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Small Archive of Hungarian Air Defense Maps made for Increasing Public Awareness During Allied Bombing.

Set of four maps of Hungary showing the different defense districts and alert levels that formed part of the Hungarian air defense system.

The maps all show distances to Budapest and instructions for how to respond to air attacks. The twenty-four air defense districts of Hungary are named. The maps all bear the same title.

The Hungarian air defense system was gradually formed form 1939 onward. As the war progressed and the Luftwaffe domination of the skies waned, Hungary became ever more susceptible to aerial bombings and had to prepare its populations to react accordingly. Further, the increase in the country's territory at the outset of the war meant that it had much more land to defend. As such, these maps come from later in the war, when the fate of Hungary and Budapest was, for all intents, almost already decided.

Breakdown of the Maps

  • The manuscript map shows air distances to Budapest along with major cities and the air defense districts. In the upper left of the map are the flight times to Budapest from other cities, assuming a flight speed of 480 km/hour for the attacking planes. The radio response to an impending attack is given in the lower right. The map informs the reader that the public radio would stop broadcasting when enemy planes were 250 km away from Hungarian airspace and resume when they were 220 km away on the return flight. During the attack, different levels of alert would be sounded on the radio, including sirens. Depictions of airplanes are shown throughout. The manuscript nature of the map and its subject suggests that it was made as part of a public awareness campaign, potentially as a schoolchild's assignment.
  • The large folding printed map gives much of the same information, but shows an extension into neighboring territories. The upper right has instructions on seeking shelter. The distances to London and Sicily are shown, indicating that the map was made later in the war, when Sicily was held by Allied troops.
  • The third and fourth maps are printed on postcards, which would have been used to further the public awareness campaign as to how to respond to the bombing. They each show air defense districts, distances to Budapest, and the radio signals and parameters for response.
Condition Description
Four maps. Slight toning and some soiling, a small tear to the manuscript map. Two larger folding maps are 18" by 11.5" and 18" by 13.5". The two smaller postcards are 3" by 5" and 3.5" by 5.5".