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Hungary's wartime leader would have shot Hitler

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Hungary's wartime leader would have shot Hitler

Post Neon Knight on Sun 1 Apr - 16:12

Daily Mail 23rd Feb 2018; Quoting:

Miklos Horthy (1868-1957) once exclaimed that he greatly regretted not killing Hitler. A former admiral in the AustroHungarian navy, in 1920 he took power in his recently independent homeland — ironically a landlocked country — and adopted the title ‘Regent’.

As a Right-wing dictatorship, it was inevitable that Hungary would ally itself with Nazi Germany in World War II. But while Horthy brought in anti- semitic laws, Hungarian Jews were not sent to concentration camps. Nor did they wear the star of David or live in ghettos. However, Hungary’s armed forces took part in the 1941 subjugation of Yugoslavia and were heavily involved in the invasion of the USSR.

By 1944, the Red Army was at Hungary’s borders. With Horthy’s approval, Prime Minister Miklos Kallay made overtures to Britain and the U.S. and promised to surrender once their troops reached Hungarian territory. An enraged Hitler summoned Horthy to a conference in Klessheim Castle. He ordered the Admiral to deport more Jews. When Horthy refused, Hitler went into one of his famous rages where he announced he had already planned to annex Hungary the following day. Horthy, in turn, lost his temper and stormed out. He later told the historian C. A. Macartney: "If I’d had my revolver with me, I would have shot the scoundrel. All my life I’ll regret I didn’t do it."

in March 1944, the Germans launched operation Margarethe, a bloodless coup in Hungary. Ordered to replace Kallay with a pro-Nazi minister, Horthy appointed Dome Sztojay, who began sending large numbers of Jews to the death camps. Horthy protested, but when the Germans refused to remove Sztojay, he announced that Hungary had declared an armistice with the Allies. Horthy was promptly imprisoned in Bavaria by the Germans and later freed by the Americans.

Hungary was overrun by the Red Army, but local armed forces fought alongside the Germans until the last day of the war.

After appearing as a witness at the Nuremberg war crimes trials in 1948, Horthy lived in exile in Portugal. He remains a divisive figure in Hungary.

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