"We Have Wines of All Kinds: Red, White, and Green": Romanian Reactions to the Hungarian Uprising in 1956 *

By Granville, Johanna | The Australian Journal of Politics and History, June 2008 | Go to article overview

"We Have Wines of All Kinds: Red, White, and Green": Romanian Reactions to the Hungarian Uprising in 1956 *


Granville, Johanna, The Australian Journal of Politics and History


According to a prank advertisement in Hungarian allegedly found on a bulletin board at Babe-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (Koloszvar), the ancient capital of Transylvania, a certain Mrs. "Farkas" ("wolf" in Hungarian) requested a tutor for her twins. The contact address she provided was that of the Capitoline Wolf Statue (Statuia Lupoaicei) on Eroilor Boulevard, depicting a she-wolf suckling two human baby boys, Romulus and Remus. Italy had presented the statue to the city of Cluj in 1921 to symbolize the Latin heritage of all ethnic Romanians. The ersatz advertisement not only mocks the intelligence and independence of the human twins, especially of Romulus--legendary founder of Rome--but also connotes the autochthony of Hungarians in Transylvania and the need for Hungarians in general to teach the Romanians.

Before the collapse of communism in Romania in 1989, a stereotype prevailed that, in contrast to the youth in Hungary, as well as in Poland and Czechoslovakia, Romanian students were too "cowardly" to voice their opinion of the events of the 1950s, including the Hungarian revolt. After the communist regime's collapse, Romanian scholars working with new archival documents debunked this conception, claiming that a student protest "movement" and widespread "demonstrations" (manifestarile) did indeed occur throughout Romania. A kind of "post-communist bias", or--as British historian Dennis Deletant called it--a "tendency toward hyperbole" resulted. (1) The true nature of student dissatisfaction in Romania in 1956 lies somewhere in-between these two extremes. Romanian university students were neither too "timid" to speak their minds about the need for reforms, nor tightly united in a movement with a central leadership and specific agenda. (2) Moreover, the extent of unrest varied from city to city. Scholars tend to refer very broadly to demonstrations in Romania, perhaps because detailed information on individual cities has been hard to obtain. In 1956 foreign diplomats were actually forbidden from traveling to key cities in Transylvania and the Banat. No doubt a perfectly comprehensive study is impossible to write, since many eyewitnesses have died without leaving behind memoirs. (3) Drawing on archival documents, memoirs, and recent scholarship, this article will examine and compare events in just three Romanian cities--Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, and Timisoara--and show how the Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej regime's swift, multifaceted crackdown, capitalizing on lessons learned from the Hungarian example, precluded the formation of a nationwide revolutionary movement in Romania in 1956. (4) Only in Timisoara were two mass meetings or demonstrations able to occur, due to a combination of psychological, logistical, and historical factors. Both were quickly dispersed by the Securitate.

Bucharest

One of the first stormy student meetings that can be documented took place in Bucharest, the capital city nicknamed in the interwar period as the "Paris of the East" or "Little Paris" (Micul Paris). Located in the southeast of the country on the banks of the Dambovita River, the city is reputed to have acquired its name from its legendary founder, the shepherd Bucur. (5) In 1956 Bucharest had 1,177,661 citizens, at least 11,626 (about one per cent) of whom were ethnic Hungarians. (6) The meeting was held at "C.I. Parhon" University of Bucharest on 27 September from 4:00 p.m. to 2 a.m. The purpose of the meeting was to elect leaders to the Union of Working Youth (Uninea Tineretului Muncitoresc or UTM) organization among the fourth-year students in the faculty of philology. (7) Conspicuously absent from the students' comments at this meeting that long predated the first Hungarian student revolt (23 October) were larger political questions or demands concerning Romanian-Soviet relations, such as the withdrawal of Soviet troops; they mostly concerned living conditions and basic human rights. As the Politburo members remarked later: "We should emphasize that the meeting was held in an atmosphere of economic and material demands (atmosfera de revendicari economice-materiale). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

"We Have Wines of All Kinds: Red, White, and Green": Romanian Reactions to the Hungarian Uprising in 1956 *
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.