The Hungarian revolution of 1956 was one of the most important episodes of the cold war.
It began on Oct. 23, when a demonstration of Budapest students in sympathy with Polish reforms erupted into anti-government riots, and ended on Nov. 4, when Soviet troops entered the city in force and crushed the uprising. The death toll was enormous: 2,500 deaths and 10,000 wounded during the fighting, as well as an estimated 330 executions.
In Failed Illusions , Charles Gati describes those dramatic 12 days, and how the inhabitants of the Hungarian capital-- students, workers, intellectuals and others -- stood up and died for their independence. Gati directly experienced the 1956 revolution as a young journalist, and member of the intellectual Petofi Circle dedicated to Hungarian reform.
In two recent interviews,with Robert Siegel of NPR here and David Glenn of the Chronicle of Higher Education here , Gati argues that, even as late as Ocotber 30th, military action was not invevitable, and there was a diplomatic solution out of the bloody siege.