The ideologue of the Nazi party, Alfred Rosenberg, in articles on 15 November , as well as in October noted that supporting wider revisionist ambitions were not in the interest of Germany. The choice of words made it clear that it was addressed to Budapest, Belgrade and Bucharest. The Hungarian press always reacted with tension to such articles and comments. German responses to Hungarian protests were initially characterised by a patronizing tone. But as the Hungarian protests became more frequent, German responses became brusquer.
The seemingly minor dispute between Hungary and Germany in the s regarding the geographical location of Hungary was a sign of bigger and more severe underlying issues. As noted earlier, after , according to German perceptions, Hungary belonged to South-East Europe, and some interpretations even placed it in the Balkans. This notion already existed in Germany in the s and also appeared in textbooks in the s.
One of the elementary textbooks in , for example, wrote about Hungary:. From a one hour train ride to the East of Vienna, this purely German city [is where], the real Balkans starts. Here lays Hungary with it plains and gypsies, fleas and cockroaches.
The Hungarian nation is sentimental and melancholic, as well as raw and impulsive. Deep inside, Hungarians are closer to the peoples of the Balkans than to our beloved compatriot Austrians. But this was all in vain.
From the German perspective, Hungary remained as one of the countries of the Balkans, while according to Hungarian categorization it was East Central European or at least Northern Danubian. Later, this became the subject of very serious parliamentary debate in Budapest, and a prominent Member of Parliament Tibor Eckhardt considered it in to be one of the reasons for the cooling of Hungarian-German relations.
The Hungarian diplomat lost his job as a result of his mischievous comment. It should not be believed that this is impossible. Dissatisfaction with German policy led to attempts at a rapprochement with the Little Entente in However, neither these nor the earlier Hungarian warnings changed the course of German policy. In Berlin they knew all too well that Hungary would not be able to renounce revision, and that France and the Little Entente would never fulfil these ambitions.
At the end of , the extensive German state subvention of the Swabians in Hungary was revealed, and the Hungarian government arrested German students distributing propaganda material in Swabian villages. Apart from economic and cultural expansion, the policy of Deutschtum manifested only very weakly, and the fascist Hungarian far-right also did not play a significant role. In the mids a new era started in German foreign policy.
Initially, the differences were more apparent in the tools utilised than in the goals. The creation of military alliances against the status quo, violence, the threat of military force and the ultima ratio , military action, were not used either between and or between to However, after , these became the most important tools of German foreign policy. The first sign of change was the reintroduction of conscription in And then it was continued with the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, the initiations of the first four-year plan — to create the economic foundations of the Blitzkrieg , with intervention in the Spanish Civil War, and with the Berlin-Roma axis and the Anti-Comintern pact with Japan.
Both treaties, signed in November , aimed to overthrow the status quo and to create a new world order. This new course, as in and , coincided with the dismissal of officials both on the top and the middle structures of policy-making. Everybody who did not agree with the new course, or aimed to decelerate change had to leave. Economic Minister and Chairman of the Reich Bank Hjalmar Schacht, who was an advocate of the liberal-imperialist Mitteleuropa , was dismissed in It also became clear that for Hitler, Mitteleuropa was not the goal which would make Germany a world power, but was only a tool in achieving world dominance.
Thus, this new course utilised new tools, and was the rethinking of old ambitions. This new course of German foreign policy was soon felt in policy towards South-East Europe. The shift occurred in with the Anschluss and the destruction of Czechoslovakia. The six war years after produced varied and radical shifts in German South-East European policy and more radical policies than those of the Weimar era and the mids. However, the aim to turn the region into the political and economic colony of German policy, and after the German army, was a common thread in this era.
Due to the nature of German policy, which aimed to adjust its tactics according to circumstances, plans about Hungary were also less rigid and changed constantly in reaction to circumstances and Hungarian policy. The source of the first minor disagreement was about the new German-Hungarian frontier.
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Of course, Hungary could not contemplate to protest the Anschluss in the spirit of the Italian-Austrian-Hungarian Agreement — signed in the s — as Italy already acknowledged it. In his aim to destroy Czechoslovakia, Hitler hoped Hungary would play the role of agent provocateur. He wanted Hungary to be the sole aggressor, and thus the outbreak of conflict would have provided an opportunity for the German army to intervene.
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On this occasion, disregarding the ethnic principle, in return he offered Slovakia as a whole to Hungary. However, they insisted on territorial claims for the entirety of Slovakia and Ruthenia, which went beyond the ethnic principle. Its insistence on Bratislava is not more than, for example, Italy insisting on Bratislava because it was part of the Roman Empire. In late , it agreed to the legalisation of the Volksbund , the National Socialist organisation of ethnic Germans in Hungary, and on 24 February , it joined the Anti-Comintern Pact.
At the same time, Budapest promised to leave the League of Nations. It completely abandoned this anti-Nazi Western international organisation on 11 April As a reward, as well as to share the responsibility, Hitler agreed to the Hungarian occupation of the mostly Ruthenian inhabited Subcarpathian Ruthenia on 15—16 March With the Austrian Anschluss in and the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in , the core of the greater-German Mitteleuropa was created.
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As a result, the French security system collapsed; the elbowroom of the states of South-East Europe was now reduced to a minimum. In the economic sphere, Germany already had a dominating role in most countries of the region since the —36 clearing treaties. Although these treaties created dependency and conserved outdated structures, they were still based on mutual benefits, and did not cause the direct exploitation of the region. However, the —40 treaties did not aim to secure mutual markets, but to totally integrate the national economies into the German dominated greater regional economic sphere.
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It should direct its agricultural products to the German market. In return, we will supply industrial products. Some countries, like Hungary, even asked Germany to sign such treaties. Their dissatisfaction only mounted during WWII when Germany was not able to supply these countries with industrial products anymore, and, in effect, forced a zero percent trade credit on them. In order to ensure undisturbed economic cooperation with these countries, Germany still refused to endorse Hungarian and Bulgarian revisionist ambitions, and supported a rapprochement on the basis of the status quo.
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Consequently, in the second part of , Yugoslavia and Romania moved closer to Germany. Berlin looked unfavourably on these events. Thus, Hungarian and Bulgarian revisionists still did not get a green light. Hitler and Ribbentrop, like nothing happened, still suggested Hungarian-Yugoslav and Hungarian-Romanian rapprochement on the basis of the status quo. The clearest signs of this were the refusal to participate in the Polish campaign and the refusal to allow German military passages through Hungary in the summer and autumn of , respectively.
Hungary followed this policy regardless of strong German military and political pressure. The Hungarian elite were receptive to an agreement with Yugoslavia, and did not step up against Romania with arms. However, in the summer of , rather unexpectedly, he changed his mind, and took on the role of arbitrator in the dispute. Paradoxically, the reason for his change of attitude was the same, which rejected dealing with the issue, peace in the Balkans and economic interests. The problem escalated with the Soviet threats to use force if Romania did not transfer Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia at the end of June In this situation Budapest wanted to move immediately.
But war would have undoubtedly meant the cessation of Romanian oil shipments to Germany and the penetration of the Red Army in the Balkans. Hitler could not allow either of these to happen. Romanian oil was as important to him as Swedish iron, and obviously, allowing the Soviet Union to take the initiative was not in his interest. Bucharest attempted to avert the immediate threat of frontier revision with a radical readjustment of its policy. On the 1st of July it renounced the British guarantee, and signalled that it was ready to follow the German line in its policy.
However, pushing events into a different direction now proved impossible. The Second Vienna Award on 30 August , elaborated by the German and Italian Foreign Ministers, created such a compromise between the Hungarian demands and the Romanian offer, which favoured Hungary. Regardless of the problems surrounding this arbitration, its ethnic basis was more justifiable than the Trianon frontiers.
However, it cannot be said that ethnic justice was the aim of Hitler here. With the division of Transylvania he acquired a new weapon, which could be used against both countries effectively at any time. Consequently, these two countries embarked on a competition for the goodwill of Berlin, which was unprecedented among the allies of Nazi Germany.