Hungary History Between 1920 and 1944
Groups and parties in the face of war. – Like other countries in the twenty years between the two world wars, Hungary too did not escape the prevalence of a substantially totalitarian internal situation, even if there was no lack of opposition political parties.
From 1920, the time when Horthy came to power, until 1944, the time of his deportation to Germany, the Hungarian political life was all dominated without interruption by a single party, the government of the Hungarian Union. It always had an absolute majority in parliament and the ministers who alternated on the political scene, before coming to power, had to sign up for this party, if they were not members. Expression above all of the great landed interests, of the magnate caste, it was opposed by the Social Democratic party, that of the small owners, the Habsburg legitimist party, the National Socialist party of peasants and workers. After 1933, when Hitler came to power,
According to behealthybytomorrow, the situation was worrying. It was faced by Béla Imrédy who, in assuming power on May 13, 1938, with a program of social reforms and a line of foreign policy opposed to Germany, first tried to organize the popular masses into a “Miraculous Deer Movement “(from one of the symbols of the Magyar tradition), with the task of countering the accentuation of a pro-German orientation. And as on the English side – in keeping with the appeasement policy- there was a suggestion to come to an agreement with Berlin, he instead tried to remove Hungary from the area of German influence, approaching Italy more intimately, not without thinking of a dynastic solution with a Savoy on the throne of Saint Stephen. In this sense, the “Movement of the Miraculous Deer” was opposed to the same regent Horthy who was thinking of creating his own dynasty. These projects, also opposed by the Habsburg legitimists, gave Horthy the opportunity to overthrow Imrédy (October 28, 1938), who however remained in the government party.
The elections of 1939 saw the crosses and other pro-Nazi parties enter the parliament, which lasted until the end of the war. The new groups (besides the arrow crosses, the national front, the Hungarian National Socialists, the peasants and workers National Socialists) were all in favor of an intervention on the side of Germany. Of the old parties, all against the war, only the government party (renamed “party of Hungarian life” by Imrédy) had an interventionist current in favor of the Nazis.
– The satisfaction of revisionism and intervention. Beyond every political color and the same profound disagreement between the various social classes, especially between the magnate and the millions of peasants, a single common denominator – revisionism – strengthened the unity of all Hungarians. Established in 1918, at the time of the republic of Károlyi, in the form of a movement for the peaceful revision of the borders of the Trianon, it was directed somewhat in all directions: towards Czechoslovakia as towards Romania and, to a lesser extent, towards the Yugoslavia. In the wake of the Nazi successes and in the context of the “new order” wanted by Hitler in Europe. central, Hungary between the last year of peace and the first of the war saw most of its demands met with little expense. This necessarily had to tie Hungarian politics more and more to the chariot of Germany, as the only power capable of guaranteeing the new Central European “status quo”. On January 13, 1939, Hungary had joined the anticomintern pact, while on January 26, Count Csáky expressed himself in clear favor of the Rome-Berlin axis. On February 2, diplomatic relations with the USSR were broken, while on April 11 the Hungarian government withdrew from the League of Nations. On November 20, 1940, Csáky signed in Vienna the adhesion to the Italian-German-Japanese pact of September 27, 1940.
On this condition of having to follow a real and proper track in foreign policy (which led Hungary back thirty or forty years, when Germanism was considered by the Hungarian ruling classes as the only counterweight that could counterbalance the weight of the Slavs and of the Romanians incorporated within historic Hungary), Count Paolo Teleki, who came to power in February 1939, tried to steal the country.
In the last months before the German attack on Poland, he had taken care to make contact with the English ambassador in Budapest O’Maley, in order to favor the anti-German currents and above all to organize the resistance in case the Germans had pushed forward. to invade central Europe. This was all the more necessary since the pro-Nazi parties, in addition to having their own paramilitary formations, had managed to penetrate the police and army forces themselves, where the great majority of officers were in favor of Germany. However, this firmer Hungarian policy towards the Germans (which was badly reconciled with following in their footsteps on the level of revisionism to the bitter end), also had to have external support. Teleki found him in the other Danubian country threatened by Hitler’s expansionism, Yugoslavia, and with it on 12 December 1940 concluded a pact of “lasting peace and eternal friendship” in Belgrade, with which Hungary came to renounce its claims on Bačka, on a part of Vojvodina and Banat. After Yugoslav accession to the Tripartite, the subsequent Belgrade coup (April 1941) induced the Germans to attack Yugoslavia. In this way, according to what Churchill himself admits in his Memoirs, they met the British interest in making Germany go as far as possible in Central Europe and in the Balkans, both to remove it from the West and disperse its forces, both – and above all – for the purpose of creating a reason for antagonism with the USSR.
Faced with adhesion to the tripartite (which in fact could also turn out to be completely platonic), the Belgrade coup had turned the whole situation upside down and, in addition to opening the way to the German invasion of Yugoslavia, had suddenly strengthened the German chains around Hungary. Paolo Teleki could not stand the blow and on 2 April 1941 he preferred to take his own life. A few days later, Horthy called László de Bárdossy to the presidency (from January 27, 1941 after the death of Count Csáky) and confirmed the entire cabinet. The regent and the government, supported by the military and without consulting the parliament (where the majority was against the intervention), decided to let the Hungarian army enter Yugoslavia alongside the German troops.