NoThis article traces the changes in Anglo-Hungarian relations during the Second World War. Both official and clandestine dealings with the Horthy regime are explored, and put in the wider context of the shifting British attitude towards small states. It is argued that British officials came to endorse the fatalistic view of Sir Stafford Cripps that `smaller countries must fall under the sway of highly industrialised and rigidly controlled major powers¿. The Foreign Office was no longer willing to champion national causes in Central Europe; Horthy¿s Hungary was a case in point. Although Britain declared war on Hungary as late as December 1941, and only under strong Soviet pressure, from April 1941 the BBC was explicitly instructed to treat Hungary as an `enemy state¿. This hostile attitude changed in the spring of 1943, when the British government entered into secret negotiations with Regent Horthy and the Kállay government. Paradoxically, the Foreign Office was far more appreciative of any signs of independence and neutrality in Hungarian foreign policy than two years earlier, when such a policy held some promise. Hungary may have been branded as `an enemy country which will have to work her passage home¿, but British agents still played a pivotal role in the attempts by the Horthy regime to change sides in the war. A similar dichotomy can be detected in the British attitude towards the Soviet occupation of the country. Whilst the head of the British Military Mission was instructed to follow the Soviet lead in the Allied Control Commission in Hungary, he was also ordered `to resist any attempt by the Soviet authorities to encroach on Hungarian sovereignty or independence¿. This contradiction was the result of negative memories from the interwar years, when Britain failed to capitalise on her prestige and influence in Central and Eastern Europe
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