One year ago today the people of a slave nation began a struggle to reassert the innate human desire for freedom. That their struggle failed is insignificant. Their effort was a reassuring sign to a disillusioned and apathetic world.
The death of thousands of Hungarians in the fight is a loss that free people have mourned, but perhaps not fully appreciated. Granted that the West can do little but give refuge and solace to the survivors of the October revolt and censure their persecutors, it still has failed to pay full tribute to the cause for which the men and women of Budapest died.
Although the response to the immediate suffering was great, it showed only compassion and pity. The fact that the revolution was quashed outweighed a feeling for the sentiments that motivated the rebellion.
It is impossible to commemorate adequately the spirit of Budapest last October, but it is also impossible to forget the sacrifice. The fight showed that the Communist system did not and could not fulfill its promises of democracy. The lesson of Hungary for the neutralist nations should have been a significant one.
The Hungarian revolt and its brutal repression by the Russians served to remind the Western world as well as the uncommitted nations of the true nature of the Communist system. In deflating Kremlin propaganda, the freedom fighters made a great contribution to the cause for which they died.
Whenever the world finds itself lulled in inactivity by Communist talk of "peace" and "peoples' democracries," the example of Hungary 1956 should be remembered.