Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary, 1956

$100.00 / €90.00 / £79.00
With a study by Alexandr Kirov, military historian
Publication date: 
334 pages, 21 photos, 3 maps

This remarkable study reveals precious new material on the organization, command, strategy, and tactics of the Soviet armed forces which invaded Hungary in 1956. Particularly interesting is the precise documentation of the irrationally large size of the forces. The major contribution made by the book is its source material: it is based on research in Soviet archives, and this alone makes the volume of unique scholarly importance.

The book opens with a substantial introductory essay by the editors, and includes a major study by Alexandr Kirov, based on research in Soviet military archives. One of the real strengths of the book is that it also includes the memoirs of General Yevgeny Malashenko, in 1956 a colonel in the Soviet Army and acting Chief of Staff of the Special Corps in Budapest, who provided unparalleled insights into Soviet military procedures, politico-military co-operation, and the actual fighting strengths and weaknesses of the Red Army. Very few other high-ranking Soviet officers have ever published their memoirs in the West.

Preface to the Series and Acknowledgements


Additional Data on the History of the Soviet Military Occupation (Jenő Györkei and Miklós Horváth)

Soviet Troops in Hungary after World War II

"Soviet Troops Must Enter Budapest"

The Hungarian Revolution and Events in Poland

Comrade Hegedűs Makes a Request

"The Hungarian Army Has Done Badly

The First Shots and the Occupation of the Radio Station

What Was Known in Moscow of the Hungarian Events

The Hungarian People's Army and the Revolution

The "Division of Labor" Changes

The Policy for the Peaceful Liberation of the Captive Nations and Its Forces Brought to Budapest Prove Insufficient

Soviet Tanks Open Fire-Kossuth Square, October 25, 1956

"We Increase the Number of Troops Active in Budapest

Further Reasons for the Divisions in the Hungarian People's Army

"The Military Viewpoint Overtakes the Political Viewpoint”

"Two Possible Routes Lie Ahead of Us"

The Final Attempt

The Attack Begins

"The Situation is Deteriorating"

Counter-Revolution? National Democratic Revolution?

"How Can We Master the Situation? Real Power: the Army!"

Soviet Troop Withdrawal from Budapest

"At Present the Number of Soviet Troops Stationed Here is Adequate"

"Troops Must Stay in Hungary"

Mikoyan's Unsuccessful Attempts

Imre Nagy Demands an Explanation-Kádár Speaks in Support of Nagy

"Nobody Wanted a Counter-Revolution"

Murders, Atrocities and Kádár's Propaganda Intrigues

Central Leadership of the Revolution

"Revolution is Revolution"

The Command ofBudapest Public Safety Forces is Formed

The Soviet Embassy "Siege"

National Guard Supreme Command is Formed

Polish "No," Yugoslav "Yes"

"This Government Should Not Be a Puppet Govemment"

The Revolution Tums into a War

A Mosaic of the Resistance


Soviet Military Intervention in Hungary, 1956

Alexandr M. Kirov

Questions are Increasingly Being Raised

The Hungarian Workers Party Proves Unable to Lead Society

The "Wave," a Plan for Armed Intervention

How It Began

The Plan Is Set in Motion

Soviet Troops in Budapest

"A Friendly Message to the Workers of the Hungarian People's Republic"

Re-evaluation of the Situation

Command to Cease Fire

Refugees and Hosts

Troop Invasion Continues

Preparations for a New Military Operation

The Beginning of Operation "Whirlwind"

UN General Assembly Decision

"Who Represents the Will of the People?"

The Organization of the Soviet City Commands

The End of the Suppression of the Uprising

Rearguard Actions

"Sepilov Lied"

"There Have Been, and Will Be, Arrests"

And What Happened Afterwards

The Hungarian October and the Present

The Old View Is No Longer Valid

Soviet Troop Losses

Troops Withdraw, the Graves Stay Behind

After N early 40 Years

The Price of the Khrushchev-Kádár Agreement




The Special Corps under Fire in Budapest - Memoirs of an Eyewitness

Y. I. Malashenko

To the Reader

Chapter 1-0n the Eve of the Events

ln Hungary-in the Special Corps Staff

Mistakes and Consequences

The Drafting of the Plan for Restoring Social Order

The Protests and the Armed Uprising in Budapest

Chapter 11-Soviet Troops in Budapest

The Hungarian Government Requests Help

The Beginning of Combat Operations

The Arrival of Soviet Political and Military Leaders in Budapest

The Arrival of New Formations and the Soviet Troop Operations in Budapest

Chapter 111-Soviet Troop Withdrawal from Budapest

The Fight Continues

Kádár Requests Military Aid

Preparations for Combat Operation

The Arrest of the Hungarian Delegation

Chapter IV-Operation "Whirlwind"

Special Army Corps Troops in Budapest Once Again

The Destruction of Armed Groups in the Country

The Direction of Soviet Troops in Hungary

The Final Destruction of Armed Groups in the Capital

Béla Király, Commander in Chief of the National Guard

Soviet Troop Losses in Hungary

Nikita Khrushchev, Imre Nagy and János Kádár

The Historical Tragedy


The History ofthe History

Y. I. Malashenko's Letter to Jenő Györkei


Appendices and Maps

Biographical Notes

“This unique collection of three essays on the 1956 Soviet military intervention in Hungary uses recently unclassified material from the Soviet archives. The essay by Russian military historian Alexander Kirov concludes that the major lesson of 1956 is that Russian military should not again oppose popular sentiment in a country. The two editors, Hungarian military historians, contribute an essay outlining their own view of events. In contrast Y. I. Malashenko offers his recollections of events in which he was a key participant. His observations are based on memories of oral communications of the invading military force rather than on written documents…the controversies generated are stimulating.”
“The main strength of this book is that it draws on a wide variety of documents and documentary collections from several Hungarian archives and one Soviet archive that were declassified after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Institute for the Study of 1956 Revolution in Budapest has published a plethora of books and documents, but unfortunately very few have been translated into English. Thus Györkei’s volume is a good start and it will serve as a helpful reference work, containing as it does tables, maps and bibliographic notes. Finally, I believe Malashenko is correct that this book helps to ‘contribute to the reconciliation of our peoples (Hungarian and Russian)’.”
“The two authors convincingly argue and document it was indeed a democratic revolution…it is a valuable contribution to Cold War History.”