The book: "Royal Hungarian Army 1920 - 1945"

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Niehorster
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The book: "Royal Hungarian Army 1920 - 1945"

Postby Niehorster » 21 Jul 2002 17:57

Leo W.G. Niehorster
"The Royal Hungarian Army, 1920-1945"
Axis Europa, New York, 1998.


I plan to start an Errata page for this book on my site. As several members have indicated it is incorrect, has mistakes, etc. I would add your contributions to the list. I welcome any constructive criticism. I do not regard historical research as a static field of study.

--
Knowledge not shared is knowledge lost
---

Milan Szekelyhidi
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Re: The book: "Royal Hungarian Army 1920 - 1945"

Postby Milan Szekelyhidi » 22 Jul 2002 08:21

Niehorster wrote:I plan to start an Errata page for this book on my site.


Good idea!

Milan

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Csaba Becze
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Postby Csaba Becze » 22 Jul 2002 10:03

Dear Mr. Niehorster:

I didn't read your book, but I have several questions. What kind of sources did you use? Do you speak Hungarian?
I think, a huge problem is, that foreigner historians didn't speak Hungarian at all and use weak and bad sources. For example: I have read Anthony Beevor's book (the Stalingrad). 90% of his statements about the Hungarian army is bad. He use just one, bad translated diary. It was his all "source" about Hungarians (I know, that Stalingrad's most important topic wasn't the Hungarian army, but this is an useless book about Hungarian military history).

Niehorster
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Postby Niehorster » 22 Jul 2002 13:38

See
http://www.freeport-tech.com/wwii/015_h ... biblio.htm
for the bibliography of my book.

I do not speak Hungarian, but the various people assisting me were Hungarian WWII veterans, or other native speakers.

As to the merits of the book or the lack thereof, I leave that to people who have read it.

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Marcus
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Postby Marcus » 22 Jul 2002 13:44

I'm definately not an expert on Hungarian military history, in fact I know very little on the subject, but I for one found the book in question to be excellent.

/Marcus

Milan Szekelyhidi
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Postby Milan Szekelyhidi » 24 Jul 2002 08:34

Niehorster wrote:See
http://www.freeport-tech.com/wwii/015_h ... biblio.htm
for the bibliography of my book.

I do not speak Hungarian, but the various people assisting me were Hungarian WWII veterans, or other native speakers.

As to the merits of the book or the lack thereof, I leave that to people who have read it.


I found abrupt 2 wrong things.
First here:
http://www.freeport-tech.com/wwii/015_h ... rmy_03.htm
Ferenc Feketehalmy-Czeydner was V. army corps of commander only in 1. August 1941. After the Yugoslavian war.
János Székely was in the Yugoslavian war. Imre Széchy was commander later from 1. August 1941.

Secund here:
http://www.freeport-tech.com/wwii/015_h ... nf_41.html
János Dömötor = János Dömötör
József Csatary, maybe József Csatáry, this is the common name, but may different.

If You can't use the long " ö, ü, i" (õ,û,í) character, it is good, but I look for the correctly. For example: Ernö Paksy = Ernõ Paksy.

Milan

Niehorster
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Postby Niehorster » 24 Jul 2002 14:37

Thank you for the corrections.

Yes - my fonts do not enable me to make the short and long ö-ü-ä without changing the Character Coding - which would than make the English texts difficult to write. So I leave it at Western (ISO-8859-1). Know it is not quite correct - sorry if it bugs the purists. Same problem with my book, by the way.

I have ammended the April 1941 3rd Army oob as per above and then some.

Milan Szekelyhidi
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Postby Milan Szekelyhidi » 24 Jul 2002 21:53

Niehorster wrote:Thank you for the corrections..


I hope, I can help you.

Niehorster wrote:So I leave it at Western (ISO-8859-1). Know it is not quite correct - sorry if it bugs the purists. Same problem with my book, by the way. .


OK, I see.

Niehorster wrote:I have ammended the April 1941 3rd Army oob as per above and then some.


József vitéz Csatáry titular lieutenant general
In Hungarian: vitéz Csatáry József címzetes altábornagy
Original name: József Hack
Born: Csatárpuszta, 16. August 1886.

János vitéz Dömötör lieutenant general
In Hungarian: vitéz Dömötör János altábornagy
Original name: János Schreiber
Born: Komárom, 11. February 1889.

Milan

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Csaba Becze
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Postby Csaba Becze » 25 Jul 2002 09:48

Dear Mr. Niehorster:

I think most of your sources quite old. Do you know the subsequent Hungarian books? After 1989 in Hungary has been published a lot of good books about Hungarian role in WW II, but you use just Károly Csonkaréti's book among them.
The old German and immigrant Hungarian books have problems, because most of the immigrant officers had not enough primary sources, the used their memories a lot (I like him and highly respect him, but I use their resume books - Adonyi-Náredy's and Veress' rarely). The Germas had not enough info about Hungarian army too (and some books had just the Author's subjective remembrances and opinions).
For example: I made my thesis work about the 2nd Hungarian Army's bridgehead-battles, but you don't find any English or Germas sources about this topic at all.
Your sources about the Hungarian Air Force are quite old too. Julius R. Gaal (Gaál Gyula) is an excellent aviation historian, I know and respect him very much, but he wrote his articles 30 years ago. Nowadays we have better sources, and info about RHAF (he wrote me last week this too, and he wrote, that we should search new information in Hungary).

I don't know all your sources, but some is not good. For example, this article is:
RAJNINEC, James & SANDERS, James V.
"Conflict over the Carpathians"
Air Enthusiast, September, 1971

simply useless. You should read my 8) article about this accident (Becze Csaba: Tûzkeresztség Aero Magazin, March 2001) Perhaps it will be published in English too.

We have good archive sources about Hungary's role in 1941 (against Yugoslavia, And Soviet Union), and about the 2nd Hungarian Army in 1942/43.
We' have lost the Hungarian covering divisions documents, and most of the documents from 1944-45, but we have sources about this units and period too. You should contact with Hungarians or take the new books.
Of course, this is just my opinion, and I didn't read your book - this is too expensive for me and I didn't met with this book in Hungarian libraries :( .

Regards,
Csaba Becze
Hungarian military historian and PhD student

Niehorster
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Postby Niehorster » 25 Jul 2002 18:24

Dear Mr. Csaba,
Thank you for you response. Yes, indeed, many sources are old. However, my book was written over a period of some 20 years, from mid-1970 to 1997, and I have indicated ALL books consulted. And in 1974, there wasn't Much To Be Had. But mostly primary material was used, such as the various organizational Plans (Huba, Szabolcs, etc.), [enormous charts: ca. 2 x 2m] as well as many orders of battle. Unfortunately, not all orders of battle were located in original form and had to be compiled or used from secondary sources.

As a matter of fact, Wimpfen also did his dissertation on the 42/43 bridgehead battles of the Second Army on the Don. Might be interesting for you to try and get this through the interlibrary lending system. (Does that work in Hungary?)
Has WIMPFEN
"Die 2. ungarische Armee im Feldzug gegen die Sowjetunion ? ein Beitrag zur Koalitionsfuhrung im Zweiten Weltkrieg"
Doctoral dissertation, Würzburg, 1968
(located in the Würzburg University Library, Würzburg)

Supposedly my book is now out of print. But my publisher was supposed to have sent a courtesy copy to the Hungarian Archives. If that cannot be found, I have two bought and paid for copies of my book left. [I have to buy them from my former publisher (don't ask!).] I would be willing to donate one of these to a respectable library of your choice in Hungary. Just let me know which one.

By the way, I was informed that the war diaries of the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions as well as the Cavalry Division have survived in some form or another, and can be found in the Budapest archives. True?

As to contacting Hungarians - that was one of the reasons for starting this thread. And here you are. :wink:
Leo Niehorster

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David C. Clarke
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Fairness...

Postby David C. Clarke » 27 Jul 2002 02:35

I must say that I find the criticism of Dr. Niehorster's book to be somewhat unfair. This book has provided a base of study for the Hungarian Army since it's publicatuion and remains easily the best work on the subject in English. I think people should realize that although newer information might be available, it will remain unavailable to the
English-speaking world until a writer of the talent, energy, and reputation of Dr. Niehorster makes it availible internationally.
The hard fact is that Hungary's participation in World War II was essentially undocumented outside of Hungary until Dr. Niehorster's book. So in a very real sense, you are criticizing the author with probably the best claim to being the "Father of Hungarian Military Studies in the English-speaking world". Dr. Niehorster should be congratulated for his work and corrections should be offered in the spirit of friendly scholarly cooperation
rather than complaints.
Just my two cents. Best Regards, David

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Csaba Becze
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Postby Csaba Becze » 27 Jul 2002 10:21

Dear Mr. Niehorster,

I have heard about Wimpffen's dissertation, but I never read it (I think it is a generally work about Hungarian army - the bridgehead battles were in just in summer, 1942).

The interlibrary system is working here, I am used to lend some English and German books too. I'll try to lend Wimpffen's dissertation too (if it is possible).

Some units' soldiers preserved their war-diaries, but most of the official documents are missing in 1944-45. The central archive was in Budapest, and it was evacuated before the siege of Budapest, and most of the combattant unit's documents were eliminated after a command (my favourite topic is the RHAF, but just part of the Puma fighter regiment's official documnets were safed).

I can offer you this library:
http://www.oszk.hu/ This is a National Hungarian Library in Budapest.

BTW, my first name is Csaba 8) , this is a genuine Hungarian first name, without an English variant.

To David:

I don't know, what is your problem. I didn't criticize this book, because I never read it. I wrote just my opinion about his sources. This is a huge different.
I criticized just Anthony Beevor's book, because I have read it. It contains a lot of mistakes.

Regards,

Csaba

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David C. Clarke
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Csaba

Postby David C. Clarke » 27 Jul 2002 14:41

Csaba, I don't have a problem aside from being surprised by the nature of your three posts. It may well be a language difference, but to me each of your posts was a criticism of Dr. Niehorster and his methods of research.
It is, of course, your right to criticize, however, in my humble opinion, a criticism of a good book--in fact the single outstanding work on the Hungarian Army in English--should have been tempered by an understanding of the book's importance.
You write that you have never read the book and criticize only Dr. Niehorster's sources. Well, I don't have a problem with anyone offering constructive criticism of any work. But I also don't have a problem with someone acknowledging the importance of an historical work despite its supposed flaws.
As I said, it may be the language difference which makes your posts sound harsher to me than you might have intended them to be. Cheers, David

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Csaba Becze
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Postby Csaba Becze » 29 Jul 2002 09:46

David: my English is very poor, but it is enough for me at the moment. I've written just short posts with strong attributes, because my English is not enough good for a long explain.
BTW I have similar German and Russian skills too, and I have a Latin language exam too, because the Latin is very important for a historian too.
I can use the primary Hungarian, German, Russian and English sources. How many foreign languages do you speak?
In my opinion, you can find good sources about Hungary just in Hungarian language, and because of this, you have to learn the Hungarian language at first.
I criticized Mr. Niehorster's sources, because I know most of them. You criticize me, but you know about me nothing.

Csaba

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David C. Clarke
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Hmmm.

Postby David C. Clarke » 29 Jul 2002 16:01

Csaba, two things: First of all I find you English skills to be very good. You don't have a problem conveying your ideas in English. Second, there is no need for you to go into "attack mode" with me. This is not a competition!!. I posted, quite simply, that your posts were very critical and didn't take into account the good work Dr. Niehorster's book had accomplished in familiarizing English-speakers with the Hungarian Army of WWII.
You are quite correct that I know nothing about you. I only "know" you from your posts. I will say this though. Over the years I have seen a number of published authors withdraw from participation in public forums due to overly harsh criticism by people who claim to know their topics better than they. I would not like to see that happen here as it would deprive the Forum of a knowledgable contributor.
So, perhaps we can agree on three things:
1. Dr. Niehorster's book offers the best coverage of its subject in English.
2. It contains errors which Dr. Niehorster has admitted and wishes to correct.
3. Knowledgable contributors to the Forum, like yourself, can help correct those errors without ignoring the book's contribution.
If we can agree on those three points, then that is all that need be said.
Regards, David


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