Hungarian Freedom Fighters
In 1956, the people of Hungary rose up against the oppressive policies of the government and its Soviet backers. Initially, students were the first Hungarian Freedom Fighters, taking to the streets in Budapest and using loudspeakers from vans to garner public support. A group of students even entered a local radio building to have their demands broadcast to the public, but they were detained before they could be successful. Protestors demanded their release, and they were soon fired upon by the State Security Police. A student’s body was wrapped in a flag and held above the crowd so all could see the violence levied against the protestors.
It did not take long for the revolution to spread throughout the country; ordinary Hungarians took up arms and formed militias to protest the harsh policies of the government. The State Secret Police and Soviet troops engaged these militias, but they were unable to prevent the government from collapsing. Communists who were friendly to the Soviet Union as well as members of the State Security Police were targeted for imprisonment or assassination; workers’ councils took control away from the Hungarian Working People’s Party and formed a new government that insisted that free elections be held after the country withdrew from the Warsaw Pact. While the active fighting only lasted a matter of weeks, the legacy of the Hungarian uprising and the work of the Hungarian Freedom Fighters would have an impact for generations to come.