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Hungary was an important medieval kingdom settled by the Uralic Magyar people in the 9th century AD. During the Middle Ages, Hungary was a crucial piece of Christian Europe's defense against Ottoman incursion. The kingdom collapsed in the 16th century but Hungary persisted as an important battleground between Christian Europe and Muslim invaders. Hungary has remained relevant as a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire in the 1800s, the Soviet Bloc during the Cold War, and the European Union since.

Miklós Horthy[]

Regent of Hungary during the turbulent period from 1920 until his arrest by the Nazis in 1944, Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya was born into a noble Protestant family in 1868. As a young man he served in the Austro-Hungarian navy, quickly ascending the ranks to become one of the navy's most valued officers. For most of World War I he served as captain of the Novara and the Prinz Eugen, and he was named vice admiral and made commander of the fleet in 1918.

When the postwar treaties left Hungary without access to the sea, Horthy retired to his family's estate in Kenderes, but in May 1919 he was drawn into the counterrevolutionary cabinet of Count Gyula Károlyi (1875–1955). The new government set out to replace the Republic of Soviets that had seized power a few months earlier, and as the only available high-ranking officer who had not taken an office during the revolution, Horthy was made Minister of War. As commander-in-chief of the minuscule National Army in Szeged, he—along with some of his fellow National Army officers—came to embody the so-called Szeged Idea, which was counterrevolutionary, right-leaning, and militant but also emphasized continuity and enjoyed the support of, among others, conservative aristocrats, the churches, and a part of the peasantry.

After the Republic of Soviets had been crushed by the Romanian Army, Horthy had himself elected Regent of Hungary, weathering two attempts to restore the Habsburg King Charles (1887–1922) to the Hungarian throne. For much of the interwar period he remained under the influence of Count István Bethlen (1874–c. 1947), the conservative Prime Minister of Hungary from 1921 to 1931, who made every effort to steer him away from the Szeged right-wingers. But like all Hungarian statesmen of the time, Horthy was intent on reannexing at least some of the territory Hungary had lost to its neighbors as a result of the postwar treaties. This preoccupation brought him ever closer to the rising influence of Adolf Hitler (1889–1945), who was developing plans to redraw the map of Europe by harnessing the power of disgruntled, revisionist states such as Hungary.

Unique Components[]


Following the success of assault guns on the Eastern Front, the Hungarians developed their own model, based on the chassis of the 40M Turán I tank. There were two designs, the 44M Zrínyi I, incorporated a long 43M 75 mm gun, but it did not pass the prototype stage. The 40/43M Zrínyi II was armed with a short barrel (20.5 calibers) 105 mm MÁVAG 40/43M howitzer. The Zrínyi II design was a traditional infantry support vehicle. The Zrínyi I was hoped to fulfill an anti-tank role. Between 40 and 66 Zrínyi II units were produced between August 1943 and July 1944 and a single Zrínyi I prototype. There is only one surviving Zrínyi II in the Kubinka tank museum near Moscow. A serviceable Zrínyi II was captured by the Romanian troops fighting to retake Transylvania during September–October 1944, being pressed into service for a limited period. The assault gun was later donated to the Red Army.


In December 1939 seventy Reggiane Re.2000 fighters, purchased from Italy, were delivered to the Magyar Királyi Állami Vas-, Acél- és Gépgyárak, ("Royal Hungarian State Iron, Steel and Machine Works"), where they were modified into MÁVAG Héja I ("Goshawk I") fighters. The original Piaggio P.XI engines were replaced by the Hungarian-built Manfred Weiss WM K-14 driving Hamilton Standard three-bladed, constant-speed propellers. The WM K-14 was a licensed copy of the French Gnome-Rhône 14K engine that necessitated a 1-foot 3-inch lengthening of the fighters' forward fuselage, to restore the center of gravity to a safe position. The Piaggio engine was itself also a copy of the Gnome-Rhône 14K, it was more reliable than the Italian engines.

However, the aircraft also suffered from a number of drawbacks. The Hungarian and Italian chemical industries were not able to produce enough good insulation material for wing tanks, thus early planes (Héja I. and all of Italian Re.2000) flown with continuously leaking fuel tanks and late models (Héja II.) had rows of small tanks in the wing, therefore manufacturing complexity and weight of the plane has been increased. Yaw stability was poor and the Héja's predisposition to sideslip was very dangerous at low altitude (it killed István Horthy), moreover the subsequent mass increase of Héja II. has worsened this issue.

A decision was soon made to produce more Héja fighters under license in Hungary as the MÁVAG Héja II (Goshawk II). The new Héja II was entirely Hungarian with locally produced airframes, engines and armament. The new fighter differed from the Reggiane fighter in a number of ways. Armament was changed to twin 0.50 inch (12.7 mm) Gebauer fixed forward-firing guns in the upper nose with 300 rounds each. Length was 27 ft 6.25 inch (8.39 m), and maximum level speed was 301 mph (485 km/h) at 13,780 ft (4,200 m). Endurance was 2 hours and 30 minutes. The first MÁVAG Héja II took to the air on 30 October 1942, and in total MÁVAG built a further 203 Héjas for the Royal Hungarian Air Force. The last aircraft was completed on 1 August 1944 when production ceased.



The chief city of the former Banat of Temesvar, Timisoara is a railroad hub and an industrial center, with engineering works, plants processing food and tobacco, and factories manufacturing textiles, machinery, and chemicals. Timisoara is a Roman Catholic and an Orthodox episcopal see and has a university (founded 1945) and other institutions of higher education. It was an ancient Roman settlement and came under Magyar domination in 896 and was annexed to Hungary in 1010. An important frontier fortress, Timisoara was held by the Turks from 1552 until its liberation in 1716 by Eugene of Savoy. The Treaty of Passarowitz (1718) formally restored it to Austria-Hungary. It passed to Romania by the Treaty of Trianon (1920). In Dec., 1989, demonstrations protesting the removal of an outspoken priest, Laslo Tokes, sparked the revolution that led to the downfall of Nicolae Ceausescu's Communist regime. The inner city is surrounded by boulevards, which have replaced the former ramparts. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox cathedrals, the city hall, and other important buildings date from the 18th century. A regional museum is housed in the 14th–15th-century Hunyadi castle.