Illegal Precursor to Hungarian Tank Design
The consequences of the First World War were disastrous for Hungary. The Treaty of Trianon of 1920 which cost Hungary 72% of its territory, 64% of its population, and its access to the sea was seen as a national disgrace. The state of mourning declared after the treaty was signed was one of the longest in world history: state flags remained at half mast until 1938 when Hungary returned some of its lost territory after the First Vienna Award. Some schoolchildren begin the day with singing the national anthem, while Hungarian students began with reading a prayer for the reunification of their country.
Considering the treaty unfair, Hungarians tried to get around it, at least in the military sense. Since the army was limited to 35,000 men and forbidden from having armoured vehicles ("production or import to Hungary of armoured cars, tanks, or any analogous vehicles suitable for use in warfare are forbidden"), Hungary had no tanks. In 1920, Hungary bought 14 light LK.II tanks from its fellow in suffering, Germany, who was also barred from having tanks. Entente representatives discovered this purchase and attempted to confiscate them, but the tanks were disassembled and well hidden.
In 1928, Hungary was able to buy two tankettes from Britain, but the first real breakthrough happened thanks to improving relations with a victorious country, Italy. In 1927, the two countries signed a treaty on "Friendship, Cooperation, and Exchange", and Italy began shipments of arms to Hungary. This was already a violation of the Treaty of Trianon, as importing weapons into Hungary was forbidden by Article V, and could only be produced domestically. The tank embargo was broken in 1931: Hungary bought five Fiat 3000Bs. 150 Italian CV 3/33 and CV 3/35 tankettes were shipped to Hungary between 1934 and 1936.
Call of the Varangian
Meanwhile, Europe was steadily moving towards another large war. In 1938, Hungary openly rejected the Treaty of Trianon, declaring a modernization program for its armed forces. Resources were reserved for the creation of a fully fledged armoured force.
Since Hungary possessed a developed industry, it was decided to produce tanks domestically. The inventor Nicholas Straussler offered his new V-4 tank in 1937. The light convertible drive tank had an original suspension and was a further development of the V-3, which was developed in 1934-35 and received some interest from Japan and Britain.