|Hungary - The Unwilling Satellite|
THE TEXT of Admiral Horthy's armistice proclamation broadcast to the people of Hungary on October 15, 1944, follows. Made soon after Rumania's and Bulgaria's withdrawal from the war, it nevertheless required much courage on Horthy's part, for Hungary was still regarded as part of Hitler's "inner fortress"; and it precipitated Horthy's arrest: Ever since the will of the nation put me at the helm of the country, the most important aim of Hungarian foreign policy was, through peaceful revision, to repair, at least partly, the injustices of the Peace Treaty of Trianon. Our hopes in the League of Nations in this regard remained unfulfilled.
At the time of the beginning of a new world crisis, Hungary was not led by a desire to acquire new territories. We had no aggressive intention against the Republic of Czecho- Slovakia, and Hungary did not wish to regain territories taken from her by war. We entered Bacska only after the collapse of Yugoslavia and at that time in order to defend our blood brethren. We accepted a peaceful decision of the Axis powers regarding the eastern territories taken from us in 1918 by Rumania.
Hungary was forced into war against the Alliesby German pressure, which weighed upon us owing to our geographical situation. But even so we were not guided by any ambition to increase our own power and had no intention to snatch as much as a square meter of territory from anybody.
Today it is obvious to any sober- minded person that the German Reich has lost the war. All governments responsible for the destiny of their countries must draw pertinent conclusions from this fact, for, as a great German statesman, Bismarck, once said: 'No nation ought to sacrifice itself on the altar of an alliance.' Conscious of my historic responsibility, I have the obligation to undertake every step directed to avoiding further unnecessary bloodshed. A nation that would allow the soil inherited from its forefathers to be turned into a theater of rearguard actions in an already lost war, defending alien interests out of a serflike spirit, would lose the esteem of public opinion throughout the world.
With grief I am forced to state that the German Reich on its part broke the loyalty of an ally toward our country a long time ago. For a considerable time it has launched ever- new formations of Hungarian armed forces into the fight outside the frontiers of the country against my wish and will.
In March of this year, however, the Fuehrer of the German Reich invited me to negotiation in consequence of my urgent demand for the repatriation of Hungary's armed forces. There he informed me that Hungary would be occupied by German forces and he ordered this to be carried out in spite of my protests, even while I was retained abroad. Simultaneously German political police invaded the country and arrested numerous Hungarian citizens, among them several members of the legislative assembly as well as the minister of the interior of my government then in office.
The Premier himself evaded detention only by taking refuge in a neutral embassy. After having received a firm promise from the Fuehrer of the German Reich that he would cancel acts that violated and restricted Hungary's sovereignty, in case I appointed a government enjoying the confidence of the Germans, I appointed the Sztojay government.
Yet the Germans did not keep their promise. In the shelter of German occupation the Gestapo tackled the Jewish question in a manner incompatible with the demands of humanity, applying methods it had already employed elsewhere. When war drew near the frontiers, and even passed them, the Germans repeatedly promised assistance, yet again they failed to honor their promise.
During their retreat they turned the country's sovereign territory into a theater of looting and destruction. Those actions, contrary to an ally's loyalty, were crowned by an act of open provocation when in the course of measures for the maintenance of order in the interior of Budapest, Corps Commander Field Marshal Lieutenant Szilard- Bokay was treacherously attacked and abducted by Gestapo agents who exploited the bad visibility of a foggy October morning when he was getting out of his car in front of his house.
Subsequently German aircraft dropped leaflets against the government in office. I received reliable information that troops of pro- German tendency intended to raise their own men to power by using force to effect a political upheaval and the overthrowing of the legal Hungarian government which I had appointed in the meantime (Premier Lakatos) and that they intended to turn their country's territory into a theater of rearguard actions for the German Reich.
I decided to safeguard Hungary's honor even in relation to her former ally, although this ally, instead of supplying the military help he had promised, meant to rob the Hungarian nation finally of its greatest treasure- - its freedom and independence.
I informed a representative of the German Reich that we were about to conclude a military armistice with our previous enemies and to cease all hostilities against them.
Trusting your love of truth, I hope to secure in accord with you the continuity of our nation's life in the future and the realization of our peaceful aims.
Commanders of the Hungarian army have received corresponding orders from me. Accordingly, the troops, loyal to their oath and following an order of the day issued simultaneously, must obey the commanders appointed by me. I appeal to every honest Hungarian to follow me on the path beset by sacrifices that will lead to Hungary's salvation.
|Hungary - The Unwilling Satellite|