Refugee Politics And The Origins Of The Cold War: The Hungarian Experience In Montana
Following the destruction caused by World War II, world leaders, specifically Franklin D. Roosevelt and Josef Stalin, were responsible for leading the mankind into a new era of post-war reconstruction. The necessary alliance of East and West was pitifully short-lived: the ideological conflict between capitalism and communism erupted into the Cold War. Caught in this conflict were countries struggling to rebuild themselves. Due to the quest for spheres of influence, parts of Eastern, as well as Western, Europe were divided between the two dominant powers. One of these nations was Hungary. Due to the national climate during the Cold War, Hungarians were given special immigration status following the 1956 revolt. One study has shown how public opinion was greatly in favor of Hungarian immigration. It stated, "The Hungarians were viewed as heroes, easily the most popular group of refugees in U.S. history, because of their battle with Communism." 3 Substantial refugee relief funding was demanded in lieu of the military aid that many had expected. The initial Refugee Relief Act provided for 5,000 Hungarians to arrive in the United States soon after the revolt. A following increase of 1,200 was accorded due to the extremely large outpouring of people from Hungary, and soon afterward a special "parolee" status was created to allow the additional immigration of 15,000 Hungarians. The Refugee Relief Act also waived many of the security requirements for pending immigration, and most of the screening was put in the control of voluntary organizations handling the refugees.