Hungary 1956 and the role of U.S. international broadcasting.

Posted: 12 Oct 2006

"Radio Free Europe, Washington’s mouthpiece, egged on the uprising, declaring on Nov. 4, 1956, that a 'practical manifestation of Western sympathy is expected at any hour.' At the same time, it disparaged the revolution’s leader and martyr, Imre Nagy, as a compromised Communist." Roger Cohen, New York Times, 8 October 2006. "Radio Free Europe egged on the Hungarians to seek a knockout victory - even offering advice on how to make Molotov cocktails." Charles Gati, International Herald Tribune, 8 October 2006. "The real villain was not so much the Soviets, who could scarcely have acted otherwise, but the CIA-sponsored Radio Free Europe. It encouraged the guerrillas to think that US military intervention was imminent, traduced Nagy as a Kremlin puppet (his project of "Communism with a human face" didn't stand a chance), and exhorted the rebels to keep fighting. RFE's irresponsible encouragement of the wild men meant that they embraced impossibilism writ large." Frank McLynn review of Twelve Days: Revolution 1956, by Victor Sebestyen, The Independent, 12 October 2006. The history of the role of RFE (and VOA) in the 1956 Hungarian uprising is murky and hotly debated. See previous posts about this subject from 28 June and 13 September.

Copyright 2006–2019 Kim Andrew Elliott.