Soviet Red Army Crushes Waffen SS – the Battle for Budapest (26.12.1944-13.2.1945)

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Soviet Red Army liberates Budapest 

Soviet Press Statement (21.12.1944):

‘At the beginning of December, under the chairmanship of Dr Vasary, the mayor of Debrecen, a group was formed of representatives of the different Hungarian parties… In liberated territory the election of delegates to the Provisional National Assembly took place between December 13 and 20. 230 delegates were elected, representing the democratic parties, the town and village councils and the trade and peasant unions… The Assembly opened with the playing of the Hungarian National Anthem. The meeting was held in the Reformation College where, in 1849, Kossuth proclaimed the independence of Hungary…

An Address to the Hungarian People was adopted which said:

It is time to make peace. Salasi is an usurper,,, We call upon the Hungarian people to rally to the banners of Kossuth and Rakoszi and to follow in the footsteps of the Honweds (volunteer militia) of 1848. We want a democratic Hungary. We guarantee the inviolability of private property as the basis of our social and economic order. We want Land Reform… Turn your arms against the German oppressors and help the Red Army… for the good of a Free and Democratic Hungary!’

(Russia at War 1941-1945: By Alexander Werth [1964] Pages 909-910)

Hitler’s Nazi German regime was assisted in its widespread (highly destructive and genocidal) invasion of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union by Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, all of which had acquired politically rightwing governments. Nazi Germany was also assisted with supplies of oil and other raw materials by Sweden, Denmark and Portugal, as well as Vichy France and fascist Italy. The so-caked ‘Axis’ powers (of which there were many), coalesced around the 1936 ‘Anti-Comintern Pact’, an agreement between various rightwing countries to jointly resist the spread of ‘International Communism’. Therefore, it can be said that Hitler’s attack on the USSR was a direct manifestation of the pursuance of this pact, an act of aggression which was assisted by a number of Axis powers. Over-all, contemporary estimates suggest that around 34 million Soviet men, women and children died during the Nazi German invasion of the USSR, and the application of the Hitlerite ‘final solution’. Hitler had declared the the Slavic people to be racially inferior, and their embracing of Communist ideology to be a confirmation of this fact. To remedy this problem, Hitler demanded nothing less than the eradication of the Slavic people and their Communist ideology.

As the tide of war changed, and the Soviet Red Army started to push the Nazi German invaders out of the USSR, it became necessary to pursue the retreating Germans all the way to Berlin to ensure the complete defeat of the Nazi regime. Whilst pursuing this anti-fascist policy, the countries that had collaborated with Nazi Germany had to be invaded and ‘liberated’ from their fascist governments and Nazi German occupiers. As can be gleamed from the Soviet Press statement (above), the Soviet Authorities implemented ‘democratic’ elections, so that the ordinary citizens of countries such as Hungary, could choose a non-fascist political path. By and large, the ordinary citizens of such countries, (i.e. the ‘workers’), were treated as ‘victims’ of fascism, rather than its perpetuators.

On October 21st, 1944, the Soviet Red Army (under Malinovksy) entered and took Debrecen in eastern Hungary. Although the Red Army advance into Hungary was rapid at first, it was soon slowed by stiff (fascist) Hungarian and Nazi German resistance. This resistance increased as the Red Army fought inch by inch toward Budapest in November. In early December (1944), Hitler met with the fascist Hungarian leader Salasi in Berlin, where it was agreed that Budapest must be held at all costs (although behind the scenes, many of its industries were already being re-located to Austria). As part of this deal, Hitler allocated around 23,000 well-equipped and highly motivated troops of the Waffen SS to defend Budapest (and possibly turn the tide of the battle). These units were essentially heavily armed and highly politically motivated annihilation squads (being considered racially ‘pure’ by Hitler), whose motto was ‘Give Death and Take Death’. These men were not ordinary soldiers, and their training was designed to embody a certain ‘mindless’ brutality that existed outside of the traditions of the conventional German military. Surrender was out of the question as was taking prisoners or providing medical care to wounded enemy soldiers. In fact, the Waffen SS often tortured the enemy wounded to death, considering it a sport to invent ever more painful methods. These troops were under the direct command of Adolf Hitler himself (being considered his personal bodyguard), and were trained to believe that they personally represented the ideological foundation of the fascist ideology of National Socialism. As racially pure Aryans, these men received the best clothing, training, food, housing and weaponry, and were treated with the utmost respect (and fear) within German society. As an embodiment of ‘Nazism’, Hitler believed that these racially superior beings, entirely through an act of will, could defeat the military might of the Red Army, and in so doing trigger a collapse of its Communist ideology (bringing down the USSR from within).

The 50 day Battle for Budapest was to test this hypothesis. Around 23,000 racially pure Waffen SS troops were to spear-head the defence of Budapest and inflict a debilitating defeat upon the Red Army. By comparison, Red Army soldiers, whose motto was ‘Free the Workers!’ was comprised of ordinary men and women from the length and breadth of the vast Soviet Union. As such, they were ethnically diverse, and represented no particular race. They pursued Socialist Revolution every time they fought – freeing the oppressed workers from the tyranny of capitalism and fascism. The average Red Army soldier was selfless, supportive of his fellow Comrades, and willing to self-sacrifice to save others. These soldiers were not racially superior, did not pursue any form of fascist ideology, and were motivated by a broad non-racial ‘Internationalism’, rather than by a narrow fascistic ‘Nationalism’, and yet in the space of around 7 weeks, these quite ‘ordinary’ Communist soldiers encircled and then systematically ‘destroyed’ the 23,000 fanatical Waffen SS soldiers – killing 19,000 in the fighting! The fascist forces of Budapest surrendered on the 13th of February, 1945, and Hungary was finally liberated.

The following documentary explains who the Waffen SS were – and how they were deployed during WWII. Comprised of around 900,000 at their peak, toward the end of the war (as casualties mounted), Hitler allowed non-Germans to join, such as French, Swedes and Danes. In fact, as the Nazi regime collapsed under Soviet pressure, around 90% of the Waffen SS units defending Hitler in Berlin near the end, were comprised of foreigners who fanatically fought to the bitter end. Allowing non-Germans into the Waffen SS was thought by certain Nazi Germans as ‘weakening’ the spiritual strength of these units, and therefore lowering their fighting efficiency. However, Hitler gambled with some of his best (racially pure) Waffen SS regiments in Budapest – and despite their assumed ‘spiritual strength’, they were systematically destroyed by Slavic peasant soldiers from the Urals.

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