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Hungarian diplomacy was rather cautious in advancing claims to the Magyar-inhabited parts of Czechoslovakia. In fact, at first these claims amounted only to requests of equal treatment of the Hungarian minority. Gradually, however, as the crisis over the Sudeten territory developed, the Hungarian Government began to make overtures for a possible frontier revision.

The efforts of Hungarian diplomacy can be divided in two parts: the first dating from the Czechoslovak crisis of May to the end of the Runciman mission in September, the second from the September crisis to the Munich Agreement. Both periods will be dealt with here separately.

In addition, it is necessary to point out the similar efforts undertaken by the Polish Government. In the beginning they were quite separate from those of Hungary. Later they were co-ordinated with the efforts of Budapest. Therefore, it will be not uninteresting to compare the actions of the two Governments.

From May to September

After the Anschluss of Austria it became increasingly clear that the Czechoslovak Government would soon be obliged to make substantial concessions to the Sudeten minorities. As the likelihood of such a settlement emerged, both Hungary and Poland began to stir with a view to establishing claims for an equality of treatment of their nationals in Czechoslovakia. 1

In attempting to stake out their claims the two Governments had chosen different paths and were treated differently.

The Poles, expecting immediate German action against Czechoslovakia, had carried out partial mobilization on the Czech frontier in April, and, according to a diplomatic report "were apparently resolved in this case on themselves occupying the Teschen area so as not to have to accept it from German hands, encumbered with embarrassing conditions."


After withdrawing their troops in May, they had received assurances from Prague that "the Czechoslovak Government would grant the Polish minority any concessions granted to the Sudeten."2

In July the Polish Government informed the French Foreign Minister, Bonnet that Poland was taking her stand on the principle of equal treatment for the Polish minority in Czechoslovakia. A similar declaration was made to the British Government in July after the announcement of the Runciman Mission. Finally, in September the Polish Foreign Minister, Beck had initiated action on the diplomatic plane "to secure the fulfillment of the principle of equal treatment for the Polish minority which he had enunciated in May."3 This action included emphatic claims, announced in Berlin, London, and Paris, for a plebiscite if there was to be one in the Sudeten districts. Later, when the cession of Sudeten territory became part of the Anglo-French proposals to Benes, Beckinsisted on a new frontier delimitation between Poland and Czechoslovakia around the Teschen area.

These moves were accompanied "by more or less veiled threats that the Polish Government would proceed to direct action if their demands were not accepted."4

Hungary in Search of Support

In contrast to Poland's action in Paris and London, Hungary first sought to enlist the support of Italy and Germany. Both of them proved to be ready and willing to further Hungarian interests, provided the latter would pay the price.

Italy, secretly preparing to establish a protectorate over Albania the following year, urged the withdrawal of Hungary from the League of Nations. Germany desired Hungarian participation in "Operation Green," the military action against Czechoslovakia, still top secret, but already in an advanced stage of planning.

It took considerable skill on the part of Hungarian diplomacy to evade these demands without risk of losing the possible support for Hungarian claims regarding Czechoslovakia.

Prior to the steps taken in Rome and Berlin which will be taken up in detail later, the only event of some significance was the visit of the representatives of the Sudeten-German Party to Budapest.

Acting on behalf of the party leader, Konrad Henlein, they arrived in Budapest from Slovakia where the head of the Slovak


Peoples' Party, Father Hlinka had agreed with them on the necessity for co-operation between the dissatisfied nationalities. Hlinka"bluntly advocated the idea of an independent Slovak nation, which must demand autonomy for itself within the Czechoslovak States."5

The Sudeten representatives in Budapest stressed the necessity for the Hungarian minority to build up their political and economic organizations. During these talks the Hungarian Foreign Minister, Kalman Kanya, who had just returned from Poland a week before, made a remark in a very decisive way to the effect that "Budapest and Warsaw were of the same mind in regard to the political fate of Czechoslovakia."6 Whether Kanya was alluding to a desired or possible partition of the latter, is uncertain. At any rate, the anti-Czechoslovak attitude of the Hungarians was rather apparent.

Undetermined policy.

In spite of the revisionism openly represented by certain officials, Hungary at that time had no clearly defined policy, and the Government was quite hesitant as to what action, if any, to take.

As late as July 1st, to an inquiry of the Italian Ambassador concerning the Hungarian attitude in the German-Czechoslovak problem, the German State Secretary, Weizsacker, explained that "of course the Hungarian revisionist aspirations toward Czechoslovakia were known." But what practical policy is to be adopted by Hungary if it came to a conflict, "did not seem . . . to have been decided yet in Budapest itself."7

The question naturally arises, why did the Hungarian Government, after advocating revision for twenty years, follow now this cautious approach to the problem of Czechoslovakia?

The explanation is to be sought partly in the change of the Czechoslovak attitude toward the minorities question, but mainly in the overall European politico-military situation.

Acting under pressure from Germany, and on advice from Paris and London, the Czechoslovak Government had decided in April to introduce a new nationalities statute to the Parliament. The provisions of the statute were to satisfy at least part of the demands of the nationalities, first of all, of the Sudeten Germans.

On May 18 the Czechoslovak press reported the conclusion of the discussions over the statute in the Cabinet and announced that the Prime Minister "will begin direct negotiations with the representatives of the German, Hungarian, and Polish minorities within the next few days."8


In addition, the Czechoslovak Government took another step, equally important for Hungary and Poland; namely, it decided "to accord to the Polish minorities in the Teschen area and to the Hungarian minority in Slovakia the same privileges that would be accorded to the Sudeten."9

While these actions of Prague certainly may have had a restraining influence upon Hungarian policy, more cogent reasons were provided for in the report of Mr. John F. Montgomery, American Minister to Hungary, dispatched from Budapest to the Secretary of State in Washington on June 2, 1938.

According to the information of Montgomery, obtained from the Foreign Minister and from the leader of the opposition in the Hungarian Parliament, Dr. Eckhardt, "it was the agreed policy that Hungary would remain completely neutral in the event of a war and would take no action towards Czechoslovakia that would disturb the peace of Europe."10

As Dr. Eckhardt explained to the American Minister, this policy was based upon the following three points:

"1) Yugoslavia and Rumania are bound under the Little Entente agreement to aid Czechoslovakia in case of attack by Hungary, and Yugoslavia in particular is not averse to taking over some Hungarian territory should the occasion therefor arise;

2) Hungary cannot afford to go into war and desires to remain neutral. To act in conjunction with Germany would make her an ally of that country, which would be extremely dangerous, and if war resulted Hungary would be dragged in;

3) In case of the breaking up of Czechoslovakia, Slovakia would naturally return to Hungary. Poland desires a common frontier with Hungary and would use every influence to that end. If Hungary does not disturb the peace of Europe her chances of getting back some of its lost provinces are better than if she involved herself at the start.11

After strong and repeated assurances on the part of Hungarian statesmen of the absence of any agreement between the Hungarian and German Governments with regard to Czechoslovakia, or of some secret understanding of any kind, the American Minister concluded his report "convinced that the above represents the present policy of the Hungarian Government."

Finally, the Hungarian Government seemed to appraise the European situation in the light of French and British pronouncements concerning the German-Czechoslovak problem. These pronouncements had left little doubt that the two Governments did not write off East-Central Europe as being exclusively in the German sphere of interest, and considered any change there as the common concern of European Powers.


Correspondingly, the Hungarian diplomacy in its dealings with the West seems to have tried to present the neutral course, thrust upon her by political realities, as conscious choice, building thereby goodwill for the eventuality of a future settlement.12

True enough, the earlier British attitude was that of reserving the right to examine these East-Central European questions "within the framework of Geneva." Yet, it was also known to the Hungarians from the Grandi-Eden talks of December, 1937, that in the opinion of the British these questions "did not present any insurmountable difficulties."13

Indeed, the announcement of the Runciman Mission, at the end of July, had increased the hope of the Hungarian Government about the British recognition of the importance of the nationalities question in East-Central Europe and of its possible solution.

The British Foreign Minister, Viscount Halifax, while informing the Parliament that the idea of the Mission originated in the German-Czech dispute, spoke also of other nationalities such as the Polish and Hungarians. Furthermore, the Czechoslovak Government in accepting the Mission referred to "nationalities" in the plural. Subsequently both the Hungarian and Polish Governments took steps asking that Lord Runciman consider also the case of their nationals in Czechoslovakia. The answer, however, to both Governments was evasive.14

Hungarian statesmen visit Rome.

Meanwhile, in the middle of July the Hungarian Prime Minister, Bela Imredy, and Foreign Minister Kanya set out to Rome to discuss the Czechoslovak crisis. The visit was primarily the result of Hungarian preoccupation with possible Yugoslav action in case of an open conflict with Czechoslovakia.

Earlier in May, Mussolini had laid down certain principles for Italian policy toward Budapest. "In the event of Hungarian action against Czechoslovakia with German connivance," recorded Ciano, "we remain disinterested; in the event of an unprovoked attack by Yugoslavia (an absurd supposition, which may be ruled out) we would help Hungary."15

In order to weaken the League of Nations, Hungary was expected to withdraw her membership in return forItalian support.16

The Hungarian statesmen now wanted to obtain a direct guarantee from Italy against Yugoslavia in the form of a military assistance pact. While reassuring them, in view of earlier Yugoslav-Italian talks, that Yugoslavia had no intention to attack Hungary as long as the latter did not take the initiative in a conflict with Prague, both Ciano and Mussolini refused military guarantee.17


As for the Hungarians, they made it clear, even before the Italians would expose the above view, that they had no intention to leave the League of Nations.18

State visit to Germany.

Throughout the summer of 1938 Germany and Hungary conducted diplomatic exchanges regarding the Czechoslovak question. These exchanges, apart from acknowledging the existence of the problem and mutually stressing the necessity of its settlement, did not produce any agreement. Because of this fact both Hungary and Germany attached great hopes to the well prepared and much publicized visit of Hungarian statesmen to Germany from 21 to 26 August. Regent Horthy and wife, Prime Minister Imredy, Foreign Minister Kanya, Defense Minister Raczand their staff made up the party.

Ironically enough the visit, instead of clarifying Hungarian-German relations, ultimately turned out to cause much strain.

First of all, the visit coincided with the publication of the provisional agreements reached between Hungary and the States of the Little Entente on August 23 at Bled, Yugoslavia. The agreements recognized on the one hand Hungary's right to rearmament and stipulated, on the other, the renunciation of the use of force between Hungary and the States of the Little Entente.19

Foreign Minister Kanya went to great pains to explain to Ribbentrop that the renunciation of the use of force became operative with each of the three States only after the still outstanding problems, namely those of the Hungarian minority, had been settled.

This interpretation was exactly opposite to that of the Czechoslovak Government, but the somewhat vague wording of the agreements had certainly permitted different interpretations. Ribbentrop, for example, had understood them as the renunciation of Hungarian revisionist aims.

At any rate, the West and the Little Entente had considered the conclusion of the Bled Agreements as a diplomatic victory against Germany, while the Germans were greatly annoyed and regarded it as a stab in the back.

Only after the Hungarian statesmen had decidedly declared that they intended to side with Germany in a Czech-German conflict, did the Germans begin to negotiate seriously. In a series of talks with the visitors Hitlerand Ribbentrop pressed hard to commit the Hungarian Government to military action. Both had intimated that inactivity on Hungary's part might result in the nonfulfillment of her aims.


Thus, Ribbentrop had told Kanya that "he who does not assist departs with empty hands," while Hitlerlectured Imredy saying: "He who wanted to sit at table must at least help in the kitchen."20 Nevertheless, the repeated attempts of the Germans were unsuccessful.

Writing in retrospect fifteen years later the Survey of International Affairs summed up the situation as follows:

"During these negotiations the Hungarian Government had resisted all the pressure that was put upon them to give a firm promise of military co-operation with Germany in an attack on Czechoslovakia - a promise which Hitlerwas anxious to extract in order that "Operation Green" for the conquest of Czechoslovakia might be launched with the prospect of such rapid success that the Western Powers would be presented with a fait accompli and no general war need be feared.

Not even Hitlers willingness, at this stage, to allow Hungary to acquire the whole of Slovakia and Ruthenia, could tempt the Hungarians, in their disarmed state, to commit themselves to military action against Czechoslovakia which might lay them open to immediate attack from Czechoslovakia's ally, Jugoslavia."21

To round out the picture one should also note that the affairs of Hungary at the time were still directed by men characterized by definite anti-German feelings.22 These leaders of Hungary did not think that Germany could win if the conflict resulted in a general war and they were afraid of German expansion toward the southeast. Finally, they "believed that Western opinion could now at last be won over to accept Hungary's claim for a revision of the territorial settlement made after the First World War, if she confined herself to demands that had an ethnic justification."23

From the End of the Runciman Mission to Munich

On September 16, three weeks after the Hungarian state visit to Germany, the British mediator, Lord Runciman, departed from Prague with his mission unaccomplished. By the time he had persuaded President Benes to meet most of the demands of the Sudeten Party, the so-called "Karlsbad Demands," the latter had advanced its position to a degree that the Prague Government was unwilling to accept. Nothing less than union with Germany was now the requirement of the Sudeten Party.

Hitlers belligerent speech delivered on September 12 in Nuremberg, and the failure of the Runciman Mission created a new crisis in Europe. War again seemed to be imminent.


The "third party" which had attempted anew to break the deadlock was again Britain. The role of the British can be best understood if one looks at the position of the other interested Powers.

The United States, as usual, had followed a policy of noninvolvement. As early as March 14, 1938, Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles explained to the Czechoslovak Minister in Washington that with regard to the situation resulting from the Anschluss of Austria the U.S. Government "had taken no action, had made no representations and intended to make none." The policy of the Government, stated Welles, "was to remain completely aloof from any involvement in European affairs."24

Washington, of course, had watched the developments of the Czech-German conflict with great interest, hoping for peaceful solution and favoring the idea of a Four Power Conference.

Both President Rooseveltand Secretary Hullhad taken some important steps in the last days of September to prevent war. Roosevelthad sent personal appeals to the heads of the Governments most concerned, while Secretary Hullengineered the sending of appeals to Hitlerand to Benes by a number of countries.

Yet, even there Hullhad instructed the American envoys to make it clear that the soliciting of appeals on the part of the United States "does not in any way imply any opinion as to the point of the dispute at issue."25 Czech, French, and British attempts to have Washington take a clear position had remained unsuccessful.

At the opposite pole to the American policy of non-involvement stood the Soviet Union, ally of France and of Czechoslovakia. Willing and eager to take part in European politics, she was kept out of the picture on purpose, because her readiness to send military aid to Czechoslovakia had produced vehement reactions in Warsaw and Bucarest. Although Rumania hesitated, the Poles were prepared to declare war if the Soviets were to send troops or airplanes to Czechoslovakia. To the dismay of the latter, France and Britain cold-shouldered the Soviet proposals in the entire Czech-German affair.

As for France, the Daladier Government had relinquished the initiative to the British quite early. Already on April 30, in a conversation with a member of the German Embassy, Daladier had stressed the importance of Britain, as a free agent exerting pressure on Prague.26

On May 16, U.S. Ambassador Bullitt reported from Paris to Washington the following:


Bonnetsaid that his whole policy at the present time was based on allowing the English full latitude to work out the dispute. He felt that if it were possible to adjust this dispute without war the British could do it and efforts by France could only muddy the waters since France was allied to Czechoslovakia.27

Now the British, who described Czechoslovakia to Bonnetas "a combination of rags and patches stitched together by the Versailles Treaty that no one should die to protect," had little intention of doing anything for Czechoslovakia except offering their good offices.28

Bonnetfelt that this offer would turn out advantageously for France. If Prague should refuse British mediation the British then would make it clear that "they were not prepared to go to war in order to maintain the dominance of seven million Czechs over three and a half million Germans. It would then be possible for France to take a similar attitude." In case the Czechs should accept, there would be a possibility for peaceful settlement.29

If this possibility passed, there remained the question for France: What to do next?

During the summer of 1938, the number of persons there who believed that France should fight in order to maintain her traditional power and prestige in East-Central Europe had diminished steadily. Moreover, as Bullitt reported on September 15, "the conviction that the Treaty of Versailles is one of the stupidest documents ever penned by the hand of man is now general."30

Both Daladier and Bonnetfought the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. They were now convinced that the Treaty must be revised, and regarded the alteration of the Czechoslovak State as a necessary revision. Referring to the deep and sincere belief of France in the principle of self-determination, Daladier stated the French position to the German Charge d'Affaires:

"If the Sudeten desired autonomy they should have autonomy. He was even prepared to say that if the Sudeten should desire to join Germany the French Government, respecting the principle of self-determination, would have no basic objection to this solution. What he could not permit was that Hitlershould attempt to settle the matter by force."31

As it is known, the impasse of mid-September had been finally overcome by the visit of Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, to Berchtesgaden where, indeed, it was asked that the principle of self-determination be recognized. This was approved by the British cabinet, then France concurred in the proposal that the Czechoslovak Government should be asked to relinquish the Sudeten region to Germany.


Chamberlain's second visit to Hitler and finally the Munich Conference, had sealed the fate of Czechoslovakia.

The Munich Agreement created a new situation with regard to the Czechoslovak-Hungarian problem. The understanding reached at Munich had narrowed down the scope of the dispute, and it was now clear that the final outcome would depend on the parties themselves.

This was less than what the Hungarian Government had expected to achieve originally, yet, in view of certain events immediately preceding the Munich Conference, the Hungarians were glad to have received this much support at all. The diplomatic moves of the last two weeks of September had caused much concern in Budapest.

Germany and the Hungarian claims.

First of all the Hungarian Government had to cope with two additional attempts of the Germans directed toward galvanizing Hungary into action.

The first of these attempts was a strong rebuke administered by Goringto the Hungarian Ambassador, Sztojai, during their conversation on September 16. Reprimanding the latter for the inactivity of Hungary, Goringcomplained of the comparative silence of the Hungarian press, "complete calm" in the Hungarian minority areas in contrast to the Sudeten, and of the inactivity of the Hungarian Ministers in the various capitals, in contrast to their Czechoslovak colleagues.32

As a result of Gorings demarche the Hungarians promised more activity in pressing their claims the press and the minority groups to implement this decision and promised to demand a plebiscite. As a further result, the co-ordination between Budapest and Warsaw was increased.

The fulfillment of the first promise was put into effect immediately. As for the demand for a plebiscite in the Hungarian inhabited areas, if there was one to be held in the Sudeten region this question had been raised with London before.33

The second occasion that served to increase the concern of the Hungarians over their situation was the visit of Imredy and Kanya upon the express wish of Hitlerto his headquarters in Berchtesgaden.

Records of the meeting, arranged hastily for September 20, only two days before Hitlers second talks with Chamberlain, are incomplete. It appears that Hitlerhad once more offered the choice to Hungary between two alternatives, namely a "territorial," in other words military, and the "ethnic" solution.34


The reason for this seems to be the embarrassment of Hitlercaused by Chamberlain's acceptance, in principle, of the idea of cession. If now the Hungarians provided a reason, Czechoslovakia still could be destroyed. Otherwise there would remain a Czech Rump State in existence, an "aircraft carrier" in the heart of Europe to be used eventually against Germany. If therefore Hungary was willing to act by making such claims and in such a manner which rendered an understanding with Chamberlain impossible, the problem could be solved. Otherwise the Czechoslovak problem was to be worked out along the "ethnic" principle. Here, however, said Hitler Hungary could not count on German support.

Imredy and Kanya somehow managed to talk themselves out of the painful situation. They used the old arguments of their August conversation with Hitler and made vague promises for military preparations, namely the calling up of two classes, adding that these could not be completed within a couple of weeks.

Imredy did promise, however, quite firmly, that Hungary would not guarantee the new frontiers of Czechoslovakia until her own demands were satisfied. He also promised to send Hitlera statement of Hungary's claims. The statement, putting down the cession of the Magyar-inhabited areas of Czechoslovakia, and the realization of the right of self-determination for the Slovaks and the Ruthenes as Hungary's demands, seems to have arrived too late for the Godesberg meeting.35

All this fell far short of what Hitlermay have expected to achieve. Consequently, he did not include the immediate satisfaction of the non-German claims among his peace terms at Godesberg.36

Western responses regarding Hungary's Claims.

Nevertheless, if Hitlerwas unwilling to push the satisfaction of the non-German claims, it may well be pointed out that Chamberlain was not inclined to meet them either. "If Hitlerinsists on talking of these issues," reported U.S. Ambassador Kennedyfrom London on September 21, "Chamberlain will adjourn the meeting and return home."37

Soon enough the Hungarian Government, which by choice, or by necessity, had abandoned the idea of a "territorial" solution, discovered that even Hungary's ethnic claims lacked the support sufficient to make them prevail on the Western diplomatic front.

The reason for this seems to stem from the new policy initiated in London at the time of the first HitlerChamberlain talks and duly taken up in Prague. This policy aimed at detaching the


Polish and Hungarian issues from that of the Sudeten Germans, and to consider the latter alone as the one of real importance.

Hungary, which until now did not even have a feeling of urgency, began to suspect that the hopes she attached in Britain were misplaced. This suspicion had arisen first when the Hungarian Minister in London, recalled a few days ago from his summer vacation, received the answer to the Hungarian note of September 17, which had emphasized the Hungarian demands for equal treatment.38

The answer, given to Minister Barczaon September 20 in form of a note verbale, stressed the priority of the Sudeten question and included the following passage:

"His Majesty's Government fully appreciate the interest felt by the Hungarian Government in the future of the Hungarian minority in Czechoslovakia, but trust that they will be careful in the present delicate situation to do nothing to extend the scope of the present crisis, and will be content that their point of view had been placed on record and will receive consideration at the appropriate moment."39

Verbally Halifax said that, since in this matter many others were concerned besides the British Government, Budapest should consider the most appropriate method of raising it at a later time. He suggested that it was a question for the application of Article XIX of the Covenant.40

In view of the experience of two decades, the suggestion of Halifax must have sounded ridiculous to Barcza He deposited a note which pointed out that since, according to unofficial information, the question of cession was to be raised at Godesberg with regard to the Sudeten areas, "the Hungarian Government feel that, on grounds of international morals and justice, the same treatment could not be refused to the Hungarian minority."41

Nevertheless, the view expressed in the British note continued to remain the official Foreign office view and served to discourage Hungarian reliance on Britain.

At any rate, the next day G. Knox British Ambassador, could report the military measures taken by the Hungarian Government in view of the Czechoslovak mobilization.42

Knoxalso reported the following part of his conversation with the bitterly disappointed Kanya:

"The Sudeten territories, he said, had lain from time immemorial inside the frontiers of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Sudeten Germans had in history known the Prussians more often as an enemy than a friend; more over their case had been backed by threats and military measures. The Magyar minority, on the other hand had been an integral part of the Hungarian Kingdom, and their case had been put forward for many years with calm and moderation. Hungary had made it abundantly clear that she had


sought a solution only by peaceful and lawful means. Now, he continued, if I would allow him to speak with all frankness, it was sadly evident that it was not the moral wish to see justice done that lay behind the concessions we had wrung from Prague to the Sudeten Germans but the threat of overwhelming force."43

It is interesting to compare the situation of Poland with that of Hungary during the last week of September. Having taken up the policy initiated in London, Benes launched an effort to alienate Poland from Hungary by trying to satisfy the former's claims separately. On two occasions, at least, the Polish Government received assurances from Prague for differential treatment. The Poles seemed to be willing to negotiate, but their demands exceeded the Czech offers considerably. Furthermore, they were backed up by the Polish military measures.44

Prague objected to this pressure. The British, too, warned Warsaw in a very vigorous note. The situation became tense and Poland's claims were still unsatisfied when the news of the Four Power Conference broke. Thereupon Foreign Minister Becktook the attitude that Poland's claims were not a matter for discussion by others, and sent an ultimatum to Prague requesting immediate cession of the Teschen area.45 From here on Poland pursued a policy of her own without regard to the Munich Conference and achieved her aims in a short time.

The Hungarian Government, on the contrary, was quite anxious to get satisfaction through the Four Powers. The question was: How to achieve this most effectively?

True enough, Hitlerdid not press the Polish and Hungarian claims at Godesberg, yet he made it clear that Germany would refuse to guarantee the new frontiers of Czechoslovakia unless the guarantee was participated in by the two states. This helped the French and the British to realize the necessity of giving some satisfaction to the Hungarian and Polish claims as well.

Ambassador Bullitt was right in calling on September 15 the attention of Bonnet French Foreign Minister, to the following:

"By ignoring completely the Poles and Hungarians the British and French Governments were thrusting the Poles and Hungrians into Hitlers camp and were placing themselves in a foul position before the public opinion of the world. I pointed out that Hitlerhad taken full advantage of this gross diplomatic error and now was in a position to say to the Poles and Hungarians that it was he and he alone who would procure their minorities for them."46

The conversation must have had an effect on Bonnet for the next day he expressed sympathy with the Hungarian position.47


There appeared additional factors working in favor of an "ethnic" revision for Hungary. These were the willingness of Rumania and Yugoslavia toward the end of the month, to see a restoration of the Magyar-inhabited parts of Czechoslovakia to Hungary. Yugoslavia even offered to mediate, provided that Hungary would give a satisfactory declaration concerning the security of Yugoslavia.48

For the British it took some time to take all this into account, but on September 29, while the Munich Conference was under way, Halifax finally informed Kennedyin London that "a settlement must be made also on the Polish and Hungarian question." To this Ambassador Kennedyadded in his report: "For the latter I am sure he has more feeling in the righteousness of their case than for Poland or Germany."49

On the same evening, after new Hungarian urgings, Halifax sent a message to the British Delegation at Munich suggesting that "some cession of territory on the Hungarian frontier will in present circumstances prove necessary and that this fact should be at once recognized by the Czech Government."50

Nevertheless, this change in the attitude of Halifax came too late to have any effect at the Conference.

The Italians, aware of the fact that the Germans did not intend to make themselves the spokesmen of Hungary's claims, seized the opportunity to increase their prestige in East-Central Europe. Italy emerged from the Conference as the champion of the Hungarian cause.


Notes to Chapter II

1. Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945. From the Archives of the German Foreign Ministry. (Hereafter cited as German Documents.) Series D., 1937-1945 (Washington; U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949-1956), II, 451. Teschen was seized from Poland by Czechoslovakia in 1919.

2. British Documents, I, 315.

3. R.G.D. Laffan and others, Survey of International Affairs 1938. (London: Oxford University Press, 1951-1953), III, 50. Hereafter cited as Survey.

4. Ibid., p. 51.

5. German Documents, II, 124.

6. Ibid., p. 136.

7. German Documents, II, 448.

8. U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States; Diplomatic Papers, 1938 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1955), I, 506. Hereafter cited as Foreign Relations U.S.

9. Ibid, p. 522.

10. Foreign Relations U.S., I, 56.

11. Ibid.

12. This was particularly so with regard to Britain. There, unlike in France, existed some sympathy for the Hungarian cause, finding expression in the press, notably in Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail, as well as in the Parliament. See The Hungarian Question in the British Parliament (London: Grant Richards, 1933).

13. German Documents, II, 74.

14. Carlyle A. Macartney, A History of Hungary 1929-1945. Vol. I X New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1957), p. 235.


15. Galeazzo Ciano, Hidden Diary 1937-1938, trans. Andreas Mayor (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1953), May 20, 1938. Hereafter cited as Ciano: Diary.

16. Ibid. Cf. supra, p. 23.

17. Ciano, Diary, July 17.

18. Ibid.

19. Monica Curtis (ed.), Documents on International Affairs 1938 (London: Oxford University Press, 1943), I, 282.

20. German Documents, II, 610.

21. Survey, III, 69.

22. In a way the next few months signaled a turning point. The proBritish Imredy underwent a complete change of heart. Kanya, in turn, had to give way to the pro-German Count Csaky

23. Survey, III, 70.

24. Foreign Relations U.S., I, 486.

25. Ibid, p. 678.

26. GermanDocuments, II, 252.

27. Foreign Relations U.S., I, 501

28. Foreign Relations U.S., I, 536.

29. Ibid

30. Ibid. , p. 601.

31. Foreign Relations U.S., I, 581 .

32. German Documents, II, 816-817.

33. British Documents, III, 1-4.

34. German Documents, II, 863-864.

35. Macartney, p. 267, n. 7.

36. Afterwards Hitlerbitterly described Hungary as one who thwarted his plans, forced him to accept the Munich settlement and thus gave Czechoslovakia a new lease on life. Had Hungary sided with Germany at the right time "he could have laughed in Chamberlain's face." See Hitlers interview with Count Csaky Documents Secrets du Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres d'Allemagne,


traduit du Russe par Madeleine et Michael Eristov (Paris: Editions Paul Dupont, 1946), Vol. II (Hongrie), pp. 74-76. Hereafter cited as Documents Secrets. As Macartney points out, however, equally important for Czechoslovakia was the attitude of the Slovaks, who, notwithstanding German efforts to stimulate them into separatism, had produced on September 19 a declaration in the favor of a "Czecho-Slovakia.," In other words, the Slovaks were willing to go along with the Czechs if accorded full recognition of the Slovak people and language, and settlement of the Slovak question on the basis of the Pittsburgh Agreement. By this the Slovaks meant autonomy. Macartney, pp. 263-264.

37. Foreign Relations U. S., I, 63 1 .

38. British Documents, III, 5.

39. BritishDocuments, III, 11.

40. Macartney, p. 260.

41. BritishDocuments, III, 10.

42. By calling up two more classes in addition to three already serving, Hungary increased the strength of her Army, according to Knox to 160,000. The Yugoslav estimate was 230,000. British Documents, III, 11-12.

43. Ibid., pp. 25-26.

44. Macartney, p. 269.

45. German Documents, IV, 6.

46. Foreign Relations U.S., I, 647.

47. Ibid, p. 710.

48. German Documents, I I, 936, 992.

49. Foreign Relations U.S., I, 700.

50. British Documents, III, 48


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