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TOP IMAGE: After signing the Austrian State Treaty on 15 May, 1955, Austria’s Foreign Minister Leopold Figl (2nd from left), and the Foreign Ministers of the four occupying powers Vjacheslav Molotov, Harold Macmillan, John Foster Dulles, and Antoine Pinay (on right) are greeting a vast Austrian crowd from the Balcony of Vienna’s Belvedere Palace.

Excerpt from Khrushchev’s “secret speech” delivered during  the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (February 24/25, 1956):

Stalin originated the concept ‘enemy of the people.’ This term automatically made it unnecessary that the ideological errors of a man or men engaged in a controversy be proven. It made possible the use of the cruelest repression, violating all norms of revolutionary legality, against anyone who in any way disagreed with Stalin, against those who were only suspected of hostile intent, against those who had bad reputations. «

The Austrian State Treaty was signed on May 15, 1955, to end the ten-year four-power occupation of Austria. By late October the occupation armies had withdrawn and Austria proclaimed its new international status of permanent neutrality – in contrast with Germany, which remained divided between East and West. American Secretary of State John  Foster Dulles thought Austrian neutrality might be a model for neighboring states under Soviet control.

After Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s crimes in his “secret speech” of February 1956, Poles and Hungarians began to grope for more freedom. Hungarians took to the streets in large numbers in late October 1956 and demanded the withdrawal of Soviet forces. When Prime Minister Imre Nagy declared Hungarian neutrality  on November 1, Soviet tanks returned to crush the Hungarian surge for freedom and to reestablish Communist control. Almost 200,000 Hungarians fled across the border to Austria. Most of these refugees found new homes all over the world, among them thousands who came to the United States.


 THE AUSTRIAN STATE TREATY AND THE HUNGARIAN CRISIS OF 1956

THE AUSTRIAN STATE TREATY AND THE HUNGARIAN CRISIS OF 1956


In the Elementary School of Andau (Austria), Hungarian Refugees are getting temporary night quarters, November 1956.

 A dead Russian soldier in the streets of Budapest with Russian  tanks rolling in the background during the Hungarian Uprising in late October 1956.

A dead Russian soldier in the streets of Budapest with Russian  tanks rolling in the background during the Hungarian Uprising in late October 1956.

 Hungarian Refugees cross a canal in a boat on November 21, 1956, on the way to Austria; the man in front is totally exhausted.

Hungarian Refugees cross a canal in a boat on November 21, 1956, on the way to Austria; the man in front is totally exhausted.


PHOTO CREDITS: CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Photo Fritz Kern, #FO400445/02, ORF Collection. #389046 Picture Archives of the Austrian National Gallery; Erich Lessing Collection #4583, 45; #4299671, Picture Archives of the Austrian National Library; FO403151/01, ORF Photo Collection,; #393253, Picture Archives of the Austrian National Library; United States Information Agency Collection #US 12.955 B88; #4425991,  Picture Archives of the Austrian National Library.