In the late 1980s, Soviet influence on Hungary's HPA
exercised in two ways. Numerous organizational ties linked
Soviet military with Hungary's armed forces. An equally
influence was the fact that a major component of the
Pact's military forces--the Southern Group of Forces--was
stationed in Hungary.
Loyalties and Control
Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev (1953-64) once said
the Soviet government had never trusted the Hungarian
Despite the training that Hungarian officers had received
the Soviet military since 1948 and the Soviet infiltration
HPA's top command structure, the Revolution of 1956
Moscow's apprehensions. The events of 1956 threw the
even the top Hungarian military elite into question.
In the 1980s, Soviet influence on Hungarian military
was much greater among the upper-level officers than among
lowerlevel officers, regimental sergeants major, or NCOs
(see Uniforms and Rank Insignia
, this ch.). The higher-ranking officers
their careers tied to Hungary's association with the
and the Warsaw Pact, while those of lesser ranks saw
troops in Hungary as an army of occupation.
The Soviet Union exerted its military influence within
Hungary in a variety of ways. The obvious means were
ministry-to-ministry contacts and the presence of Soviet
in the country. In addition, the chief Soviet
the Warsaw Treaty Organization in Hungary exercised
control of both the Soviet army and the Hungarian People's
Also, the Soviet military attache and staff in the Soviet
maintained a liaison office with the HSWP Central
Government Administration and Administration Department,
Ministry of National Defense's Main Political
the Central Committee of the HPA's party organization.
finally, the representative and staff of Soviet military
intelligence met frequently with various military and
Nevertheless, the HPA was hardly a pawn of the Soviet
military establishment. During the 1980-81 crisis in
Hungarian military leadership received instructions from
not to intervene in Poland without orders from the party.
order emanated not only from a purportedly sovereign
desire to retain control over its own military but also
determination to maintain civilian control over the
In the late 1980s, the HPA also pressed for "more
in Warsaw Pact decision making. This term justified
giving Hungary and other non-Soviet members a greater
decision making within the pact and for rotating the
the Warsaw Pact forces among all the military leaders of
the nonSoviet Warsaw Pact (NSWP) countries.
Data as of September 1989