View Full Version : The first anti-Nazi armed resistance in Europe

08-13-2007, 03:46 AM
Soon after the implementation of the Munich Agreement of 29 September 1938 (by which Czechoslovakia lost much of its border region to Nazi Germany) Carpathian Ruthenia declared its autonomy within Czechoslovakia, which Prague accepted. The autonomous Carpathian Ruthenia (officially known as Subcarpathian Ruthenia until then) changed its name to "Carpatho-Ukraine" soon afterwards, in November 1938.

In late September 1938, Nazi Hungary had supported Hitler by mobilizing between 200,000 and 350,000 troops on the Slovak and Ruthenian borders, ready to invade Czechoslovakia in case of war between Germany and Czechoslovakia. After Munich the Hungarians had remainded poised threateningly on the Slovak border.

The situation was now verging on open war, which might set the whole of Europe ablaze again. From the German and Italian point of view, this would be premature, so they pressured the Hungarian and the Czechoslovak governments to accept their joint Arbitration of Vienna. On November 2, 1938, this found largely in favour of the Hungarians and obliged the Prague government to cede 11,833 km² of Slovakia and Ruthenia to Hungary. Not only did this transfer the homes of about 590,000 Hungarians to Hungary, but 290,000 Slovaks and 37,000 Ruthenians as well. In addition, it cost Slovakia its second city, Košice, and left the capital, Bratislava, very vulnerable to further Hungarian pressure.

In the evening of March 13, Tiso (the Slovak leader) and Durcanský met Hitler, Ribbentrop and Generals Brauchtisch and Keitel in Berlin. Hitler made it absolutely clear that either Slovakia declared independence immediately and associated itself with the Reich, or he would let the Hungarians, who were reported by Ribbentrop to be massing on the border, to take the country over. In fact, encouraged by the Germans, the Hungarians were largely massing on the adjacent Ruthene border.

Following Slovakia's (formal) declaration of independence and Adolf Hitler's occupation of Bohemia and Moravia on 14-15 March, on March 15 Carpatho-Ukraine declared its independence as the "Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine", with the Reverend Avhustyn Voloshyn as head of state.

The declaration of independence by the Slovak independent movement caused law and order to break down immediately. Sich Guards ( the paramilitary detachments of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) staged attacks against the pro-Slovak and pro-Hungarian armed groups. On the same day, Hungary had learned that the Germans would not object to a Hungarian takeover of Carpatho-Ukraine.
The Hungarians demanded that the Czech government evacuate its troops and civil servants from the area of the Carpathians immediately, as they were obviously not capable of guaranteeing the security of the population in the area.
The Czech government did not deign to respond to this outrageous statement or the demands, and instead ordered its troops to attack the city of Munkács (previously ceded to the Hungarians on November 2, 1938) on the morning of March 14, 1939.
The Hungarian Border Guard units stationed around Munkács, after throwing back the attacking Czechs on March 14, 1939, pressed forward in turn, and took the town of Orhegyalja. On the same day, the Ukrainian Sich Guards and the Czech nationalist units initiated large scale partisan operations.
Given this welcome excuse, the Nazi Hungarian Army regular troops again crossed into Czechoslovakia, now the state of Carpatho-Ukraine, on March 15, 1939. They reached Szolyva before nightfall. The resistance Carpatho-Ukrainian irregulars was soon overcome . The Hungarian Army also had the advantage of the Vienna Award, which made it possible for the Hungarians to take possession of the area where the Czechs built their permanent fortifications against Hungary.

The Hungarian Army continued their advance, pushing forward at top speed, and reached the Polish border on March 17, Here they met Polish troops, who were welcomed with great joy. Ukrainian sich volunteers who came from Galizien province and captured by Hungarians were handed over to Polish soldiers and were executed in a few days. This was Poland's response to rising Ukrainian nationalism. The last resistance in the Carpathian mountains was taken out on March 18.
The fate of the local captive Sich soldiers was a dramatic one as well. After a short hold in captivity they were taken to the banks of Tisa river and executed in large numbers. This event put a long lasting split in the relations of Hungarians and Ukrainians living in the province. Only recently did the signs of reconciliation begin to appear.

08-13-2007, 03:55 AM
Oh those "dastardly" poles again;)
And how on your mind they have to treat with the terrorists? Awarded their with medal and send to the Ukraine:)

BTW very interesting issue, thanks Kato.