Collection: Hungary

The Hungarian forces were put under the overall command of the German Wehrmacht and used in Operation Barbarossa, pushing as far as Stalingrad. The Hungarian army swelled from a peacetime strength of 80,000 to over 200,000. The force’s effectiveness was dampened by ineffective equipment and limited training as well as by the harsh weather.

The well-supplied but quickly trained Hungarian Second Army accompanied the German Second Army Group South in the invasion of southern Russia, finally arriving at the battle of Stalingrad. The Hungarians were dealt a huge defeat in the face of a Russian pincer attack near Svoboda on the Don River. This effectively destroyed the Hungarian Second Army as a fighting force.

After the battle of Stalingrad and the crushing defeat of the Second Hungarian Army, most Hungarian forces were switched to defence as anti-Axis sentiment grew at home. The prime minister saw the writing on the wall and started secret negotiations with the Allies. Though the Allies kept negotiations secret from the Soviets, the Germans discovered them, resulting in a German invasion of Hungary in the spring of 1944.

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