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By W. Wayne Patton

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In April 1949 the North Atlantic Treacy Organization was signed. Although a defensive alliance (see Source R), NATO's main purpose was to prevent Soviet expansion. Stalin saw NATO as an 'aggressive alliance' aimed against the Soviet Union. Developments in West Germany and the decision by the USA and the other members of NATO (on 9 May 1955) to make West Germany a member of NATO and allow the nation to remilitarise were seen by Stalin as a direct threat to the Eastern Bloc countries (see Source S).

About 7,000 of them were killed, though the rebels lost at least 20,000. About 200,000 Hungarians fled the country during the uprising, with many becoming political refugees (see Source H). The Soviet-backed Janos Kadar became Hungary's new leader. Nagy had been hiding in the Yugoslav embassy during the fighting. Kadar offered him safe passage out of the country. However, Kadar broke his word and arrested Nagy, who was then taken to Romania and hanged in 1958. Source E From a ra d i o messa g e s e n t by H u n g a r i a n rebels d u r i n g t h e f i g h t i n g , e a rly N ove m b e r 1 9 56 We have a l m ost n o wea p o n s , n o h e avy g u n s of a ny k i n d .

One wrong move and there was a real possibility of armed conflict. The US President, Kennedy, worked behind the scenes to avoid any such conflict, promising Khrushchev that if the Soviet Union removed its troops, the USA would do the same. This ended the stand-off. Source G From a convers a t i o n between K e n n e d y a n d a n a i d e after t h e V i e n n a S u m m i t i n 1 961 I m pact of the Berl i n Wa l l fo r Germans After the building o f the Berlin Wall, escape from East to West Germany became very difficult.

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