Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

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DrG
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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by DrG » 25 Mar 2021 01:09

Peter89, in first place, if you wish to check the performance of a country in alternate scenarios, you must compare it to countries belonging to that alternative, not to countries under the same economic-political regime. More in detail, I have shown (in a crude way, but this is a hobby for me and this point, raised by your attempt to praise the Communist regime in Hungary, is quite out of this topic) that Hungarian economy was keeping its pace to the Italian one (but I could have used every Western European economy, also Belgium, because the point was the relative performance, not the absolute level) before WW2 and then dropped much behind it when Italy entered the Western economic system and Hungary was forced to enter the Communist one.
Anyway, just for seek of precision, following your idea of comparing Hungary with other Communist countries I have run a series of paired t-tests on the annual per capita GDP growth rates of Hungary vs. Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia between 1949 and 1989. In no case the difference was statistically significant at the 5% level, only with regards to Romania it was significant at the 10% level... in favour of Romania! Even following your flawed methodology of comparing Hungary with its communist neighbours, per capita GDP data provide results which do not confirm your statements. You can torture data as long as you wish, but they will never tell you that Hungary benefited from finishing in the Eastern bloc.

Secondly, and returning to the historical field, you are arguing against Horthy, while the Hungarian insuccess in leaving the Axis in a timely manner was dictated solely by geography. Despite the fact that in September 1943 it accepted even the unconditional surrender, Hungary was unable to implement it because Romania and Bulgaria, while not satisfied at all with the current situation, did not follow the same policy. In other words, you are criticizing the only Axis leadership which was actually willing to surrender and not merely planning or thinking about it - without taking any concrete action - as instead its Axis partners were doing.

Thirdly, today's Hungarian political parties are in the vast majority opposed to communism, not only Jobbink. You are deliberately mistaking extreme right with anti-communism, which are two well distinct concepts.

Finally, if you don't know what the Gini index is, it is better for you to avoid any debate about economy or, when challenged, be very careful about your statements.
Tout comprendre, c’est tout pardonner.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Peter89 » 25 Mar 2021 07:55

DrG, if you can't (or don't want to) realize why Italy and Hungary are incomparable in this regard, I don't know how to proceed.

Anyway, I provided the growth numbers for Romania and Yugoslavia, and wrote that both can be used as benchmarks to a lesser extent only. At this point I am not sure if it worths to write anything, if you don't read it.

Second, you are totally wrong about the 1943 situation, and although this is mostly high school history, I'd make an effort because not everyone had the privilege to go to high school in Hungary. The Kállay government took up diplomatic relations with the Allies indeed, and a memo was given to László Veress in Ankara on 9/9/1943, but there were multiple problems with these efforts.

1.) The Hungarians did not try to negotiate with the Soviets, although the Brits directly asked that and the Turks suggested it, too. Horthy and Kállay would only accept the preliminary peace terms from the Anglo-Saxon powers.

2.) After Teheran, there was no chance for a landing in the Balkans, but it was clear that the SU was interested in Hungary as part of its sphere of influence. Although Horthy & Kállay may not be aware of this, when they've asked the AS powers "not to bomb Hungary" and "it should be the AS troops to occupy Hungary", they've got no guarantees.

3.) The secret negotiation was thwarted from the beginnings. Edvard Benes spoke about the Hungarian peace talks in the BBC radio, British newspapers wrote about it and the Times published the terms of the secret preliminary peace offer. It was not Romania or Bulgaria's fault that they did not follow suit; Romania just hit the jackpot with Hungarian ineptitude. Horthy and Kállay made sure that no matter who's gonna win the war, Romania will have a chance to regain at least part of its territories lost in 1940.

4.) By this time, the Soviets (just as the Wallies) were not keen to support Hungarian claims, and Hungary was never really in a position to compete with Romania's (and to lesser extent, Bulgaria's) strategic value for the Soviets because of its geographical position (not that it was the one and only cause for not leaving the Axis in a timely manner). At the same time, it was much more vulnerable to German occupation.

Long story short: no, the Horthy & Kállay duo did not want to surrender; they wanted to surrender to the Wallies. No such thing was possible. The secret negotiations were made public, thus it was not Romania's or Bulgaria's fault that they did not aligned their escape attempts with Hungary. Soviet occupation was coming, and it is Horthy's fault that it brought so much destruction and bloodshed.

+1 the only thing that mitigates Horthy's responsibility is the pro-German stance of the general staff and the far-right stance of the population. It was not clear, if an order of "lay down the weapons" was given, that the armed forces and the civilian law enforcement will obey.

Thirdly, you don't know what you are talking about. Without diving deeper into the subject, the vast majority votes for parties filled with communist party members and party functionaries, including all governing parties since the system change.

Finally, it's only you who think I don't know what the Gini index is. This one is getting boring, you really shouldn't compensate the complete lack of insight with hammering a typo. It's kind of becoming a hallmark of your intellectual capacity in this conversation.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by wm » 25 Mar 2021 11:09

Sid Guttridge wrote:
23 Mar 2021 11:42
In fact, the Hungarians were part of the threat to Jews.
No, that the Jews were treated differently (for example weren't required to take part in combat) is no proof the Hungarians were a threat to the Hungarian Jews, in fact even the Hungarian Jews didn't believe in that.
Harsh as these measures were, however, they did not shake the basic confidence of the Hungarian Jews, and especially of the assimilated ones, that they were in no physical danger. This confidence was partially based on their conviction that the conservative-aristocratic leadership, with which they had many economic and personal connections, would continue to protect them as in the past.
Tragically, this confidence on the part of the Hungarian Jewish leaders that the community, though economically ruined and somewhat diminished, would survive the war in a position strong enough to assure its quick rehabilitation was partially also the cause of what befell them after the German occupation of the country on March 19, 1944.

The central Jewish leadership failed to take any precautionary contingency measures and neglected to inform the local leaders or the Hungarian Jewish masses about the Final Solution program being implemented in the other parts of Europe—a program whose details and dimensions became increasingly clear to them starting in mid-1942.
They remained adamant in their position despite three major events that shocked the community as well as the decent strata of Hungarian society itself long before the German occupation: the roundup and massacre of the "alien" Jews; the massacres in the so-called Delvidek area; and the exacerbation of the labor service system. They were inclined to view these events merely as aberrations soon to be corrected, rather than as a possible prelude to future violence.
The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary by Randolph L. Braham
Sid Guttridge wrote:
23 Mar 2021 11:42
heavily behind the Eastern Front than the Hungarian Army as a whole in 1941-43.
what is the source for that?
Sid Guttridge wrote:
23 Mar 2021 11:42
5) Hungary was among the very first countries to know about Auschwitz, because some Slovak Jews escaped in the spring of 1942 and found refuge with relatives in country. It was via Hungary and Switzerland that the Western Allies first learnt about Auschwitz.
The Allies knew about Auschwitz since day one because the Polish Underground reported it.
The Slovak Jews happened in 1944 and it was just two guys telling stories, you could have believed them or not.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Mar 2021 11:40

Hi wm,

You should read your own posts;

"The central Jewish leadership failed to take any precautionary contingency measures and neglected to inform the local leaders or the Hungarian Jewish masses about the Final Solution program being implemented in the other parts of Europe—a program whose details and dimensions became increasingly clear to them starting in mid-1942."

This is precisely the time when 6,000 Slovak Jews, including some early escapees from Auschwitz, fled to relatives in Hungary. The Slovak Jews who you mention were later escapees from Auschwitz.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by wm » 25 Mar 2021 11:51

Although there were no early Jewish escapees from Auschwitz.

Yes, Jews from other countries sought shelter in Hungary because nobody suspected the Hungarians were a threat to the Jews.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by steppewolf » 25 Mar 2021 11:57

I think this whole discussion about GDP / economics it's mostly pointless due to the lack of agreement regarding which is the reference point. First agree on this than let's discuss about it.

Also the talk about part of a pact or not during Cold War is somehow pointless because generally the world made some huge steps like eradication of many diseases, limitation of hunger and poverty, access to education or infrastructure. Both blocks made huge steps compared with other areas of the world and at some point economical development of North Korea (60s) was much better than South Korea.

Generally it was a "democratization" in both blocks concerning access of masses of peasants or workers to things that improved the quality of life. Sure, the totalitarian regimens eventually accumulated some handicaps in competition with the open societies but overall the whole world made a big step forward due to science and more people having access to resources and education that was previously the privilege of a few. Although interwar policies of various states encouraged the access of poor people to education (e.g. state scholarships). The way the world changed after WW2 is similar with the big shift that followed WW1. The sole GDP chat is imo inconclusive.

For me this was reflected in private discussions with various people from both blocks and I'll give two extreme examples. One taxi driver from Eastern Germany told me that sozialismus was good because he could go to school and without it his family couldn't afford. One Brit living in Cyprus and having a big business told me that he will always vote Labour regardless of their anachronism and inadequacy because due to their reforms him and his brothers and sister could get free education and made better of their lives. Both are probably pensioners now but reflect pretty much the leap forward that our societies made in both blocks in what is access to education.

As for Horthy, I don't sympathize with him because he clearly did not understood the times he lived in, he was as anachronic as his military grade in a Hungary without a Navy.

His only notable historical deed was recovery of the territories. But this was due to Germany's revanchism and not his accomplishment.

Perhaps the only merit I can find is that he stabilized the country and contributed to the removal of Soviet / Communists.

I don't think Hungary alone could have get out of Axis in time, its army was too small and not re-built after Stalingrad for such endeavor, although it had a better industry compared with Romania. Also I don't think the leadership really wanted this.

Also I don't find any virtue in allying with Hitler while claiming you remain open to WAllies.

Finally I think this remark resumes pretty much his historical legacy:
What Horthy did back then was a colossal blunder.

He preferred his own class instead of his own nation; his own family instead of the people whom he should have led.

What did Stalin actually do when his son was a captive? Nothing, because he demanded millions of Soviet fathers and mothers to lose their sons in a total war. What did Horthy do when his son was captured by the Germans? Everything they asked of him.
DrG wrote:
24 Mar 2021 17:44

It was "zero" in your opinion. In the summer/autumn of 1943 it was nearly 100%, if Romania and Bulgaria had followed Horthy's peace attempts made in Turkey. Surely nationalistic problems between Romania and Hungary prevented a common policy, but it was also due to the coup d'etat by Badoglio, who prevented Mussolini from following his effort of a separate peace with the Western Allies, including also Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, in the summer of 1943. Horthy's moves in Turkey were based on the assumption that Badoglio was operating in the same way, ignoring that his government had negotiated for itself alone, disregarding the rest of the minor Axis partners.
You mean Miklos Banffy's mission to Bucharest? Well, I admire him as a writer and politician, one Hungarian personality that I would have liked to be Romanian and I know he wasn't a revanchist and sympathetic towards Romanians but how can one expect Romania could have had a common policy with Hungary or even Italy in 1943? Especially for Italy, it's policy in 1940 was regarded as a betrayal from a country that was supposed to be an ally and with whom shared a common historical and cultural heritage (Latinity) and nation building common struggle (WW1)
Last edited by steppewolf on 25 Mar 2021 12:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by wm » 25 Mar 2021 12:10

Futurist wrote:
23 Mar 2021 04:08
I previously heard that the only popular thing that the Polish Communists ever did was push the Polish border to the Oder-Neisse Line in the west.
Although that was Stalin not the Polish Communists, they were only pawns.

Futurist wrote:
23 Mar 2021 04:08
That's an argument in favor of fighting all of the way up to the bitter end, no? And also refusing to engage in any peace talks with the Western Allies until they will actually reach Hungary's borders, which most likely was never actually going to happen.
That would change nothing as at that time Hungary would be firmly in the operational zone of the Wehrmacht and powerless to do anything.
After the war, as punishment Hungary most likely would get the "German" treatment - of a defeated aggressor.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Mar 2021 12:28

Hungary's problem that it had taken territory off two Allied countries, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, which it would necessarily not retain in the event of Allied victory, and Romania which, because it was closer to the front, managed to defect to the Allies before Hungary ever had a realistic prospect of doing so. As the post-WWI treaties had satisfied its neighbours' demands, Hungary therefore survived without further territorial loss after WWII.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by wm » 25 Mar 2021 12:32

The wages of communism is poverty.
Three very similar (in the thirties) countries and their postwar economic fate (per capita GDP).
the wages of communism.png
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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by steppewolf » 25 Mar 2021 12:52

wm wrote:
25 Mar 2021 12:32
The wages of communism is poverty.
Three very similar (in the thirties) countries and their postwar economic fate (per capita GDP).
Actually between 45 - late 70s the evolution was similar, the gaps were largely maintained. To see the advantages of capitalism took a while.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by wm » 25 Mar 2021 13:31

Initially, both Ireland and Spain weren't especially capitalist. They implemented command economy, nationalization, autarky.
But they saw the light in the sixties.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Peter89 » 25 Mar 2021 13:44

steppewolf wrote:
25 Mar 2021 12:52
wm wrote:
25 Mar 2021 12:32
The wages of communism is poverty.
Three very similar (in the thirties) countries and their postwar economic fate (per capita GDP).
Actually between 45 - late 70s the evolution was similar, the gaps were largely maintained. To see the advantages of capitalism took a while.
wm wrote:
25 Mar 2021 13:31
Initially, both Ireland and Spain weren't especially capitalistic. They implemented command economy, nationalization, autarky.
But they saw the light in the sixties.
Yes, but the question is not if communism or capitalism is the better, because the research has been done on a worldwide scale, and capitalism emerged victorious.

The question here is that Horthy and his system (which was not capitalism or democracy btw) did more harm to Hungary and its population, or the "communist" system that followed?
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by steppewolf » 25 Mar 2021 14:09

Also from 1985 onward EU factor should also be taken into consideration. Western countries had historically a better start with Marshall plan and after 80s spread the wealth to newer EU countries such as Spain and Ireland. So, again, two more reason to look at the context as well and not merely analyze the GDP/per capita and the system, communist or capitalist.

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by Peter89 » 25 Mar 2021 14:19

steppewolf wrote:
25 Mar 2021 11:57
I think this whole discussion about GDP / economics it's mostly pointless due to the lack of agreement regarding which is the reference point. First agree on this than let's discuss about it.
Yup.

There are two ways to analyze this: 1. How did Hungary fare in different times and systems? We've seen that, and it's not really hard to be better than Horthy's regime. 2. How did other, comparable countries fare in the same system? Hungary is not like Germany, where half of the country lived in socialism and the other didn't.

The problem is that all the similar countries lived in the Eastern bloc.

So the question, "how would Hungary fare if there was no socialism?" cannot be answered by looking at Spanish and Italian numbers.
steppewolf wrote:
25 Mar 2021 11:57
Also the talk about part of a pact or not during Cold War is somehow pointless because generally the world made some huge steps like eradication of many diseases, limitation of hunger and poverty, access to education or infrastructure. Both blocks made huge steps compared with other areas of the world and at some point economical development of North Korea (60s) was much better than South Korea.

Generally it was a "democratization" in both blocks concerning access of masses of peasants or workers to things that improved the quality of life. Sure, the totalitarian regimens eventually accumulated some handicaps in competition with the open societies but overall the whole world made a big step forward due to science and more people having access to resources and education that was previously the privilege of a few. Although interwar policies of various states encouraged the access of poor people to education (e.g. state scholarships). The way the world changed after WW2 is similar with the big shift that followed WW1. The sole GDP chat is imo inconclusive.
Exactly, this is why I offered to take a look at different indicators.

Although a case can be made that the decades between 1960 and 1990 were probably the "golden age" to many countries, and it was not necessarily attributable to the governing ideology.
steppewolf wrote:
25 Mar 2021 11:57
I don't think Hungary alone could have get out of Axis in time, its army was too small and not re-built after Stalingrad for such endeavor, although it had a better industry compared with Romania. Also I don't think the leadership really wanted this.
The leadership wanted to quit the Axis, but only to the Wallies. Thus they wanted to quit, but they couldn't because the Soviets were coming and not the Wallies. Horthy and his circles knew that the Soviet occupation meant the utter destruction of their social class, and defeat on the German side meant the same.

What a prudent statesman would have done was to realize that even if he and his friends are done for and have to leave the country, at least he can save hundreds of thousands as well as not ruining the land.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Was it a mistake for Miklos Horthy (the Hungarian regent) to seek a separate peace?

Post by wm » 25 Mar 2021 15:04

In the thirties, because of the Great Depression, nobody was doing well.
Additionally, Hungary lost lots of industry, and the remaining lost its efficiency because it partially depended on the lost parts.
Screenshot 2021-03-25 at 14.22.14.png
The Marshall Plan was nice but it merely helped to rebuild the destroyed economies, it didn't make anybody rich by any stretch of the imagination.
For example, Ireland grabbed quite a big bag of money and it didn't do it any good.
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