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Time, Political Analogies and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

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The paper focuses on one of the most debated events in Cold War Europe, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and how its memory has influenced Hungarian political thought. We follow the discussion until mid-1990s and study memory and analogy in politics. We examine analogy on the basis of the theory of new rhetoric and with the help of Reinhart Koselleck's writings. In new rhetoric, analogy is not an equality of two relations but belongs to associative strategies of argumentation. These strategies add together separate elements and construct arguments, which either increase of decrease the possibility of accepting the argument.

For my approach I have separated two kinds of analogies: those, which contemporary political actors have made during the great moments of history, and those analogies found afterwards by different political actors. Finally, we discuss the temporal nature of the analogy itself. Although analogies depend on audiences, weak analogies also reveal a lack of political skills.

The analogy of 1848 has been the most common in Hungary, but also other years, like 1919 and 1945, have been used in political argumentation. There is evidence, for example, of how Communists compared 1956 to 1919 to legitimize their political actions.


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