Bush in Budapest Doesn’t Tell the Real Story

Last June I was in Budapest, in the same spot near the regal Parliament building as our president was yesterday. Bush made a speech to celebrate Hungary’s resistance in 1956 to Soviet Russia…an effort that failed, partly because the US did nothing to help. In the Washington Post, Charles Gati laid out facts about that time in October ’56, so well memorialized all over Hungary in statues and monuments that we saw on our trip.

“Washington offered a sad variation on NATO: No action talk only. After 13 days of high drama, hope and despair in Hungary, the mighty Soviet army prevailed. Until the tanks rolled in, Hungarians believed that the US would help them. The only action was that Radio Free Europe in Germany broadcast lessons on how to make a molotov cocktail.

Gati argues that the US, while fearing what might happen if we defended against a Soviet client state, could have gone to the UN, or tried to negotiate with the Soviets. He believes we owe the Hungarians an explanation about why Ike had no interest in helping them out, other than to hold ‘prayer breakfasts’ to appeal to immigant voters in the 1956 elections.