THIRTEEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE KREMLIN by Tibor Meray

THIRTEEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE KREMLIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A misleading title for an exceedingly interesting study of Imre Nagy, not only in relation to the Hungarian Revolution but in relation to the Communist movement in Hungary from his earliest association with it. He was a specialist in problems of agriculture, an advocate from early days of land distribution, and was appointed Minister of Agriculture. When he differed with the Soviet politburo on procedure, he was shifted to Minister of the Interior, then to President of the National Assembly. From then on his was a critical spot, and while accepted as a devoted party member, he was an outspoken critic of party policies. After five years of the people's virtual serfdom, his role as Premier (1953) was almost revolutionary, and aroused jealousy and antagonism and opposition from Rakosi and his cohorts. Eventually false charges were levied, and again Nagy was out. He refused to recant; writers, artists, young scientists, students rallied to his defense; his statements were given private distribution. He was held as the only wholly dependable leader of the people. Then came the infamous ten days that shook not only the Kremlin, but the world. At the start, it was a bloodless revolution; it looked as though Moscow was guaranteeing the new Hungarian Communist Party and government. Then came an about-face; any attempt to explain it necessitates many material factors on the one side, and moral considerations on the other. False rumors of British and American aid, of Security Council action, went the rounds while Russian troops encompassed the land. Nagy had made mistakes; he was too much an individual to play at puppetry; he had shown weaknesses and had waited too long. But his name will always be linked with Hungary's tragic bid for liberty, and his rigged trial and death sentence remain a blot on Soviet history.

Pub Date: June 16th, 1959
Publisher: Praeger