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BORN IN 1956? WHAT ELSE HAPPENED

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                   61st BIRTHDAY

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

Letters. 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 of Hungary."

Letters.  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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CONTENTS                                                              
Doubts on liquor reform
Initiations at institutions
Natural childbirth
Johnny Ray is back
Cruelty to sharks
Lotteries in the news
US influence on Oz
Who is an amateur sportsman?
Our place in Asia
Reliability trials
The Suez crisis
The Russian invasion of Hungary
Horrors at country pubs
Melbourne is out for the Reds
End of the Olympics
Summing up 1965
 
EXTRA READING --  COMPLETELY OPTIONAL


YOU WILL NOT BE EXAMINED ON ANY OF THIS

ABOUT THIS SERIES   …  But after that, I realized that I really knew very little about these parents  of mine They had been born about the start of the Twentieth Century, and they died in 1970 and 1980. For their last 50 years, I was old enough to speak with a bit of sense.  I could have talked to them a lot about their lives. I could have found out about the times they lived in.  But I did not.  I know almost nothing about them really. Their courtship? Working in the pits? The Lock-out in the Depression? Losing their second child? Being dusted as a miner? The shootings at Rothbury? My uncles killed in the War? Love on the dole? There were hundreds, thousands of questions that I would now like to ask them.  But, alas, I can’t. It’s too late.

 

Thus, prompted by my guilt, I resolved to write these books. They describe happenings that affected people, real people.  The whole series is, to coin a modern phrase, designed to push the reader’s buttons, to make you remember and wonder at things  forgotten. The books might just let nostalgia see the light of day, so that oldies and youngies will talk about the past and re-discover a heritage otherwise forgotten. 

Hopefully, they will spark discussions between generations, and foster the asking and answering of questions that should not remain unanswered.


CONTENTS                                                              
Doubts on liquor reform
Initiations at institutions
Natural childbirth
Johnny Ray is back
Cruelty to sharks
Lotteries in the news
US influence on Oz
Who is an amateur sportsman?
Our place in Asia
Reliability trials
The Suez crisis
The Russian invasion of Hungary
Horrors at country pubs
Melbourne is out for the Reds
End of the Olympics
Summing up 1965