Inaction in Action: American Media and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

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Kirkman, Jordan
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Middle Tennessee State University
On November 4, 1956, Soviet military forces moved back into Budapest to once and for all suppress the Hungarian Revolution. Though Dwight Eisenhower repeatedly expressed his commitment to the liberation of Eastern Europe during his 1952 and 1956 presidential bids, the absence of an American military response revealed the inflated nature of "rollback" and led to a degree of international criticism for U.S. policies and institutions. This thesis examines U.S. press coverage of the Hungarian Revolution and reveals that American newsprint, far from being critical of the Eisenhower administration's decision not to intervene despite its aggressive posturing prior to developments in Hungary, helped the president to navigate the implications of his foreign policy promises by glossing over the apparent contradictions in his hands-off response and depicting these international developments through the lens of American foreign policy interests.
Cold War media, Eisenhower, Hungarian Revolution, Rollback, U.S. propaganda, World opinion