Britain and Hungary, 1941–4

  • Elisabeth Barker
Part of the Studies in Russian and East European History book series (SREEHS)


Hungary was drawn into war against Russia as Germany’s ally by what many Hungarians believed to be a German trick — the bombing of Kassa (Košice), a town close to the north-eastern frontier, by aircraft said to have Russian markings.1 From the first day, there were powerful pro-British elements at work. The Regent Horthy himself, 73 years old in 1941, was not a man of great intelligence and in complex and fluctuating situations found it hard to take firm decisions; but he was devoted to his country and, according to his own rather uncertain lights, honourable, he despised and detested Hitler and looked on the Nazi leaders as gangsters, but admired the British and, as a former Austro-Hungarian admiral, respected British sea-power. In the gentry, who formed the governing élite and the higher ranks of the bureaucracy, there was also a pro-British tradition which was shared in varying degrees by liberal intellectuals, would-be social reformers and Social Democrats.


Soviet Government General Staff German Occupation Soviet Policy British Policy 
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© Elisabeth Barker 1976

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  • Elisabeth Barker

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