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Bulgarian, Romanian and Hungarian involvement in the Second World War

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  1. Introduction
  2. Role of Nazi's in the 2nd world war
  3. Bulgaria as a part of Axis Powers in 1941
  4. Role of Germany
  5. Role of Romanian-Hungarian animosities in undermining the alliance with Germany
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

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. [...]

[...] Romania displayed similarly inconsistent and infirm behavior in the Second World War. In the spring of 1938, Romanian independence had been officially guaranteed by both the Axis Powers and Allied Forces. Yet this assurance became irrelevant when Romania did not allow the Red Army to cross its borders, as the country had become an integral part of the struggle by virtue of its geographic location. In 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and Romania attempted to remain neutral, yet allowed members of the Polish government to seek refuge within its borders, placing Romania in jeopardy. [...]

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