Hungary

Full Name Kingdom of Hungary
Alliance Axis - Minor Member Nation or Possession
Entry into WW2 27 Jun 1941
Population in 1939 9,129,000
Military Deaths in WW2 300,000
Civilian Deaths in WW2 680,000
 - Civ Deaths from Holocaust 400,000

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

The post-WW1 Hungary, with the proud Austro-Hungarian Empire memory still fresh in mind, created an environment favorable for right-wing political parties not unlike that of Germany in the same period. Miklós Horthy, the former Commander-in-Chief of the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Navy who had ruled the nation as the regent since 1920, appointed German-leaning Gyula Gömbös as the Prime Minister in 1932. As it would turn out, the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany dramatically improved German industrial output and financial health, which also greatly benefited Hungary, which traded with Germany heavily. By 1935, Gömbös had gained strong influence in parliament, but died in Oct 1936 before being able to achieve his goal of forming a single-party government and to repeal the Treaty of Trianon. His successors Kálmán Darányi achieved the latter goal with the support of Adolf Hitler, who by that time had renounced the similar restrictions imposed on Germany at the end of WW1; it was also during Darányi's leadership that the first anti-Semitic policies were passed: The First Jewish Law limited the number of Jews in certain professions. Darányi's successor Béla Imrédy briefly attempted to lean Hungary toward Britain, but he retained a similar right-wing stance; the Second Jewish Law passed under his leadership further restricted the liberties of Jews in Hungary. The Imrédy years also saw the First Vienna Award, in which Hungary gained parts of Southern Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia, with a total population of 869,299, with German support; Hitler proposed further cecessions of Czechoslovakian territory to Hungary, but Horthy noted that he would only accept territory populated with Hungarian majority. Prime Minister Pál Teleki entered office in Feb 1939. In the following month, Germany succeeded in dismembering Czechoslovakia, and in the ensuing chaos the Carpatho-Ukraine region declared independence; Hungary rejected such declaration and invaded, and occupied the region, on 14 Mar 1939. Shortly after, the newly formed Slovakia and Hungary entered into a brief armed engagement, Little War, that resulted in Hungary gaining a small piece of territory. In Sep 1940, Hungary gained from Romania the northern half of Transylvania, with a population of 2,578,100, per the Second Vienna Award. By this time, Hungary had largely reversed the losses that Hungary had suffered as the result of the Treaty of Trianon.

Hungary was pressured into joining the Tripartite Pact in Nov 1940; a month later, the Treaty of Eternal Friendship was signed with Yugoslavia, which was also being pressured by Germany to join the Axis at the same time. Although the European War had raged on for more than a year now, aside from the limited fighting against its immediate neighbors during the border disputes, Hungary had not yet seen combat. It would soon change as Germany pressured Hungary into invading Yugoslavia, which resisted German pressures to join the Axis. Teleki, frustrated in his inability to resist both external pressure from Germany and lack of support from within his own country, committed suicide on 3 Apr 1941. Miklós Horthy and Teleki's successor Prime Minister László Bárdossy sent Hungarian Third Army into action in Yugoslavia, capturing Vojvodina during the fighting and annexing sections of Baranja, Backa, Medimurje, and Prekmurje at the end of the fighting. During the fighting in Yugoslavia, Hungarian troops would execute 3,000 Serbian and Jewish hostages near Novi Sad. Bárdossy later would, in Aug 1941, pass the Third Jewish Law which prohibited marriage and sexual intercourse between Jewish and non-Jewish Hungarians. At the start of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, some elements of the Hungarian leadership wished to join in the fighting, but this did not take place immediately; the 26 Jun 1941 Soviet air strike on Kassa (now Kosice, Slovakia), however, provided the ammunition for Hungarian participation. Hungarian Carpathian Group, as a part of German 17th Army, attacked Soviet 12th Army as early as 1 Jul 1941, four days after the Hungarian declaration of war on Soviet Union. Hungarian troops saw action in southeastern Europe, including the Battle of Stalingrad, where they suffered high casualties. Bárdossy's reign would turn out to last only one year, after which Miklós Kállay was made the prime minister, who Horthy viewed as more independent from German influence. In the subsequent years, Soviet forces slowly turned the tide, and by 1944 Hungary faced the possibility of being invaded by the Soviets, and thus Kállay engaged in secret negotiations with the Western Allies. This was discovered by the Germans, leading to the German occupation of Hungary. Pro-German Prime Minister Döme Sztójay was installed in Mar 1944. While the Hungarian Jews had been oppressed prior to the German occupation, Hungary refused to deport them to German-operated concentration camps outside Hungarian borders. Things changed after the arrival of the Germans. 437,402 Hungarian Jews were deported, and most of whom were killed. The Nazi Adolf Eichmann gained his infamy as the bureaucrat who conducted the deportations. In Aug 1944, Horthy replaced Sztójay with General Géza Lakatos, who halted the deportations. In Sep 1944, Soviet and Romanian forces crossed the border into Hungary, and Horthy announced in the following month that Hungary had signed an armistice with the Soviet Union, although Hungarian troops continued to fight against the invaders; in response, the Germans kidnapped Horthy's son and forced him to renege on the armistice. Additionally, Horthy was forced to name the Fascist Ferenc Szálasi, who was to be a German puppet, to the position of prime minister. Although the German-Hungarian forces were still formidable, they were repeatedly pushed back by the Soviets. The capital Budapest was encircled by the end of the year, and it would fall in Feb 1945. By Apr 1945, all of Hungary would fall under Soviet control. Between 100,000 and 170,000 ethnic Germans were deported during these final days of war to be forced laborers in the Soviet Union; thousands of them would not survive the ordeal.

After the European War, Hungary lost Subcarpathia to Ukraine of the Soviet Union, and its borders generally returned to those of 1 Jan 1938. 202,000 ethnic Germans who survived the Soviet conscription for forced laborers in 1945 were forcibly deported to Germany between 1946 and 1948. The kingdom (which had no king since the end of WW1) was abolished in 1946, and a short-lived republic lasted until 1949. In 1949, the People's Republic of Hungary was declared, which would remain in power until the end of the Cold War.

Source: Wikipedia

People

Bárdossy, LászlóKállay, MiklósTeleki, Pál
Horthy, MiklósSztójay, Döme
Jány, GusztávSzálasi, Ferenc

Events Taken Place in Hungary

The Slovak-Hungarian War23 Mar 1939 - 31 Mar 1939
Budapest Strategic Offensive Operation29 Oct 1944 - 13 Feb 1945

Weapons

Danuvia 39M Submachine Gun

Photographs

Bf 110 aircraft in flight over Budapest, Hungary, early 1944German troops aboard a SdKfz. 251 halftrack vehicle, Hungary, 1944Hungarian soldiers in the Carpathian Mountains region of eastern Hungary, 1944; note 39M submachine gunJagdpanzer 38(t) tank destroyer in Hungary, circa 1944, photo 1 of 3
See all 27 photographs of Hungary in World War II


Hungary in World War II Interactive Map




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Hungary in World War II Photo Gallery
Bf 110 aircraft in flight over Budapest, Hungary, early 1944
See all 27 photographs of Hungary in World War II



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