Speaking at the gala evening of the program series “170 Years of the Hungarian Defence Forces” on Wednesday evening in Budapest, Minister of Defence Dr. István Simicskó emphasized that the defence of the sovereignty of the Hungarian state and Hungarian citizens and families is an irreplaceable value.

In talking about Hungary’s military history, István Simicskó said that when the country had combat-worthy armed forces, the state was able to effectively defend itself, and the Hungarian soldiers engaged the strongest army of the age on several occasions. Almost for 150 years, they were also able to stood their ground against the Ottoman–Turkish Empire and protect the Christian values of Europe, he said.

DownloadPhoto: Gergely Botár/kormany.hu

The Hungarian Defence Forces – an army raised in a couple of months – carried out several military operations during the 1848-49 War of Independence that came to be included in the textbooks of military schools in several countries as “instances of exemplary planning and execution”, the minister said in his speech, and went on emphasizing that successful fight has a “mental and spiritual” basis.

In our work, we must be fighting with our hearts and souls to make our world a better place, István Simicskó pointed out, adding that this is especially important these days, when spiritual disarray reigns at several places in the world.

According to the minister, the history of our more than 1000 year-old statehood also proves that “when we were unable to defend our country, when our faith weakened and internal strife raised its head, foreign oppression was the fate that befell Hungary.”

“Discord, and the lack of enthusiasm and faith will result in failure”, the minister emphasized, adding that “this is true of today too.”

DownloadPhoto: Gergely Botár/kormany.hu

István Simicskó quoted Lajos Kossuth saying that the Hungarian soldiers “are the guardians and defenders of the integrity, independence and freedom of the country”.

“At all times, defence of the homeland is the mission of the soldiers of the Hungarian Defence Forces”, the minister emphasized, while he also noted that all men have the “real and time-honored mission” of serving the country.

At the gala evening held in the Hungarian National Theatre, The Minister of Defence paid tribute to the dead heroes of the Hungarian Defence Forces, and thanked the one-time and present soldiers of the Hungarian Defence Forces, underscoring that without their service, today Hungary could not be one of the safest countries in the world.

The minister emphasized that the Hungarian Defence Forces they intend to build are characterized by respect for our military traditions and values, high morale and combat-worthiness. 

This objective is served by the plan named after Miklós Zrínyi, the Zrínyi 2026 national defence and armed forces development program, the minister added.

The opening event of the program series 170 Years of the Hungarian Defence Forces was held in the morning at the Ministry of Defence Institute and Museum of Military History in Buda Castle. At the event, the drawing contest “170 years of the Hungarian Defence Forces” and the online call “Upload a military photo!” were announced. The Institute and Museum of Military History has organized a travelling exhibition for the anniversary, which will be brought to several settlements of Hungary in 2018.

DownloadPhoto: Gergely Botár/kormany.hu

The modern Hungarian army was established at the end of May 1848, when, on the order of Prime Minister Lajos Batthyány, ten regular infantry battalions were equipped, which were already mentioned as “honvédség” (Defence Forces) in official papers.

Due to the threat of foreign aggression against the Hungarian state and the danger posed by domestic armed movements of nationalities, at the request of Lajos Kossuth, on 11 July 1848, the members of parliament in Pest authorized the raising of 200,000 recruits and a war credit of 42 million forint to immediate effect, thereby officially establishing the regular defence force of the nation, the Hungarian Defence Forces.