80 Years Ago

Unlike the rest of Britain’s media, the Daily Worker of 6 February 1939 fairly reported the statement of the government of the Soviet Union in its official journal, Izvestia, on its breaking of diplomatic relations with Hungary.  This said that “normally”, there could be no contradiction between the interests of Hungary and the USSR, which had never interfered in the many disputes, including serious territorial conflict, that Hungary had with her neighbours. 

Yet Hungary had, “unconditionally fulfilled all the demands of the aggressor nations (Germany, Italy, Japan)”. It was the first to conclude a “cultural agreement” with Japan, and to recognise Manchukuo, its puppet state set up after the invasion of Chinese Manchuria. Not only was this a violation of the decisions of the League of Nations, the compliancy of Hungarian towards “the Rome-Berlin axis was extraordinary”. 

By this, Hungary had been “deprived of her political and economic independence” to become a tool in the hands of the bloc of aggressors, in the “Anti-Comintern Bloc”.  Hungary had become a puppet of “aggressive parties”, continued Izvestia, and was now directed against all peaceful countries, including the USSR”. Damaging outcomes could only be averted if nations could “place their national interests above very dubious conjectural considerations and only if they do not hide themselves from reality in a fog of false illusions”.  Within weeks, Hungary was demanding huge chunks of territory be transferred to it by Czechoslovakia and Rumania.

Not long afterwards, its troops fought alongside the Wehrmacht on the eastern front. The Red Army finally destroyed Hungary’s military capability, and forced German troops out of the country, after the siege of Budapest in February 1945. This strategic victory soon led to the encirclement of Berlin and the end of the war.  

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