The MAORT Operation: A History of the Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) in Hungary 1938-1948
Yaney, George L.
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A multinational American company discovered oil in Hungary on November 20, 1937. The flowing wells produced crude for Hungary; 13ter, they supplied some of the military needs of Germany and the demands of the Soviet Red Army after World War II. On September 20, 1948, a newly formed Communist Hungarian government nationalized the company, claiming that some American and Hungarian managers had sabotaged production. The decade-long operation of the Hungarian-American Oil Company, whose Hungarian acronym was MAORT, left behind intermittent, yet discernible trails in company , state, military and diplomatic records. In the aggregate, these documents preserved the history of MAORT, which exploited the Transdanubian oil fields in peace, in war, and under a socialist order. Discovery of crude deposits, attainment of national self-sufficiency in refined oil products, and friendly cooperation between state and company hallmarked the fir st half of MAORT's history . During the war, the state sequestered the company and ruinously accelerated exploitation of the fields; still, Hungary relinquished less oil to Germany than was demanded. After the war, the Red Army came to occupy the fields and held the oil complex as a war trophy until 1947, when a peace treaty was signed. By the time the American managers had regained control over their company, the Hungarian government was in the midst of expropriating private enterprises. To allow, in the presence of massive Soviet arms, a vital segment in the nation's new socialist economy to remain in private foreign hands, was inadmissible. A criminal trial, in which the state's case rested on confessions of industrial sabotage, provided the means and justification for the expulsion of the American managers, the sentencing to prison terms or death of the Hungarian managers, and the nationalization of MAORT in 1948. The company began by serving Hungarian interests, but in its later years it became a pawn in German and Soviet hands.