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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)

  • 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

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, ‘The Situation in the Hungarian capital following the Outbreak of the Counterrevolutionary Rebellion’

    The Chinese Embassy in Budapest reports that the "counterrevolutionary rebellion in the Hungarian capital became increasingly serious after midnight last night"

  • 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.

  • October 27, 1956

    Telegram from Soviet Politburo members Mikoyan and Suslov reporting on the situation in Hungary

    Mikoyan-Suslov Report on the situation in Hungary, appointments to the Hungarian government, and discussions with the Hungarian leaders.

  • October 28, 1956

    Andropov Report, 28 October 1956

    Yuri Andropov forwards this letter from Hungarian Prime Minister Andras Hegedus to the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Socialist Republics. The letter requests Soviet troops to quell the riots in Budapest.

  • October 28, 1956

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, ‘Please Inform Us of the Appropriate Attitude towards the Hungarian Events’

    The Chinese Embassy in Budapest asks, "how are we to respond" to the events ongoing in Hungary.

  • October 28, 1956

    Telegram from the Budapest KGB Station concerning the latest developments in the city following the popular uprising

    The KGB station in Budapest reports on the ongoing crisis in Hungary. While some popular forces are considering stopping the fighting, others continue to disarm the state organs. The fighting dies down in Budapest and the Imre Nagy government is gaining legitimacy. American embassy officials were seen evacuating from the embassy.

  • October 28, 1956

    Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 28 October 1956

    The notes from this session of the CPSU Presidium reveal a desire to support and strengthen the Kadar-Nagy government and the draft declaration prepared by the Hungarians for radio broadcast on October 28. Khrushchev, desiring to avoid the complications that Britain and France face in Egypt, asserts the need for a ceasefire and troop withdrawal.

  • October 29, 1956

    KGB Chief Serov, Report

    KGB Chief Serov details the violence and resistance in Hungary. He writes that armed groups are executing communists and are actively planning to seek out and kill employees of the state security organs. Serov expresses concern over the dismissal of state employees and the decision by other state employees to leave work.

  • October 29, 1956

    Telegram from KGB Chief Serov reporting on the situation in Hungary

    KGB Chief Serov report to Mikoyan and Suslov regarding activity by the insurgents in Hungary

  • October 30, 1956

    Cable from Italian Communist leader Togliatti on Imre Nagy's Hungary

    Cable from Togliatti to Soviet leadership expressing worries that Hungary under Nagy is moving in a reactionary direction that could damage unity of leadership of the Party

  • October 30, 1956

    Report from Politburo members Mikoyan and Suslov on the crisis in Hungary

    Mikoyan-Suslov Report on the deterioration of the political situation in Hungary. the report states that popular forces are taking over the radio station and the post office and that the Imre Nagy government does not want to use force against the uprising. Fearful of a strong reaction from the UN Security Council, Mikoyan and Suslov suggest that the Soviet leadership stop the inlux of Red Army units in Hungary for the time being.

  • October 30, 1956

    Protocol No. 58 of the Meeting of the Political Bureau of the CC of the RWP Which Adopted Some Measures to Ensure Order in Romania Given the Events Taking Place in Hungary

    Summary of the decisions taken at the meeting of the RWP Politburo concerning actions to be taken in conjunction with the developments in Hungary.

  • October 30, 1956

    Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 30 October 1956

    The Presidium decides to promulgate a declaration on Hungary in which Soviet withdrawal and relations with the new government will be addressed. Members discuss the language of the new declaration and the advice of the CPC CC regarding the status of Soviet troops. The declaration is also intended to address the broader crisis in Soviet relations with people’s democracies.

  • October 31, 1956

    Draft telegram to Italian Communist Leader Palmiro Togliatti

    Draft telegram from the CPSU CC to Italian Communist Leader Palmiro Togliatti on the Soviet leadership's position on the situation in Hungary.

  • October 31, 1956

    Notes of a Telephone Message from F. N. Gryaznov, a Counselor at the Soviet Embassy in Yugoslavia

    Tito, currently in Brioni, requests that a meeting with Khrushchev and Malenkov is relocated to Brioni, as Tito is forbidden to leave due to illness.

  • October 31, 1956

    Resolution of the Presidium of the Central Committee About the Situation in Hungary (Protocol 49)

    This resolution instructs the Soviet Ambassador to Belgrade to transmit a letter to Tito requesting a secret meeting on November 1 or 2 with Khrushchev and Malenkov. It also empowers certain members to conduct negotiations with the United Workers Party of Poland.

  • October 31, 1956

    Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 31 October 1956

    Khrushchev and members of the CPSU CC Presidium decide to not withdraw Soviet troops from Hungary. Negotiations with Tito and the situation in Yugoslavia are also mentioned.

  • November 01, 1956

    Andropov Report, 1 November 1956

    Andropov reports that Imre Nagy has threatened a scandal and the resignation of the government if the Soviet Union continues to send troops into Hungary. In his meeting with Nagy, Andropov is told that Hungary is withdrawing from the Warsaw Pact and will further request a UN guarantee of Hungarian neutrality if Soviet troop movements into Hungary do not stop. The report notes that after the meeting the Hungarian government informed the Embassy of its decision to leave the Warsaw Pact.