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THE BALKANS: Budapest-Bucharest

2 minute read
TIME

Last week, viewing their respective prospects at the hands of Hitler in the light of his super deal with the Soviets, Hungary and Rumania were trying desperately to be friends. Lately it has seemed clear enough that if Hungary did get Transylvania back from Rumania, Germany might swallow both on its inevitable way to get at oil-drilling, grain-bearing Rumania. Last week, with Hitler going hammer & tongs after Poland, Hungary’s historic ally, Hungary seemed a likely next under the hammer. With this in prospect, worrying over long-lost Transylvania seemed pointless indeed.

Rumania was aggrandized in the aftermath of Versailles with not only Transylvania, but Bessarabia, a fertile parcel of old Russia. This might become a Soviet objective—more than Rumania could hope to defend, especially with Nazi pressure from the West.

While observers were still wondering whether the first-born steppe-child of the Berlin-Moscow marriage would be a Budapest-Bucharest axis, an internal axis was born—the Serbs and Croats finally got around to sporazum in Yugoslavia.

Main obstacle put forth by Hungary to Rumania’s proposition was the current presence of 250,000 Rumanian troops in Transylvania, near the Hungarian border. Said a Hungarian spokesman: “Hungary will not negotiate under the pressure of Rumanian arms.”

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