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Title: The Hungarian Air Service, 1918-45
Author: Renner, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 4739 7498
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is a narrative and analytical history of the Hungarian air service. It follows its development from the Allied intervention of 1919 through the end of the Second World War. Denied an air force by the Treaty of Trianon, Hungarian airmen determined to thwart the inspection system and preserve national air power. The prohibition against military aviation persisted after the Commission was withdrawn, and through Hungarian diplomatic efforts, a relationship was established with Italy that included substantial assistance to the clandestine Hungarian air service. This low-grade arms build-up continued through the 1930s, during which there was a robust discussion about air power theory and the nature of future aerial warfare in Magyar Katonai Szemle [Hungarian Military Review]. After the rise of Hitler, Germany offered arms credits and support for Hungary’s obsession with regaining the territory lost in the post-war settlement. The air service grew mainly through imported aeroplanes, the purchase of which ceased to be secret after the Little Entente recognised Hungary’s equality of arms. The Hungarian air force became independent in 1939, and enjoyed public acclaim after decisive air-to-air victories over Slovak pilots during the occupation of Upper Hungary. The General Staff never accepted its autonomy, however, and succeeded in reclaiming control of the air force in 1941. After Hungary joined the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, the air force provided air defence and interdiction in support of the Rapid Corps. Its mounting losses were made good by German aeroplanes, some of which were produced in Hungarian factories. As the Allied bombing campaign against Hungary intensified in 1944, most of its aircraft were devoted to homeland defence. The force ceased to exist as a true national service after the German-led coup in October 1944, but continued a fighting withdrawal to the west until captured by American forces.
Supervisor: Evans, Robert; Strachan, Hew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; Modern Britain and Europe ; History of War ; Hungary ; military history ; aviation history ; inter-war innovation ; airpower theory ; Second World War