Miklós Horthy and Viktor Orbán are kindred souls, at least according to George Friedman

I hope I made it eminently clear what I think of George Friedman’s brief description of the role of Miklós Horthy who, he claims, heroically tried to balance between two great powers. Friedman’s knowledge of the period is woefully inadequate. He couldn’t even keep his facts straight, never mind the validity of his conclusions.

On the basis of this inadequate description of what transpired in Hungary between, let’s say, 1933 and 1944, he portrays Horthy as a politician of vision who brilliantly managed to keep Germans and the far right at bay as long as possible. Thereby, he managed to save thousands of lives.

In Friedman’s eyes Prime Minister Viktor Orbán resembles Horthy: he is also trying to steer the ship of a weak and poor country though dangerous waters. Admittedly, he says, times are different, but “circumstances still bear similarities to Horthy’s time.” What, however, we never get any answer to is why Germany is a dangerous enemy of Hungary today. Because Viktor Orbán’s foreign policy is described as a balancing act between a  hostile Germany and a hostile Russia.

Friedman, it seems, envisages a Russia that sooner or later will run down all of Ukraine and thus will become a direct neighbor of Hungary. In the case of Germany, Friedman focuses on the nature of the EU and economics. First, “Hungary is already facing Germany’s policy toward liberal integration within the European Union, which fundamentally contradicts Hungary’s concept of an independent state economy. Hungary is already facing Germany’s policies that undermine Hungary’s economic and social well-being. Orban’s strategy is to create an economy with maximum distance from Europe without breaking with it, and one in which the state exerts its power. This is not what the Germans want to see.” And second, “There is little support from Hungary’s west, other than mostly hollow warnings. He knows that the Germans will not risk their prosperity to help stabilize the Hungarian economy or its strategic position.” Of course, the European Union does try to stabilize the Hungarian economy by pouring billions of euros into it, without which it would have gone under a long time ago.

Be afraid of the future because the past will return / Source: nikotex.blogspot.com

Be afraid of the future because the past will return / Source: nikotex.blogspot.com

And, according to Friedman, there is another similarity between the situations of Horthy and Orbán. Both leaders were faced with a far-right threat. Just to set the historical record straight, Horthy’s success with the extreme right was less than successful, not that he tried very hard. Horthy’s National Army from its birth was a gathering place of extremists. Although he boasted that he could get rid of them at any time, in fact both his administration and the army were full of anti-Semitic extremists who were great admirers of Hitler’s Germany. His friendships with far-right military and political actors in the 1930s dated to 1919-1920 when he was the hope of the extreme right. In the 1920s, Prime Minister István Bethlen managed to keep Horthy away from both his old extremist friends and politics. Once Bethlen was gone, there was no one to keep Horthy in line. He was on his own, with the well documented results.

Friedman sees Orbán just as he imagined Horthy to be: the guarantor of right-of-center politics. The real enemy is Jobbik and, if we didn’t have Orbán, Jobbik today would be the leading political force in Hungary. At least this is what the following muddled sentence indicates: Orbán “constructed a regime that appalled the left, which thought that without Orbán, it would all return to the way it was before, rather than realizing that it might open the door to the further right.” Friedman either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to know the real facts: Orbán has fulfilled several demands of Jobbik in the hope of siphoning off some of its support.

Orbán’s strategy as far as the extreme right is concerned has so far been quite similar to that of the governments between the two world wars. The problem is that the strategy didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now. Jobbik has not lost its appeal. On the contrary, the extreme right has gained ground during the last four years. In 2010 855,436 people voted for Jobbik (16.67%) while this year the number was 1,020.476 (20.22%). It seems to me that Orbán is no guarantee of anything. In fact, with his constant courting of the far right, he only added legitimacy and political heft to Jobbik.

As for the sorry state of Hungarian democracy, Friedman whitewashes Orbán’s domestic policies. “Internally he is increasing his power constantly, and that gives him freedom to act internationally.” Or, “Orbán is trying to do what Horthy did: strengthen his power over the state and the state’s power over society. He is attacked from the left for violating the principles of liberal democracy and Europe.” But, as Friedman explains, all this is necessary because of the external and internal threats Hungary faces.

In many ways George Friedman and Viktor Orbán see the world similarly. Both consider the European Union a massive failure. Moreover, in Friedman’s view, Orbán doesn’t want “to continue playing the German game in the European Union because he can’t. As in many European countries, the social fabric of Hungary is under great tension.”  So, the general portrait of Orbán that circulates at home and abroad as a man who wants to reap the benefits of the European Union but refuses to abide by its rules is all wrong. If we were to believe Friedman, Orbán is doing all this for the higher purpose of saving his country from the Russian bear and the German imperial eagle. He is the hero of the nation, and we are all too short-sighted to realize his true aim.

This particular construct, I’m afraid, is the work of Friedman’s imagination. Orbán’s policies are largely guided by his insatiable desire for power. He whips up nationalist and anti-European sentiments in order to bolster his popularity with Fidesz and Jobbik voters. At the last election, although more than half of the population wanted to see Orbán go, with help from clever mathematicians who managed to construct an electoral system that could produce a two-thirds majority from 44.87% of the votes cast for Fidesz, he managed to stay in power for another four years. After that, apparently he has another plan. Just like his friend Vladimir Putin, he is planning to move on to the presidency. Admittedly, right now the Hungarian president doesn’t have much power, but Orbán with his two-thirds parliamentary majority can easily change the Hungarian constitution to transform Hungary’s parliamentary system into a presidential one. If this happens, Orbán will be a major political figure in Hungary until at least 2022!

The real moving force of Orbán is his personal power and his inability to cope with any authority above himself. The rest is just talk.

I could wrap up my critique here, but I feel I should give a few more examples of the author’s wanton disregard for facts and the unsupported “grand theses” in this article. Here are a few examples. “The great depression in Mediterranean Europe, contrasted with German prosperity, is simply the repeat of an old game.” What old game? Or, Hungary allegedly lies between Russia and “the European Peninsula.” European Peninsula? Or, “the Ukrainian crisis can only be understood in terms of the failure of the European Union.”‘ In what way?

If this article had been published by a run-of-the-mill journalist I would be less appalled. But it was written by a former academic who is supposed to be an expert on international affairs and geopolitical strategy. Based on this piece, I think we can safely exclude from his areas of expertise Hungarian history and politics.

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67 comments

  1. As usual, an excellent analysis and critique. Please correct one typo:
    In 2014 855,436 people voted for Jobbik (16.67%) while this year the number was 1,020.476 (20.22%).
    Obviously, this should read: In 2010, etc.
    Best,
    Andrew Szende

  2. George Friedman is really skeptical person. I know that he is crazy but he is reading a lot of us. He was writing something about Turkish and Chinese against to America in 2009.Who can imagine Turkey and China ? He has always interesting claims which no one thinks about it before. that is why sometimes he is confusing me and he misgive me about his saying and I think about that if it is true ?! But I am agree with him that sometimes Viktor Orban makes really dangerous things about Hungary and i think that at that moment he is just thinking about himself and political career.

  3. Orban’s PR machinery is working full force. At best, Friedman is a trusting victim of Fidesz propaganda. This is not the quality of insight you’d expect from a company dubbed as the “shadow CIA.”

  4. Spot on post.

    @ An:

    Well, based on my readings of books and news articles, this is exactly what I would be expecting. That’s the problem — and this ensures Orban’s advantage, because it shows that Westerners will just never understand him (or any other non-Western politician) and he can always outmaneuver them. I think you way overestimate the capabilities of ‘expert’ organizations. The ‘pros’ were completely clueless in Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, Egypt, you name it.

    The fundamental problem is that the readers of Stratfor’s analyses by definition should know less (or they feel that they know less) about the topic (that is why they subscribe), so they are just not really in a position to evaluate the service. These two posts by Prof. Balogh are just one of these rare instances when a real expert can review the analysis and it quickly turns out that Friedman’s article is extremely weak (and possibly the result of a conflict of interest, if Orban somehow became a client).

    Friedman, by the way, wrote a book in 1991 about the “The Coming War with Japan”. If one remembers, at the end of the eighties, turn of the nineties, Japan was at the height of its power and the US genuinely feared the Japanese menace (as it is clear from movies etc.). Friedman’s book can now be deemed a childish case of extrapolation. History turned out otherwise, Japan, just when the book came out, entered a long slump which continues to this day, and Japan instead of attacking the US in another Pearl Harbor, became the staunchest ally of the US in the Asia-Pacific Region.

  5. OT: this is a Hungarian translation of a Czech interview with Tamás Gáspár Miklós. He is now an explicitly lefty intellectual, but most of his points seem to be spot on, if a bit strongly worded for mainstream media. There are tons more truth in this than in Friedman’s article, that’s for sure (though the topics are different).

    http://dotoho.blog.hu/2014/05/12/europa_jovoje_a_szkinhedallam

  6. Mr. Friedman who pretends to know something about Hungarian History is an ignoramus. He does not know when Hungary declared war on the Soviet Union. He is also immoral, when he ignores the hold-up murder of more than half a million Hungarians (Jews or persons qualified as such by the Hungarian racial law of 1941) because Horthy did not let in July 1944 deport from Budapest. In August, Horthy gave his O.K. for the deportation from Budapest, but alas, the Red Army made it impossible to deport to Auschwitz-Birkenau. So ten thousands were sent on foot to the western border of Hungary.
    Any junior analyst who writes his first paper will check the facts. Not so, Mr. Friedman, for him what his parents said to him are facts and so he can neglect History. Moreover, in doing so he joins those “real Hungarian” historians like Ernö Raffay, Sándor Szakály and Mária Schmidt who rewrite History to show Horthy and his Hungarian perpetrators as innocent.
    The advantage of Orbán is, he can point out, not only my (acolyte) Historians say so but also an American named George Friedman.

  7. I think the sins of a Friedman, or a Szigetvari (who called into question Schepelle’s expertise) are even greater than those of an Orban because unknowing readers come innocently to their opinions and are given to believe that Orban’s harangues are seen by objective persons as having
    legitimacy.

  8. Do not forget that Horthy was installed by strong British political support.

  9. “Any junior analyst who writes his first paper will check the facts. Not so, Mr. Friedman, for him what his parents said to him are facts and so he can neglect History. Moreover, in doing so he joins those “real Hungarian” historians like Ernö Raffay, Sándor Szakály and Mária Schmidt who rewrite History to show Horthy and his Hungarian perpetrators as innocent.”

    Oh but there is another possibility. What if Stalinist and Communist historians weren’t 100% honest, and they already falsified history as much as they could? Why should we trust Stalinists and Communists to tell real history, to write real history books? And if it is true that Communists falsified history for many decades, then the current state of history is the one falsified. Why did Communist era historians have an incentive to falsify history? The Rakosi regime which was so oppressive so unbearable that average people were suffering greatly. The Rakosi regime needed history falsifications to justify the very existence. They did this by falsifying en mass history of the previous era, and trying to portray it as negatively as they could. This was hardcore propaganda, nothing was sacred. Historical documents were burned, purged, photos altered, falsification everywhere. This is what we have to recover from finally. To try to leave the Communist era falsifications behind us. To be able to learn real history first we have to accept that Communist era falsifications are not real history. Yet some of those falsifications are still going strong today. These have to be purged first from history books, then we can talk about real history.

  10. @Real History@ during the Horthy period the right to vote was severely restricted in cities to men above 26 and to women above 30. In the villages, one had to vote openly. Is that a communist lie?
    Real History do you want to deny that Hungary was during Horthy’s rule the country of 3 Million beggars? Is that a communist lie?
    @Real history@, so all serious historians in Hungary and the Hungarian academy of sciences are just idiots who fell victim to the communists.
    Because some communist Historians especially during the Rákosi period falsified history it is justified that Orbán’s acolyte Historians rewrite Hungarian History?
    By the way Real History, do you deny the Hungarian Holocaust, the deportation of more than half a million Hungarians to Auschwitz-Birkenau?

  11. SLOVAK FASCIST ATTACKS WOMEN, CALLS THEM CUNTS FOR SPEAKING HUNGARIAN

    “You fucking stupid cunts, speak in Slovak, your Hungarian speech irritates me” – the words of Dárius Rusnák to two Hungarian women, having coffee.

    According to recent press reports Dárius Rusnák who works for the Office of the Slovak President, tried to beat up two Hungarian women for speaking Hungarian in a bar in Bratislava. Non-fascist Slovaks intervened and stopped the attack from turning into a beating. The confrontation began when two Hungarian women were speaking to each other in their native language and Rusnák asked them in English
    “What language are you speaking in” The women replied in English that they were speaking Hungarian. Then Rusnák asked “Why?” The women replied that they were Hungarians and that is the reason. This is when Rusnák lost his temper and started shouting:

    “You fucking stupid cunts, speak in Slovak, your Hungarian speech irritates me”

    And then when he was ignored, started shouting even louder

    “STUPID CUNTS SPEAK IN SLOVAK”. Soon his shouting became unbearable and other patrons of the bar came over to see what the issue was. At this point Rusnák wanted to beat up the women much like the case of Hedvig Malina for speaking Hungarian. But the non-fascist Slovaks who came over stopped Rusnák in his tracks. A fight resulted and the police came out took statements and started to investigate. The confrontation happened not far from the presidential palace.

    The Slovak press reported this, although somewhat distorted the story:
    http://www.sme.sk/c/7210824/darius-rusnak-urazal-madarov-a-vyvolal-bitku-v-krcme.html

    But especially some of the comments about this story
    http://www.sme.sk/diskusie/2290621/1/Darius-Rusnak-urazal-Madarov-a-vyvolal-bitku-v-krcme.html
    show that tolerance for the “crime” of speaking Hungarian is very low in some circles.

  12. It is almost funny that these nationalist right wingers are so similar in most ways, hate for the EU, the Jews and the Muslims, the immigrants in general, the Roma, the LGBT community etc – the only difference is:

    The Hungarian Nationalists hate the Slovaks and Romanians etc, the Slovak Nationalists hate the Hungarians, the German Nationalists hate everybody who is not a German – you could continue this list with UKIP and the French etc …

    A bit OT:

    Germany has a new anti-EU party which wants back the Deutsche Mark called AfD (Alliance for Germany) and it seems our conservative CDU is very afraid of them – because they might steal even more votes from the Christians at the EU elections …

    They already are angry because their 4,7% at the last parliament election probably cost Mrs Merkel the hoped for absolute majority. Now one of our local politicians (mayor of Rottenburg, a medium sized town – and the seat of a Catholic bishop) called the AfD a Nazi party – worse than the real Nazis, because they don’t show their Nazism openly …

    Any similarities to the Fidesz/Jobbik situation are purely accidental, of course!

  13. British political support
    May 22, 2014 at 3:57 am
    “Do not forget that Horthy was installed by strong British political support”

    Sure but in 1919 there was no other choice. His army was the only military force in the country. He and his men were very dissatisfied with the politicians who got into power after the fall of the Hungarian Soviet Republic. They considered them still too liberal. He announced at one point that if they don’t get their act together he will remove them by force. “Elkergeti őket.”

  14. Tappanch: “If he cannot decide 100% about the distribution of the Norwegian money, no money should come.”

    If I were the Norwegian government I would not hesitate: no money! Easy choice and cost free.

  15. tappanch: I don’t get it, why can’t the Norwegians themselves decide on the grants? Sure, it’s assitional work, but this is their goal: to help people living in developing nations, under dictatorships. Just because a Gulash dictator blackmails them, doesn’t mean that they should give it up. They should directly decide and transfer the money. Orban is not the last of these bullying autocrats who will try to make the life of donors difficult, they should get ready to oppose these people if they seriously think about their goals.

  16. As the first commenter remarked to the Spiegel article:

    Ist es wirklich eine Nachricht wert, dass ein nationalistischer Autokrat, der gegen Minderheiten hetzt, sich auf die Seite eines anderen nationalistischen Autokraten, der gegen Minderheiten hetzt, stellt?

    Good point.

    As someone on this blog remarked Orban wants his own special relationship with Putin and will not let Jobbik benefit from Russia’s money, so he had to break up Jobbik’s Russian connections a bit. As far as I remember, Putin in most cases retaliates if another country charges one of his spies. But, again, as somebody wrote here, this “spy” case is already agreed upon with Putin (le van vajazva), Putin does not care, as Orban will be at least as good a representative of Russia in the EU as Kovács was (plus Putin has the Bulgarians, Greek etc. anyway), perhaps he will be much better because with this spy case Orban will even look like a brave, reliable pro-EU politician. Right. But the EU politicians will swallow this too, they always believe everything.

  17. Horthy did save some Jewish lives, including a friend of mine. I have tried to explain to him why Horthy should not be honored, but there’s no chance of it. My friend is alive, as he sees it, because of Horthy, and no amount of historical scholarship could overcome the weight of his personal experience.

    My parents, however, are different. One lived under Horthy as a Jew, with all the baggage that goes with that. The other fought against for the Allies. Both remember the Horthy years and have sympathy for him, but I have been able to convince them that Horthy was not such a great guy.

    I am in the anti-Horthy camp, but my guess is that it is better to attack him for his failures of strategy and tactics, not his ideology. Yes, we can trot out his letter to Teleki Pál that he was an anti-Semite, but Horthy AND the Nazis were afraid of the Arrow Cross and the parties in several countries that were more extreme than the main-stream anti-Semites.

    So, maybe Horthy’s biggest mistake was thinking that the Nazis would just deport Jews. He failed to realize what their plans were. Horthy did a horrible job defending Hungary, and if was such a great leader, then Hungary would not have ended up under Soviet domination, right? Horthy failed to get back the Trianon lands, and that is something that the Hungarian right should be upset at.

  18. Gardonista: “So, maybe Horthy’s biggest mistake was thinking that the Nazis would just deport Jews. He failed to realize what their plans were.”

    Latest research strongly suggest that Horthy and some members of the government actually knew about the fate awaiting for the deported Hungarians.

  19. Gardonista, without the anti-Semitic ideology, the anti-Semitic laws the Hungarian administration could not deport within a few weeks more than half a million citizens.

  20. The Auschwitz Protocol was written by Vrba and Wetzler, two Slovakian Jews who escaped from Auschwitz, at the end of April 1944. It was also translated to German at the same time and was available already in May. Horthy knew about Auschwitz and did not stopped the trains until July. The amazing, George Mantello received the protocol from a Romanian diplomat in June and he organized a press campaign in German , 400 articles has been published in mainly Swiss papers in July. Horthy stopped the deportations only in July when it became well known what was happening in Auschwitz. Until it was not publicized, though he knew about it , he did not care.

  21. koeszmeod: “The Auschwitz Protocol was written by Vrba and Wetzler, two Slovakian Jews who escaped from Auschwitz, at the end of April 1944. It was also translated to German at the same time and was available already in May. Horthy knew about Auschwitz”

    Actually they knew about it earlier than that. This afternoon, I will check the facts exactly.

  22. As promised. Here are a few dates. The information comes from Krisztián Ungváry’s latest book, A Horthy-rendszer mérlege,” pp.527-538.

    As early as 1941 Hungarian officials reported about mass murders of Jews by the Germans in occupied Yugoslavia. Murders of Hungarian Jews in occupied Russia were eagerly photographed by Hungarian officers. By early 1944, Hungarian intelligence broke the code of American and British top secret telegrams. Sztójay who then (1942) was H. ambassador to Berlin made it clear to a Hungarian journalist with very good government connections that the deportation of Jews actually means their murder. Given all the information which was pouring in, the Hungarian government had to be fairly well informed already in 1942 and 1943.

    As far as Horthy himself is concerned the clincher is the following. On May7, 1943 Horthy wrote a letter to Hitler. In the original draft the following sentence can be found: “Excellenciád további szemrehányása volt, hogy a kormány a zsidók kiirtásának keresztülvitelében nem járt el ugyanolyan mélyrehatóan, mint az Németországban történt.” Clearly he knew that the Endlösung means “extermination” as he used this word in this letter. This sentence was later omitted from the letter that was eventually sent.

  23. Éva: “If we were to believe Friedman, Orbán is doing all this for the higher purpose of saving his country from the Russian bear and the German imperial eagle. He is the hero of the nation, and we are all too short-sighted to realize his true aim.”

    Perhaps I had contact with an unfortunate set of texts or discussions, but what has been written by Mr Friedman appears to me like the standard fare of the national image delivered to people who try to learn (superficially) something about Hungary. A country, mal-treated by all, surrounded by constant danger, prevented from reaping the full award for the outstanding talents, unfortunately or fortunately currently under the spell of such an embodiment of outstanding talent. Horthy, Orban, Slovaks beating Hungarian women, is just the means to deliver this basic idea. Which is why it is particularly interesting that Jonas writes: “Westerners will just never understand him”. Hopefully the Hungarians do. I for one would like to be explained what exactly makes spreading such national image so irresistible – and also the idea that it is the “West” that is just unable to get the whole point, when it appears to people in the “West” that it is mainly the Hungarians who bought into OV’s charms to the extent that he is uncrowned king of Hungary.

  24. Thank you Eva for looking up Ungváry. The problem is, people like Friedman and Rabinovich seem to have an agenda and you will not convince them with fact. Facts do not play a role with Orbán and his ilk and the token Jews who want to tell us, that Horthy was innocent and could not stop before July the deportations. They prefer legends to facts.

  25. It’s hard to understand these token jews. (Rabinovitch seems like a made-up name).
    But when I read their opinion I am reminded of the movie, “The Man In The Glass Booth”.

  26. In soccer scores:

    Ungvary – Friedman 100 -0

    I assume that Friedman has never read his own Horthy study that he signed.

    Friedman, some people are waiting for your apology. Or remain silent, and proved your ignorance.

  27. Gardonista
    May 22, 2014 at 9:30 am
    Horthy did save some Jewish lives,

    ***********************************
    “Some” means a quarter million of the Budapest Jewry.

    >So, maybe Horthy’s biggest mistake was thinking that the Nazis would just deport Jews.

    I do think so. In any case he and Kallay firmly did not allow the deportations when they had real power. Horthy received the Vrba-Westler report on July 3d via writer Torok and his daughter-in-law. On July 5th the loyal army unit entered the city and forced Baky to obey Horthy’s order to stop deportations.

    >Horthy did a horrible job defending Hungary, and if was such a great leader, then Hungary would not have ended up under Soviet domination, right? Horthy failed to get back the Trianon lands, and that is something that the Hungarian right should be upset at.

    That he made mistakes – no doubt. His entering Yugoslavia was probably the mistake of all his life. Pal Teleki commited suicide because of that. But in this way and with two Vienna awards Horthy did manage to get back a significant part of the Trianon lands. However, Hungary lost the war together with Germany and lost these lands back. There was no way for Hungary not to end under Soviet domination similarly to all Eastern Europe that was given to Stalin by Roosevelt. Even Romania, that had switched the sides, did not manage to retain independence.

    I do not consider the “anti-Semitic” letter to Teleki as really anti-Semitic but this is another story, and it was discussed here many times.

  28. From Budapest Telegraph, Jan. 29, 2014;
    http://www.budapesttelegraph.com/news/627/catharsis_warded_off_%E2%80%93_controversy_over_monument_of_victims_of_hungary%E2%80%99s_german_occupation_and_house_of_fates
    ALL CAPITAL LETTERS BELOW are mine – E.R.

    “Krisztián Ungváry is of the view that right after occupying Hungary, the Germans didn’t at first intend to deport from Hungary all the Jews. That idea only came to their mind – Ungváry points out – after making it sure that such a scheme can be realized smoothly with the participation of the zealously anti-Semitic Hungarian authorities.

    Endre László [administrative state secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs after April 1944] and his associates were so gung-ho in deporting Jews that they violated the very agreement signed with the Germans by over-performing the target: in the first two weeks of the operation, the number of Hungarian Jews deported to Auschwitz was by 80 000 more than the plan target. (Krisztián Ungváry: A Horthy-rendszer mérlege [A Balance of the Horthy Era], Jelenkor, 2012)

    Other historians, as Ignác Romsics, Sándor Szakály or Sándor M. Kiss see these issues in a different light. They argue that March 19, 1944, marked the beginning of a new era because until Hungary’s occupation by Germany, proposals similar to the Endlösung [in Germany] fell on deaf ears. Besides, KRISTIAN UNGVARY ALSO EMPHASIZES that until the German occupation HORTHY “SABOTAGED THE PROCESS WITH ALL HIS MIGHT. IT WAS A BRAVE ACT BY HORTHY TO ARGUE even in the presence of Hitler that the current state of Hungary was not the fault of the Jews, it was the consequence of what all Hungarians did. In sum, Horthy didn’t buy Hitler’s anti-Semitic propaganda phrases.””

  29. Elizer,

    ALL CAPITAL LETTERS BELOW are mine – E.R.

    Your capital letters remind me on the classic Irish joke when the mother writes to her son: “I write slowly, because I know, you can’t read fast …” Garbage in capital letters is still garbage.

    Would you mind enlighten me with a few examples how the regent “sabotaged with all his might” the deportations?

    Disclaimer: all the letters in this comment are mine. That includes the punctuation marks as well.

  30. Eliezer Rabinovich is not a historian. He is peddling the current legends of Orbán’s acolyte historians. He is as far as Hungarian History is concerned an impostor.

  31. muttdamon,

    When you are polite, I don’t mind to answer, even though you missed a letter in my name. Kristian Ungvary is such a great authority here that I thought that quoting him, and especially with capital letters, I would surely make my case more believable, don’t you think so? Or even he writes “garbage”?

    But to be serious, on April 18 or 19 I presented here a calendar of about 10 events in 1942-44 that demonstrated that might and stubbornness and resulted in no deportations in spite of firm demands by Hitler. I am not sure it is proper to repeat the entire long posting, but here is just one quote;

    “April 17th, 1943. Hitler invites Horthy and sternly demands dismissal of Kallay and starting the deportations. Horthy tells him to mind his own business and not to try to remove the premier whom he, Horthy, fully trusts. He firmly rejects the deportations demands.”

    After occupation – on July 4-6 Horthy stopped the deportations with the help of a loyal army unit – before that his demands to stop deportations had not been obeyed.

    I do not expect you agree, though.

  32. Karl Pfeifer
    May 22, 2014 at 11:38 pm
    Eliezer Rabinovich is not a historian. He is peddling the current legends of Orbán’s acolyte historians. He is as far as Hungarian History is concerned an impostor.

    *****************************************************************

    I am who I am, Mr. Pfeifer, and you need not offend me. I gave you a reference to the sources for my article that you could easily check – you preferred to ignore. Here is the partial list – please show me who are of my sources are “Orban’s acolyte historians”:

    Randolph L. Braham, The Reinterment and Political Rehabilitation of Miklós Horthy, Slavic Almanach, vol. 2, edited by Henrietta Mondry and Paul Schweiger (Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand, 1993), pp. 137-140; https://hungarianspectrum.wordpress.com/?s=horthy

    Nicholas Horthy, Memoirs, Annotated by Andrew L. Simon, 2000.

    Nikolas Kallay, Hungarian Premier, A Personal Account, Columbia Univ. Press, 1954.

    Mario D. Fenyo, Hitler, Horthy, and Hungary, p.171, Yale Univ. Press, 1972.

    John F. Montgomery, Hungary – The Unwilling Satellite, 1947; Vista Books, Morristown, NJ, 1993.

    Eichmann Interrogated, Transcripts from the Archives of the Israeli Police, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983.

    Trial of Adolph Eichmann, http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/e/eichmann-adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-052-08.html, http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/e/eichmann-adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-053-01.html,
    http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/e/eichmann-adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-112-04.html

    Steven А. Colman, The Explanation; книгу воспоминаний можно загрузить с: http://www.foboko.com/ebook/7885/biography-and-autobiographies/the-explanation

    Randolph L. Braham, The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary, Wayne State Univ. Press, Detroit, MI, 2000.

    Thomas Sakmyster, Hungary’s Admiral on Horseback – Miklos Horthy, 1918 – 1944; Columbia U. Press, 1994.

    Raphael Patai, The Jews of Hungary, Wayne State Univ. Press, Detroit, 1996.

    Istvan Deak, Essays on Hitler’s Europe, pp. 148-158, U. of Nebraska Press, 2001.

    T. Zane Reeves PhD, Shoes Along the Danube, Eloquent Books (November 16, 2011).

    Б.Й. Желицки, Регент Венгрии Миклош Хорти (1868-1957), Новая и новейшая история, №№2-3, 1996, http://www.horthy.narod.ru/horthy3.html

    Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands – Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, pp. 7-8, Basic Books, NY, 2010.

    Istvan Lazar, Hungary – a brief history, http://www.hungarianhistory.com/lib/lazar/index.htm

    Winston S. Churchill, Zionism versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People, Illustrated Sunday Herald, February 8, 1920, page 5.

    Paul A. Hanebrink, In Defense of Christian Hungary: Religion, Nationalism, and Antisemitism, 1890-1944; 2009.

    Eva S. Balogh, Miklós Horthy: 1919-1921, Hungarian Spectrum, Oct. 13, 2010; https://hungarianspectrum.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/the-early-and-the-later-horthy-1919-1939-i/

    Istvan Deak, The Holocaust in Hungary, pp.148-158, Hungarian Quarterly, Winter 2004, Budapest.

    Istvan Deak, The Peculiarities of Hungarian Fascism, The Holocaust in Hungary – – Forty Years Later, Ed. By R.L. Braham and Bela Vago, p. 43-51, Columbia Univ. Press, 1985.

    Eva S. Balogh, Hungarian Spectrum, May 29, 2011; https://hungarianspectrum.wordpress.com/?s=horthy

    Randolph L. Braham, The Holocaust in Hangary, A Retrospective Analysis, p. 27 in “The Nazis’ last Victims: The Holocaust in Hungury”, Edited by R.L. Braham ans Scott Miller, Wayne Univ. Press, 2002.

    Count Bethlen Lashes Hungarian Anti-Jewish Bill at Committee Hearing, http://www.jta.org/1938/04/25/archive/count-bethlen-lashes-hungarian-anti-jewish-bill-at-committee-hearing

    Istvan Deak, Essays on Hitler’s Europe, pp. 148-158, U. of Nebraska Press, 2001.

    Estimated War Dead – World War II; http://warchronicle.com/numbers/WWII/deaths.htm

    No author, «The First Massacre: Kamenets-Podolsky», http://degob.org/index.php?showarticle=2019

    Kinga Frojimovics, Special Characteristics of the Holocaust in Hungary, p.251 in a book “The Routledge History of the Holocaust”, edited by Johnathan C. Friedman, New York, NY 2011.

    FATAL COMEDY AT THE COURT OF JUSTICE, http://www.hungarianhistory.com/lib/cseres/cseres15.htm

    LÉVAI, JENÖ, Black Book on the Martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry (1948).

    Laszlo Karsai, Could the Hungarian Jews Survive the Holocaust?
    http://web.ceu.hu/jewishstudies/yb04/06Karsai.pdf,

    Raul Hilberg, The destruction of the European Jews, Student edition, Holmes & Meier, NY-London, 1985.

    Wikipedia, Vrba–Wetzler report.

    The Jewish Council, http://degob.org/index.php?showarticle=2021

    The Forgotten Rescue: The Royal Hungarian Army and the Rescue of the Budapest Jews, From material contributed by Frank Koszorus, Esq. and Chris Szabo, pp. 344-348 in ref. 7.

    Tom Lantos, The American Hungarian Federation,

    David Metzler, Raoul Wallenberg, Jewish Virtual Library, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/wallenberg.html#arrival

    Anne O’HARE McCORMICK, Abroad: Victims of the Last Fury of the Nazis, NY Times, July 15, 1944, p.12.

    Jane PERLEZ, Hungary and the Jews: Looking at 1944 Is Difficult, NY Times, April 18, 1994.
    Horthy Offer, Shoah Resourse Center,

    Theo Tschuy, Dangerous Diplomacy, The Story of Carl Lutz, Rescuer of 62,000 Hungarian Jews, W.B. Eardmans Publ. Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 2000.

    Ungvary, Krisztian; Ladislaus Lob, and John Lukacs, The siege of Budapest: One Hundred Days in World War II, р. 512, Yale University Press, (April 11, 2005).

    Christina S.N. Lewis, Portugal, Hungarian Style, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 28, 2007, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119879313119753753.html?dsk=y

    I. Deak, Could the Hungarian Jews Have Been Survived?”, New York review of Books, 8 Febr. 1982.

    Eva S. Balogh, Hungarian Spectrum, https://hungarianspectrum.wordpress.com/about/; памятник описан в https://hungarianspectrum.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/one-statue-comes-another-one-goes-maybe/

  33. Eliezer Rabinovich you can give us a longer list of literature it does not proove anything.
    You are what you are. And you are one who is rehashing the legends about Horthy trying to
    whitewash him. Jemach shimcha.

  34. 30 Jewish US Congressmen, senators urge Hungarian PM Orban to reconsider Nazi occupation monument

    22 May 2014

    Representative Eliot L. Engel, chairman of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) and leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, was joined by 29 other Jewish senators and representatives in calling on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to reconsider his current plans for the construction of a controversial monument in Budapest commemorating the victims of the Nazi occupation of Hungary.
    http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/news/14759/30_jewish_us_congressmen_senators_urge_hungarian_pm_orban_to_reconsider_nazi_occupation_monument

  35. Eliezer Rabinovich,

    After you tipped your hand about your true beliefs with your “Hungarian or Jewish Hungarian” remark, it is clear that you are an anti-Semite, and so there’s no real reason to engage you in discussion. However, since you seem to have moderated your tone somewhat, I will point out an obvious logical fallacy made by Ungváry and propagated by you.

    Ungváry is quoted as writing that: “Horthy didn’t buy Hitler’s anti-Semitic propaganda phrases.” This was based on Horthy’s open resistance to Hitler’s desire to blame the Jews for Hungary’s situation, and thus deport them. What he seems to have missed is that famous Horthy letter avowing his anti-Semitism. He didn’t say that the Jews were not to blame, he said that he hated them for controlling every part of the private economy (my summation), and that he would like to see Hungary rid of them. He went on to say that he needed them for a generation or so, in order to keep the country running smoothly. This makes it clear that his protestations to Hitler were not meant to protect the Jews for humane reasons, but to keep them in Hungary long enough to effect the racist transfer of commercial power to non-Jews.

    He clearly held no respect for the human rights of Jews, as his anti-Jewish laws show, and even expected that Hungary would do with its Jews exactly what Germany did with German Jews, just not right away. Anyone who says otherwise is either clouded by personal (misplaced, in my opinion) gratitude, like George Friedman, or is trying desperately to whitewash history so that this time, Hitler’s ideological heirs can finish the job.

  36. Eliezer Rabinovich,

    You wrote: “But in this way and with two Vienna awards Horthy did manage to get back a significant part of the Trianon lands. However, Hungary lost the war together with Germany and lost these lands back.”

    Yes, he got those lands back, for a few years, but in so doing, ensured that those lands would never become part of Hungary again. All anyone has to do when the subject of autonomy is raised regarding Felvidék, Erdély, Vojvodina, etc, is to invoke the invasions, subjugations, and subsequent terror of Horthy, and no-one blames that country for not allowing that door to open again, even if just a crack. Meanwhile, Hungarians in those areas are slowly assimilating. My Hungarian-Slovak friend’s nephew doesn’t speak Hungarian, despite growing up in a heavily Hungarian region of Slovakia, because his Hungarian-speaking mother married a Slovak who doesn’t speak Hungarian. He speaks English, though. In a few generations, the problem of Hungarians in those regions will be solved, because there won’t be enough to matter.

    If Horthy hadn’t done what he did, before and after the Vienna awards, perhaps world opinion would be on the side of those plucky Szeklers, and they would have gotten their autonomy, or even independence. Now, thanks to Putin’s Crimea escapades, even a whiff of unrest in the Hungarian areas of our neighboring countries will likely be met with anti-Hungarian riots and streams of ethnic Hungarian refugees (á la Bosnia y Hercegovina). At least then they would be reunited with the motherland, though not their houses.

    If you don’t agree, here’s some evidence from your own favorite Fidesz English-language mouthpiece, the Budapest Telegraph, originally printed in Heti Válasz, the home of relentless pro-government spin:

    http://www.budapesttelegraph.com/news/712/in_neighboring_countries_self-determination_is_still_distant_for_ethnic_hungarians_

  37. KT,

    How is your story about a deranged Slovak relevant here?

    In fact, it is not clear that he hates Hungarian-Slovaks at all. In the article, he is said to have spoken to the women in English, and they were said to respond that they were Hungarians, not Hungarian-Slovaks. Perhaps he is just incensed at residents of the neighboring country (which has about twice the population of Slovakia), since so many of them seem to want to forcibly appropriate parts of his country. When last I was in Bratislava, I saw a far-right Slovak party’s hoarding (also “not far from the presidential palace”, though that seems irrelevant to me) with the picture of a fat, scruffy, menacing thug in a Magyar Gárda uniform, with words to the effect of “only we will keep him from invading”.

    If I were a Slovak, I too might have an irrational hatred of Hungarians from Hungary, though I wouldn’t attack them in public. You and other extreme nationalists seem to forget (or just purposefully neglect to mention) that your rhetoric is making the situation worse, not better. You and your counterparts in Slovakia, Romania, and other nearby countries feed off each other, since the more belligerent the neighbors, the more power you seem to get, until we get into a war that we can’t win, and lose still more territory. I suggest that you move to one of these places, maybe Vojvodina, where you can protect the Hungarians more directly. Please do so quickly, and stay there, so no more Hungarians are attacked for speaking their language in public.

  38. Googly, the story of KT is OT, A bit of tolerance would do good here in the center of Europe.
    I travel quite frequently in Vienna and hear on the metro or tram all kind of languages. I never heard somebody complain about that or demand a passenger to speak German.
    However, I remember how many years ago I met a Hungarian friend in Bratislava and overheard (my friend translated the angry words) shouting at us: “If you eat Slovak bread speak Slovakian” (my friend translated the angry words). There can be no justification for uncivilized behavior.
    Franz Grillparzer said we progress from humanity through nationality to bestiality.
    »Der Weg der neuern Bildung geht
    Von Humanität
    Durch Nationalität
    Zur Bestialität.«

  39. Eliezer Rabinovich
    May 21, 2014 at 9:20 am

    This site is published in the USA, not in Hungary, and, as I understand, the majority of the participants are emigrants who do not live in Hungary. May I ask: who is paying for this site and for its hateful anti-Hungarian and anti-governmental propaganda?

    muttdamon
    May 21, 2014 at 10:30 am
    This site is published in the USA, not in Hungary, and, as I understand, the majority of the participants are emigrants who do not live in Hungary. May I ask: who is paying for this site and for its hateful anti-Hungarian and anti-governmental propaganda?

    This blog has thousands of foreign readers. This blog is one of the main sources of information and a de-facto standard on analysis on Hungarian politics.

    Now imagine what do these foreigners think about us when you, who’s so proud of your 4 digit Hungarian zip code, burps up some outrages anti-Semitic propaganda here. Can you please stop making us Hungarians look like fascists? Thank you!

    Eliezer Rabinovich
    May 21, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    If this is a response to me, can you, please, show me ONE MY WORD that has caused this your reaction? Also, are you a Hungarian or a Jewish Hungarian?

    Eliezer Rabinovich
    May 22, 2014 at 11:41 pm
    muttdamon,

    When you are polite, I don’t mind to answer

    googly
    May 23, 2014 at 5:26 am
    Eliezer Rabinovich,

    After you tipped your hand about your true beliefs with your “Hungarian or Jewish Hungarian” remark, it is clear that you are an anti-Semite, and so there’s no real reason to engage you in discussion. However, since you seem to have moderated your tone somewhat,

    Some1
    May 22, 2014 at 9:37 pm
    Let me ask Rabinovitch once more:
    Would you agree that fascism is the creation of conflicts between nations and races?

    Would you agree that you tried to point out that Mutt’s opinion should be looked in context of him/her being a Hungarian with Jewish heritage not as a “Hungarian”?

    Eliezer: I think my question was polite enough versus your original post. So, why not to answer to the above two simple questions, I asked twice already.

  40. I guess Eliezer Rabinovich is a penname. He is no Rabbi but a troll out of Orbanistan.

Comments are closed.