ctcimpex at btconnect.com
Tue Oct 24 09:27:05 MDT 2006
For the sake of accuracy, I believe that it was under the Potsdam Agreement that Soviet troops were stationed in Hungary after the war, to secure Soviet lines of communication to occupied eastern Germany - the same reason they were in Poland and not in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria or Rumania , although the latter two had been allies of Nazi Germany and pre-war Poland's semi-fascist leaders would probably have been had the Nazis been willing. One might remember that when the Soviet leaders were trying to establish a collective security agreement with the western democracies of Britain and France before the war, one of the stumbling blocks was the Polish rulers' refusal to countenance the transition of Soviet troops across Poland in the event of a requirement for this to stop Nazi aggression.
a) readers can judge the value of Peter Fryer's reports for themselves. I suggest they also read the reports in the Daily Worker that were published after Fryer's were rejected in favour of those sent by Charlie Coutts. At the time, as I remember, one of the charges against Fryer was that he was not out and about on the streets of Budapest, unlike Coutts, a British resident then in that country.
b) Louis Proyect writes that the Soviet "invasion" of Hungary "discredited the Soviet Union in the world's eyes." I do not agree. This certainly did not apply in the the countries of Africa and Asia where the struggle for national liberation was going on, nor in Japan or in the Middle East and elsewhere where the whole spectrum of progressive forces recognised the Soviet Union as their principal ally. In Europe, in France and Italy, for instance, the Communist parties, seen as the strongest supporters of the Soviet Union, continued to grow in strength and public support after 1956. What is meant by the side-swipe about cheating the Vietnamese, escapes me.
c) for those people who were led by the Soviet action in Hungary to question whether socialism was an advance over capitalism, I suggest that today they might be given a chance to review the opinion they arrived at at that time in the light of subsequent events, including the destruction of the Soviet Union and the partly consequent nature of the government today in Hungary. To those who left the Communist movement in 1956 I do hope that they today consider they have since been able to make a greater contribution to the fight for socialism as a result of this.
None of the above, of course, is an apologia for the failure of the Soviet Union to achieve its potential, nor does it defend the Soviet refusal to withdraw in Hungary when later asked to do so by the Hungarian government, but let us ponder a little about babies and bathwater. It was a time for making choices of where one stood. I joined the British Communist Party at that time, in part because the Soviet Union made the correct choice by intervening. I think I can understand why other people left. I do not think they took the right decision.
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