushchev dispatches Mikoyan and Suslov to Budapest.

  • October 24, 1956

    Report from Soviet Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Perevertkin

    Report from Soviet Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Perevertkin on the movement of Soviet troops into Hungary

  • October 24, 1956

    Mikoyan-Suslov Report

    Mikoyan-Suslov Report on the situation in Budapest in October 1956 and talks with Nagy and Gero about the Hungarian party leadership

  • October 24, 1956

    Account of a Meeting at the CPSU CC, on the Situation in Poland and Hungary

    The CPSU CC Politburo meets to discuss the burgeoning crises in Poland and Hungary. Also participating was Hungarian leader Novotny. Khrushchev described for the Soviet leadership his discussions with Gomulka on the Polish situation. Khrushchev urges patience in dealing with Poland. On the situation in Hungary, Khrushchev tells the Soviet leaders that actions were taken at the request of the Hungarian leadership.

  • October 25, 1956

    Maj. Witold Osinski, Reports on the Events of 19-23 October 1956

    Reports recounting Osinski's experiences with infighting between the Polish Ministry of Defense (MND), and the Stalinist Internal Security Corps (ISC). The reports also take place during the Polish October (Gomulka' Thaw). Normal font indicates that the text appears in both instances of the document. Italics indicates that the text appears only in the original, handwritten version of the document. Bold font indicates that the text appears only in the final, typed version for Gomulka.

  • October 26, 1956

    Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 26 October 1956

    Liu Shaoqi of the CPC CC tells the CPSU Presidium that the Rokossowski issue is central in Poland. The Presidium considers incoming information sent by Mikoyan and Suslov from Budapest. It is recommended that Hungarians studying in Moscow be instructed and sent back to Budapest to end the “vacillations” within the CC. Presidium members are critical of Mikoyan and call for a firm line with Hungary. Khrushchev commits to sending three more Presidium members to Hungary, contacting ousted Prime Minister Andras Hegedus, and reinforcing the troops.

  • October 26, 1956

    Protocol 55 of the Meeting of the Political Bureau of the CC of the RWP, on the Situation in Hungary and Measures to be Taken in Romania.

    The Romanian Workers' Party Politburo meets to discuss the events in Hungary and decides the actions to be taken in Romania to prevent a spill-over of the Hungarian uprising into the country.