- 20 Oct 2016 9:00 AM
The revolt began as a student demonstration, which attracted thousands as they marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building, calling out on the streets using a van with loudspeakers via Radio Free Europe.
A student delegation, entering the radio building to try to broadcast the students' demands, was detained. When the delegation's release was demanded by the demonstrators outside, they were fired upon by the State Security Police (ÁVH) from within the building.
One student died and was wrapped in a flag and held above the crowd. This was the start of the revolution. As the news spread, disorder and violence erupted throughout the capital.
The revolt spread quickly across Hungary and the government collapsed. Thousands organised into militias, battling the ÁVH and Soviet troops. Pro-Soviet communists and ÁVH members were often executed or imprisoned and former political prisoners were released and armed.
Radical impromptu workers' councils wrested municipal control from the ruling Hungarian Working People's Party and demanded political changes.
A new government formally disbanded the ÁVH, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact, and pledged to re-establish free elections. By the end of October, fighting had almost stopped and a sense of normality began to return.
After announcing a willingness to negotiate a withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Politburo changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution, on 4 November a large Soviet force invaded Budapest...
Next time we'll continue the story of events from the start of November 1956, for now check out the brief video above - if you haven't already!
Xpat Insights: 1956 Hungarian Revolution, 'Another Hungarian Tragedy'