“The US and the UK entered the crucially formative post-war months in Europe gripped by a delusional idea of Soviet aims and methods. This was an illusion not based on an inability to perceive the future, but on a wilful and perplexing refusal to acknowledge the precedents.”

The path to an armistice was long for Hungary. Cautious and tentative in its alliance with Germany, Hungary had nevertheless come decisively under Berlin’s wings with Prime Minister Bárdossy’s (irregular) declaration of war with the Soviet Union on 27 June 1941. Hemmed in by German power on all sides, as well as the additional pressure of emboldened domestic sympathisers, large parts of the Hungarian state and society still squirmed beneath the reins of an overbearing ally in a war that offered only bad options. A way out seemed imminent when the tide of the conflict turned in 1943.

With American and British forces advancing through Italy, a secret agreement was reached between the Hungarian and British governments in September 1943 that Hungary would surrender to the Allies when the latter’s forces reached the Hungarian frontier. The wait was insisted upon by Churchill, who judged that “it would be most improvident of us to squander the Hungarian volte-face and merely produce a premature outbreak followed by […] a super-Quisling installed by force”. Similarly, contact between the Hungarian government and the OSS (forerunner of the CIA) resulted in a tentative agreement that a US–Hungarian alliance would be announced after an airborne landing in 1944. As part of these arrangements, on 28 December 1943, the Hungarian’s Army’s Chief of Staff, Ferenc Szombathelyi, transmitted a huge package of intelligence to the OSS, including an analysis of German divisions and maps of Budapest.1

But Allied progress through Italy stalled, and, by the time that the major Allied landing occurred in Normandy rather than in the Balkans as many had hoped and expected, Hungary’s search for an armistice had prompted a German occupation. However, with Regent Horthy retained as titular head of state, in a German attempt to retain the pretence of a constitutional legitimacy that Hungary had been able to studiously maintain until the invasion of March 1944, a source of final resistance remained. As the Red Army rolled relentlessly from the Steppe into the Carpathians, it was clear that it would be the Soviets, not the Americans or British, who would first set foot in Hungary. So it was that in September 1944, Horthy dispatched a delegation under General Gábor Faragho to Moscow to negotiate an armistice.

Yet again, however, Nazi Germany intervened to prevent Hungary exiting the war and its grasp. On 11 October a preliminary armistice was signed by the Hungarian and Soviet representatives in Moscow. But the day of Horthy’s proclamation of the armistice, 15 October, became the day in which the Germans tightened their grip on the country, completely ousting Horthy and imposing the Hungarian Nazi – leader of the Arrow Cross Party – Ferenc Szálasi as the new leader. This was the “super-Quisling installed by force” which Churchill had feared.2 In the words of historian Deborah Cornelius, the armistice-quashing coup “was a catastrophe for Hungary, prolonging the war for five agonising months”, as the land hosted not only an Arrow Cross reign of terror but became a battlefield that ravaged countryside and capital alike.3 Worst of all in the long term, it ensured that Hungary would exit the war as a defeated enemy does, with terms forced upon and dictated to her. “The long cherished ideal of liberation”, the future Prime Minister Ferenc Nagy commented, “had become in reality a scourge of conquest.”


It was in this context that, while the Red Army occupied the eastern part of Hungary, a provisional Hungarian government was chosen in Moscow. Concerned, as Germany had been in March 1944, to retain the appearance of legitimacy, a plan was also agreed to hold mass meetings in Soviet-occupied Hungarian cities, where pre-approved candidates for a provisional national assembly were “elected” by acclamation. The purpose of this assembly, hastily selected and assembled at Debrecen in December 1944, was to appoint the government that had in fact already been formed in Moscow, so that, in turn, this government could request and accept the terms of an armistice that Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov prepared along with the US and UK ambassadors, Averell Harriman and John Balfour. “The most contentious points”, of these three power negotiations, as the late historian Eric Roman described it, “were the amount Hungary was to pay in reparations and the status of the British and American representatives on the ACC.”4

The ACC was the Allied Control Commission, a military-led administrative means of ruling former enemy states occupied by the Allies that had first been employed in Italy. Although the Italian armistice of September 1943 had enumerated “a Control Commission representative of the United Nations”,5 this body had in reality been solely in the hands of the US and the UK, whose forces occupied the peninsula. “From the point of view of the defeated countries of Eastern Europe”, historian Peter Kenez comments, “the Italian example was unfortunate”, as it gave the support of precedent to Soviet-dominated regimes in lands the Red Army occupied.6 Indeed, by the time that the Hungarian armistice including the creation of an ACC was signed on 20 January 1945, this was already the experience of the equivalent commissions established in Romania and Bulgaria.7

Even before the discussions for a Hungarian armistice began, Harriman had warned his State Department superiors that, “unless we register our demands in regard to the status of our representatives in Hungary before we agree to the Hungarian armistice, not only will our representatives receive the same treatment in Hungary”, as they had already in the Soviet-oriented Romanian and Bulgarian ACCs, “but also the Soviets will interpret our failure to insist in our demands as acquiescence in the status of our representatives on the Control Commissions in Bulgaria and Rumania”. On paper, Harriman was partially successful, securing armistice language empowering “an Allied Control Commission which will regulate and supervise the execution of the armistice terms under the chairmanship of the representative of the Allied (Soviet) High Command and with the participation of representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States”.8 The annex describing the ACC stated that the Soviet Chairman “shall call meetings and inform the British and American representatives of policy directives […] prior to the issuance of such directives to the Hungarian authorities in the name of the Commission”.9

But, contrary to the wishes of the US and the UK, the terms only specified arrangements between the signing of the armistice and the conclusion of the war, leaving the period between war’s end and peace treaty – during which it was assumed that a lack of military necessity would enable a genuinely three- way administration of Hungary – ominously open. Those familiar with Soviet methods were sceptical that any such accommodation would ever be achieved. “I believe that our only hope of getting anywhere would be to make up our minds that if we do not get full tripartite treatment we will withdraw not only from our participation in the Control Commissions but our political representatives as well”, George Kennan wrote to Harriman on 14 May 1945. “Their presence in those countries thus far has not had any appreciable influence in the course of events there”, he continued, bemoaning, however, that American involvement had been “effective in misleading public opinion both in the United States and in the countries concerned and in saddling our government with a share of responsibility for policies which [have] nothing to do with American ideals or American interests”.10 When new post-war regulations were belatedly issued for the Hungarian ACC after the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, they were done in a backhanded way that insinuated Allied agreement on Soviet proposals. In any case, the high-handed, secretive, and entirely Soviet-oriented occupation administration of Hungary under the authority of the Allied ACC, which Western officials had feared, was implemented both before and after the end of the war.

However, Kennan’s mostly prescient comments are misleading for us in two ways. Firstly, they were unrepresentative of his contemporaries in their informed wariness toward Soviet intentions and direction. As we will see, contrary to the common idea that the US and UK governments entered the post-war period prejudicially hostile to the USSR, Western officials frequently exhibited a credulity and naivety that empowered the Soviet occupiers of Hungary in their plans and policies. Thus, while Kennan’s words correctly indicate the diplomatic costs of being associated with policies one does not control, they underestimate the degree to which the Western allies faced post-war Europe actively aligned with the Soviet occupiers of its eastern and central regions. The disadvantageous position that US and UK representatives certainly suffered on the Allied Control Commission in Hungary has been allowed, in the light of later open antagonisms, to lead uncritically to the assumption that, therefore, the Western Allies were honourably powerless before the gradual Soviet takeover. The record – particularly of the period between the January 1945 armistice and the beginning of peace talks in July 1946 – is murkier. In fact, the American and the British representatives on the ACC were both passively negligent and, in some cases, actively collaborative in the Soviet-directed repression of Hungarian society that began in the eighteen months after the armistice. By the time of the dramatic events of 1947, which made the Soviet and Communist takeover of Hungary decisive, the Western Allies had adopted a mostly different posture, but the foundation of that domination had already been laid.


The US and the UK entered the crucially formative post-war months in Europe gripped by a delusional idea of Soviet aims and methods. This was an illusion not based on an inability to perceive the future, but on a wilful and perplexing refusal to acknowledge the precedents. This delusional perspective was, in turn, founded upon the wartime decision to hypocritically proclaim the shotgun wedding between the Western Allies and the Soviets as an ideological love-match. A lie repeated often enough as justification, especially in foreign affairs, eventually becomes a foundation for policy.

“We look with confidence to the day when all peoples of the world may live free lives, untouched by tyranny, and according to their varying desires and their own consciences”, the great powers all declared in the Tehran Communiqué of December 1943.11 “Our victory in Europe was more than a victory of arms. It was a victory of one way of life over another”, President Truman maintained to the American public in August 1945. “It was a victory of an ideal founded on the rights of the common man, on the dignity of the human being, on the conception of the State as the servant – and not the master – of its people.” These statements were not merely projections of principles covering a more hard-headed assessment – there was a genuine conviction, particularly in American policy-making, that the Soviet Union and the Western Allies could and would be aligned in Europe.

“Critics have pointed to many mistakes in the conduct of our foreign relations since the end of the war, especially at points of friction with the Soviet Union”, the American political representative and then ambassador to Hungary in those post- war years, Arthur Schoenfeld, commented in 1948. “I believe that if such mistakes were made they resulted largely from the initial assumption that the practice of imperialism would hardly survive in the era of the United Nations.” But the Soviet Union was and remained an empire in both inclination and practice. “At the start, the American conception of the policy to be followed in Hungary assumed the good faith of the signatories of the Crimea [Yalta] Declaration”, Schoenfeld continued, “in their stated intention ‘to concert […] the policies of the three Governments in assisting […] the people of the former Axis satellite states of Europe to solve by democratic means their pressing political and economic problems’.”12

Many Hungarians, who had not without reason feared a Soviet occupation as the worst outcome of the war, were left bemused by this credulity. “The wartime policy of the Western powers was based on a misconception about the possibilities of post-war co-operation with Russia”, insisted post-war Foreign Ministry undersecretary István Kertész. “Very few Western statesmen were familiar with, or attached any importance to, the basic tenets of Communist strategy and tactics as they are clearly explained in the writings of Lenin and Stalin. In 1945 Western wishful thinking still prevailed in East–West relations”, he added. “The leaders of the Western powers, and particularly President Roosevelt, had great hopes that the Soviet Union could, somehow, be brought into a democratic world community if treated with patience and magnanimity.”13

As the historian R. M. Douglas assesses, “The United States’ and Britain’s most important aim was to preserve the alliance of the Big Three into the post-war era. That this aspiration, laudable in itself, would even be possible”, he cogently continues, “was largely based on the belief, for which no credible evidence existed, that Stalin and the Soviet system had undergone a Damascene conversion after the Nazi invasion of June 1941; had renounced both the objectives and the methods for which they had become notorious prior to that date […] the Anglo-Americans pursued the mirage of a close post-war relationship with the USSR.”14 While countries such as Finland – who had been attacked by the Red Army when the Soviet Union and Germany were still in alliance – were now condemned as enemies for also eventually allying themselves with Germany against the Soviets, the Soviet Union itself was able to parlay their later alliance with the US and UK into keeping and consolidating the gains made both within and as a result of their alliance with Hitler. This was not, as it is sometimes portrayed, merely an example of realpolitik on behalf of Western Allies adjusting to facts on the ground. Rather, the post-war facts on the ground had been enabled by a Western refusal to let the way the Soviet Union had begun the war inform their decisions and approach both during and after it.

Had the Western Allies given more credence to how the Soviets began the war, they would have found an invaluable guide to the post-war situation. In the nearly two years that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were allies, the Soviets seized and annexed eastern Poland, parts of Finland, Bessarabia and northern Bukovina from Romania, as well as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. After the war, all of these conquered areas remained in the Soviet Union, while the Soviets, with Western approbation, proclaimed their moral superiority over the conquered peoples they suppressed in the name of “democracy”. When the Soviet Union was first bringing these nations and areas under its rule between 1939 and 1941, it operated with the same combination of brutal violence and studious duplicity that would soon become familiar within the post-war satellites.

“East of the Molotov–Ribbentrop line, the Soviets were extending their own system”, Timothy Snyder describes, regarding the events of late 1939. “Moscow enlarged its Ukrainian and Belarussian republics to the west, forcing their new populations, the residents of what had been eastern Poland, to participate in the annexation of their own homeland.” Therefore, “[o]n 22 October 1939, all adults in what the Soviets called ‘Western Belarus’ and ‘Western Ukraine’ had to vote in elections to two assemblies, whose provisional character was revealed by their one legislative undertaking: to request that the lands of eastern Poland be incorporated by the Soviet Union. By 15 November, the formalities of annexation were complete.”15

In Estonia, which was part of the so-called Soviet sphere in the Soviet–German deal, the Soviet Union squeezed the small country with both disingenuous promises and the rationale of defence which would become an accepted public basis for every post-war Soviet aggression in Europe. “We are not going to force Communism on Estonia”, Molotov assured the beleaguered Estonian foreign minister, Karl Selter, at their 24 September 1939 meeting in which the Soviets sought Estonia’s acquiescence in the stationing of Soviet troops on its territory. “Estonia will retain her independence”, Molotov promised, “her government, parliament, foreign and domestic policy, army and economic system. We are not going to touch all this.” But when Selter demurred at the demanded abrogation of sovereignty, Molotov added, “[t]he Soviet Union is now a great power whose interests need to be taken into consideration. If you do not want to conclude a mutual assistance pact with us, then we will have to guarantee our security in other ways, perhaps more drastic, perhaps more complicated. I ask you: do not compel us to use force against Estonia.”16

Soon, there were 25,000 Soviet troops in Estonia, and, in June 1940, while the West was focused on the startling German advance through France, the Soviets completed their occupation of the three Baltic states. Under Soviet direction and control, compliant new governments were then installed, which held rigged elections for new national assemblies. “You must take a good look at reality and understand that in the future small nations will have to disappear”, Molotov told the new Lithuanian foreign minister. The new assemblies in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia all met on 21 July, and, as Prit Buttar describes in Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II, “their first acts were to declare the creation of Soviet Socialist Republics, followed by application for membership of the USSR.”17


In the light of such recent history, therefore, it was entirely rational for non-Communist Hungarians to both fear Soviet occupation and hope that a crucial difference from these earlier examples – the presence of American and British representatives in the occupying structure – would mitigate the power and purposes of the Soviets. But these hopes were soon undermined by the attitude towards the Hungarians which the Western Allies’ credulous and naive view of the Soviets encouraged. Consistently wary of the Hungarians driving a wedge between the Soviets and themselves, the UK and US representatives instead allowed the Soviets to drive a deceptive, harmful and unnecessary wedge between the Hungarian provisional government (particularly its struggling anti-Communists) and the Western Allies.

In the early months of the occupation, American and British officials insisted on both treating Hungarian complaints against Soviet behaviour – which were directed toward the Western Allies as the only chance of recourse – as frivolous, while pushing Hungary toward the Soviet Union as if that relationship promised enlightened openness rather than enforced dependence. “No doubt the Hungarians will do all in their power to drive a wedge between us and our Russian Allies”, the British political representative in Hungary, Alvary Gascoigne, wrote to the Foreign Secretary on 28 February 1945. “Minor officials are loud in their protests against the Russians for the manner in which the latter have behaved locally, both as regards their general deportment, their policy of deporting man-power to Russia, and their seizure of all available livestock and farm produce […]. I have given the most implicit instructions to my staff to be ever on their guard against this blatant propaganda, which, if it is at all encouraged, will bring us into bad odour with our Russian friends.”18

It was an astonishing statement of priorities. While the Soviet occupiers were indeed, as we will discuss further shortly, ravaging Hungary to an extraordinary extent – denuding it of infrastructure and food, while enslaving civilian men, women, and children as “prisoners of war” and unleashing an epidemic of rape – the British representative regarded the reporting of such as “propaganda” that ought to be rebuffed for the sake of remaining as close as possible with the Soviets. Likewise, speaking approvingly of the Americans on the ACC, the Political Adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander reported at the end of March that “they have exhibited a maximum desire to work out a satisfactory arrangement with the Russians. Anti-Soviet comment has been condemned, pro- Russian gestures approved and association with old-line Hungarians held to a minimum. The temptation to report the flood of anti-Russian stories has been resisted even upon confirmation” (italics added).19

The message that this sent to the non-Communist Hungarians in government, none of whom were part of the previous elite, was clear and chilling. “The Hungarian government discovered soon that the Control Commission was a one-sided Soviet institution, in which the great Western powers participated only to the extent of shielding Soviet force from world public opinion and removing responsibility for the high-handed actions of Russia”, reflected the prominent Smallholder, Ferenc Nagy, who would become Prime Minister in February 1946 before being ousted in the summer of 1947. There was no hope of protection, for “in these days, the United Nations [the Allies] looked upon these small countries which had been liberated after being forced into the war by the Nazis, as defeated nations that had to be punished”.20 Even as the Soviets violated the armistice agreement, the American and British officials who were also charged with carrying out its terms, regarded it as their duty to do and say nothing about it. “We had no defence against the influence of the Soviet Union”, Nagy concluded. Furthermore, “the West, too, was undivided in urging us to cultivate, at all costs, the friendship of Russia.”

Western insistence upon pushing Hungary into the arms of the Soviets, while the US and UK kept aloof, was exceedingly beneficial to the Soviet-backed Communists, who naturally aimed for the same outcome. An extraordinary example of this Western attitude was demonstrated by Gascoigne to his superiors in early April, after the British representative was visited by a member of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry. Gascoigne’s visitor came with the “revelation” that the Foreign Minister, János Gyöngyösi, who was aligned with the Smallholders (FKgP: Független Kisgazdapárt – Independent Smallholders’ Party), was actually a Communist and “fanatically pro-Russian”. This visit was likely a Communist ruse to undermine Gascoigne’s confidence in the Smallholder-led Foreign Ministry, since Gyöngyösi was certainly not a “fanatical pro-Russian”.21 Also, while there were indeed a number of prominent members of other parties who were crypto-Communists, Gyöngyösi was not one of them. Nevertheless, Gascoigne revealingly responded that “Dr Gyöngyösi’s attitude of friendship for Russia was very satisfactory as far as I was concerned […]. We and the Russians and the Americans worked together as one team. We were ‘democratic’; we were none of us Communistic in the purest sense of the word. I should be delighted for the Hungarian people to be friendly with the Russians, and, if as I hoped they would be, this should not preclude a friendship for my own country.”22 As late as June 1946, when Gyöngyösi was in the United States, desperately seeking Western help against relentless Soviet-sponsored Communist pressure, the Deputy Director of the State Department’s Office of European Affairs, Bill Hickerson, could absurdly dismiss the Foreign Minister’s pro-Western sentiments with the comment that Hungary’s “orientation should not be exclusively Western, but rather Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern”.23 Such a luxury, as ought to have been quite clear by the summer of 1946, would not be afforded to Hungary.

This stance, in which the Soviets were defended as genuine allies and pro-Western Hungarians were rejected as disruptive provocateurs, tended to bolster a Western overestimation of the Hungarian government’s opportunity for independent action, as well as an underestimation of the Soviets’ ability to also specifically advocate and advance their preferences within the government through its Communist, National Peasant, and, eventually, Social Democrat members. This played squarely into the hands of the Soviets. And these two significant misjudgements meant that American and British diplomats failed to adequately distinguish between the policy positions of the Communists in the government, whose position was entirely dictated by the Soviets, and the Smallholders, who attempted to mitigate and restrain these policies as far as it was in their limited powers. When the latter sought Western help in their tenuous efforts, they were consistently rejected by Western diplomats, who acted as if there was a level playing field within the Hungarian government. Most seriously for Hungary, however, these misjudgements meant that the Western Allies frequently regarded the Soviets’ own policies and preferences as manifestations of Hungarian priorities and will, meaning that Western opposition and offence that should have been directed against their supposed ally was instead raised against a largely powerless occupied people.

For example, in January 1946 an article critical of the British and American contingent in Hungary appeared in the Communist Party’s daily newspaper, Szabad Nép (much more of this incident later). The paper was a mouthpiece of the Soviets that toed and represented the Soviet line on all matters, and, furthermore, no action against any paper would be practically possible without the agreement of the Soviet authorities. Yet when Szabad Nép was not punished as the Americans and British saw fit, the US representative on the ACC, Major General William Key, told the ACC meeting “he could not escape the feeling that the Hungarian Government was not at all friendly towards the United States Government”. A similar sentiment was expressed by the British representative, Major General Oliver Edgcumbe, before Key added that “he now intended to advise his government on the very strictest compliance of the Armistice Terms in every possible way”.24 It was a ludicrous response, considering the nature and role of Szabad Nép – as well as the strong condemnation of its article in every non-Communist section of the Hungarian state and society – but not an unusual one.

At the end of January 1946, with the Hungarian economy collapsing at the hands of the Soviets, who continued to strip its resources and burden it with excessive demands, leaving the government unable to provide the basics, including fuel, for its own people, Edgcumbe told an ACC meeting that “the failure to keep the [British] Mission properly supplied [with fuel] was simply due to bad organisation, coupled with lack of goodwill”.25 As the economic situation spiralled in the spring and early summer of 1946, and the Soviets blocked all American and British attempts to receive information about it from the Hungarian government, General Key thought that “the Hungarian Govt. seemed to do nothing but ask for help” and “he could only conclude that we were really more worried about the Hungarian [economic] position than the Hungarians were themselves”.26

Unfortunately, even today, excellent historians continue to give credence to these misjudgements of the Soviet occupation of Hungary. In his outstanding investigation of the post-war expulsions of Germans across Central Europe, R. M. Douglas regarded the provisional Interior Minister Ferenc Erdei’s December 1944 failure to “impede and resist” the Red Army’s conscription of adult ethnic Germans in Hungary, and his issuing of the decree that implemented it (along with other similar decrees), as evidence of “an expulsionist dynamic in Hungary” that was independent of Allied pressure.27 This just does not hold up. It was utterly impossible for the provisional Hungarian government in wartime Soviet- occupied Hungary to have any influence on Red Army conscription. In December 1944 of all times, the writ of the cabinet barely extended beyond their hotel rooms in Debrecen and most certainly did not contradict the force that had appointed them, just brought them from Moscow, and was housing them while the war with Germany proceeded a few miles to the west. Cabinet orders, as well as the provisional government itself at that early stage, primarily existed to give technical legitimacy to Soviet rule, not make policy. By the time that the Allied forces did indeed decisively catalyse and initiate the expulsion of German Hungarians, as we will explore later, the war was over and while there was more domestic room for manoeuvre, it was not enough to prevent this imposition.


1 Deborah S. Cornelius, Hungary in World War Two: Caught in the Cauldron (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011), 256–264.

2 The idea, advocated in some quarters, that Horthy is culpable for Szálasi’s ascendance is faulty not only because this development clearly represented the crushing of the Regent’s hopes and plans. Szálasi had already become the Prime Minister before Horthy assented the following day under the threat to the life of his son. Furthermore, when Szálasi spuriously took the oath of office on 3 November, he became both Prime Minister and head of state, a constitutional nonsense that Horthy could not have conferred upon him (Cornelius 334–335).

3 Cornelius, 316–334.

4 Eric Roman, Hungary and the Victor Powers, 1945–1950 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996), 24–25.

5 „Armistice with Italy”, Avalon Project:

6 Peter Kenez, Hungary from the Nazis to the Soviets: The Establishment of the Communist Regime in Hungary, 1944–1948 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 62.

7 There had also been an ACC established in Red Army-occupied Finland.

8 „Armistice Agreement with Hungary, January 20, 1945”: hungary.asp.

9 „Allied Control Commission in Hungary, January 20, 1945”:

10 Kenez, 62.

11 „Tehran Communiqué” (4 December, 1943), Foreign Relations of the United States [FRUS]: https://

12 H. F. Arthur Schoenfeld, “Soviet Imperialism in Hungary”, Foreign Affairs, 26, No. 3 (1948), 554–555.

13 Stephen Kertesz, “The Expulsion of the Germans from Hungary: A Study in Postwar Diplomacy”, The Review of Politics, 15, No. 2 (1953), 52, 54.

14 R. M. Douglas, Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), 87.

15 Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic, 2010), 128.

16 Roger Moorhouse, The Devils’ Alliance: Hitler’s Pact with Stalin, 1939–1941 (New York: Basic, 2014).

17 Prit Buttar, Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II (London: Bloomsbury, 2013).

18 Despatch from Gascoigne to Foreign Secretary (28 February 1945), Foreign Office Archives [FOA]: FO 371/48479.

19 „Mr Alexander C. Kirk, Political Adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, to the Secretary of State” (Feb. 27, 1945), FRUS: historicaldocuments/frus1945v04/d767.

20 Ferenc Nagy, The Struggle behind the Iron Curtain (New York: MacMillan, 1948), 102.

21 In his memoir, Ferenc Nagy records the existence of a rumour to this effect, so it could also be the case, although it is unlikely, that Gascoigne’s visitor was earnestly passing on the rumour he had heard. Nagy also thoroughly rejects the rumour, stating that Gyöngyösi was an “honourable and persevering member of the Smallholders’ Party”. Nagy, 397.

22 Despatch from Gascoigne to Douglas Howard (7 April 1945), FOA: FO 371/48479.

23 „Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr Leslie C. Tihany, Attached to the Division of Southern European Affairs” (12 June 1946) FRUS:

24 British Military Mission Notes of ACC Meeting on 11 January 1946, FOA: FO 371/58965.

25 British Military Mission Notes of ACC Meeting on 28 January 1946, FOA: FO 371/58965.

26 British Military Mission Notes of ACC Meeting on 6 March 1946; British Military Mission Notes of ACC Meeting on 23 April 1946, FOA: FO 371/58965.

27 Douglas, 208–209.

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