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Title: The Hungarian uprising of 1956 and Soviet foreign policy
Author: Anderson, T.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1999
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Documentary evidence released from former communist archives, as well as published personal accounts have shed much light on the 1956 Hungarian uprising and the period surrounding it. This thesis draws on such sources to study the period between Stalin's death in 1953 and the execution of Imre Nagy in 1958. A picture emerges of a Soviet bloc beset by internal instability and tensions. One of the key reasons behind the troubles was the ongoing power struggle in the Soviet leadership which culminated in June 1957. Stalin's death created a vacuum of power in Moscow which was filled by a group of rivals and opponents. The rise and fall of individual leaders and of alliances within the Politburo in turn determined the fate of individual leaders, such as Imre Nagy, and of reform initiatives in the satellites. New evidence has also shed light on decision-making during the Hungarian crisis itself and helped to explain the apparent contradictions in the behaviour of the Soviet leadership. Several factors, such as the Suez intervention, the fear of spill-over into other satellites, and the polish crisis played into their calculations. In addition, the study looks at the effect of the uprising on the Hungarian party and economy and its impact on relations between the USSR and the satellites. Intertwined with events throughout the period were relations between Moscow and Belgrade. Despite the reconciliation in 1955, the uprising brought to the surface unresolved differences and exposed a persistent fear of Tito's 'national communism'. Yet, at the same time, it revealed a mutual desire to preserve the achievements accomplished since the Belgrade Declaration. Finally, reference is made to the legacy of 1956 in the Soviet bloc and, in particular, its influence on subsequent crises in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Poland 1980-1.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available