UCL News


Resistance, Rebellion and Revolution

19 September 2006

A conference to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian revolution has been organised by UCL SSEES.

'Resistance, Rebellion and Revolution in Central Europe: Commemorating 1956' is taking place at the new UCL SSEES headquarters in Taviton Street on the 21st and 22nd of September 2006.

The conference, which is attended by both the Hungarian Secretary of State for International Affairs, Katalin Bogyay, and the Hungarian ambassador, His Excellency Bela Szombati, has attracted speakers from throughout Europe and North America from the worlds of both academia and politics.

Professor Martyn Rady (UCL SSEES), one of the event's organisers, said: "The conference will examine the history of resistance, rebellion and revolution in Central Europe, from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, although with an emphasis on the modern period and, as is appropriate in view of its fiftieth anniversary, on the 1956 revolution and its legacy."

For Professor Rady the Hungarian revolution raises many questions, which he hopes may be addressed during the conference: "In 1956 popular challenges to Soviet-backed governments erupted in both Hungary and Poland, leading most spectacularly in October to the collapse of communist rule in Hungary. It was only after some hesitation that Moscow felt sufficiently confident to crush the revolution by force.

"And yet, the readiness of ordinary Hungarians to take up arms to oppose the Soviet invaders invites questions of its own. Just what is it that moves individuals and groups to risk their lives in struggle against a regime? What is the moral threshold beyond which the demands of obedience and conformity cannot go? And when does political disengagement turn into a readiness for personal self-sacrifice?"

To find out how to attend the conference, which is free, use the link at the bottom of this article.