Why didn't the west save Hungary in 1956?

The country was on the brink of over throwing their opressors and invited the U.N to come and interviene. So why did the west stand by and do nothing?

The consequenses would of been minimal, and welcoming back Hungary to the West would be a huge embarassment to the Russians and caused further rebellions towards their domination.
They could also find out how they kept the population in control and what attracted them to the disease of Socialism.

So did we waste a unique opportunity? Or was it right to stand back?

The consequences minimal? Maybe so, maybe no.

I remember being very afraid that we would do just as you suggest, and get involved in a genuine war.

Today politicians frighten us by threatening to cut social security. Back then, they would scare us with images of atomic war.

At the same time as the invasion of Hungary was taking place the British invasion of Egypt over the nationalization of the Suez Canel was also happening. Because of this the events in Hungary were somewhat sidelined and Russia got off lightly because the attention of the UN , the USA and the international community was focused on the Middle East and not on Central Europe.

How close would you have wanted to get to a nuclear war?

Remember, the West also didn’t intervene in the Czechoslavakian revolt in 1968. If NATO had marched into either of those countries, the Warsw Pact most likely would have retaliated by invading West Germany.

At that point the stakes woiuld have gotten MUCH higher.

The U.S. did provide covert assitance to the Hungarian Freedom Fighters but I’m sure the overriding concern was not to escalate. After all, Hungary was already under the Soviet sphere of infuence.

Another problem.
Hungary borders on only one Western country; Austria.
Austria was not a member of NATO.

Now, Hungary is a member of NATO and Austria still
is not a member.

Have you got a cite on that, or are you guilty of practicing medicine without a license here ?
As far as your question of fact goes, it’s possible that the Russian’s successful Hydrogen bomb program (1955) caused the western powers to think twice about starting a new hot war.

To think some of the Russians in Hungary thought they were ‘liberating the peace loving egyptians from imperialist war mongers’ In downtown Budapest.

NATO troops didn’t have to march into Hungary but they could of put pressure on the U.N to allow international observers to oversee either a referendum or new election process take place rather than have crack Soviet troops shell and surround the city.

Nope. The U.S.S.R. sat out the vote on Korea in 1950, (possibly figuring that they could lead other countries to snub the U.S.). As a result, the U.S.-led vote to intervene in Korea passed handily. Following that, the U.S.S.R. never failed to use its Security Council veto power to stop any U.N. effort that directly countered its own will. (The U.S. learned the same lesson from that event and has made the same choice.)

The Soviet intervention was an effort to support the “legitimate” government in the face of an insurrection. (Their view, not mine.) Austria was not merely outside NATO, it was an officially demilitarized nation with both Western and Soviet observers. There was no place in Europe from which either NATO or the U.N. could have staged and launched a “peacekeeping” mission.

A bit of trivia:
Francisco Franco, the dictator of Spain was apparently serious about sending a bunch of soldiers to help. I will dig around for a cite, but so far I haven’t found any on the net (I got the info from an offline article some years ago). The US? How should we put it? Rethorics are cheap, real action costs money and lives. Which was too bad, since 1953, 1956 (remember: not just Hungary, but Poland as well!), 1968 and 1981 demonstrated that nobody really wanted communism, except for the More Equal.