Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What Destroyed the Hungarians in 1956

I still had some of the Sunday supplements left to read yesterday, and I came across an article which caught my eye. The article is a review of Viktor Sebestyen's fresh look at the events of 1956. The story of the 12 days of Hungarian uprising which led to the Soviet invasion and the death of 2700 Hungarians.

Sebestyen describes how the CIA information about the country was obtained by Western diplomats, journalists and so called academic experts on Hungary. These people however had very few interactions with ordinary people. In June of 1956, the president of the American Motion Picture Association visited Budapest and presented the embassy with a list of Hungarian artists, writers, actors and academics to invite to a cocktail party being given in his honour. He was rebuffed, with the official statement being "We never meet with these people socially."

It was on the basis of such information that a CIA paper concluded in June, 1956 - four months before the uprising - "There really is no underground movement in Hungary at all".

The official American policy was ambivalent too. The Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, spoke frequently of the need to "liberate the captive nations of Central Europe". Radio Free Europe broadcast fierce anti-Communist programs, and the US intelligence agents released balloons carrying anti-Communist pamphlets over the Hungarian countryside. The pamphlets proclaimed "The regime is weaker than you think and the hope lies with the people."
Many in the State department however thought it was wiser to take a more step by step approach and not rock the boat too much.

The result of this rhetoric and ignorance was confusion. When the uprising actually happened, American officials dithered about what to do and ultimately stalled by tabling a protest at the United Nations. In London the Foreign Office advised strongly against saying anything which "might encourage hotheads in Budapest" - compare this with the speech of Tam Dalyel, British MP in Parliament after the student uprising of July 99, in Iran :
"Julys are normally very hot in Iran, this has been one of the hottest Julys for years, it is no wonder that under such heat, tempers can be tinder dry"

By the fourth day of the uprising, Dulles despite his own liberation rhetoric had publicly and pointedly declared that the American government did not look upon the nations of Eastern Europe as 'potential allies'. That point was then repeated by the American ambassador to Moscow and President Eisenhower himself, just to make sure that the Soviets got the point.
At the same time Radio Free Europe continued with its attack, supplying the listeners with instructions on how to make bombs and stop tanks.

The result of this dithering, duplicity and confusion was 2700 Hungarians dead and more than 20000 wounded.

Has anything changed since? Are we not witnessing the same misinformation supplied by diplomats, academics and "Iran experts"? The same mixed confusing messages? Hungarian uprising took place 60 years ago but none of its lessons appear to have been learned.

14 comments:

Fereydon Abdollahyan said...

Yes, dear Mr Potkin. I totally agree and furthermore I like to say that this why we in the Shir-o-Khorshid Group have organised a demonstration in front of the American Embassy in London for thursday 15 Th. September to voice our opposition to the American policies regarding Iran for the last 27 years and in particular their recent invitation to one of the greatest criminals of last and this century who is parading in American Universities trying to hoodwink the sleeping Americans into falsely believing that the mullahs Mafia's in Iran are a bunch of benign and harmless do goobers.…
They might believe in this bullshit but we the Iranians who have suffered under their bloody cloak will not. We will fight the and we will get rid of them with or without the so called America's help. I wish that they just shut up and let us get on with our job. They have always deceived the Good people of Iran and have only caused them misery and strife. Enough is enough. Mr Bush if you are not sincere and really want to help the Iranians to gain their Freedom and happiness, then Please SHUT UP.

Anonymous said...

This is like relating Gooz to Shaghigheh.

You presume you are not one of those so called Iran Experts? You think you are a differnt kind of Iran Expert? LOL

Behnam

C.H. said...

Good Post!
This issue of Iranian "experts" and who is really telling the truth concerns me also.
I think there are a lot of people (Iranians mostly) who are successfully pulling the wool over people's eyes about where their real sympathies lie.

Winston said...

The same thing CIA said about Iran in summer of 1978 that Iran is not in revolutionary mode....

Anonymous said...

Behnam,

You need to see a doctor urgently. Your envy of Azarmehr has reached dangerous proportions. What is Gooz to Shaghigheh for you is quite obvious to the rest of us. Azarmehr is drawing parallels between CIA reports of Hungary 1956 and sources of information and similar suggestions today made by some USA policy advisers who rely on similar sources of information.

Really, we Iranians are very jealous of each other, but I think you have exceeded all boundaries.

Anonymous said...

Mr Potkin
I wrote a response to your piece on the relationship between the CIA's shenanigans and the present situation regarding Iran. You chose to censor it out of your site. Do you have any particular reason or is it just that when you hear someone's opinion that does not tally with yours, you just stop them expressing their point of view? either by shouting them down or by cutting their heads off. (figuratively said as I do not think you will ever be or have the chance of doing it actually).

Azarmehr said...

Mr Anonymous,

I do monitor the comments for two reasons only:

1) Bad language/ family insults etc.
2) Advertising spam comments

I may miss one or two here and there either because of sheer numbers and my work loads or simply an occasional oversight or network problem.

I think looking at the comments published on this weblog your suggestion that I censor opposing views is very unfair.
Now what was your valued comment?

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous
I don't envy Azarmehr. In fact I agree with the jest of his end goals.

I believe his means of delivering the message is in need of improvement.

I don't know about your background but anyone capabale of analysing a political situation would not compare intelligence about Hungary in 1956 with Islamic Republic in 2006. For god sake, could we come up with a better analogy.

To state that one needs to see a doctor because views differ suggests to me I am up against someone incapable of having a debate.

Behnam

Anonymous said...

do not let people insult you or other commentors here

Pasha said...

صاحب نظران ايرانی نيز بخشی از جامعة ايرانی هستند و همانند ديگر ايرانيان از انديشه های گوناگونی پيروی مي کنند. ولی دولتهای خارجی در وهلة نخست نبايد بدنبال دخالت در امور ايران باشند. خواستی که از آنان داريم اين است که از آمال و آرزوهای اکثريت ايرانيان پشتيبانی کنند, يعنی گوش دهند به صدای جوانان ايرانی, يعنی گوش دهند به صدای زنان ايرانی, يعنی گوش دهند به صدای دانشجويان ايرانی, يعنی گوش دهند به صدای کارگران ايرانی, يعنی گوش دهند به صدای آموزگاران ايرانی و آنگاه کمک خود را از آنان دريغ ندارند. با توجّه به امکانات رسانه ای و اينتر نتی و ماهواره ای و تلفنی شنيدن صدای اکثريت ايرانيان ساده است. چيزی که سخت است داشتن گوش شنوا است. زمانيکه نظر اکثريت ايرانيان مهم شد, ديگر نيازی به دانستن انديشه های صاحب نظران ايرانی نخواهد بود, حال هر چه اين انديشه ها مي خواهد که باشد. آيا يک ايرانی عادی و فاقد امکاناتِ صاحب نظران ايرانی حق کمتری از خاک اجدادی خود دارد؟ من به عنوان يک فرد ايرانی اينجا نظرم را بيان می کنم. من خواهان دگرگونی سياسی در ايران و خواهان قانون اساسی مبتنی بر حقوق بشر هستم. و بر اين باورم که برای رسيدن به اين خواست بايد جمهوری اسلامی را سرنگون کرد. من از اکثريت ايرانيان خواهش می کنم سرنوشت خود و ايران عزيزمان را به دست اقليت صاحب نظران ايرانی نسپارند. و نظر خود را صريح و بي پرده اينجا بيان کنند

Pasha said...

صاحب نظران ايرانی نيز بخشی از جامعة ايرانی هستند و همانند ديگر ايرانيان از انديشه های گوناگونی پيروی مي کنند. ولی دولتهای خارجی در وهلة نخست نبايد بدنبال دخالت در امور ايران باشند. خواستی که از آنان داريم اين است که از آمال و آرزوهای اکثريت ايرانيان پشتيبانی کنند, يعنی گوش دهند به صدای جوانان ايرانی, يعنی گوش دهند به صدای زنان ايرانی, يعنی گوش دهند به صدای دانشجويان ايرانی, يعنی گوش دهند به صدای کارگران ايرانی, يعنی گوش دهند به صدای آموزگاران ايرانی و آنگاه کمک خود را از آنان دريغ ندارند. با توجّه به امکانات رسانه ای و اينتر نتی و ماهواره ای و تلفنی شنيدن صدای اکثريت ايرانيان ساده است. چيزی که سخت است داشتن گوش شنوا است. زمانيکه نظر اکثريت ايرانيان مهم شد, ديگر نيازی به دانستن انديشه های صاحب نظران ايرانی نخواهد بود, حال هر چه اين انديشه ها مي خواهد که باشد. آيا يک ايرانی عادی و فاقد امکاناتِ صاحب نظران ايرانی حق کمتری از خاک اجدادی خود دارد؟ من به عنوان يک فرد ايرانی اينجا نظرم را بيان می کنم. من خواهان دگرگونی سياسی در ايران و خواهان قانون اساسی مبتنی بر حقوق بشر هستم. و بر اين باورم که برای رسيدن به اين خواست بايد جمهوری اسلامی را سرنگون کرد. من از اکثريت ايرانيان خواهش می کنم سرنوشت خود و ايران عزيزمان را به دست اقليت صاحب نظران ايرانی نسپارند. و نظر خود را صريح و بي پرده اينجا بيان کنند

Fereydon Abdollahyan said...

Here it is again. If you have missed it the first time around as you say you did which I do not belive you as we exchanged three e- mails regarding this response but never mind, here it is .publish it or be damned.
Yes, dear Mr Potkin. I totally agree and furthermore I like to say that this why we in the Shir-o-Khorshid Group have organised a demonstration in front of the American Embassy in London for thursday 15 Th. September to voice our opposition to the American policies regarding Iran for the last 27 years and in particular their recent invitation to one of the greatest criminals of last and this century who is parading in American Universities trying to hoodwink the sleeping Americans into falsely believing that the mullahs Mafia's in Iran are a bunch of benign and harmless do goobers.…
They might believe in this bullshit but we the Iranians who have suffered under their bloody cloak will not. We will fight the and we will get rid of them with or without the so called America's help. I wish that they just shut up and let us get on with our job. They have always deceived the Good people of Iran and have only caused them misery and strife. Enough is enough. Mr Bush if you are not sincere and really want to help the Iranians to gain their Freedom and happiness, then Please SHUT UP.

Fereydon said...

Thank you Mr. potkin
I must apologise to you. I mistakenly accused you of censorship.
I was wrong. It was a miss communication because I sent my comments to you as well as emailing it to you.
I relay like you and think that you are doing a good job.
I was in the wrong, I should not have sent my comments to you as well as sending it to you as an e-mail
Please forgive me.
Fereydon

Anonymous said...

Actually Behnam, you are a complete dimwit. You do nothing but read Azarmehr's blog and winge and winge just because you yourself do nothing.

I read the original article in the Sunday Telegraph, the article itself concludes that US policy makers and think tanks have not learned the lessons of the Hungarian uprising. The article for some reason draws parallels with Saudi Arabia but I too agree with the post that the parallel with Iran is actually more appropriate.