The two rebellions in Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968 were interesting times for Eastern and Central Europe. To being to study these, one must put these two events in context. It was a time when the political climate in Easter Europe was very delicate because of the circumstances stemming from the post-war era. Stalin was spreading communism throughout Eastern Europe by giving assistance to communist parties to help them gain power which then led to Stalin himself gaining more power and credibility in his communist leanings. Through Cominform, the Communist Information Bureau, Stalin ensured that these other countries were adhering to the same policies of communism as the Soviet Union was, and to ensure that this is what was happening, Stalin did not have a problem sending committing aggression in these areas to ensure that will agenda was being furthered.
The economy in Easter Europe at this time was weak, and Stalin was not improving the situation. Initiatives like Comecon which made sure trade with other nations in the eastern bloc was advantageous for the Soviet Union. For example, Poland was put in a position where they were forced to provide Russia with coal for a fraction of what it was really worth on the open market. Stalin perished in 1953, and Nikita Khrushchev became the Soviet leader afterwards. This new leader was very different from his predecessor and he had a new agenda for improving the situation in Eastern Europe.
[...] People in Hungary held a strong resentment to the Russians as they had a contingent of troops in the country to ensure that Hungarians did not fall out of line with the objectives of the Soviet Regime. To make the situation even worse, the Hungarians were asked to cover the expenses related to this occupying force. Essentially there was a prominent Russian presence in the Hungary that Hungarians bitterly resented, as there were Russian signs, Russian schools and Russian shops. [...]
[...] Soon later, the forces of the Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria crossed the border of Czechoslovakia. This came to the great surprise of Czechoslovakia and the rest of the international community. Dubcek called on his people not to resist these incoming forces and to stay calm. This translated into the Czechoslovakia not defending the country against this offensive on the nation. Dubcek was forced to resign, but his was able to resist execution. The ideas that could have reformed communism to a more tolerant theory were put to rest until Gorbachev emerged two decades later. [...]
[...] The crisis in Czechoslovakia was of concern to the Soviet Union as they were well aware of that Czechoslovakia was centrally located, so if this country was to change its intentions with regard to the Warsaw Pact, it would clearly be a significant loss for the Soviets. Of added concern to Brezhnev was the fact that the rebellious ideas would spread to other countries and he felt the pressure from the leaders in East Germany and Poland to come to a solution. The three countries, East German, Poland and the Soviet Union sough to warn Czechoslovakia by sending in their forces, and they also considered the implementation of economic sanctions, but they knew that this would only result in the country seeking help from the West. [...]
[...] After this revolution, Moscow began the process of disengagement, which then led to financial collapse in places like Poland. These two events were extremely historically significant because they signified the beginning of the end for the Soviet Empire. (Swain & Swain 1993: 60). As has been shown, the two rebellions in Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968 were interesting times for Eastern and Central Europe. Both revolutions were the product of discontent among the people with the manner in which communism was being implemented. While both events were the product of different [...]
[...] For this reason the withdrawing of Hungary from this pact was a significant step in the Cold War era. Hungary was optimistic about their new era of independence, and they were also confident because they believed Dwight Eisenhower, the newly elected American president would support their ambitions to distance themselves from the Soviet Union. (McAuley 1992: 22). Khrushchev was not thrilled with the intentions of Hungary. He accepted a few of Nagy's reforms but not all of them, particularly the withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact. [...]
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