Soviet Historical Background
During WWII, Hungary was an avid ally of Nazi Germany and willingly provided troops and resources for Hitler’s holocaust and the invasion of the Eastern Europe and the USSR, an invasion that cost the Soviet people between 30 – 40 million casualties. The Nazi German influence continued to ferment in certain areas like the Ukraine (where it has resurfaced and currently controls Western Ukraine with Western collusion), and of course Hungary. When the Nazi German influence spread through Eastern Europe, many rightwing political groupings openly aligned themselves with German Nazism and supported the atrocities that Hitlerite ideology inflicted upon the world. Although the Soviet NKVD fought and destroyed the Nazi Ukrainian insurgency (which lasted between 1945-1947), odd pockets of Nazi resistance continued to operate in the area until at least 1955. As the Red Army swept the Nazi German military out of the USSR and Eastern Europe, it also took-on and defeated all indigenous rightwing political opposition that fought to retain Nazi German influence, creating the conditions for the formerly oppressed leftwing political groupings to come to the fore and take control of the reigns of power. Countries that openly collaborated with Nazi Germany during WWII were never part of the Soviet Union even after installing Socialist governments, but remained part of what was called the broader ‘Communist Bloc’ of countries that agreed to defend one another from any attack from the capitalist West (also referred to as ‘Warsaw Pact’ countries). However, after the end of WWII, Soviet Red Army troops were stationed in these ‘liberated’ countries as a means to offer support and direction with regard to Socialist reconstruct. This is similar to how Western countries retained military bases throughout Europe and Asia after the victory in 1945.
However, as the US-inspired Cold War started to spread its anti-Soviet message across the world, the CIA began to actively encourage, finance and arm rightwing political groups in various countries around the world as a means to gauge the Soviet response to such an obvious threat. Hungary was one such country where this policy was slowly built-up behind the scenes before exploding into prominence in late 1956. In many ways Hungary was a ‘testing ground’ for CIA disinformation and false propaganda. The idea was propagated in the Western media (still mindlessly repeated today) that the fascist counter-revolution in Hungary was in fact a spontaneous striving for ‘freedom’, which was inherently linked to the notion of re-establishing capitalism (if not liberal democracy) in the country. Hungarian insurgents were well armed and well organised, with their ‘troops’ even having the time to stop in the middle of the combat and pose for photo-opportunities – a process that attempted to create ‘iconic’ pictures of brave ‘freedom fighters’ striving against all the odds to free their country from ‘foreign’ invasion. Just 14 years earlier, the very same Hungarians had been assisting the Nazi German forces to commit one atrocity after another. This rightwing build-up and aggression came to a head between October, November and December 1956, when Hungarian fascists launched their unprovoked attacks against Soviet soldiers who as a policy, did not carry ammunition for their weapons, and so could not adequately defend themselves. However, what is little known in the West is that many Hungarian people deliberately took the side of the Red Army (particular the workers and students), and spontaneously formed ‘pro-Soviet’ groupings to confront the fascist uprising. This is not mentioned in Western narratives (which a priori demonises the USSR), as the West would have to logically conclude that the fascist uprising was not popular and did not receive the backing of the majority of Hungarian people.
As fascist groups roamed the streets of Hungary’s capital Budapest, the Soviet authorities had the Red Army troops returned to their barracks (numbering about 2,500), but this meant that the fascists were able to attack and kill whomever they chose, destroy property, and take-over key buildings and communication centres. In short, the withdrawal of the Red Army only encouraged the fascist insurgents to ever greater atrocities. As the fascists grew in strength, rabid bourgeois nationalism spread throughout certain sectors of Hungarian society, and led to demands for the statue of Joseph Stalin to be demolished, together with the expulsion of ALL Soviet political and military personnel. This was a logical CIA move, as it would have meant a complete victory for the Hungarian fascists and the total crushing of any Hungarian Socialists unprotected by the USSR. As matters transpired, the Red Army was eventually given permission to act in self-defence, and despite its relatively small numbers, its professionalism under fire began to tell, and the resistance of the fascists began to wane. This ended with various rebellious groups being offered amnesty from prosecution if they laid-down their arms and entered negotiations. Following this peace process, order was restored to the Hungarian streets. It must be noted that throughout this entire incident, the Hungarian People’s Army remained a staunch ally of the USSR, taking-on and defeating fascist Hungarians. Russian language sources state that throughout the emergency, 2,652 Hungarian fascist insurgents were killed, together with 348 civilians (mostly Russians families murdered by the racist Hungarian fascists), whilst 19,226 people were injured. The Soviet Red Army lost 669 killed, 51 missing and 1,251 injured, and the Hungarian People’s Army lost 53 killed and 289 wounded. When the Hungarian fascists surrendered their weapons, many were found to be Nazi German MP-44’s and other assault rifles obviously hidden since WWII, and American-supplied Thompson sub-machine guns. Finally, the Hungarian fascists deliberately freed Nazi German war criminals (and Hungarian Nazi collaborators) from the main prison in Budapest, and treated these people as ‘heroes’ of a new Hungary, despite the terrible crimes they had committed. This episode in Soviet history demonstrated how neo-Nazi ideology was still potent, and how the US was willing to deploy it as a means to destroy Soviet Communism and influence.
Soviet Eye-Witness: Ilya Alekseev Illarionovich – Soviet 101st Tank Regiment Veteran
In the latter half of 1956, Ilya Alekseev was stationed with the 101st Tank Regiment in Donetsk (Eastern Ukraine). He recalls that his Regiment at the time was assisting the gathering of corn, but one night, when he was on night guard duty (beneath the Red Banners), suddenly the lights were switched-off, and his section commander ran passed. Although he was not allowed to ‘talk’ whilst on guard duty, Ilya Alekseev asked what was wrong – and the section commander answered that there was a fascist counter-revolution in Hungary, and that Khrushchev wanted to deploy their Regiment without ‘shooting’, but just to ‘threaten’ as a means to secure a peaceful resolution. The 101st Tank Regiment was immediately mobilised, and drove across the Hungarian border where it came to a halt in a corn-field. It was here that the 101st Tank Regiment realised that it had driven into a trap and was surrounded by Hungarian insurgent troops and artillery pieces – all aimed at the tanks. When the fascists were asked if they would open fire, they said ‘yes’ if they received the order to do so. Ilya Alekseev remembers that his Regiment could not risk moving forward due to threat, and they could not retreat as they had not been given such an order. Instead, with their guns unloaded and under orders ‘not to fire’ the tanks remained where they were, to await developments. Whilst Hungarian fascists killed with impunity for weeks, the 101st Tank Regiment was not given permission to ‘fire’ until November 4th, 1956, but only then against those armed insurgents who opened fire first (at Soviet targets), and never against unarmed Hungarian civilians (many of whom fought with the USSR against the fascists). At the time, Ilya Illarionovich recalls, American Radio Freedom was broadcasting (in Russian) anti-Soviet and pro-fascist ideology to the peoples of Eastern Europe, equating the old Nazism of Germany with ‘freedom’. This was particularly insulting to the Soviet people and those Eastern Europeans that had suffered terribly from Nazi German atrocities during WWII (whilst US citizens had suffered nothing by comparison). The Soviet authorities had to take action to prevent a US imperialist invasion of Hungary, particularly as Nazi German fascism had not been destroyed in Hungary until as late as 1955. A year later and it seemed that the Nazi German influence had re-surfaced yet again, with Ilya Alekseev stating that in his opinion, Hungary served as Adolf Hitler’s right-hand. The Hungarian fascist Imre Nagy leader made matters worse by making radio propaganda broadcasts stating that ‘Soviets’ were the enemy. He further states that at the time, due to the sensitive nature of the mission, and the obvious involvement of the West, the Soviet soldiers were asked to sign a 35 year non-disclosure agreement. This included no medals awarded at the time, but in modern Russia, all those Soviet soldiers that fought neo-Nazism in Hungary in 1956 are now included within the same category as the veterans of the Great Patriotic War (receiving various military awards).
(Ilya Alekseev Illarionovich was interviewed in 2016)
©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2017.
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