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eniko.basa at verizon dot net
Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:02:38 EDT by admin, 137003 views
HAS Research Center for the Humanities
History paper by Kecskés, Gusztáv D. (all papers)
The Anatomy of a Humanitiarian Miracle [The Case of the 1956 Refugees]
The paper presents a synthesis based on source material from the archives of the United Nations Secretariat (New York), the European Office of the UN (Geneva) and the UN High Comissioner for Refugees (Geneva), as well as from NATO, International Red Cross Committee and French foreign ministry archives (Brussels, Geneva and La Courneuve, respectively).
Following the end of the 1956 revolution, which had been violently put down by the Soviet Union, a wave of Hungarian refugees appeared, whose accommodation and integration was aided by an international aid initiative, which together form an important chapter in the history of international migration. These refugees received far more favourable treatment than earlier Hungarian expatriates or other European refugees had. The mass of refugees, totalling 200.000 persons and thus constituting a significant group even in a broad, European perspective meant that their successful transportation to host countries and their subsequent integration represented an exceptional success for international aid efforts. This success merits investigation especially in light of the fact that the institutions dealing with refugees had to face chronic shortages of funding.
How can their efficiency be explained? The humanitarian sentiment motivated by the memory of the 2nd World War and the resulting clarification and strengthening of refugee rights contributed to it just as much as did the support of the highly sympathetic West European societies. Also, the highly advantageous composition of the refugees in terms of labour market skills and competitiveness coincided favourably with the era of the „wonder years” in West European economic history. The most important component, however, was the political will of NATO governments, which – in part as a result of the ideological confrontation with the Soviets – ensured continued attention and support for the problem of the Hungarian refugees even once the waves of popular sympathy had receded in the host societies.
Brief Professional Bio:
DEGREES: 2003 - PhD degree at the University of Pécs (Hungary) (Hungary and Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, 1996-1998). The topic of the thesis is French Diplomacy and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (summa cum laude). 2003 Doctoral degree at the University of Paris III, Sorbonne (History of international relations). The subject of the thesis is the same as above (Très honorable avec félicitations du jury à l’unanimité). 1993 Diploma in History and Hungarian Language and Literature, University of Szeged.
CURRENT POSITION: Senior research fellow, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of History.
AREAS OF RESEARCH AND INTEREST: International relations after World War II; History of international organizations, especially relations between United Nations and Hungary; International migration, Hungarian refugees of 1956; History of French diplomacy after World War II.