The Second World War is commonly misconstrued as an ongoing altercation perpetrated by the singular vision of a power-hungry maniac. Yet to assign accountability to Hitler himself is to ignore the conspiratorial actions of the Nazi's minor allies, whose participation in the war was less about the realization of Hitler's dream of world domination and more about the protection of national interests. More specifically, smaller powers like Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria each had their own reasons to join forces with the Nazis, none of which had to do with the collective Nazi effort. As Nazi Germany grew in the early years of the war and shrank in the final days of battle, peripheral regions like Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary became crucial to the changing tides of the war. Yet throughout the conflict, each country functioned as something of an indiscriminate revolving door, allowing Nazi Germany to occupy their territory and direct its military involvement. Yet in all three cases, neither Bulgaria, nor Romania, nor Hungary supported the ideology of the Nazi Regime, yet was often found to be complicit in the war effort. The question remains, then why where these countries involved? As smaller nations tied to the war by virtue of geography, none of these countries had the ability to exercise their own political will in the face of Nazi Germany, and were forced to adopt this ideology only insomuch as the preservation of the nation was in jeopardy.
[...] In February 1943, however, the Red Army decimated Romania's forces in the great counteroffensive at Stalingrad, and the German and Romanian armies began their retreat westward. Allied bombardment slowed Romania's industries in 1943 and 1944 before Soviet occupation disrupted transportation flows and curtailed economic activity altogether” (Bachman, par. 6). Just as Bulgaria was swept up in the Nazi war effort, so too had Romania compromised itself and become saturated with the hypocrisy of joining the side that would do it the least amount of damage. [...]
[...] Therefore, in 1941, the Hungarian government was essentially coerced into participating in the Nazi war effort and consequently deported more than 40,000 Jews from within its borders. In 1942, Horthy had grown tired of Bardossy and forced him to resign, naming Miklos Kallay as Hungary's savior. Although Kallay's goal was to free Hungary from the tyranny of the Nazi Regime, but faced a difficult problem: Hungary's separation from the Nazi fighting force would result in the occupation of Hungary, moving the nation farther away from its notion of peace and independence (Burant, par. [...]
[...] The Bulgarian involvement in the Second World War had a number of unforeseen consequences. In 1941, the Germans forced Bulgaria to declare war on the Allied forces, specifically the United States and the UK in 1941. The fallacy of this maneuver had to do with Bulgaria's inability to reinforce this declaration against such a massive fighting force as the Allied army. This declaration of war was nearly suicidal, as it simply identified Bulgaria as a smaller, easily dominated target for the Allied forces, which manifested itself with the bombing of Sofia. [...]
[...] Yet in keeping with Bulgaria's inconsistent approach to and involvement with the war effort, the Bulgarian army continued to round up all Jewish citizens in Macedonia for transport to Auschwitz. Bulgaria's involvement in the war was somewhat disconnected from the Nazi war effort. That is to say, the Bulgarian government often found itself within the awkward position of having to defend its own national interest insomuch as they did not conflict with the Nazi agenda in its ongoing pursuit of Jewish extermination. [...]
[...] Regardless of Hungary's considerable losses, Hitler ordered his troops to occupy Hungary in order to force the government to bolster its involvement in the war effort. “While Kallay was prime minister, the Jews endured economic and political repression, but the government protected them from the "final solution." The government expropriated Jewish property; banned the purchase of real estate by Jews; barred Jews from working as publishers, theater directors, and editors of journals; proscribed sexual relations between Jews and non- Jews; and outlawed conversion to Judaism” (Burant, par. [...]
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