chapter  4
The Hungarian Uprising
Pages 26

The Hungarian Uprising of 1956 marked the most severe challenge posed by dissident collective action for a Communist elite until 1989. In the face of an insurrection in the capital city and throughout the country, the oneparty system in Hungary was swept away, and for a few days the insurgents looked to have succeeded in their goal of a democratic, neutral and independent Hungary. But after a massive Soviet military intervention the ancien régime was restored, and the process of demobilizing organized opposition and rebuilding the institutions of power begun. That these goals were achieved and the system re-equilibrated seems all the more remarkable given the depth of popular alienation from the regime, as expressed in the uprising, and the degree of loathing and contempt for the new rulers installed by a foreign hegemon. As with the previous and the subsequent case study, the question posed is how the regime could maintain itself in power with such a slender base of support.