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40th anniversary of re-burial of Imre Nagy

This past weekend in Budapest was the 40th anniversary of the 1989 re-burial of Imre Nagy, who had been deposed and killed by the Soviets for his part in the uprising of 1956.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/16/newsid_4522000/4522407.stm

I think I heard that memorials to Nagy were again removed recently by the current flavor of authoritarian government in Hungary. Just as the UN didn't come to the aid of Hungary back in the '50s, it seems like we currently don't have the will to nip the various incipient authoritarians before they flower into serious trouble.

Posted by
10673 posts

If you think the current government is an "authoritarian government" you need to read a little history. Some might find the statement an insult to those that really did suffer and die under an authoritarian government. As for Nagy's legacy, thats an incrediably complex issue. After a half dozen books on the subject, I'm still not qualified to comment one way or another. Actually the entire 56 revolution is an interesting mind bender.

One of the best things of travel is the opportunity to learn. When you get to Budapest spend a few hours at the House of Terror. Afterwards you may still not like the democratically elected Hungarian government, but you might rethink how you labeled it.

Posted by
3280 posts

James, you make excellent points, and I agree that it's a complex history. I think there is no denying that Hungary is moving right like many other countries. Like you say it might be interesting to talk to the few people left that experienced WWII in Hungary and how they feel about the comparison of current times to the past. When I was in Budapest with my adult sons for the first time about 8 years ago, we visited the very moving sculptures of the shoes along the Danube and it did strike me that local people might be forgetting the horrors of WWII because there was a rise of antisemitism occurring at that time and wondered if people were not concerned about a repeat. If I were Jewish and living in Budapest now, I would be making comparisons. I know my sons, one whom studied math for a month in Budapest, are tentative about a return trip because they loved it so much and worry that the rise of antisemitism and the right leaning government, that it will not evoke the same feelings as it did 8 years ago when it felt so magical. Now, before someone else says it, I am quite sure the Hungarians won't notice their absence.

Obviously, back in the 50s, Hungary was a Soviet block country. I'm not sure the UN felt in had the ability to have a whole lot of impact on those eastern block countries.

James, you obviously have much more of experience than most on this forum and a love of Hungary so your insight is valuable.

Posted by
1097 posts

"I think I heard that memorials to Nagy were again removed recently by the current flavor of authoritarian government in Hungary"

Avirosemail - you heard right, it happened recently in one case at least:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46704111

https://www.dw.com/en/hungary-removes-statue-of-anti-soviet-icon-imre-nagy/a-46891712

It seems odd that Orban and Putin are so friendly, but I suppose birds of a feather flock together.

Posted by
10673 posts

Jules, yes, a lot of Europe is moving "right". You dont have to be an expert in anything to see that. With it comes some good and some not so good. But to even begin to understand what it really means you would almost have to live there and experience it. So I dont pretend to be able to pass judgment.

My impression is that if 0 were the extreme Left and 10 were the extreme right, that the government is functioning somewhere around a 7.5. I say "the government is functioning" as it is a healthy representative republic and no single person holds all the power. One good thing that was brought to my attention while there last week is the shrinking of the far right party. It might be that it was as large as it once was (maybe 15% of the population) because there was no home for these guys in a more moderate right of center station, but the new government provides them that now. Just a guess.

I have a number of Jewish friends in Hungary. Yes, they are nervous; but I'm not sure if that much more nervous than the Jews in Paris these days. Hungary is very anti-Semitic and has been for a very long time; and again, there is some history there that reveals some of the origins of the evil. I have some rather promising impressions of the Jewish situation in Hungary, but they are best anecdotal. What is factual is that while the country is more anti-Semitic than most, it is also no more violent against it’s Jews than in France. A Jew is just as likely to be attacked in Paris as in Budapest.

Because it is a democratic republic with a constitution and fairly uniformly applied laws; the term Authoritarian is at best a misnomer, and at worst branding by those that disagree in attempt to avoid discussions of policy; preferring smear tactics to achieve their ends. “Right” and “Authoritarian” are not synonymous terms; and history has shown as great or greater a likelihood for Left Wing Authoritarianism.

On the subject of Nagy. Another subject that I am not suited to have too great an opinion one way or another. How many realize that the 56 Revolution wasn’t “anti-communist”. It was more about self-rule and redefining communism a bit. Nagy was a hardline communist. Maybe one more beloved than most, but still a communist. So possibly (and I really don’t pretend to know) the current government would rather not promote a person so closely tied with …. And now I use the word as it is appropriate …. Left Wing Communist Authoritarianism. Here is a bit of history from Wikipedia:

Nagy was a devout communist functionary since the Russian Revolution
and served the Soviet NKVD secret police as an informer from 1933 to
1941, denouncing over 200 colleagues, who were then purged and
arrested and 15 of whom were executed. He served in various offices as
the Hungarian Working People's Party (MDP) took control of Hungary in
the late 1940s after World War II and the country entered the Soviet
sphere of influence. He played a key role in the ethnic cleansing of
hundreds of thousands of German-speaking Hungarians from 1945 to 1946
as Interior Minister of Hungary

Sounds like a great chap. But he apparently was Hungary’s best hope for a softer communism.

The complexities are facinating and there is a lot to study and learn and apply if we are going to build a better word. But throwing out slogans without any understanding of their meanings isnt a good way to start.

Posted by
1106 posts

What I don't know about Hungary's politics and history can fill a whole library of books, and my interest is simply that of a curious traveler who wants to get beyond the most elementary posters and advertising.

That said, I would never have been born if one of my grandparents, fleeing Kiev toward the end of the Russian Civil War, had not been sheltered in Budapest by an aid society. So much horrible European history and politics happened between the world wars!

Now, today, as a blue-state American who cares about making some small dent in current trends before things get too out of hand, I look back at the politicians who we caricature as monsters from the first half of the 20th century and see that there were many points at which ordinary, popularly supported, politicians could have been checked or mitigated before they had the chance to take on the mantle of 'monster'. When Haile Selassie addressed the League of Nations in the summer of 1936 about his nation's invasion by Italy and said "It is us today, it will be you tomorrow", would you have been one of the people who commented about how the situation isn't so clear and things are complicated and we have to consider the will of the populace, etc.? Or would you have been one of the many Americans who volunteered for the XV International as a Lincoln Brigade fighter against Mussolini and Germany's test case using Franco right there on the continent?

Posted by
10673 posts

The current government of Hungary doesn't show any invasion tendencies. I can agree, I guess, that Benito was a left wing authoritarian. But the rest of your point is lost on me.

As for your family history in Budapest, there are, and always have been, many good people in Budapest. You should visit Kyiv if you haven't yet. It's tough to find a more Nationalistic state anywhere in the world. And pretty much to the right as well. Amazingly they have managed to elect a very moderate Jewish actor as president. It will be interesting to see how he works out. I'm cautiously optimistic. If you don't know this guys history, it's worth reading. I was in Kyiv a little over a week ago and the best part of the trip was arguing politics.

Personally, I prefer the words of Hesiod; observe due measure; moderation is best in all things.

If your state is turning blue, it needs to quit holding its breath.

Posted by
316 posts

About a week from now (27 June) is the anniversary of Hungary, an Axis power, declaring war on Soviet Union in 1941.

Posted by
12084 posts

Why did the Soviets decide to use brute force to the Hungarians after they had pulled out of Budapest...only a ruse and for tactical reasons? Those T-34s were pulled back out of the city while the revolutionaries were rejoicing...prematurely....just tactically expedient.

Nagy's crucial error in 1956 was his announcement that under his leadership Hungary would withdraw from the Warsaw Pact which had been set up only a year before, ie 1955, in response to the US decision to establish the West German Army (Bundeswehr), in spite of domestic protests to that effect in West Germany.

No way would the Soviets allow Hungary to pull out for political and strategic reasons. What made it easier militarily to move their tank units into Hungary to be thrown at the Hungarians was that after 1945 the Soviets made sure that these bordering countries, unlike the Czechs in the inter-war years, Hungary, CSSR, Poland all had common borders with the Soviets.

In 1956 the Hungarians took their cue from the Poles, but the Poles said nothing about leaving the Warsaw Pact. That silence saved them from the fate of Budapest.

In 1955-1956 the Soviets were willing to accept neutrality and did show concessions...eg, in Finland and in Austria with the State Treaty of 1956.

Posted by
12084 posts

Yes, exactly...when the Soviets pulled out of Berlin along with the Western Powers, that ceremony was not only a practical one but historically symbolic.

One manifestation of that Soviet pull out is that the Soviet Memorial in Berlin near the Tierpark on Strasse des 17. Juni (formerly Charlottenburger Chausee) has no more troops dong their goose-stepping changing of the guard ceremony. That was something you could see in the past.

Posted by
10673 posts

Fred, I've read a couple of books on the subject and it's such a tangled web of political change in the USSR and Hungary, individual power struggles, changes in interpretation of how to best execute communism, etc; that I get a headache trying to figure it out. In most any other world Nagy wouldn't have been murdered, but it's how the Russians deal with such things (in those days).

Back to the original subject, if it is the intent to replace Nagy's statute with Horthy; his only apparent redeeming value is that he was very much against communism, and contrary to what is implied above, no friend of Russia.

The Hungarians chose poorly in WWI and lost 2/3rds of their territory as a result. Then chose poorly in WWII and lost hundreds of thousands to Russian slave labor camps, millions to Nazi death camps; and their freedom of self determination as a result of Russian occupation for 50 years. Let's see if they choose more wisely in the future.

All of this is covered fairly well in the House of Terror Museum.

Posted by
12084 posts

@ James...The ruling elite in Hungary in 1914 were glad that the Heir to the Throne had been murdered in Sarajevo because he advocated a policy of conciliation with the South Slavs, apart from the Slovenes and Croats who were already loyal to the Monarchy. They knew that were Franz Ferdinand to come to the throne after the death of Franz Joseph the Magyars privileged position in the Dual Monarchy would be called into question.

True, an awfully tragic story all around, see the museums in BP and Vienna, politically, militarily, culturally, psychologically. No way the Austro-Hungarians could have held out against Russians once the Russians completed their full mobilisation. By Oct 1914 the A-H troops had bled to death going up against the Russians and Serbs.

On Hungary lining up with Hitler in WW2, I find that easy to understand historically why they did that.

Posted by
10673 posts

Fred, maybe my take is too simplistic. But after WWI, when the victors ripped Hungary apart, like with their actions against Germany, they set the stage for WWII. Of course, when you play with a tiger, sooner or later it will bit you too. These events (WWI and WWII) were so horiffic that I get a little edgy when anyone compares the western world today to what happend then. It just so cheapens the memory and lessons of the tradgey that took place then.

Posted by
3280 posts

James, I think most would agree with you that the aftermath and terms of WWI lead to WWII. In regards to comparing to the past, I agree that the history is absolutely horrific, and I can't even imagine what it would have been like to live it. However, I feel like people that are comparing current political situations whether it be Hungary, Europe or the U.S. are thinking about how ideals and practices by the leaders and their followers ramped up to WWII. I have a close Jewish friend. I don't want to and refuse to engage in any intense political discussions on this forum, but since she lost ALL her European relatives in WWII, I think she fully understands the extent of the horror of WWII. She frequently talks about how eerie it is to follow the current political climate because to her it looks and feels just like the events leading up to WWII. She does not feel that it diminishes the horror of the past by making comparisons. She lives in DC and was texting me from the Holocaust museum feeeling "creeped out" and expressing her feeling that she sees a lot of similarities between the current climate and Europe/Germany in the 1930s. Obviously she does NOT speak for all Jews, but I think many feel similarly.

Posted by
12084 posts

I'll put it this way on the aftermath of WW1: when one looks at the treaties (historically ) emanating from that conflict, St, Germaine, Versailles, Neuilly, Trianon, the most draconian one was that imposed on Hungary, Trianon, as regards to square miles of territory detached, amputated, however one labels it, and the percentage lost relative to its 1914 borders. What made a mockery of Wilson's 14 Points program was that in Hungary's case where that principle was applicable on linguistic grounds, it was not applied.

Bottom line for Hungary was in 1919-20, it had no friends, whereas the Poles and Czechs did, which was bad enough to insure diplomatic isolation but, worse still, too many enemies at the same time.

Posted by
10673 posts

Fred, in my early trips to Hungary maps of the old borders were pretty common. There is a pretty extrem right wing party that wanted to reclaim the land. Yes, that would have been WWIII. The Russians did them no favor either. They could have restored the borders; after all the countries that then held the land were at war against Russia WWII too.

However, in recent years, since Orban, the far right seems to be shrinking and the signs and posters are fewer. Like I said elsewhere, when the option was the extreme Left or the extreme Right; many gravitaed to the extremes. Now there is a center Right and many now have a more logical home for their beliefs.

Anti-Semitism seems to be no worse, and maybe a tad better than a dozen years ago. Some of the faces of Nationalism have been offensive to the sensibilities of a lot of the Jews, and its really understandable. But it hasnt translated into descrimination or violence to an extent any greater than most of Europe. Actually in 2018 the percapita incidence of violence against Hungarian Jews (3 instances) was equal to that in France (about 300 instances). I guess if there is a difference on the topic between Hungary and France its that in France the violence is coming from recent immigrants in France, while in Hungary where there are no immigrants the violence is home grown. Most of the anti-Semitism claims, or many at least, seem to be originating with the governmet's distain of George Soros. But that is really about politics and not about religion. To make it religious is just more of the smear then rather than deal with them tactics. Like all such issues, its not linear.

The Government has limited some freedoms that you and I take for granted. But in some ways, like the restrictions on the press; the UK has some of the same issues.

But again, I am an outsider. I dont live it and breath it some my perceptions may be a bit off base. But this is why I travel. I love to try and understand such stuff. I find it facinating.

Posted by
1106 posts

What Jules said above about historical comparisons and what I was trying to get across in my remarks about 'monsters' deserves to be further clarified. I agree that the Holocaust deserves to be treated uniquely and that it is too easy to trip up today by making facile metaphors or engaging in hyberbole during a discussion about politics. That concession made, it is still important to avoid putting the past on a pedestal or separating other peoples and periods and behaviors from our own times in such a way that makes those people somehow taboo or sacrosanct or wholly other -- the perpetrators of the atrocities of WWII were men (mostly) like ourselves, with capacities for virtue and for evil no different than our own. It is a mistake to treat them as monsters just as it is a mistake to treat MLK jr. or JFK or Gandhi as angels.

If they were all too human just as we are, then it is fair game to draw lessons from their actions and contexts for our own situations. The great villains of the 20th century weren't cinematic caricatures twirling their mustaches with pleasure at the prospect of doing wrong (or even Shakespearean characters like Richard III [or Jessica Rabbit] that were just drawn that way) -- they thought they were acting as they should for their moment and their destiny, no less than today's politicians do theirs. The Allies did not prevail in WWII because democracy is better than fascism but because they had more stuff and more luck and made some strategic moves. Likewise the Cold War -- the West won the cold war not because free markets (ha!) are better than central planning (double ha!) but because we had more stuff and more luck and made some strategic moves.

I'm saying that as preface for the insistence that it is ok to compare current populist and right-leaning trends to the populist and right-leaning trends that led to Hitler's Third Reich. The faddish resort to 'Godwin's Law', which claims that as soon as you compare anything today to Hitler and the Nazis, that you've lost the argument/discussion/thread is patently sophomoric. If a comparison is apt, it is apt, and it is no insult or diminishment of the profound unique import of the Holocaust to see parallels between the '30s and today.

Normal political processes then led to horrible atrocities on all sides. (But not evenly distributed -- we can distinguish bad actors and worse actors) Now, similar political processes are in motion. Are we going to learn from the past, or are we going to repeat it?

Small postscript: in theory of knowledge and logic courses it is a commonplace reminder that almost all metaphors are false and almost all similes are true.

Posted by
12084 posts

@ James...I'll relate to you a conversation I had a few years ago with a Hungarian woman, a lawyer, in her mid-50s, obviously a person of some former education to get that far. This was in 2012 It was here in SF, her English was so-so, so we spoke in German, which she was fluent at, basically no problem for either one of us linguistic. We touched on the present day Hungary, the past, ie 1920. She said, "Trianon tut noch weh." (Trianon still hurts). Obviously, that woman is a nationalist, up to a certain degree, maybe not a much as our flag wavers on the 4th of July.

In terms of being punitive, justified or unjustified (that's moral question) and draconian, Hungary among the losers in WW1 lost more square miles than any of its allies, Why were there Hungarian linguistic minorities in the inter-war years in Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, ?

I thought it's almost 100 years (I know, a bit imprecise, 92 years) and "they" still are focused on that event. The basic question as you referred to "old boundaries" Romania got just about all of Transylvania, ie all those Transylvanian towns that American tourists see today, Sibiu, Cluj, etc.

When I went back for a 11 night trip to England in Oct. 2017, the breakfast girl in the B&B was from Romania, I asked her which part of Romania. She said the northern part. That answer told me she was from the former Transylvania when those major towns went by German names, likewise with Cluj, and figured she probably learned German too as well as English, which is why she was in a London B&B to improve her English. So, I asked if she spoke German, yes, some (more or less what I had expected), but English was much better and showed those former names....all true today.

Posted by
12084 posts

@ James..."...the right wing party that wanted to reclaim the land." Yes, these are the "revanchists" ...those buying into historical revanchism with the objective of undoing Trianon.

And the role of the Russians or Soviets? Forget the ideology, in invading Hungary...1849, 1914, (if they crossed the Carpatians after the horrific slaughter in Galicia (in the Anglophone world, we think of Ypres, the Somme, etc), they would have been on the Hungarian plain, 1945, (keep in mind that the very last German offensive in WW2 was not the battle of the Bulge, as we call it, not even one directed to save Berlin but to save Budapest. and then there is 1956.

To be fair, that memorial at/near the South Train station in Budapest to the Hungarians in 1849 was not a Russian "atrocity" since Russian officers had given their word when negotiating a military tactical surrender of the Hungarians but an Austrian "atrocity." I don't know the spelling of the place in Hungarian but in German the memorial site is called, "Blutwiese." (Blood Meadow).

Posted by
10673 posts

Or maybe Eastern Europe is turning right because they learned a lesson from 50 years of extreme Left Wing Authoritarianism. Maybe they know that the backbone of the communist rule was the coerced or forced redistribution of wealth. A concept so alien to human nature that it could only be imposed through fear and military power. Stalin and subsequent Russian rulers murdered many times more than Hitler. The holocaust was horrible, but still child's play compared to what came after. You are correct about slippery slopes, and many see G. Soros' (Orban's chief nemisis) policies to be too close to that slope. Again, this isnt a political argument, it's an argument that through travel with an open mind, and through attempts to understand the factors that shape other cultures we can become more informed in shaping our own culture.

Posted by
10673 posts

Fred, I think you are talking about Vérmezõ, but I dont know the history.

Posted by
12084 posts

That's the name of memorial site at the South Train station? If so, good to know...thanks.

Posted by
1106 posts

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

My experience has been that travelers tend to find whatever it is that they're looking for. Mindset and inclinations strongly influence what one notices -- and what confirms one's beliefs sticks in one's memory.

Posted by
316 posts

The holocaust was horrible, but still child's play compared to what came after.

And this, good Sir, is where you got a little carried away...

Posted by
10673 posts

Okay "child's play" was poorly chosen when discussing the most persecuted group of people in the history of the world. A situation that continues to this day. The point, Hitler was a novice at mass murder as compared to the Left Wing Authoritarian Communist regimes that preceded and followed him. I go back to Hesiod, it's not about right or left, it's about moderation in all things; and it's about seeing history fairly if we are going to learn. Oddly enough, right or left, I think the good people in those movements are trying to reach the same end, just by different means.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_killings_under_communist_regimes

Posted by
12084 posts

"...travelers tend to find whatever it is they are looking for. Mindset and inclinations strongly influence what one notices --and what confirms one's beliefs sticks in one's memory" Certainly one may adopt such a view and look at it this way.

I totally reject this view as pertains to my traveling experiences in the Europe and in the US.

Posted by
12084 posts

Keep in mind within the context of Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism, Stalin had murdered already 5 million if not more before Hitler began the attack on Poland. Who were these victims? The purges, shooting his Red Army Officer Corps starting in 1936, how many marshals, colonel generals, army corps commanders, division commanders...all shot, basically decapitating the brains of his army, how many old Party comrades and fellow Party members shot, then the kulaks to be liquidated as a class.

We have not mentioned how many hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians were eliminated (physically) prior to 1939. What about role of the " blocking units"...those NKVD types who opened fire on ordinary Russian soldiers who could match up against the Germans. No accurate records of those victims

I suggest consulting the book, "Bloodlands" where both Nazi and Soviet totalitarian systems wreaked horrors on these populations, not just targeting European Jewry

Posted by
10673 posts

Okay, the purpose of this whole thread is hopefully reveal that what you see in Hungary or elsewhere should not be judged by US norms. Each region has a history, and it adds so much to traveling to study that history in advance of a trip, that has shaped their culture and their current view points. You would have to learn so, so much before you can intelligently comment on something as small as the removal of a statue. For me, I tend to reserve any knee jerk statement or reaction and just listen.

Posted by
12084 posts

"...should not be judged by US norms." How true ! And also by the US media or press.

Posted by
1106 posts

Fred, you may reject that observation of mine as not pertaining to you, but how about other people besides yourself?

How does James' phrase 'alien to human nature' strike you? To me, he might as well have said that it's against God's Plan to tax the rich.

It astounds me that two people who have spent a lot of time enjoying the obvious benefits of cooperation and management in every area of urban life in contemporary Europe (thanks for those tram and bus directions, guys!) still sound like they think there's something either natural or superior in competition and laissez-faire and top-down rule. Next you'll be telling us to keep the gov't away from your medicare. /s

Posted by
10673 posts

Not sure what any of this has to do with Nagy's statue? He was part of a culture of murder. Not that Horthy was any better.

I dont judge them. What ever works for them ... They have a democracy and I am certain that as long as the democracy exists and dialogue is permitted, through push and pull, give and take, they will define a government that works for them. Isnt coming to that understanding one of the great benefits of travel. As a wise man once said: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's."

However, as a point of fact, the "rich" are taxed less in Hungary than in the US, but there are so many functional and cultural differences you cant use slogan analogies and find a true understanding.

Posted by
12084 posts

@ avirosemail....If others should choose to adopt your view or have a view coinciding with yours, that's absolutely fine. They do have free choice, don't they? Conversely, if they want to reject your view, that is also their choice.

"...tax the rich...." Sounds like the origins of the French Revolution when the French aristocracy refused to pay taxes, where as in England their British counterparts did pay taxes. France was known in the 18th century always to have a deficit, taxing the resurgent nobles would have closed that, which was advised to Louis XVI. These 2 financial advisors were dismissed.

Posted by
320 posts

A couple thoughts on Nagy. I think the 1956 Nagy was viewed as a transitional figure by the Hungarian revolutionaries. Had the revolution been allowed to proceed, free multi party elections would have been held and the communist party likely would have been marginalized. During the revolution, the anti communist Small Holders party (the winners of the 1945 elections) were allowed to reemerge and its likely that they and other anti-communist forces would have won a solid victory. I view Nagy as a reverse version of Kerensky or Prince Lvov (the two prime ministers of the short lived Russian Provisional Government of 1917.
Concerning the treaty of Trianon, I've always felt that Hungary was unduly punished. At the very least what became southern Slovakia should never have been given to the new Czechoslovakia, and some type of partition of Transylvania would have been fairer, although the population groups were so mixed there was never going to be a perfect solution, so basically Romania got everything, 100% of what should have been divided in some better way.
I wonder if the worst atrocities by the communists did in fact come before and during WW2, more predating and coinciding with the worst Nazi atrocities rather than after.

Posted by
12084 posts

It's historical fact that Stalin had 5 million murdered or they died of his policies, ie starvation, disease, etc. This began in 1936 after the Rhineland Crisis, which Stalin was a party to, and which he observed in the behaviour of the West towards Hitler. It's no accident that the purges begin in 1936 following the Rhineland Crisis. Bottom line is... when Hitler attacked Poland, five million in Soviet Russia, as it was known then, had already lost their lives thanks to Stalin.

Posted by
10673 posts

Rob, I just shot back at uninformed political rhetoric that represented party line more than true thought. I'm not a big fan of tearing down history or statues. Something we are guilty of here too. But like most of history, there is good and bad and by letting such things stand we have a focal point for the discussion. In the case of Nagy, when you have leadership that killed thousands of innocent people, I guess a guy responsible for killing mere hundreds of innocent people can indeed be a hero. To suppose that if the revolution had been successful all would be rosy might be a stretch. They were still fighting for communism and there was still a sizable power base that would resist being dethroned...so who knows what would have come next. How much was he for change and how much was talk to stabilize the situation. After all this guy was nothing short of a hard line communist. I won't pretend to know the answer. What I have read about the revolution that moves me is the courage and the determination for self rule that was apparent and yes, many adopted Nagy as the mascot of that movement as 40 years earlier Horthy represented something similar.