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The 1956 Hungarian Revolution

Hungarian and Canadian Perspectives

edited by Christopher Adam, Tibor Egervari, Leslie Laczko & Judy Young

Publication Year: 2010

In October 1956, a spontaneous uprising took Hungarian Communist authorities by surprise, prompting Soviet authorities to invade the country. After a few days of violent fighting, the revolt was crushed. In the wake of the event, some 200,000 refugees left Hungary, 35,000 of whom made their way to Canada. This would be the first time Canada would accept so many refugees of a single origin, setting a precedent for later refugee initiatives. More than fifty years later, this collection focuses on the impact of the revolution in Hungary, in Canada, and around the world.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: International Canadian Studies Series

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iii


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

From October 12th to the 14th, 2006, an international scientific colloquium was held at the University of Ottawa to highlight the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. Entitled 1956--The Hungarian Revolution 50 Years Later, Canadian and International Perspectives, the colloquium was organized by the Faculty of Arts' Institute of Canadian Studies and the Faculty of Social...

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pp. 1-9

In October 1956, a spontaneous uprising took Hungarian Communist authorities by surprise. In a matter of days, a new regime, led by reformist Communist leader Imre Nagy, was put in place. The government immediately manifested its intention to install a democratic, multi-party republic, to withdraw Hungary from the Warsaw Pact, and to liberalize the economic system of the...

Part I: The Revolution, Hungary, and the World

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1. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956: Causes, Aims, and Course of Events

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pp. 12-31

On October 23, 1956, a revolution broke out in Budapest and spread all over the country in just a few days. The demonstrators, strikers, armed insurgents, leaders of the organizations of the revolution, and their sympathizers, demanded democratic freedoms and national independence. The first modern anti-totalitarian revolution in Europe lasted for practically two weeks, with...

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2. Could the Hungarian Revolution Have Succeeded in 1956? Myths, Legends, and Illusions

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pp. 32-52

Whether it could have been otherwise is the most frequent and poignant question for contemporaries and posterity alike when a revolution or an uprising has failed. Was defeat inevitable, or might there have been a chance of success if external and internal circumstances had been luckier? The failure of the most recent revolution in Hungary, in 1956, causes critics to pose such...

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3. The Economic Platforms of the Re-formed Political Parties in 1956

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pp. 53-92

The Great Depression and the two world wars created an atmosphere where both politicians and the public saw that direct government involvement in the economy was the only way of preventing the repetition of these destructive events. The involvement of the state in the post--World War II economy increased everywhere in Europe. For example, in both France and Great Britain,...

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4. The Role of Women in the 1956 Revolution [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 93-114

Looking through the historical literature, the key events of the uprising between October 23 and November 4, 1956, seem to be dominated by men, suggesting that men were the lead actors in these events. However, was this really the case? This paper attempts to characterize the role of women during the 1956 revolution on the basis of photographic records of key moments and...

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5. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 as Narrated by Shoah Survivors

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pp. 115-139

The year is 1956, eleven years after the Soviet army liberated Hungary. Or the Russian Communists occupied it. On the one hand, the two are the same, but on the other hand they are just the opposite. Some see it this way, some the other way. As for the facts, bloody and painful World War II ended in Hungary on April 4, 1945, essentially liberating all Hungarian citizens...

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6. The Impact of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution in Argentina1

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pp. 140-150

The outbreak of the Hungarian revolution on October 23, 1956, brought forth solidarity movements from Hungarian

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7. 1956 in the Republic of Hungary since 1989

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pp. 151-174

Riots and demonstrations took place in Hungary during the autumn of 2006. Flags with a hole in the middle flew in front of international audiences in September. Some felt that the protesters had revolution in mind, while others felt the events did in no way compare to those that took place in 1956. Nevertheless, 1956 has occasionally appeared as a reference point for...

Part II: The Canadian Context

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8. Canada and Hungarian Refugees: The Historical Context

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pp. 176-193

Fifty years after the event, the Canadian program of refugee intake following the abortive Hungarian uprising of 1956 is recalled as a pivotal moment in Canadian immigration history. And it was pivotal. But why? What makes it so notable an event? According to the popularly received narrative, Canada and Canadians, acting out of selfless concern for those fleeing the iron fist of Soviet...

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9. The 1956-1957 Refugee Movement in the Context of Hungarian Immigration to Canada since the Late 19th Century

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pp. 194-222

The movement of the refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution to Canada, remarked Professor Gerald E. Dirks thirty-three years after the event, "was unprecedented in the long history of immigration to Canada."1 If the coming of the Hungarian refugees in 1956-1957 was a unique event in the annals of Canadian immigration history then it is not surprising that it was also...

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10. Arrival and Reception: Hungarian Refugees, 1956-1957

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pp. 223-255

Canada is a land of immigrants. Each year, decade after decade, since World War II ended, hundreds of thousands of newcomers arrive to start a new life, enriching themselves and their new country in the process. The government of Canada is well organized to recruit, screen, transport, and receive large numbers of immigrants. The situation was not different in the mid-1950s. In...

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11. "An Unselfish Interest?": Canada and the Hungarian Revolution, 1954-1957

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pp. 256-274

As he left his office in the Woods Building on a grey November afternoon, soon after Soviet troops had re-entered the Hungarian capital of Budapest, Earl McCarthy, the new chief of movement and control for Canada's Department of Immigration, was hailed by his deputy minister, Colonel Laval Fortier. "How," the stately colonel demanded, "can we get these poor Hungarians,...

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12. Changing Times: Kanadai Magyar Munk

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pp. 275-291

The refugee crisis following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution initiated a time of change, growth, and transformation for Canada's Hungarian communities. The arrival of almost 38,000 refugees in 1956-1957 had a significant impact on the Hungarian-Canadian press, and newspapers found themselves with the possibility of attracting thousands of new readers from a...

Appendix: Conference Notes

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pp. 292-295

Contributors [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 296

E-ISBN-13: 9780776618463
E-ISBN-10: 0776618466
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776607054
Print-ISBN-10: 0776607057

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: International Canadian Studies Series