Revolution Through British Eyes

2016. október 25., kedd

Many members of the British Legation in Budapest were active during the 1956 Revolution. In celebration of the 60th anniversary, the British Embassy has created a website to explore the event through the first-person accounts of those on the ground. The website gives insight to the events of the 1956 Revolution through the perspective of the Head of Legation, British members of his team at the Legation, and local Hungarian contacts as well. 

In the fall of 1956, Hungarians rose up against Communist totalitarianism and Moscow rule in what is today known as the 1956 Revolution. The conflict took place from late-October until early-November and deeply affected the citizens in Budapest and beyond.

The British Embassy in Budapest has created a unique way to learn about the 1956 Revolution in Hungary through the use of first-person narrative in a multimedia platform. The embassy made a new website to cover the events of that time from the perspective of the British and Hungarian staff of the British Legation on Harmincad utca.

The website is made up of a large timeline, beginning on the morning of October 23, when protests were just beginning, and going all the way through to the evening of November 9, when Russian occupiers suppressed the revolt. The timeline makes use of many primary sources, including official memos from Leslie Fry, Head of Legation, video interviews with Hungarian staff at the Legation, and confidential telegrams to the British Foreign Office from the station in Budapest.

According to Fry, "The Hungarian people showed the sullen courage of despair. Their capital had been ravaged, their numbers depleted by violence, deportation or flight. Poverty and unemployment most surely lay ahead, as well might lie yet further repression. There was little left for them to lose. Yet by their bravery, their unity and their discipline they will always keep their honour. I am confident, moreover, that their sacrifices have not been in vain, whether for their own country or for the world."

Approximately 20,000 Hungarians were killed in Budapest alone during the 1956 Revolution, and another 200,000 people fled the country – of which 20,000 settled in the United Kingdom. The British Embassy, 60 years later, still operates from the same building on Harmincad utca, where the Hungarian staff continue to be at the core of what the Embassy does.

To explore the full timeline, you can visit the Embassy’s 1956 Revolution website here.

Article by Kearstin Bailey

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Reformed Church in Hungary

Address: H-1146 Budapest, Abonyi utca 21.   

PO Box: 1140 Budapest 70, Pf. 5

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We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.