How did Hungarian students respond to Nikita Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" in 1956?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The speech that you are referring to in this question was a speech that Khrushchev gave in which he criticized Josef Stalin and the actions that he took while he was the leader of the Soviet Union.  The basic impact of this speech in Hungary was to cause unrest among students and others who were unhappy with the communist government of that country.

After World War II, Hungary fell under the domination of the Soviet Union.  The country came to be a one-party state ruled by the communist party.  The leader of that party, Matyas Rakosi, patterned his rule after that of Stalin.  Many Hungarians were quite unhappy with this system by the time that Khrushchev gave his speech in 1956.

The reaction of Hungarian students to this speech was fairly predictable.  They disliked a regime that was patterned after Stalin’s.  The new leader of the Soviet Union gave a speech denouncing Stalin and his actions.  This implied to the students that the Soviet Union under Khrushchev might allow Hungary to get rid of its Stalinist regime.  For this reason, they reacted to the speech by becoming less happy with their own government.  They did not rebel right away, but within months of the speech, they were inspired by the actions of dissidents in Poland.  By October of 1956, Hungarian students started demonstrating against their government.  Their demonstrations turned into something very much like a rebellion.  The Soviet Union eventually sent military units in to crush the rebellion.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial