The Siege of Budapest - 100 Days in World War II
by Krisztian Ungvary
List Price: $35.00 Hardback: 512 Pages
Publish Date: March 11, 2005
Review by Brian Williams
The area of operations in and around Hungary is probably one of the least
understood and written about topics of WWII. The city of Budapest, with
its 800,000 civilians, endured a siege that lasted one hundred and two days by
Soviet forces. Over 80,000 Soviet troops, 38,000 German and Hungarian
soldiers, along with 38,000 Hungarian civilians lost their lives during the
defense of the city and the subsequent breakout. Written using several
hundred eyewitness accounts, this book does a magnificant job of detailing the
hardships and suffering of both the soldiers and the civilians.
(Althought, the book really focuses mostly on the Hungarian and German
side of the battle).
The book is divided into 7 chapters: Prelude, The Encirclement, The Siege,
Relief Attempts, The Break-Out, The Siege and The Population. "The
Encirclement" is quite interesting in that the civilians, and to a large degree
even the Germans, had no idea as to the extent that they were being
surrounded. One of the amazing accounts in the book tells of a
handful of Soviet soldiers that jump on a streetcar and the Hungarian
civilians riding it don't realize who the Russian soldiers are. Once they
realize that the soldiers are not German or Hungarian, they flee in panic at
the next stop. Such accounts like this provide a unique and incredible
glimpse into the siege and the battle.
The book contains a good number of maps which is a huge help to trying to
understand the flow of events. Units and lines of advancement are clearly
marked and easy to read. The only issue I have is that there is no scale
showing the distances. For instance, in trying to understand the breakout
or relief attempts, it makes it difficult to appreciate the distances
involved. Besides that issue, the maps are wonderfully detailed
and are a huge help in understanding the battle.
This book is a treasure trove of eyewitness accounts and never-before-seen
archives. The chaos and desperation of the siege really comes to life
through these personal accounts. You must read this book to understand
the desperate situation the civilians found themselves in.
In conclusion, the book is an in-depth study of the defense of Budapest and the
subsequent relief and breakout of the German and Hungarian
forces. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in World
War II and especially in learning about this not-so-known part of the
war. The southeastern flank of the war is so little-known and this book
does a magnificent job in helping us understanding it.
Review by Brian Williams (email@example.com)