Why did the USSR face a challenge to its authority in Hungary?

Essay by KeirHigh School, 11th grade December 2006

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"Our troops are fighting. The Government is in its place." This statement was issued over the radio at 5:20 am on November 4th by Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy, in declaration of the coming Soviet invasion, which was intended to crush the Hungarian Uprising. In October of 1956, the Hungarian uprising occurred in Budapest, upon which Khrushchev sent in 30,000 Russian troops on November 4th and installed a new government in Hungary, headed by Janos Kadar. During the crushing of this revolution, 20,000 Hungarians were massacred, and 3,000 Russian troops were lost. Imre Nagy was caught and executed. The crushing of the Hungarian Uprising demonstrated Khrushchev's contradictory actions after stating that he would concede greater independence to satellite states, and was a tense period in the Cold War, where it seemed possible that a nation was breaking away from the hold of the Soviet Union, but then failed to do so.

Uprisings were occurring in other Soviet satellite states as well, and the USSR was having difficulty keeping control in some of the states in its sphere of influence, culminating in such events as the Hungarian Uprising. Numerous factors led to the challenging of Soviet power in Hungary, which resulted in the uprising, such as the economic conditions in Hungary, various political influences, and the social constraints placed upon Hungarians.

Economic conditions in Hungary were especially conducive towards the breaking out of Hungarian dissent towards the Soviets. Much of the goods produced in Hungary were being sent to the Soviets for their use, and agriculture was not high on the priority list of the government pre-uprising. According to Hungarian historians, Hungary was forced to be heavily industrialized by the communist politicians, in order to strengthen the arms development sector. Hungary became known as the "land of iron and steel".