The history of Stalin’s boots - the Stalin statue of Budapest
The Stalin Monument in Budapest was completed in December 1951 as a “gift” to Joseph Stalin from the Hungarian People on his seventieth birthday (December 21, 1949). The statue was erected near to the Heroe’s Square in Budapest.
The monument not only demonstrated Stalin’s power, but the power of the Hungarian Working People’s Party as well. Stalin statues sprang up everywhere in Eastern Europe from the 1930s to the 1950s. They were cult objects that demonstrated the almost mystical powers of Stalin. Upon the completion of the Stalin statue, a journalist in Budapest said:
“Stalin was with us earlier; now he will be with us even more. He will watch over our work, and his smile will show us the way. I have been told that in Moscow it is customary to pay a visit to Comrade Lenin in Red Square before beginning, or after finishing, an important task, either to report or to ask his advice. Undoubtedly the same will occur here with the statue of Comrade Stalin.”
On 23rd October 1956 around two hundred thousand Hungarians gathered in Budapest to demonstrate againt the Soviet regime. That was the first day and beginning the Uprise and Hungarian Freedom Fight of 1956. The
Hungarians broadcasted sixteen demands over the radio, one of them being the dismantling of Stalin’s statue. Hungarian revolutionaries demolished the statue, leaving only his boots, in which they planted a Hungarian flag.
The demonstrators placed a thick steel rope around the neck of the 25-metre tall Stalin’s statue while other people, arriving in trucks with oxygen cylinders and metal cutting blowpipes, were setting to work on the statue’s bronze shoes. An hour later the statue fell down from its pedestal.
The bronze inscribed name of the Hungarians’ leader, teacher and “best friend” was ripped off from the pedestal. Before the toppling of the statue, someone had placed a sign over Stalin’s mouth that read “RUSSIANS, WHEN YOU RUN AWAY DON’T LEAVE ME BEHIND!” The revolutionaries chanted “Russia go home!” while pulling down the statue. “W.C.” and other insulting remarks were scrawled over the fragmented parts of the statue.
Today the boots of Stalin are locate in Memento Park Budapest.