Those who support Socialism, Marxism, and Communism have simply never lived under these forms of government, or they are a part of the upper echelon of such a government. People who have been forced to live under these types of government, will ultimately try to find a way of escape or will participate in a national uprising, such as the one that happened in Hungary in 1956.

Sadly, by the time the people realize that they are in serious trouble, the government often has such a chokehold on the nation that the only way out if to have an uprising. Nevertheless, people will eventually fight for their rights, or fight to escape. While the uprising in Hungary began in October 1956, when thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding a more democratic political system and freedom from Soviet oppression, the real problem started long before that. It started when the Communist Party took over and began to systematically take away the rights of the people. There were a few people within the party who could see through the Communist Party’s ideas. When party officials appointed Imre Nagy, a former premier who had been dismissed from the party for his criticisms of Stalinist policies, as the new premier, he began to try to restore peace and asked the Soviets to withdraw their troops. The Soviets did so, but Nagy then tried to push the Hungarian revolt forward by abolishing one-party rule. He also announced that Hungary was withdrawing from the Warsaw Pact (the Soviet bloc’s equivalent of NATO).

This forced the hand of the Soviet government. On November 4, 1956, Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest to crush the national uprising, once and for all. Te fighting in the streets was vicious, but the Soviets’ greater power ensured their victory. The people had long been stripped of their weapons, and anything else that might have helped the achieve victory. At 5:20am Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy announced the invasion to the nation in a grim, 35-second broadcast, declaring: “Our troops are fighting. The Government is in place.” He tried to reassure the people and keep hope alive, but within hours, Nagy sought asylum at the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest. He was captured shortly thereafter and executed two years later. Nagy’s former colleague and imminent replacement, János Kádár, who had been flown secretly from Moscow to the city of Szolnok, 60 miles southeast of the capital, prepared to take power with Moscow’s backing. The conspiracy was complete, and the people had been betrayed…even their leader.

The people of the West were stunned by the Soviet action. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had promised to retreat from the Stalinist policies and repression of the past, but the violent actions in Budapest told of a different plan. An out of control government will always chose its own greedy ways over the good of the people it is supposed to serve. On that day, an estimated 2,500 Hungarians died and 200,000 more fled as refugees. Sporadic armed resistance, strikes, and mass arrests continued for months thereafter, causing substantial economic disruption. The spontaneous national uprising that began 12 days before in Hungary was viciously crushed by Soviet tanks and troops on November 4, 1956.

Many Hungarians were angered and frustrated by the inaction on the part of the United States. Voice of America radio broadcasts and speeches by President Dwight D Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had recently suggested that the United States supported the “liberation” of “captive peoples” in communist nations, but they didn’t see that playing out in their situation. During that time, approximately 30,000 Hungarian refugees were allowed to enter the United States. Yet, as Soviet tanks bore down on the protesters, the United States did nothing beyond issuing public statements of sympathy for their plight.

When the nations of North and South Korea were split, it was much like when Germany became East and West Germany…people were caught in the crossfire…so to speak. Despite being unified off and on for nearly 1,500 years, the Korean peninsula was divided into North and South as a result of the breakup of the Japanese empire at the end of World War II. The United States government knew that it would have to administer the Philippines, as well as Japan itself. It was a big job, so the United States was reluctant to also take trusteeship of Korea. Basically, Korea just wasn’t a very high priority for the United States. The Soviets, on the other hand, were more than willing to step in and take control of lands that the Tsar’s government had relinquished its claim to after the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05).

The Soviets wanted to set the country up as communist, and the United States wanted the country to be capitalist. The sad truth about the difference between communism and capitalism is that capitalism is about freedom, and communism is about slavery. The country was divided along the 38th parallel with a demilitarized zone along that line. The North Korean side of the 38th Parallel was ruled by communism, and the South was ruled by Capitalism. The economic impact was most unfortunate, in that two separate and “necessary to each other” industrial areas were now on opposite sides. The two countries were now both poor.

That was a sad state of affairs, but the worse state of affairs was what happened to the people. Communism being what is was, worried that if the people were allowed to cross the borders freely, they would not come back, and they were probably right. So the people who lived in North Korea and had family in South Korea were no separated from each other, and those in the south were equally separated from loved ones. It is a horrible situation, but there seemed to be no remedy for it. The separation went on for many years. Finally on October 31, 2010, the North Korean government relented to a degree. Four hundred and thirty-six South Koreans were allowed to spend three days in North Korea to meet their 97 North Korean relatives, whom they had been separated from since the 1950-1953 war. The three-day reunion was wonderful, but also bittersweet, because it was followed by a sad goodbye. The separation had been excruciating, and they had no recourse. They were at the mercy of the ruling government. Nevertheless, they were also thankful for the time to spend together, even if it meant a tearful goodbye following a luncheon meeting during inter-Korean temporary family reunions at Mount Kumgang resort.

When you look at the realities of Socialism, Marxism, and Communism, you cannot really be surprised by the many people who are trying to escape from it’s grip. Most are willing to give their life to get out in the hope of giving their children a better life than that. Many lessons could be learned from the situation between North and South Korea, if we will only pay attention.

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