Hungary, 1939–41: a Corridor, Not a Base?
Relations between Britain and Hungary in the first nineteen months of war had a certain atmosphere of drawing-room comedy, with black overtones. This came partly from the character of the Hungarian political élite, drawn from the aristocracy or gentry and possessing sophisticated skills, learned under the Habsburgs, in obstructing superior might or playing off opponents against one another. (Perhaps Hitler, of Austrian origin if of a very different social class, took the measure of the Hungarians better than the British did.) The élite held all power in its hands. The peasants, many of them landless, had no real political representation; there were opposition parties, but where national interests were at stake they tended to line up with the élite. There was no mass party, like Maniu’s National Peasant Party in Rumania, with which the British could intrigue against the government.
KeywordsOpposition Parti Territorial Claim British Policy Austrian Origin Hungarian Government
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