In 1919, on this day Russian troops crossed the border into Socialist Hungary after the rejection of a Russian ultimatum, marking the beginning of the Ten Week War.
Article continues from Part #3.
The Last Chance for Peace #4 By Steven FisherThe direct cause of the war was establishment of a socialist government in Hungary. Another harsh winter had rocked the Balkan region,and had further harmed the popularity of the Hungarian government. In the bitter cold, radical elements had decided to make their move. On February 7, the Hungarian government was overthrown, and a new government was put in power with the socialist Bela Kun as it's head. In the weeks following Kuns rise to power, he set about establishing his brand of socialism on the Hungarian population.
The Russian government looked on Kun's activity in alarm. A sucessful socialist state in Hungary would surely inflame radical elements in Russia. the decision was made to remove Kun's government through force. the Russian army massed on the Hungarian border, in preparation for the invasion. The Hungarians saw this large marshalling of force, and began their own mass mobilization, and began preparations for fierce resistance of a Russian invasion.
Things finally came to a head on March 1, when the Russian government sent an ultimatum to the Hungrian government, demanding the dissolvement of the socialist government, and the turning over of Bela Kun to Russian authorities for trial on charges of terrorism. When these demands were rejected, the Russians declared war.
Russian troops under Aleksei Brusilov crossed the Hungarian border, but only made it a few miles before Hungarian defenses brought their drive to a halt. As the Russians geared up to crack the Hungarian defenses, they were caught by large-scale peasant uprisings, armed by the hungarians and demanding greater freedom, and by a sharp Hungarian offensive. While Russian troops crushed the revolts, the Hungarian offenasive was skillfully fought to a halt by Brusilov.
With the return of Russian troops who had been dispatched to crush the revolts, Brusilov initiated his offensive. The Hungarian defense lines crumbled under overwhelming Russian force, and the Hungarian Army continually had to fall back. The offensive slowed when the Hungarians drew Brusilov into a devastating city battle in Budapest. However, Brusilov managed to encircle Budapest, mitigating the amount of casualities that the Russians took.
The End came quickly for the hungarians. After a coup attempt against the socialist government, Bela Kun knew that nothing would stop the Russians. Diplomatic efforts to involve the Germans had failed, since the Kaiser didn't want to see a sucessful socialist state either. Kun fled the nation through austria to Switzerland, where he took up residence with Lenin and other socialist exiles. The new Hungarian government sued for peace, and the war ended on May 24.
With peace, a Pro-Russian government was set up in Hungary. This contributed to the increasing polarization of the Balkans, especially when the Balkan Entente between Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Russia was set up later that year. It would be especially important when World War One started in 1921.
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