The excerpt below is taken from my
item on the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956.
....The Russians only stayed away for
a few days. There was no way they were going to let some pip-squeak nation like Hungary create a hole in the defensive ring
they had built up over the last decade. If one country went, then others would want to follow, and that was not high on Russia’s
agenda. So on November they stormed back in, and within two days had 200,000 troops and 6,000 tanks in the Budapest region.
Many brave souls fought against them,
but they were simply killed. Resistance was useless here, and in the countryside as well. In six days, the revolt was all
over, and the purge of the dissidents was under way. Thousand upon thousands of men were arrested and trundled, without any
sort of trial, into railway wagons, and sent off to Siberia. Many thousands more crossed the border into Austria, arriving
there with nothing but their clothes, and thus began another world refugee problem.
Our own government said it would take
3,000 refugees, and it declared that the Hungarian athletes at the Games could defect to Australia if they chose. No one initially
took up the offer. The athletes continued to compete at the Games, and insisted that every time their flag was called for,
that the old pre-Russian flag was used. A nice gesture of defiance from afar, but the reality was that their nation had again
been over-run by the dominant Russians, and they as a nation would stay in subjugation until the Iron Curtain came down.
The UN made loud noises in protest.
But in the Security Council, where it mattered, the Russians had a veto and could stifle any sort of combined action against
her. Again, the veto powers of the UN showed how easily world politics could negate the howls of outrage from the vast majority
of the world’s nations.
Again, Letter writers were very vocal
The "Herald" in its leading article of November 5 has rightly said that Russia has struck at the counter-revolution in Hungary
with the speed and venom of a cobra.
Once again the rule of the most ruthless
tyrants that history has ever known – of tyrants equal to at least, if not worse than, the Gestapo and the Kempei Tai
– is being imposed on a proud and fearless people.
There can be no doubt that the commander
of the Russian troops will sooner or later be able to tell his masters in the Kremlin: "There is peace in Budapest." But it
will certainly be the peace of a churchyard, as it was the case once with Warsaw in Poland.
It is not exaggerating to say that,
by butchering the Hungarian insurgents, Russia has put the clock of civilisation back for centuries.
As a former student of Hungarian civilisation
and culture, I can testify that Hungary is one of the countries in Europe that have always been bulwarks of Christianity and
civilisation, and I want to pay a tribute of the highest admiration to the defenders of Budapest, the heart of the Hungarian
bulwark. I think that it is not to be wondered at that the fiery national credo of the Hungarians, translated into English,
is: "I believe in one God; I believe in one fatherland; I believe in the eternal justice of God; I believe in the resurrection
My wife is an Hungarian and proud of it, as well she may be. During these tragic days of her heroic country’s martyrdom
she has kept on saying, "Will the free world help? Why is nothing being done?"
UNO has talked and talked and talked,
"We will not fail you," they have promised. If they do, they may as well put up the shutters.
And what tangible proof of sympathy
has this fortunate Australia given? The Press has written a few articles, praising the immortal heroism of this proud people;
there have been meetings and talks, attended mostly only by Hungarians and other New Australians from Iron Curtain countries;
and Mr Menzies and Dr Evatt have referred to Hungary as though it were almost a side-show in comparison with Suez....
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