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Vitazstvo

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Víťazstvo

 

On March 18, 1939, a delegation from the First Slovak Republic in Vienna negotiating on a treaty of protection with Nazi Germany. Recent annexation of territories from former Czechoslovakia by the Kingdom of Hungary worried the Slovaks, who did not want to lose more land to them. However, the Germans gave the Hungarians the green light to invade the newly-formed Slovak State and size more territories. Germany refused to help Slovakia, in violation of the treaty of protection that they signed. When the Hungarians first attacked March 23, the Slovak Army was disorganized and withdrawing from the area that was given to Hungary earlier. The Hungarians caught the Slovaks off-guard and completely defeated them, forcing Slovakia to cede even more territory to Hungary in a treaty they later signed in April 1939.

But what if, perhaps, the nationalistic Slovak commander, Lieutenant General Augustín Malár, refused to withdraw? What if he instead gave orders for the Slovak Army to prepare to defend the Košice Region rather than leave it to the Hungarians? With a well-prepared army, the officer who was known to be among the few successful Slovaks in the pre-war Czechoslovak military due to his strategic brilliance would most likely have no trouble fending off the Hungarians. And more importantly, what effects would a vitazstvo, a victory, for Slovakia in the Slovak–Hungarian War have on World War II Europe?

Highlights

This is a quick overview of some of the main events in the scenario, not the entire timeline.

  • 2 November 1938 – The Kingdom of Hungary regains territories it lost after the disintegration of Austria-Hungary with the signing of the First Vienna Award, a treaty engineered by Germany and Italy to weaken Czechoslovakia. Much of southern Slovakia is given to Hungary.
  • 13 March 1939 – Jozef Tiso and Ferdinand Ďurčanský, the most prominent Slovak nationalist leaders, met with Adolf Hitler, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Wilhelm Keitel in Berlin. They make it clear to the Slovaks that unless Slovakia declares independence, they will allow Hungary to take full control of Slovakia.
  • 14 March 1939 – The independence of Slovakia is declared, the First Slovak Republic is formed.
  • 18 March 1939 – All Slovak forces in the southern Košice Region, near Uzhhorod, are ordered to withdraw. Lieutenant General Augustín Malár pretends to accept, but gives a secret order for the Slovak Army to prepare to fight the Hungarians.
Slovak-LT38-tanks-px800

Slovak tank crews prepare for battle.

  • 24 March 1939 – After allowing Hungarian forces to build up at Závadka, Slovak troops attacked from all sides with infantry and armored cars, cutting the Hungarians off. The surprised Hungarians, expecting to find little or no resistance, were overwhelmed.
  • 25 March 1939 – The Závadka pocket surrenders, with a total of 42 Hungarian soldiers killed and 78 captured, eliminating an entire Hungarian battalion. The main Hungarian force begins to advance, and Malár orders a strategic withdrawal.
  • 26 March 1939 – Slovak and Hungarian troops clash at Michalovce, with the Hungarians becoming encircled in the outskirts of the city. Malár's forces stopped several attempts to break out but at a cost of more than 50 casualties. The Hungarian units surrendered and signed a truce late that evening.
  • 28 March 1939 – With the main Hungarian expeditionary group in Slovakia defeated, the Hungarian government of Miklós Horthy was outraged. The Hungarian ambassador in Berlin demanded to Hitler that they allow Hungary to completely invade Slovakia.

Note

Any suggestions or comments from the community can be left on the talk page of this article or on Alexander of Volzhsky's messages. The author is open to suggestions.

Reference material

Some of the books and sites I looked it when gathering information for this timeline.

  • Axis Slovakia: Hitler's Slavic Wedge, 1938 - 1945, by Mark Axworthy
  • Axis History Forum
  • Different Wikipedia articles in several languages.

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