Violent inter-Axis incidents

Discussions on all aspects of the smaller Axis nations in Europe. Hosted by G. Trifkovic.
Sid Guttridge
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2008 13:25

Hi Orlov,

The most likely explanation is that the Red Air Force bombed Kassa by mistake. Remember, Kassa had been in Slovakia until three years earlier and was only a very few kilometres from the Slovak border. Slovakia was already at war with the USSR and therefore a legitimate target. An old map or a navigation error are the most likely explanations.

The idea that Romania bombed Kassa is just a conspiracy theory without evidence or substance. Besides, it was against Romania's interest that Hungary gain credit with Germany by also attacking the USSR.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 26 Jul 2008 09:56, edited 1 time in total.

Orlov
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby Orlov » 25 Jul 2008 14:53

Sid Guttridge wrote:... The idea that Romania bombed Kassa is just a conspiracy theory with evidence or substance. Besides, it was against Romania's interest that Hungary gain credit with Germany by also attacking the USSR...

In my opinion it's sceptical opinion not conspiracy theory. And you must remember about another diabolical plans rising in politician's (Nazis) minds. I will find sources to this thesis in Polish book about PZL 37 "Łoś" (unfortunately in Polish). Simply Germany asked his Axis - Romania for bombing enemy's town (in Romanian point of view). Romania help III Reich.
And Slovakia used only 1 bomber Avia B-71 (SB-2) for training, not for fight
bestreg
Orlov

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2008 18:46

Hi Orlov,

The story is without any substance or evidence.

Furthermore, it was not in Romania's interest that Hungary should join in the war against the USSR. If you look at the text of Antonescu's meetings with the Germans throughout the war, he is forever trying to impress them with how much more committed Romania was to the Eastern Front than Hungary was. It was by demonstrating Hungary's lack of commitment to the Eastern Front that he hoped to get the 1940 Vienna Award reversed by the Germans. Hungary's entry into the campaign was therefore against Romania's interest.

It is far more likely, as I said earlier, that the Red Air Force made an error due either to Kassa's recent transfer from Slovakia to Hungary or a simple navigation error.

I am not suggesting that Slovakia was involved. Yes, Slovakia only had one SB-2. However, if the Germans did want to mount such a raid, they had taken other SB2s in Bohemia-Moravia in March 1939. They didn't need Romanian or Slovak help.

Like most things, the simple explanations are most likely, and like most history, cock-up rather than convoluted conspiracy is far more probable.

I will believe anything if substantive evidence is available, but abolutely none is in this case.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Csaba Becze
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby Csaba Becze » 26 Jul 2008 11:34

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Walhalla,

Hungarian actions in March 1939 were nothing to do with "liberation".

In early October 1938 Hungary had recovered all the areas of Slovakia and Ruthenia where Hungarians were a majority. Thus the ethnically unfair aspects of the Trianon Treaty had already been resolved.

The Hungarian occupations of March 1939 were naked land grabs of territories in Ruthenia and eastern Slovakia where non-Hungarians, almost all Ruthenian/Ukrainians, were clear majorities.

In both cases the Hungarians struck immediately after Germany had finally dismantled the Czecho-Slovak state but before the Ruthenes and Slovaks had had a chance to take over local defence from the withdrawing Czecho-Slovak Army. In both cases the Hungarians were met by armed resistance - by the Sic Guard outside Khost in Ruthenia, and by the embryonic, week-old, Slovak Army and, belatedly, some Hlinka Guards.

In both cases Hungary used aircraft, armour, mechanised units, artillery, infantry and cavalry. In both cases the Ruthenes and Slovaks resisted with whatever they could get off the disintegrating Czecho-Slovak Army. In the Sic Guard case this was nothing heavier than heavy machine guns, but the Slovaks managed to deploy almost the same range of weaponry that the Hungarians were using.

Some sources claim up to 600 Sic Guard died fighting Hungarian armoured units, although this seems to me probably to be a considerable exaggeration. The Slovaks lost several armoured vehicles and aircraft in combat. The Hungarian invasions of March 1939 involved every arm of service available to them and were resisted using every arm of service available to their opponents. Brief though the fighting was, it was definitely war.

The Hungarian advance was in itself an act of hostility. In the Slovak case the "non-provocative" Hungarian advance included capturing a Slovak barracks near the border by surprise and taking all its occupants prisoner!

The war ended because Germany deserted the Ruthenians and put pressure on both the Hungarians and Slovaks to stop.

Cheers,

Sid.



What you believe is one thing, what happened in fact is one another. In Ruthenia, there were no 'Ukrainians' at all. Rusyns are not Ukrainians in any way, they are (but now I must say: they were) an independent ethnic group, who were always loyal to Hungarians. Ruthenia was gifted to Czechoslovakia by the Antant after WwI only to separate Hungary from Poland. That's why Hungary captured it again in March, 1939: to build a common border with Hungary's ancient ally, Poland. That common border lived only for 6 months, unfortunately. Now Rusyns were forced to being Ukrainians (that territory was gifted by Czechoslovakia to the Soviet Union after WWII) but it not means, that they are Ukrainians. It is just a spectacular example how nationalists destroy an independent ethnic group. Anyway, high % of Hungarians from that area were murdered, deported to Gulags, or expelled by Soviets in 1944-45.
As for Slovakia and that border incident. I'm afraid, you don't know the ethnic boundary in that area (not in 1918 or 1938 or you don't know the Hodza-Bartha line, signed and accepted by Slovaks, since most of these territories ar BEHIND of that lince since most of these villages - Szobránc, Alsóhalas, Bunkós had ethnic Hungarian majority at that time) Not now, of course, thanks to the intensive Slovakisation, the forced relocation of Hungarians (Czech and other territories - look for Ujfalusi and other pure Czech names in their football national team) or because many Hungarian were expelled from their native lands after WWII.

That particular military action was started to secure the railway line in the River Ung from west. There was no boundary formerly between Slovakia and Ruthenia and that particular railway line was near the border, in undefensible way. There are remained genuine military docments which shows the pure plans and objectives for the units, which took part in that action. There were marked territories to them for capture. There was no "run till we can grab everything what we get". If Hungary would do it or if they would do a war with Slovakia, they wouldn't attack them in the heaviest terrain from the worst direction. There were far more easy ways to cut large parts from Slovakia. Several units went a bit farther, that the marked objectives, since there was no Slovak resitance and because the marked territories for them were simply not defendable. But it not means, that Hungary wanted to occupy Slovakia. Anyway, Hitler offered it to Horthy already in 1938 (entire Slovakia) but Horthy refused it, he wanted only back the territories with Hungarian majority.

It was a hostile action, of course, but for mostly Hungarian inhabited villages and to prevent the simiar incidents, which happened after the First Vienna Award (there were many border incidents, high percent of them were provoked by Czechs and since the new borders were not defendably properly, sometimes these attacks and regular shootings to Hungarian territory caused losses)

If you want to hear about "naked grabs of territories" I suggest you to read some sources about Trianon.

dragos03
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby dragos03 » 27 Jul 2008 03:46

"Rusyns are not Ukrainians in any way, they are (but now I must say: they were) an independent ethnic group, who were always loyal to Hungarians."

Hmm, I wonder why they fought the Hungarians then. As far as I know, their leader also asked for the province to be annexed by Romania instead, only to get away from Hungarian rule. I wouldn't say the Rusyns were "loyal" to Hungary or happy to be ruled by them in any way.

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Csaba Becze
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby Csaba Becze » 27 Jul 2008 06:44

dragos03 wrote:"Rusyns are not Ukrainians in any way, they are (but now I must say: they were) an independent ethnic group, who were always loyal to Hungarians."

Hmm, I wonder why they fought the Hungarians then. As far as I know, their leader also asked for the province to be annexed by Romania instead, only to get away from Hungarian rule. I wouldn't say the Rusyns were "loyal" to Hungary or happy to be ruled by them in any way.


Most of the Rusyns were forced to fight. For example high school students were pressed against Hungarian troops without any basic military training. The just got a rifle and were ordered to "fight", without knowing, what happened with them. That's why they suffered so serious losses and that's why their resistance collapsed so quickly. It was the sin of few leaders, nothing more. Most serious fights in this area were against the retreating ex Czechoslovakian troops, not against the Sic Guards. Anyway, I have never heard about Volosin's 'wish' to unite with 'Romania', but it sounds a good joke (evidently, it is an 'ancient' 'Romanian' territory also, like Transylvania:-). 'Romanian' history is full with myths and fairy tales, so no wonder, that you can read such statements in your sources, although you know nothing about the history of this area - who were the most faithful soldiers of Rákóczi or in which side fought the Rusyns in 1848-49. Anyway I know many Rusyins and Hungarians, who fled from Ruthenia to Hungary. Many Rusyn even hoped in 1989 to unite with Hungary.

According to the last Hungarian census in 1910, the ethnic composition of this territory was 54% Russin and 28% Hungarian. According to the last Soviet census in 1989, the ethnic composition changed to 78.4% Russin and 12.5% Hungarian. Today (after only several years of the independent Ukraine), Ukrainians states, than less, than 10 000 Rusyns are here (it is far less, than 1% of the entire population), the others are Ukrainians (soon they will announce, that there are no Rusyns, they are never existed, they are all 'western Ukrainians').

Ah, and I forgot to mention something: western boundaries of Ruthenia were changed by Czechoslovakia after WWI, a large part of this territory were annexed by them and were attached to Slovakia. Far larger parts, than it was captured by Hungarians in March, 1939. Obsessed Czech politicians even claimed a corridor in western Hungary between Czechoslovakia and the SHS Kingdom (Yugoslavia) to surround Hungary totally. So you can decide now yourself, who grabbed what.

But posting in this forum is mostly just waste of time, so good luck to create further fancy tales.

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DenesBernad
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby DenesBernad » 27 Jul 2008 10:08

Csaba Becze wrote:...there was one interesting accident, when Jan Reznak deliberately attacked a Hungarian aircraft on 29 July, 1941 (the Hungarians tought, that it was a friendly fire accident, they didn't know, that it was a deliberate attack). (...) BTW on the very same day, the Germans shot down a Hungarian Ju 86, but it was a friendly fire accident, they tought, that it is Soviet. There were high number of friendly fire accidents also (not deliberate attacks).

I mentioned both incidents, in details, in my latest series of book, titled: 'From Barbarossa to Odessa', vol. 1, p. 93 and 94.

I managed to identify, for the first time, the German airman involved in the 'friendly fire' incident between a Hungarian Ju 86 and Luftwaffe Bf 109s (of III./JG 77). Interestingly, both sides actually believed that the other one was Soviet - despite both flying on German-made aircraft types...
Last edited by DenesBernad on 27 Jul 2008 10:17, edited 1 time in total.

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DenesBernad
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby DenesBernad » 27 Jul 2008 10:16

Orlov wrote:In 90' Polish historian Adam Glass proved that they had Romanian marking and were the bomber PZL 37 Łoś (Elk).

So far I saw no real proof of this version of the events - which is no wonder. The real proof was the unexploded Soviet-made 100 kg bomb, with an APUV type fuse found after the raid, along with several other fragments of Soviet origin. BTW, the very same day, positively identified Soviet fighters attacked a Hungarian civilian train near Raho (Rahovo), killing three passengers.
These events are also briefly described in my aforementioned book, p. 34.

As I've written it already several times before, most probably this was the case of mistaken identity, the Soviet crew believing that they are bombing a Slovak town, in retaliation, without the actual intention to penetrate Hungarian airspace.

The whole Rumanian involvement in this incident is nothing but empty conspiracy theory. I studied the combat diary of the ARR unit equipped with P.Z.L. P.37s (Gr. 4 bomb.), and also talked with several veterans of this bomber unit and other Rumanian airmen. Nobody had the slightest idea of this purported mission. And, believe me, they would have heard about it even if it was 'top secret'. This is mentioned in the large book on the P.Z.L. P.37, published last year in Poland by AJ-Press, book I co-authored.
Last edited by DenesBernad on 27 Jul 2008 10:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Csaba Becze
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby Csaba Becze » 27 Jul 2008 12:27

DenesBernad wrote:
Csaba Becze wrote:...there was one interesting accident, when Jan Reznak deliberately attacked a Hungarian aircraft on 29 July, 1941 (the Hungarians tought, that it was a friendly fire accident, they didn't know, that it was a deliberate attack). (...) BTW on the very same day, the Germans shot down a Hungarian Ju 86, but it was a friendly fire accident, they tought, that it is Soviet. There were high number of friendly fire accidents also (not deliberate attacks).

I mentioned both incidents, in details, in my latest series of book, titled: 'From Barbarossa to Odessa', vol. 1, p. 93 and 94.

I managed to identify, for the first time, the German airman involved in the 'friendly fire' incident between a Hungarian Ju 86 and Luftwaffe Bf 109s (of III./JG 77). Interestingly, both sides actually believed that the other one was Soviet - despite both flying on German-made aircraft types...


Actually it was not you, who managed to identify "for the first time" that accident. As for me, I found the final proof in September, 2004 in Freiburg (after I went through the KTB of JG 77 - I collected the Hungarian chief of staff report about the incident years earlier from the Hungarian military archive)
Anyway, first time it was published in 1993 in Jochen Prien's book, the Geschichte des Jagdgeschwaders 77 Teil 2 in pages 726-728. It contains exactly, what you written (from this book, without mentioning the source - well, I sent many details and corrections to that book to Dmitriy Karlenko and to you also and you said later, that 'I did not help', so no wonder, that you 'forgot' the sources regularly). I was not sure, that it is entirely correct and it was from the KTB, so I went to Freiburg and checked it. What I written, is based on the genuine KTB entry and on genuine wartime Hungarian materials. Since you have never visited Freiburg or the Hungarian Military Archive and your notes about the incident based only Jochen Prien's book and in old Hungarian publications, which are erroneous in many ways, your statement is a bit odd.
If you compare your book with mine, you can see the difference.

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DenesBernad
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby DenesBernad » 27 Jul 2008 14:28

Csaba Becze wrote:Actually it was not you, who managed to identify "for the first time" that accident. As for me, I found the final proof in September, 2004 in Freiburg (after I went through the KTB of JG 77 - I collected the Hungarian chief of staff report about the incident years earlier from the Hungarian military archive)

Csaba Becze, this is not the first time you show public disrespect to my works and also my person for a reason unknown to me (I can only guess).
I asked you before, and I ask you now again, please act professionally and refrain to any public personal attacks. If you have a problem, use the private message, or e-mail (you know my address). I am doing the same (check your mailbox, please).

I will briefly react to some of your allegations:
first time it was published in 1993 in Jochen Prien's book, the Geschichte des Jagdgeschwaders 77 Teil 2 in pages 726-728. It contains exactly, what you written (from this book, without mentioning the source


I did not mention that source simply because I did not consult it. I never saw the mentioned book, nor I used information from it. I seldom use secondary sources, as I usually have the information from primary sources. But now that you raised the issue, I will ask somebody to send me copies of those pages, to see it the author actually identified both the German and Hungarian crews the way I did it. I doubt it, but let's see...

I sent many details and corrections to that book to Dmitriy Karlenko and to you also and you said later, that 'I did not help', so no wonder, that you 'forgot' the sources regularly

I can't remember if you personally sent ANY 'details and corrections' to me related to this project, simply because we did not exchange meaningful letters in years. As for my co-author, Dmitriy, he was in charge with the Soviet side of the story, not the Axis one. So even if it's true that you sent him some data, it did not end up in the book simply because he sent me info on the Soviet air activity and I compiled the whole book.

Since you have never visited Freiburg or the Hungarian Military Archive and your notes about the incident based only Jochen Prien's book and in old Hungarian publications, which are erroneous in many ways, your statement is a bit odd.

Again false. I did visit the Hungarian archives at the time when you were nowhere near (late 1980s, early 1990s). As for any other archives - as I wrote earlier in a reply to your allegations, posted on another forum - there is no need to personally visit the location. It’s enough if you have friends who do it for you, and you’re doing something similar for your friends. This is how co-operation works. For example, I never visited NARA, in the USA, but I have about 15 microfilm reels, about 15000 pages of documents, and many further data. More information came from my colleagues (see the 'acknowledgement' section of the book).

In closing, I ask you again, kindly, to stick to the topic and refrain of any personal attacks. This way, everybody will learn from the knowledge of all of us and the topic will actually have a meaning, without sliding in a flame war. Agree?

Now let's get back to the topic and see if there are more incidents like the ones listed here earlier.

dragos03
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby dragos03 » 27 Jul 2008 14:36

"Anyway, I have never heard about Volosin's 'wish' to unite with 'Romania', but it sounds a good joke (evidently, it is an 'ancient' 'Romanian' territory also, like Transylvania:-). 'Romanian' history is full with myths and fairy tales, so no wonder, that you can read such statements in your sources, although you know nothing about the history of this area."

When people turn to insults instead of arguments, it's definetly the right time to quit the discussion.

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Csaba Becze
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby Csaba Becze » 27 Jul 2008 16:57

DenesBernad wrote:
Csaba Becze wrote:Actually it was not you, who managed to identify "for the first time" that accident. As for me, I found the final proof in September, 2004 in Freiburg (after I went through the KTB of JG 77 - I collected the Hungarian chief of staff report about the incident years earlier from the Hungarian military archive)

Csaba Becze, this is not the first time you show public disrespect to my works and also my person for a reason unknown to me (I can only guess).
I asked you before, and I ask you now again, please act professionally and refrain to any public personal attacks. If you have a problem, use the private message, or e-mail (you know my address). I am doing the same (check your mailbox, please).

I will briefly react to some of your allegations:
first time it was published in 1993 in Jochen Prien's book, the Geschichte des Jagdgeschwaders 77 Teil 2 in pages 726-728. It contains exactly, what you written (from this book, without mentioning the source


I did not mention that source simply because I did not consult it. I never saw the mentioned book, nor I used information from it. I seldom use secondary sources, as I usually have the information from primary sources. But now that you raised the issue, I will ask somebody to send me copies of those pages, to see it the author actually identified both the German and Hungarian crews the way I did it. I doubt it, but let's see...

I sent many details and corrections to that book to Dmitriy Karlenko and to you also and you said later, that 'I did not help', so no wonder, that you 'forgot' the sources regularly

I can't remember if you personally sent ANY 'details and corrections' to me related to this project, simply because we did not exchange meaningful letters in years. As for my co-author, Dmitriy, he was in charge with the Soviet side of the story, not the Axis one. So even if it's true that you sent him some data, it did not end up in the book simply because he sent me info on the Soviet air activity and I compiled the whole book.

Since you have never visited Freiburg or the Hungarian Military Archive and your notes about the incident based only Jochen Prien's book and in old Hungarian publications, which are erroneous in many ways, your statement is a bit odd.

Again false. I did visit the Hungarian archives at the time when you were nowhere near (late 1980s, early 1990s). As for any other archives - as I wrote earlier in a reply to your allegations, posted on another forum - there is no need to personally visit the location. It’s enough if you have friends who do it for you, and you’re doing something similar for your friends. This is how co-operation works. For example, I never visited NARA, in the USA, but I have about 15 microfilm reels, about 15000 pages of documents, and many further data. More information came from my colleagues (see the 'acknowledgement' section of the book).

In closing, I ask you again, kindly, to stick to the topic and refrain of any personal attacks. This way, everybody will learn from the knowledge of all of us and the topic will actually have a meaning, without sliding in a flame war. Agree?

Now let's get back to the topic and see if there are more incidents like the ones listed here earlier.



Well, hypocrisy and false statements are not really nice and they are not means any respect towards the others. As for your disrespect to my works, you showed it already (with such "I knew it already" style messages, without proofs, of course - you know everything instantly, after somebody published it but not sooner isn't it a bit ridiculous?)
As for the facts.
You said:
"I managed to identify, for the first time, the German airman involved in the 'friendly fire' incident between a Hungarian Ju 86 and Luftwaffe Bf 109s (of III./JG 77)."

Jochen Prien wrote in 1993: "...Fünfter Einsatz mit vier Bf 109 - Auftrag: Freie Jagd in Raume Gaivoron. Dabei wurde Uffz. Schulte von einer ungarischen Ju 86 beschossen, die er darauf irrtümlich selbst abschoss. Drei Mann der Besatzung der ungarischen Maschine konnten mit dem Schirm abspringen."

Who published it at first: Jochen Prien. What did you write 14 years later: the same in English. And you call it as first publication?
Anyway, I published it in the same year in a very accurate form from both sides (but I did not state, that it was the "first time ever")
You said:
"I seldom use secondary sources, as I usually have the information from primary sources" Don't you think, that you are a little bit overconfident? You have no primary sources in this case from any sides (and you even don't have generally Hungarian primary sources, since you have never been in the Hunagrian Archives - anyway, how it is possible, if you have primary sources, that you repeat only old Hungarian publications' errors instead of the accurate details in remained primary sources?).

Just one excerpt from a letter by Karlenko:
"Csaba, I want to ask you too about He 70K, F.401. Regarding your data, this recce plane was lost on July, 4. And I was sure that it so! However Denes Bernad asserts that it happened per day earlier, on July, 3. 'The aircraft's wrecks were found days later near Proskurov'. Can you comment? "
My answer (we discussed it years earlier in great details, so just a short answer, before your book was published):
"Regarding the He 70, it was lost on 4 July, 1941, not one day earlier.The wreck was investigated and many ground witnesses were asked as well, it was shot down by I-16's for sure."

If you would have primary sources (again, what I have) you wouldn't state totally erroneous details, since genuine primary sources remained about this loss, with correct details and date. In the book, the F.401's loss was published with the correct date. Are you claim it again, as 'own' research and you say, that I did not helped? I can send you letter by you also and other letters from Karlenko, if you wish, which contains information for that material (but you know it well)

As for Hungarian Military Archive. I did not ask them about you (you are not a topic to me in any way), but they said to me once, that you have never visited them. It is very easy to check the visitor names, since you have to sign a lot of papers there: research permission, reading room book, and every document, what you asked for. They have never met with your name in their sources. As for what is the co-operation for you: you prooved it many times, I do not want to repeat myself.

Now everyone can decide himself, what is the truth and who is, who disrespect the other's works and claim everything as "his" work.

To me, off topic is done (and generally this topic is also) I can send any proof to everyone in private.

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DenesBernad
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby DenesBernad » 27 Jul 2008 22:50

Unlike you, I refrain to answer your personal attacks (I did send an answer privately).

As for the issues raised by you, I can say only what I have already answered earlier: I never used Mr. Prien's aforementioned book, which I don't have and didn't see it ever, either. I received the said information from my German colleagues, who frequent BA-MA on a regular basis. They don't need to copy anything from Mr. Prien's works, as they have access to primary sources (probably the same consulted by Mr. Prien). So your continuous allegations of me copying the info and not mentioning the book as source, despite my word to the contrary is nothing more than hearsay and personal attack, as you somehow implying that I am lying. Well, I am not, as I said, but I don't expect from you anything positive, anyways - least an apology.

As for the other issues you raised, they are all off topic. Suffice to say this: despite your allegations, I did not receive any info from you, which I used in my aforementioned two-volume book. The rest is nothing but personal anger towards my works and person. Sorry, I cannot help that. Just get used to it.

This is my last word on this.

Take care,

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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby Sid Guttridge » 28 Jul 2008 11:44

Hi Csaba Becze,

A) Hungary and Ruthenia/Carpatho-Ukraine over mid-1938 to March 1939.

The exact nature of Ruthene identity is disputed even amongst themselves. Some identify their nationality as Ukrainian and others as Ruthene. However, whichever way you look at it they are not Hungarian and displayed no interest in being Hungarian in 1918-19 or 1938-39.

You describe Ruthenes as “loyal” to Hungary before 1918. “Passive” would be a more accurate description, which is quite another matter. The Szekelys have been “passive” inside Romania, but one would not necessarily describe them as “loyal”.

“Ruthene” was also a description favoured by nationalists in states such as Austria, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Romania to obscure the fact that at various times they had Catholic Ukrainian minorities under their rule.

However, the fact of the matter is that Ruthenes were at one end of an essentially Ukrainian continuum running from the Volga in the east to the Carpathians in the west. If you look at the Ukraine today you will find that the most Ukrainian nationalist and anti-Russian parts are precisely the Catholic western Ukrainians previously described as Ruthenes.

You will also find that in the period October 1938 to March 1939 Ruthenia renamed itself Carpatho-Ukraine and was encouraged by the Germans as the standard bearer of Ukrainian nationalism in order to help break up Czecho-Slovakia. The Sic Guard that defended Carpatho-Ukraine against the Hungarian invasion in March 1939 was a descendant of the Ukrainian Nationalist army of the immediate post-WWI period, had some of the same leaders and used the Ukrainian “trizul” as its badge.

The fact that you concede that the Ruthenes were an “independent ethnic group” indicates clearly that Hungary had no justified ethnic claim on any of Carpatho-Ukraine after the border revisions of early November 1938. After that date there was no significant Hungarian majority area left in either Carpatho-Ukraine or Slovakia. This was the opinion of Hungary’s German and Italian allies who arbitrated the new frontier at the First Vienna Award in early November 1938.

This only leaves the question as to whether the Ruthene/Ukrainian majority population of Carpatho-Ukraine wanted to be part of Hungary in March 1939. This is answered very clearly by the declaration of independence adopted by the Carpatho-Ukrainian parliament on the day Hungary invaded. At the same time it adopted the Ukrainian flag and anthem. In March 1939 Carpatho-Ukraine was so opposed to absorption into Hungary that its poorly armed Sic Guard fought a hopeless battle outside the capital of Khost to prevent Hungarian occupation.

So, if Horthy was so principled that in 1938 “he wanted back the territories with Hungarian majority” why did he occupy the rest of Carpatho-Ukraine in March 1939 when it had no Hungarian majority areas left?


B) Hungary and Eastern Slovakia, March 1939.

I agree that the Hungarian invasion of eastern Slovakia later in March 1939 was prompted by the desire to protect the railway line that ran up the Ung/Uz Valley. This was overlooked by the inter-war Slovakia/Carpatho-Ukraine border.

The Hungarian demand had nothing to do with any plausible ethnic claim to the area. In fact, according to the most recent census, the population of the area consisted of 37,768 Ruthenes, 26,981 Slovaks and 4,872 “others”, most of whom were Hungarians. As can be seen, Hungarians can have made up at most 7% of the population.

If the eastern Slovak border area had then had a Hungarian majority, this would have been resolved at the First Vienna Award in early November 1938. In fact, in March 1939 north-east Slovakia had a Ruthene/Ukrainian majority, not a Hungarian majority, and the south-eastern part had a Slovak majority. Please check the Historical Atlas of Central Europe by P. R. Magocsi. (University of Washington Press, 2002).

On 18 March 1939 the Slovaks signed a treaty by which Germany guaranteed Slovakia’s borders, but this would only come into force when Germany countersigned it during 23 March. In the interim, the Hungarians therefore approached the Germans to support their claim on eastern Slovakia. The Germans informed both the Slovaks and Hungarians that they supported a revision and a border commission was set up. This finished its work on 22 March. However, at dawn on 23 March the Hungarians occupied the disputed area before the Slovak Government had either accepted or signed anything. The Hungarians probably moved prematurely in order to beat Germany’s countersigning of its treaty of protection with Slovakia and to enjoy a bit of gratuitous military posturing. The Slovaks, of course, viewed it as an attack on their country.

I agree that the Hungarian invasion of Eastern Slovakia by Hungary was a limited operation in purely military terms. However, it was also politically speculative and its extent depended on German toleration, not Hungarian ambitions. It was also time-limited by the fact that Germany was due to countersign the treaty of protection and mutual defence with Slovakia on 23 March.

The area in eastern Slovakia was not initially defended by the Slovaks because the Hungarians attacked by surprise and because the break-up of Czecho-Slovakia had led to the withdrawal of Czech officers and men from the area, leaving local units under strength and almost leaderless. In fact, there were Slovak security forces in the area. In the first minutes the Hungarians over ran a Slovak barracks and captured the occupants. This was the source of most of the 360 prisoners the Hungarians took. Thereafter the Slovaks rushed up such army units as they could organize into the area and mounted a counter attack the following day that included some armoured cars and three light tanks. The Hungarians easily defeated this. The Germans refused to allow the Slovaks to send weaponry to the front from areas of western Slovakia they were then occupying.

No. Hitler did not offer Horthy the whole of Slovakia in 1938. Germany was, in fact, the co-sponsor of the First Vienna Award in late 1938 that established the new ethnic borders with Slovakia that Hungary breached in March 1939. Hitler was at that time cultivating the independence movement of Hlinka’s Slovak People’s Party. However, Hitler did offer Ruthenia/Carpatho-Ukraine to Horthy.

The Germans imposed a ceasefire on 25 March, heading off a larger Slovak counter-attack planned for the 26th. The Hungarian coup was only recognized by a Hungarian-Slovak commission, under heavy German pressure, on 31 March and the Slovak Government reluctantly ceded the area on 4 April.

The Slovaks announced their losses as 22 dead. The Hungarians announced their losses during the occupation of Carapatho-Ukraine and eastern Slovakia as 23 dead and 55 wounded. They also reported holding 360 Slovak prisoners. Armour, aircraft, artillery, mechanized units, cavalry and infantry had been used by the Hungarians and most of the same arms by the Slovaks in response.


3) Czechoslovak-Hungarian border incidents in 1938.

The border incidents before and after the First Vienna Award were probably almost entirely provoked by Hungary. Why would Czechoslovakia want to cause border incidents? It was satisfied with the pre-Vienna Award Trianon border and had no claims on Hungary. By contrast, Hungary was dissatisfied with the pre-Vienna Award Trianon border and had claims against it. To pursue this, in mid 1938 the Hungarian Government recreated a guerilla army, the Rongyos Garda (Ragged Guard) to attack Czechoslovak security forces, communications and civil government institutions in Ruthenia. The attacks by the Rongyos Garda continued after the Vienna Award into late 1938, but because it was now operating in areas with a hostile Ruthene/Ukrainian population, the Czecho-Slovak Army and Gendarmery, in informal co-operation with Carpatho-Ukraine’s Sic Guard, successfully suppressed them by the end of the year.

******

What you are doing is presenting a partisan Hungarian nationalist case from the late 1930s, not a dispassionate, fact-based historical case. The Trianon Treaty after WWI was unfair to Hungary in ethnic terms in southern Slovakia and southern Ruthenia. In both these areas Hungarians were in consolidated majorities right next to Hungary proper. The First Vienna Award of 2 November 1938 rectified this. However, this did not satisfy Hungarian nationalist ambitions and in March 1939 Hungary ignored ethnic considerations to occupy Carpatho-Ukraine and eastern Slovakia. These were naked land grabs.

Hungary’s situation is very similar to Germany’s in both late 1938 and early 1939 and the two operated in concert. In late 1938 the ethnic claims of both Germany and Hungary against Czechoslovakia under the WWI peace settlements had been resolved by the Munich Agreement and the First Vienna Award respectively. However, both Germany and Hungary had then pursued naked land grabs of non-German and non-Hungarian populated territory off what was left of Czecho-Slovakia in March 1939.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Steen Ammentorp
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Re: Violent inter-Axis incidents

Postby Steen Ammentorp » 28 Jul 2008 13:03

DenesBernad and Csaba Becze,

I hope that you leave all personal controversies outside the forum and conduct the debates without personal attacks as expected here.

/Steen Ammentorp


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