Hungary and neutrality in World War II

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Futurist
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Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Futurist » 09 Sep 2020 03:15

Would it have actually been plausible for Hungary to continue remaining neutral in World War II once Hitler would have decided to invade the Soviet Union? Or would a Hungarian desire to continue remaining neutral in such a scenario have simply resulted in a Nazi German invasion of their country?

I am asking because continued Hungarian neutrality would have allowed Hungary's Jews to survive the Holocaust en masse if it would have actually been successful. That, and Hungary might have actually been able to keep some of its Horthy-era territorial spoils after the end of World War II if it would have continued to remain neutral in this war (as in, up to the end of this war).

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steppewolf
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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by steppewolf » 09 Sep 2020 10:36

How to be neutral when you already pick a side? Do you think the 1940 awards were for free?

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Kelvin » 09 Sep 2020 11:03

steppewolf wrote:
09 Sep 2020 10:36
How to be neutral when you already pick a side? Do you think the 1940 awards were for free?
German traditionally had interest in the Balkan, Hitler wanted to include all Balkan countries into German sphere of influence. No Balkan countries would be spared : friends or foe, they need to chose. The Balkan food and natural resouces reinforced the German war effort. Oil in Romania, bauxite and oil in Hungary, copper, lead, antimony in Yugoslavia and bauxite in Greece all were German need.

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Sep 2020 19:23

Hi Futurist,

Hungary had pretty much achieved all its war aims by April 1941. This explains it being a little slow to join in the attack on the USSR in June.

However, all these gains had been dependent on German support and their retention was implicitly conditional on continued co-operation with Germany.

Once Hungary had committed to the active overthrow of the Versailles/Trianon settlement in 1938, I think Hungary had very little choice but to follow the course it did. Switzerland it was not.

Sid.

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Futurist » 10 Sep 2020 00:02

Just how slow was Hungary in joining Operation Barbarossa?

Also, makes sense. Interestingly enough, though, Hungary's role in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in 1938-1939 did not make it feel obliged to join Nazi Germany's 1939 invasion of Poland, but this might have been at least in part because France wasn't actually defeated yet. (Well, that and Hungarians and Poles have historically been good friends.)

BTW, as I previously said, I think that once Hungary became involved in World War II, it should have continued the fight up to the very end in order to increase the odds of as many of its Jews surviving as possible.

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Futurist » 10 Sep 2020 00:03

steppewolf wrote:
09 Sep 2020 10:36
How to be neutral when you already pick a side? Do you think the 1940 awards were for free?
Probably not. That said, though, Hungary was able to benefit from Czechoslovakia's dismemberment without any subsequent obligations to Nazi Germany until after the 1940 Fall of France.

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Sep 2020 07:18

Hi Futurist,

Hungary only gained Ruthenia and parts of Slovakia on the back of German pressure on Czechoslovakia. It had implicit obligations from that moment on. If I remember correctly, Horthy had paid a state visit to Hitler shortly before. During it he has christened and launched the Prinz Eugen, named after a general important to both Germany and Hungary. Hungary was Germany's fellow traveller from 1938.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Futurist » 10 Sep 2020 08:53

Yep, this appears to be correct, but it's still interesting that Hungary played no actual role in Nazi Germany's 1939 invasion of Poland. Slovakia did, but Hungary didn't.

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Kelvin » 10 Sep 2020 13:32

Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Sep 2020 19:23
Hi Futurist,

Hungary had pretty much achieved all its war aims by April 1941. This explains it being a little slow to join in the attack on the USSR in June.

However, all these gains had been dependent on German support and their retention was implicitly conditional on continued co-operation with Germany.

Once Hungary had committed to the active overthrow of the Versailles/Trianon settlement in 1938, I think Hungary had very little choice but to follow the course it did. Switzerland it was not.

Sid.
Hi, Sid, did Hungary have any territorial gains after Barbarossa, I know Romania took back Bessarabia and also important port city of Odessa and area subjected to her. Finland recovered its lost territories in Karelia and Russian leased naval base at Hango. But what Hungary gain ? Also any gain by Slovakia ? Thank

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Sep 2020 13:56

Hi Futurist,

Slovakia has lost territory to Poland in 1938. Hungary had not. Indeed, Poland had helped Hungary regain Ruthenia by providing sanctuary for the Ragged Guard in 1938.

So one had an incentive, the other didn't.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Sep 2020 14:02

Hi Kelvin,

Romania regained in 1941 what it has lost in 1940. It did not annex Transnistria or Odessa. It only administered them.

Slovakia had no common border with the USSR in 1941 and so had nothing to gain by way of territory.

Hungary had a common border with the USSR in 1941, but no territorial ambitions there, just in southern Transylvania, which was still in Romania. If I remember correctly, it took an unexplained bombing raid on a Hungarian city to give Hungary an excuse to attack the USSR. The source of the bombers is still disputed.

It is anyone's guess what would have happened if Germany had won and offered Hungary and Romania former Soviet territory, but that never occurred.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Futurist » 10 Sep 2020 20:33

Why didn't Romania annex Transnistria and Odessa?

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Sid Guttridge » 11 Sep 2020 00:52

Hi Futurist,

One reason was that it really wanted Northern Transilvania, which contained far more Romanians than Transnistria, back. The Romanians didn't want gains in Transnistria to be at the expense of the return of Northern Transilvania.

The Romanians had also never made any claim on territory beyond the Nistru/Dnestr, which held few Romanian-speakers. As a result, it would have been very difficult to absorb.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by Futurist » 11 Sep 2020 02:06

So, the Romanians feared that if they annexed Transnistria, Hitler would interpret this move as implied Romanian consent to the Romanian loss of northern Transylvania?

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Re: Hungary and neutrality in World War II

Post by steppewolf » 11 Sep 2020 11:37

Futurist wrote:
11 Sep 2020 02:06
So, the Romanians feared that if they annexed Transnistria, Hitler would interpret this move as implied Romanian consent to the Romanian loss of northern Transylvania?
He said it already, why do you want it repeated ?

i. what you said
ii. Transdnestra was never Romanian territory and even if there were Romanian speakers the majority was non-Romanian speakers hence wasn't any interest to obtain such territory.

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