5 November, 1944
Soviet troops invade Hungary to liberate country from the Nazis.
27 February, 1949
Hungary declared a peoples republic led by first secretary of the Hungarian Communist party Matyas Rakosi. Soviet control strengthened through a series of purges carried out under Rakosi. He imprisons Roman Catholic prelate Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty an outspoken opponent of the Communist regime.
5 March, 1953
Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dies. Stalin had ruled the Soviet Union with an iron grip for almost 30 years. As commander of the armed forces he had ordered the invasion and occupation of Hungary. His death brought hopes of reform and accompanied by signs of an economic crisis in Hungary the communist hardliner Matyas Rakosi was replaced by Imre Nagy a reformist who believed in communism "with a human face".
17 June, 1953
Revolt by workers in Berlin against the East German government brutally suppressed by Soviet tanks.
18 April, 1955
Nagy replaced as Hungarian prime minister and expelled from communist party over liberal policies.
25 February, 1956
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounces Stalin and raises hope of reform.
29 June, 1956
Martial law imposed in Poland following antiCommunist revolt.
21 October, 1956
Reformist Wladyslaw Gomulka elected head of Communist party in Poland reviving hopes of change.
23 October, 1956
Students take to the streets of Budapest. Students march to the statue of Polish General Jozef Bem a hero of the Hungarian revolt of 1848. The protest soon swells in number to 200000 and the mood changes to one of anger. From the parliament building they march to Radio Budapest. They want to broadcast their demands which include independence and the withdrawal of Soviet troops but they are denied access to the building by the Hungarian Secret Police or AVH. Police open fire to disperse the crowds.
24 October, 1956
Battles raging on the streets of Budapest. Nagy returns as Prime Minister.
25 October, 1956
Soviet tanks open fire on unarmed demonstrators. Soviet troops shoot unarmed protesters outside the parliament building. Tanks are deployed on the streets against the lightlyarmed demonstrators and hundreds are killed. There are calls for a general strike and symbols of the Soviet occupation like the red star are destroyed. Janos Kadar previously imprisoned for opposition to Stalinism becomes Nagy's deputy. He replaces hardline leader of the communist party Erno Gero who later flees to the Soviet Union.
26 October, 1956
October Revolution spreads to the countryside. Nagy says he wants to negotiate withdrawal of Soviet troops.
28 October, 1956
New government sworn in. Nagy begins negotiations with Soviets. Nagy broadcasts a speech on national radio promising reforms. He says the Soviet troops will be withdrawn the secret police or AVH will be disbanded and there will be a return to the traditional Hungarian flag.
29 October, 1956
Israel invades Egypt as Suez Crisis deepens. Events in Egypt divert the worlds attention from Hungary.
30 October, 1956
Roman Catholic prelate Cardinal Mindszenty imprisoned under Rakosi is freed. Soviet troops withdraw.
1 November, 1956
Hungary announces it is withdrawing from Warsaw Pact. Soviet troops massing on the borders. Nagy declares Hungary's neutrality as reports start to come in of Soviet troops pouring back across the border. He appeals to the United Nations to help defend Hungary's neutral status. Unconfirmed reports say Soviet troops are surrounding the Budapest radio transmitter and have taken control of the airport.
4 November, 1956
Soviet tanks roll into Budapest to crush revolution. Alarmed by Nagy's declaration of neutrality the Soviet leadership encourages Kadar to form an alternative government. An estimated 1000 tanks attack before dawn and after heavy fighting Soviet troops enter the city. Nagy's last appeal for help is broadcast at 5.15am. Less than three hours later Radio Hungary is silenced. The UN calls for Soviet withdrawal. Mindszenty seeks asylum in the US embassy where he stays until 1971 when he is finally allowed to leave.
11 November, 1956
Soviets claim victory over Hungarian freedom fighters. Fighting in Budapest has died down. Up to 5000 civilians are reported to have died or been wounded. Many buildings in central Budapest have been damaged or destroyed. Thousands of refugees begin fleeing across the border to Austria. Some 200000 eventually escape to the West. Tens of thousands are jailed or deported to the Soviet Union. Some 700 Soviet soldiers died in the uprising including some executed for refusing to fight.
16 June, 1958
Imre Nagy hanged on the Kremlins orders for his role in the 1956 uprising. When the Red Army moved in Nagy took refuge in the Yugoslav embassy. Even though Kadar's government granted him safe passage to return home he was arrested by Soviet forces when he left the embassy and detained in Romania before being put on secret trial in 1958. In July 1989 his name was officially cleared and he was awarded a state funeral. He was given a state funeral in 1989.
15 March, 1989
About 100000 protesters gather in Budapest to call for democracy.
26 April, 1989
Beginning of Soviet phased troop withdrawal.
2 May, 1989
Work begins to dismantle fortified border with Austria.
7 October, 1989
Hungarian Communist Party officially ceases to exist the first in the Eastern Bloc to do so.
8 April, 1990
First democratic elections the Communists are swept out of power.
16 June, 1991
Soviet troops leave.
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