Hungary in the Cold War, 1945-1956

Hungary in the Cold War, 1945-1956: Between the United States and the Soviet Union

LÁSZLÓ BORHI
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 371
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7829/j.ctt2jbn9p
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  • Book Info
    Hungary in the Cold War, 1945-1956
    Book Description:

    Based on new archival evidence, examines Soviet Empire building in Hungary and the American response to it. Hungary was not important enough to resist the Soviets, its democratic opposition failed to win American sympathy, the US simply had no leverage over the Soviets, who sacrificed cooperation with the West for a closed sphere in Eastern Europe. The imposition of a Stalinist regime assured Hungary's unconditional loyalty to Soviet imperial needs. Unlike the GDR, Eastern Europe was never considered a bargaining chip for bettering relations with the West. The book analyzes why, given all its idealism and power, the US failed even in its minimal aims concerning the states of Eastern Europe. Eventually both powers pursued power politics: the Soviets in a naked form, the US subtly, but both with little regard for the fate of Hungarians.

    eISBN: 978-615-5053-94-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-16)

    After World War II the United States believed that it could retain Soviet–American cooperation on a liberal basis and preserve a politically pluralistic, economically open Eastern Europe at the same time. The Soviets made a similar judgement of error. They too hoped to continue cooperating with the West, albeit on their own conditions: an exclusive sphere in Eastern Europe with Stalinist systems of government. What resulted was the worst of all worlds, a Stalinist Eastern Europe and Soviet–American hostility.

    In the next four decades the U.S. tried to undo the mistaken policies of the first few postwar years,...

  5. CHAPTER I WE DO NOT WISH TO MOVE A FINGER
    (pp. 17-46)

    When Hungary’s former Regent, Miklós Horthy, was queried by an American officer about why he did not break with the Germans before he sacrificed twelve to thirteen divisions on the Russian front, Horthy replied in German: “Was konnte ich machen?” Though this response may sound banal and self-serving, it is hard to falsify even from the temporal distance of half-a-century. Hungary’s course from the late 1930s encapsulated the fate of small nations caught up in Central European power politics. Hungary entered the war on the German side in part because of its own choosing and in part because of the...

  6. CHAPTER II THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY
    (pp. 47-110)

    Like many alliances in history, the coalition between the Soviet Union, the United States and Great Britain broke up almost as soon as its raison d’être, Nazi Germany ceased to exist. The forces pulling apart this “strange alliance” proved to be stronger than the forces of cohesion. The desire to pursue national aspirations turned out to be more motivating than the prospect of jointly policing the world for the sake of peace and stability. For Moscow, an exclusively Soviet oriented belt of security and the pursuit of ideological goals prevailed over cooperation; economic exploitation and autarchy were more desirable than...

  7. CHAPTER III THE COMMUNISTS TAKE OVER
    (pp. 111-138)

    International politics in 1947 revolved around the German question. The Soviets understood that a shift had taken place in U.S. policy on Germany and feared that Germany was being organized against them. Although it was clear that a settlement based on each power having a free hand in their own zone was an impossibility, the splitting of Germany was not implemented immediately. The new Secretary of State George C. Marshall, was reluctant to break with the Soviets being afraid that the Germans would play the U.S. off against the Soviets. When the Soviets offered to unify Germany on the western...

  8. CHAPTER IV THE MERCHANTS OF THE KREMLIN
    (pp. 139-196)

    Historical literature—even the recent works—emphasizes the security and ideological aspects of post war Soviet conduct and their relation to the beginning of the Cold War conflict. Economic expansionism as the tool of, and perhaps, the aim of Soviet foreign policy is, by and large, neglected even in works that emphasize that the Soviet takeover was premeditated or, even worse, knew no limits.¹ This is surprising in view of the intense focus of the New Left and also of the so-called post-revisionist literature on the perceived economic motives of American foreign policy.² Such an economic aspect is missing from...

  9. CHAPTER V EMPIRE BY COERCION
    (pp. 197-268)

    Towards the end of 1949 the bipolar structure of the world had already taken shape. Both the United States and the USSR had decided that there was no longer any ground for their cooperation, and moreover that to do so would threaten their own world position. Hence the most pressing issues that faced the victor powers remained unresolved. No collective peace treaty was signed with Japan, and Germany ended up as two separate states. German division was not premeditated, but with hindsight, it was probably inevitable.¹ As early as the Potsdam Conference, the U.S. had given up the idea of...

  10. CHAPTER VI CONTAINMENT, ROLLBACK, LIBERATION OR INACTION?
    (pp. 269-324)

    On 4 November 1956, Marshal Ivan Konev, the commander in chief of the Warsaw Pact’s joint armed forces, oversaw the large-scale deployment of Soviet tanks into Hungary to crush an armed uprising against Soviet rule in Eastern Europe. President Dwight Eisenhower promptly sent an appeal to Soviet premier Nikolai Bulganin calling on Soviet forces to pull out. This mild response was in stark contrast to the expectations of many participants in the revolution, who hoped for some form of Western military assistance and were disappointed by Eisenhower’s “do nothing attitude.”¹ The American response to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution encapsulated Washington’s...

  11. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 325-334)

    In 1945 the Soviet Union was an Empire on a roll. It had already annexed the Baltic States, and parts of Poland, Romania and Finland. The non-annexed Soviet sphere in Europe not including Yugoslavia extended to a territory of over 392 000 square miles with a population larger than 92 million. Aside from Europe the Kremlin demonstrated its interest in territory or influence in the non-European parts of Turkey, Iran, North Africa and the Far East. Nevertheless, many historians ascribe Soviet expansion to rational or irrational security concerns. There is much in favor of this argument. The USSR lost 20...

  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 335-346)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 347-352)
  14. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. None)