A (bit) smarter Horthy in the 1930s and 40

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Princess Perfume
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A (bit) smarter Horthy in the 1930s and 40

Post by Princess Perfume » 19 Dec 2022 11:54

Now Horthy as genius is ASB but there's no reason that Horthy could not have been a bit smarter.

How would the Regency fare with a Horthy that was deft and smart at foreign affairs?

Peter89
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Re: A (bit) smarter Horthy in the 1930s and 40

Post by Peter89 » 19 Dec 2022 12:52

Princess Perfume wrote:
19 Dec 2022 11:54
Now Horthy as genius is ASB but there's no reason that Horthy could not have been a bit smarter.

How would the Regency fare with a Horthy that was deft and smart at foreign affairs?
First of all, Horthy wasn't stupid at all, he graduated at the Naval Academy of Fiume where out of 612 applicants only 42 were admitted. He spoke German, English, French, Italian and Croatian as well. He also travelled through the world, including Australia, China, India, etc.

Second, the post-WW1 Hungary couldn't do much more in foreign affairs. He actually wrote about it in the Siófok letters and it was pretty much an accurate picture. A landlocked country, disarmed and surrounded by hostile neighbours which recently profited from the dismemberment of Hungary, had limited options to find allies or exercise influence in foreign affairs.

They tried to find allies, such as the Turks, the Italians, the Poles and the Finns, but all of these were rather weak and the cooperation with them was by and large impossible. Horthy thought - correctly - that Yugoslavia might be interested in some form of cooperation with Hungary, because Hungary posed no threat to Yugoslavia and Yugoslavia's interests tied its fate to the Balkans. He also correctly saw that Czechoslovakia is not going to last and that Romania is Hungary's greatest enemy because the Romanian ambitions directly threatened Hungarian interests.

Then in the 1930's he slowly began to restore Hungary's international position and made the Little Entente to acknowledge the right of Hungary to rearm itself (1938) then went on and made some territorial gains at the negotiating table (1938-1940). When he allowed the Hungarian troops to enter into Yugoslavia, the PM killed himself (1941).

He made deposits in the US for the funding of a Hungarian emigrant government, but it sadly never came to reality.

He only had one mistake, which was quite serious. As a feudal lord, he hated the Soviets from his guts, although the Soviets tried to appease the Hungarians many times and saw them as a local ally against Romania (Bessarabia). They even sent back the flags taken in 1849. In his mind, a Communist takeover in Hungary was worse than anything. So when the Barbarossa started, the Germans did not want Hungary to participate, and Molotov tried to reason with József Kristóffy, he declared war still. But given the state of mind of the Hungarian politicians and officiers, I doubt he could do otherwise eventually.


Had he been smarter, he would never have attacked the Soviet Union (much like Bulgaria), kept the Hungarian Royal Army at home and as a result, Hungary could keep at least some of the territories it took in 1938-1941 and kept the country and its population much more safe.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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