DEFENSIVE CONCEPTS FOR THE REANNEXED REGIONS OF HUNGARY AFTER 1939-40
After the reannexation of the Subcarpathian region, Hungary once again had again thousand year old frontiers. The organisation of the frontier defence began almost immediately. Other, serious, events were taking place in 1939. Germany invaded Poland; this was followed by the fourth division of Poland. So Hungary was placed between two great powers with opposite ideologies: one was the Pan-slavist, communist Soviet Union, the other was Nazi Germany. These events forced the Hungarian government to strengthen this frontier sector too. The closing of the passable directions and the construction of the defence of the frontier guard units began with the employment of the pioneer companies.
The Hungarian military leadership was informed about the possibility of a German intervention against the Soviet Union in December 1940. When handing this information , the German Supreme Command proposed to Károly Bartha, the Hungarian Minister of War, and Henrik Werth, the Chief of the Hungarian General Staff, that Hungary should construct a strong defensive system in the Subcarpathian region and prepare for the occupation of this defensive system by army units just in case. As a quid pro quo they promised to supply the Hungarian Army with modern armament (field artillery, tanks, aeroplanes), as these were indispensable for the modernisation of the Hungarian Royal Army armaments. The formation of the 1st Mountain Fighter Brigade and the organisation of the united leadership of the frontier guard forces began. In this way the 8th Frontier Guard Brigade was established. The construction of the fortification line also took place, therefore the two brigades assigned for its defence were able to move into the defensive line on 11th April 1941.
On 30th August 1940 the division of Transylvania left the Hungarian political and military leadership with a difficult decision. The possibility of realising the official political programme which had been promulgated for 20 years - “we want to get back everything!” - progressed even further than it had been by the Second Vienna Award.42 As Prime Minister Pál Teleki presupposed, Hungary could only ensure the good will of the Germans by competing with Roumania when Germany was the decisive force in East Europe. For this reason, having just arrived home from the negotiations in Vienna in 1940, he offered his resignation to Governor Miklós Horthy.
Transylvania, or any region of it, could only be safe in the hands of a country which held both the western gates of Transylvania and all the passes of the Carpathian Mountains. For this reason, the Hungarian military leadership planned a South Transylvanian offensive as an answer to the future Roumanian aggression that was believed to be unavoidable. The Hungarian military leadership did not give up the idea of this offensive until the eastern front of World War II approached the frontiers of Hungary. For this reason, changes had already been planned in the organisation and training of the Hungarian army by 1940. Apparently, by constructing a strong fortification system on the thousand year old frontiers the Hungarian military leadership wanted to provide such possibilities for the Hungarian Royal Army that by creating emphatic points on other frontier sectors the Roumanian army forces could be broken. The clarification of the theoretical problems of fortification was a very important task in this case because the earlier schemes could not be applied. Hungary had to construct a new fortification system just when all the earlier constructed systems had failed. However, theories and practice are not the same. The theorists of the science of fortification had to make clear to the military high command and the political leadership that the failures of the fortifications in the current war could not be blamed on tactical and military engineering reasons, but only on the wrong theoretical approach. No war, not even a battle, can be won with the help of a fortification system which has only been built for defence. The leading champions of this point of view were the fortification experts who were working in the Military Engineers Institute. The outstanding figure in this Institute was Staff Colonel Teofil Hárosy, the visualiser of the Hungarian fortification system, who managed to explain this really complicated problem in such a way that it was understandable for everyone, and who was able to convince both his peers and the military leadership of the country of the importance of constructing the fortification system.
42 Germany and Italy promised to Roumania that they would ensure the invulnerability of the territories remaining in her hands.