In 2006, a number of works were published on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolt of 1956. As a 16-year-old, I followed the events of that year primarily through the pages of Life magazine and saw moving images only after the fact in the news footage carried in the movie theaters of the day. Some of the images from that time have continued with me over the years. Erich Lessing's Revolution in Hungary: The 1956 Budapest Uprising (2006) is visually a stark reminder of the heroic stand of the Hungarian people.
Born, Hans, and Marina Caparini, eds. Democratic Control of Intelligence Services: Containing Rogue Elephants. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007.
According to Peake, Studies 52.1 (Mar. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), four Western (France, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and five former Soviet bloc (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania) countries are discussed; there are also articles discussing "the fundamental principles of oversight." Although this work "looks closely at what has been and what needs to be done, it does not address the practical problem of the qualifications of those doing the oversight."
Brodeur, Jean-Paul, Peter Gill, and Dennis Töllborg, eds. Democracy, Law and Security: Internal Security Services in Contemporary Europe. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003.
Peake, Studies 47.3 (2003), notes that this work is "drawn from papers presented at two symposia in Gothenburg, Sweden, that compare intelligence services in 10 countries: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The various chapters look at historical, organizational, and political differences.... In most cases, very little has been published in English about the services discussed, and that enhances the book's importance. For students of intelligence, and especially counterintelligence, this is a very worthwhile contribution."
For Henderson, IJI&C 17.3, this work "provides useful background reference material on several less well-known European domestic security systems." However, "the index and bibliography ... are generally weak"; and the "collection lacks, except for Spain, organizational charts for the various national communities and individual services."
Coriden, Guy E. "Report on Hungarian Refugees." Studies in Intelligence 2, no. 1 (Winter 1958): 85-93.
The author reports on the collection of "intelligence information and material from the Hungarians who were admitted to the US" in the wake of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
Dempsey, Judy. "New NATO Intelligence Chief Was Trained by KGB." International Herald Tribune, 3 Feb. 2008. [http://www.iht.com]
Sandor Laborc, director of Hungary's counterintelligence National Security Office since December 2007, spent six years (1983-1989) at the KGB's Dzerzhinsky Academy in Moscow. He has now become "chairman of NATO's intelligence committee, a development that diplomats said could compromise the security of the alliance." The NATO post deals with "a wide range of intelligence issues." The chairmanship is "a rotating post that is held for a year and which fell to Hungary last month."
Economist. Editors. "He Admits He Spied But It Was Long Ago." 22 Jun. 2002, 49.
This week, Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy "was pushed to the brink of resignation after being forced to admit that he had worked for five years as an agent of Hungary's communist-era counter-intelligence service."
Gati, Charles. Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt. Cold War International History Project. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006. 2008. [pb]
Goulden, Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007) and Washington Times, 26 Nov. 2006, notes that the author "delves deeply in the politics of the revolt, both in terms of tangled internal politics, and Budapest's relations with Moscow." Gati "sorely faults RFE, but also notes that policy guidance, such as it was, was confused." For Corke, I&NS 27.2 (Apr. 2009), this is "an excellent book. It is eminently readable, beautifully written, and compelling in both form and substance.... [I]t provides one of the best studies available on the events that occurred in Hungary."
Johnson, A. Ross. "Lessons from Hungary '56." International Herald Tribune, 6 Nov. 2006. [http://www.iht.com]
On the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution, "[m]any commentaries ... repeated allegations ... that Radio Free Europe helped provoke the revolution, appealed to insurgents to continue fighting against hopeless odds and promised Western military aid when none could be forthcoming.... Careful review of RFE's Hungarian broadcasts ... show[s] that no RFE broadcast prior to the outbreak of the anti-Communist rebellion on Oct. 23 urged violent confrontation with the authorities. No subsequent broadcast appealed to Hungarians to keep fighting the Soviet Army or promised Western military intervention.... [However,] Hungarian programming, once the uprising began, was marked by a highly emotional tone that ranged from vituperative attacks on Imre Nagy ... to impassioned admiration for the freedom fighters that identified RFE too closely with the revolution....
"Most of the broadcasting into Hungary 50 years ago was factual and professional.... But listening to these objective reports, the Hungarian audience heard widespread support for their cause, and could understandably but falsely conclude that Hungary would not be abandoned by the West. The Hungarian revolution demonstrated that under crisis conditions a broadcast audience can misinterpret even the most accurate, professional news reports of outside sympathy as unqualified backing for their cause, particularly if the broadcaster allows itself the luxury of passionate commentary."
Korda, Michael. Journey to a Revolution: A Personal Memoir and History of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
From publisher: "Journey to a Revolution is at once history and a compelling memoir -- the amazing story of four young Oxford undergraduates, including the author, who took off for Budapest in a beat-up old Volkswagen convertible in October 1956 to bring badly needed medicine to Budapest hospitals and to participate, at street level, in one of the great battles of postwar history. Michael Korda paints a vivid and richly detailed picture of the events and the people; explores such major issues as the extent to which the British and American intelligence services were involved in the uprising, making the Hungarians feel they could expect military support from the West; and describes, day by day, the course of the revolution, from its heroic beginnings to the sad martyrdom of its end."
Lessing, Erich. Revolution in Hungary: The 1956 Budapest Uprising. London: Thames & Hudson, 2006.
From publisher: "Erich Lessing was the first photographer to arrive in Hungary, and he documented the short-lived uprising and its aftermath in a series of world-famous photographs, reproduced here in stunning duotone." Lessing's "introduction to the book records his memories of those days in Budapest. Political journalist François Fejto writes about the political and historical background; novelist Gyorgy Konrad tells of his personal experiences during that period; and historian Nicolas Bauquet discusses the aftermath of the revolt and its repercussions in the Western world."
Ogle, James V. "The Intelligence of Literature." Studies in Intelligence 7, no. 4 (Fall 1963): 23-29.
In his following of the open literature, the author finds a reemergence of the trends that culminated in the 1956 Hungarian revolt.
Persak, Krzysztof, and Lukasz Kaminski, eds. A Handbook of the Communist Security Apparatus in East Central Europe, 1944-1989. Warsaw, Poland: Institute of National Remembrance, 2005.
Holland, IJI&C 19.2 (Summer 2006), sees this as an "exceptionally useful volume." Although the "volume's chapters are uneven,... each chapter provides a dependable base line of information."
Sebestyen, Victor. Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. New York: Pantheon, 2006.
From publisher: The author, "a journalist whose own family fled from Hungary," incorporates "newly released official Hungarian and Soviet documents, his familys diaries, and eyewitness testimony" into his story. "Sebestyen shows how Western anti-Communist rhetoric encouraged the rebels and convinced them they would receive help."
Szabó, Máté. "Intelligence Against Dissidents: The Kádár-Regime, Control of Dissenting Intellectuals, and the Emerging Civil Society in Hungary after 1956." Journal of Intelligence History 4, no. 1 (Summer 2004). [http://www.intelligence-history.org/jih/journal.html]
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