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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 01, 1956

BULGARIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION ON THE SITUATION IN HUNGARY AND POLAND

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    This intelligence report discusses the domestic political developments in Poland after the ascent of Wladyslaw Gomulka to the top of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR).The events surrounding the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 are also mentioned.
    "Bulgarian Military Intelligence Information on the Situation in Hungary and Poland," November 01, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Central State Archive, Sofia, Fond 378-B, File 1032; Translated by Vanja Petkova, Edited by Dr. Jordan Baev, Momchil Metodiev, and Nancy L. Meyers. Obtained by the Bulgarian Cold War Research Group. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112703
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Ministry of National Defense
Intelligence Department
No. 0666
Copy No. 1
1.11.1956
Sofia

Classified

INFORMATION
on the situation in Hungary and Poland
26– 31 October 1956
No. 2

According to the information submitted by the military representatives of the PR of Bulgaria in WARSAW and BUDAPEST, the Intelligence Department is familiar with the following:

On Poland

1. On 26 October this year the situation in Poland is relatively calm. The main unrests concerned the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Poland.
On 25 October this year in WARSAW an enormous rally was held, where GOMULKA[1] stated that under an agreement with KHRUSHCHEV,[2] the Soviet troops would withdraw to their former positions in Poland. However, they would still remain in Poland because of the West German militarists' threat. This is accepted by the greater part of the Polish people. Till the evening of 25 October in WARSAW and in the provincial towns, mass adherence manifestations to the new Politburo were held. There were some isolated anti-Soviet demonstrations under the slogans: “For a free Poland,” for the return of ROKOSSOWSKI [3] in MOSCOW, under Hungarian flags and with greetings to the Hungarian nation, for the release of Cardinal WYSZYNSKI, [4] etc.

2. A Polish party delegation was expected to depart for Moscow for the signing of a declaration, similar to the Belgrade one.
At present in the Polish regional cities Party Plenums are being held and GOMULKA's followers are replacing the former party leaders.

3. On 26 October this year the newspaper Warsaw Life [Zycie Warszawy] has published an article–as a response to the editorial of 22 October this year in People's Youth [Narodna Mladezh].[5] According to its author, the information in People's Youth was written in a neglectful tone, was frivolous and with lack of understanding of the reality in Poland.

4. After 25 October this year the general situation in Poland is relatively calm. Nearly everyone supports GOMULKA. It seems that after the rally of 24 October the reactionary forces' attitude towards GOMULKA started to cool off. GOMULKA's rise was due mainly to the demonstrations from below, carried out in the name of full national independence and democratization of the country, in favor of the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Poland and for expelling the Stalinists from the Central Committee /CC/.

5. In his speeches at the VIII Plenum and at the rally GOMULKA approved the above slogans as basis for his policy. He promoted the Polish way toward socialism in the village by disbanding the weakest cooperatives and through the creation of a different type of production cooperative; by supplying of the latter with their own machinery and transforming the Motor-Tractor Stations /MTS/ into maintenance and repair bases.

6. In WARSAW and in some other towns, party leaderships that became GOMULKA supporters led the demonstrations. There were rumors that workers, students, etc. were given weapons. Now, party workers groups are on duty in the towns.
In the last few days a change of party, trade union and other leaders took place. At present the Minister of National Defense in Poland, SPYCHALSKI,[6] is the newly appointed Deputy Minister.

7. Journalists and other organizations actively tried to obtain information from the representatives of the people's democratic states in Poland concerning their attitude towards the latest events. Relative isolation from the democratic camp has been observed. Critics have not been welcomed.

8. On 29 October Cardinal WYSZYNSKI was released and became the leader of the Catholic Church.

9. The Polish press and radio are in the hands of the new leadership and have not opened an anti-Soviet campaign.

10. On 30 October the Polish press published an “Appeal of the Politburo and the Council of Ministers to the Hungarian nation” and released detailed information on the events in Hungary. It mentioned that a democratic revolution against Stalinism took place in Hungary aiming at democratic socialism. Sympathetic to the Hungarian people, it appealed to stop the bloodshed.

11. It has been understood that in connection with the editorial in our People's Youth [Narodna Mladezh] newspaper of 26 October this year, an official protest was being prepared.


On Hungary

1. The students' demonstration that started at about 17.00 on 25 October in BUDAPEST turned into an armed struggle with artillery and tanks participating. Enemies of the Hungarian people led the struggle. The greater part of the Armed Forces and Military Schools fought against the government. The government promised to fulfill the students' and workers' demands.

2. Lt. Gen. KAROLY JANZA, former Deputy Minister of National Defense, has been appointed the Minister of National Defense.

3. Provisions in BUDAPEST were supplied with great difficulties.

4. On 29 October there was a strike of the transportation workers against the newly appointed Minister of Transportation. He resigned in the evening.

5. On 30 October BUDAPEST was covered with slogans against the new government.

6. The State Security Service was disbanded.

7. In the Southeastern part of BUDAPEST on
30 October fights were still being fought.

8. From 31 October an increase in the strength of the reactionary forces has been observed. They started to issue their own newspapers and wanted to establish a new government.

9. According to information from Hungarian Radio the latest term for Soviet troops' withdrawal from BUDAPEST has been set for 31 October this year. The withdrawal has started.

10. The reactionary elements waved anti-Soviet slogans at the demonstrations. However, there were also more moderate appeals to the Soviet troops not to interfere in the internal affairs of Hungary. Slogans for the annulment of the Warsaw Pact were raised.

11. A Military Revolutionary Committee was elected, its functions are not yet known.

12. There were some new changes within the Council of Ministers–new Ministers from the Social Democratic Party were appointed but IMRE NAGY[7] is still the Prime Minister.

13. The Chief of the General Staff, the Chief of Armed Forces' Political Department and his Deputy were changed.

14. All citizens have been listening to Western radio broadcasts.

15. There was a great movement of people on the streets of BUDAPEST.

16. During the events the Ministry of National Defense took the side of the people demonstrating.

17. The center of BUDAPEST was destroyed to a great extent. There were many burnt automobiles and other vehicles on the streets. Traffic has not yet been normalized. Food supplies are lacking.

18. New events are expected in the near future; which kind is not mentioned.

19. According to the information from ROME from 24 October this year, the press was full of criticism of the USSR and the people's democratic states in relation to the events in Hungary. On 29 and 30 October in ROME demonstrations against the people's democratic states took place. Missions of the people's democratic countries were secured by police. Especially strong was the security around the Soviet and Hungarian Embassies. A campaign to collect financial and medical help has been started in ROME.

20. There is information from VIENNA that, as a response to the events in Hungary, the Austrian government and the Supreme Military Council held restricted meetings on 28 and 29 October this year. Elite motorized units numbering approximately 3,000 people were transferred from the interior part of the country to the Austrian-Hungarian border. They formed four groups. Parts of the military units were placed in the towns of VIENNA, BRUCK, ZURNDORF, NICKELSDORF, HAIDOBURG [sic], and ENSIGUSING [sic]. One unit was transferred from HÖRSHING to VIENNA.

CHIEF OF INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT
COL.:…………………………..../KRASTEV[8]/
31.10.1956

Printed in 11 copies.
No 1 to No 10–addressee
No 11–to File
No 2149/31.10.1956


[1] Gomulka, Wladyslaw (1905–1982) First Secretary of the Polish United Workers Party (1943-1948, 1956–1969).

[2] Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeyevich (1894–1971), First Secretary of the CC CPSU (1953 –1964), and Prime Minister of the USSR (1958-1964).

[3] Rokossowski, Konstantyn (1896-1968), Soviet Marshal, played a great role in Stalingrad and Kursk battles. Commander of I, then II Belorussian fronts (1944-45); after the WW II Marshal of Poland, Minister of National Defense of Poland (1949-1956), Deputy Minister of Defense of the USSR (1958-1962).

[4] Stephan, Cardinal Wyszynski (1901-1981), Primate of Poland, Archbishop of Warsaw and Gniezno, appointed Cardinal in 1952; imprisoned by the communist government (1953 and 1956). After his release resumed his position of the spiritual leader of the nation.

[5] Bulgarian newspaper, organ of the Dimitrov's Communist Youth Union of Bulgaria.

[6] Spychalski, Marian; Polish Minister of Defense (1956-1968).

[7] Imre Nagy (1896-1958), Hungarian Communist leader. Prime minister of Hungary (1953-55; Oct. 24–Nov. 4, 1956). On the events in Hungary and Nagy's role see Johanna Granville, Imre Nagy, Hesitant Revolutionary (Washington, DC: CWIHP Bulletin Publication: Bulletin 5 - Cold War Crises) .

[8] Krastev, Gen. Ilia, Chief, Bulgarian Military Intelligence Directorate, Ministry of Defense (1955-1962).

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