Budapest, Hungary – Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Hungarian People's Republic, Imre Nagy, received reports that Soviet forces had entered Hungary from the east and were moving towards Budapest. Nagy sought and received assurances (which proved false) from Soviet ambassador Yuri Andropov that the Soviet Union would not invade. The Cabinet, with János Kádár in agreement, declared Hungary's neutrality, withdrew from the Warsaw Pact, and requested assistance from the diplomatic corps in Budapest and the UN Secretary-General to defend Hungary's neutrality. Ambassador Andropov was asked to inform his government that Hungary would begin negotiations on the removal of Soviet forces immediately.
Tököl, near Budapest, Hungary – A Hungarian delegation led by the Minister of Defense Pál Maléter were invited to attend negotiations on Soviet withdrawal at the Soviet Military Command at Tököl. At around midnight that evening, General Ivan Serov, Chief of the Soviet Security Police (KGB) ordered the arrest of the Hungarian delegation.
A second Soviet intervention, codenamed "Operation Whirlwind", was launched by Marshal Ivan Konev. The five Soviet divisions stationed in Hungary before 23 October were augmented to a total strength of 17 divisions. The 8th Mechanized Army under command of Lieutenant General Hamazasp Babadzhanian and the 38th Army under Lieutenant General Hadzhi-Umar Mamsurovs from the nearby Carpathian Military District were deployed to Hungary for the operation. By 21:30 on 3 November, the Soviet Army had completely encircled Budapest.
Budapest, Hungary – At 03:00 on 4 November, Soviet tanks penetrated Budapest along the Pest side of the Danube in two thrusts: one up the Soroksári road from the south and the other down the Váci road from the north. Thus before a single shot was fired, the Soviets had effectively split the city in half, controlled all bridgeheads, and were shielded to the rear by the wide Danube river. Armoured units crossed into Buda and at 04:25 fired the first shots at the army barracks on Budaörsi Road. Soon after, Soviet artillery and tank fire was heard in all districts of Budapest. Operation Whirlwind combined air strikes, artillery, and the co-ordinated tank-infantry action of 17 divisions.
During the early morning hours of 4 November, Ferenc Münnich announced on Radio Szolnok the establishment of the "Revolutionary Workers'-Peasants' Government of Hungary".
At 05:20 on 4 November, Imre Nagy broadcast his final plea to the nation and the world, announcing that Soviet Forces were attacking Budapest and that the Government remained at its post. The radio station, Free Kossuth Rádió, stopped broadcasting at 08:07. An emergency Cabinet meeting was held in the Parliament but was attended by only three ministers. As Soviet troops arrived to occupy the building, a negotiated evacuation ensued, leaving Minister of State István Bibó as the last representative of the National Government remaining at his post. He wrote For Freedom and Truth, a stirring proclamation to the nation and the world.
Along the Hungarian-Austrian and Hungarian-Czechoslovak borders – On the morning of the Soviet military intervention, an avalanche of Hungarians fleeing towards Austria and Czechoslovakia. Five thousand had crossed the border to Austria and seven thousand had crossed the border to Czechoslovakia by noon.
Prague, Czechoslovakia – On Sunday morning the Czechoslovak government met to decide on the most urgent measures. Decisions reflected initial uncertainty. Soldiers that crossed the frontier with or without weapons had to be placedin custody immediately, regardless of whether they were members of the Hungarian or other armed forces. They had to be disarmed and interned at as great a distance from the frontier as possible, and isolated from the civilian population. This measure also applied to civilians if they crossed the frontier carrying arms. It was not established, however, what, other than the carrying of weapons, determined that one was a soldier who had to be interned or a civilian. The government had decided that all care had to be taken to ensure the smooth reception of refugees and their transit through Austria. All means of public transport had to be used, and if necessary, privately owned vehicles too.
In keeping with the prior government decisions, refugees had to be placed in camps. Local police were responsible for the security of the camps, and security within the camps. Crossing the frontier into Hungary with the aim of rescuing someone was not permitted, nor was it allowed to take a vehicle to Hungary for that purpose. Measures to close the frontier to Hungary were strengthened. Any exit in the direction of Hungary had to be prevented, even if the person concerned was in possession of a Hungarian visa. With the support of the Czechoslovak Army and the Red Cross, refugee camps were established in Nové Zámky Krupina, Košice and Zvolen.
Early in November the various ministries and voluntary and international organizations feverishly negotiated each other's duties and spheres of competence, and the measures taken or to be taken ugently. On November 6 a meeting was held in the Foreign Ministry for that purpose.
Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Štefan Osuský contacted Austrian Foreign Minister Leopold Figl, and agreed to coordinate measures in dealing with the Hungarian refugee crisis.
Vienna, Austria – Similarily, the Austrian government met to decide on the most urgent measures in relation to the Hungarian refugees. Refugee camps were established in Traiskirchen and Graz.
Hungary – Between 4 and 9 November, the Hungarian Army put up sporadic and disorganised resistance, with Marshal Zhukov reporting the disarming of twelve divisions, two armoured regiments, and the entire Hungarian Air Force. The Hungarian Army continued its most formidable resistance in various districts of Budapest and in and around the city of Pécs in the Mecsek Mountains, and in the industrial centre of Dunaújváros (then called Stalintown). Fighting in Budapest consisted of between ten and fifteen thousand resistance fighters, with the heaviest fighting occurring in the working-class stronghold of Csepel on the Danube River. Although some very senior officers were openly pro-Soviet, the rank and file soldiers were overwhelmingly loyal to the revolution and either fought against the invasion or deserted. The United Nations reported that there were no recorded incidents of Hungarian Army units fighting on the side of the Soviets.
By 08:00 organised defence of the city evaporated after the radio station was seized, and many defenders fell back to fortified positions. During the same hour, the parliamentary guard laid down their arms, and forces under Major General K. Grebennik captured Parliament and liberated captured ministers of the Rákosi-Hegedüs government. Among the liberated were István Dobi and Sándor Rónai, both of whom became members of the re-established socialist Hungarian government. As they came under attack even in civilian quarters, Soviet troops were unable to differentiate military from civilian targets. For this reason, Soviet tanks often crept along main roads firing indiscriminately into buildings. Hungarian resistance was strongest in the industrial areas of Budapest, with Csepel heavily targeted by Soviet artillery and air strikes.
The longest holdouts against the Soviet assault occurred in Csepel and in Dunaújváros, where fighting lasted until 11 November before the insurgents finally succumbed to the Soviets. At the end of the fighting, Hungarian casualties totalled at around 2,500 dead with an additional 20,000 wounded. Budapest bore the brunt of the bloodshed, with 1,569 civilians killed. Approximately 53 percent of the dead were workers, and about half of all the casualties were people younger than thirty. On the Soviet side, 699 men were killed, 1,450 men were wounded, and 51 men were missing in action. Estimates place around 80 percent of all casualties occurring in fighting with the insurgents in the eighth and ninth districts of Budapest.
In the immediate aftermath, many thousands of Hungarians were arrested. Eventually, 26,000 of these were brought before the Hungarian courts, 22,000 were sentenced and imprisoned, 13,000 interned, and 229 executed. Hundreds were also deported to the Soviet Union, many without evidence. Approximately 200,000 fled Hungary as refugees. Sporadic resistance and strikes by workers' councils continued until mid-1957, causing economic disruption. By 1963, most political prisoners from the 1956 Hungarian revolution had been released.
Vienna, Austria and Prague, Czechoslovakia – Jan Fulík, the Czechoslovak Minister of the Interior, and Oskar Helmer, the Austrian Minister of the Interior, jointly for international help in the placing and reception of refugees. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees sent a round robin to sixty governments asking them to support Hungarian refugees and for help in their reception. He stated that both UNHCR and ICEM were ready to co-operate in the selection and transport of the refugees, and that although the Vienna and Prague representatives of both organizations had been told that what mattered to Austria was a non-judgemental reception of refugees, taking them as they come, without selection.
The League of Red Cross Societies undertook to look after the basic needs of 10,000, as well as the care of refugee camps and of a maximum number of 33,000 Hungarian refugees.
Vienna, Austria and Prague, Czechoslovakia – By 21 November, Czechoslovak Police estimated that around 42,000 refugees had taken refuge in Czechoslovakia. In Austria, another 30,000 Hungarian refugees resided in Austria.