At the end of the eleventh century they conquered and annexed Croatia as an autonomous kingdom, while in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries they extended their influence over Bosnia, Dalmatia, and northern Serbia—largely at the expense of the declining Byzantine Empire.
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These efforts did result in temporary territorial gains in 1938-1941, but as these gains were achieved with German and Italian help, they landed Hungary in the unfortunate German alliance during World War II.
After the war Hungary again was reduced in size and became one of the communist-dominated Soviet satellite states under the leadership of the Stalinist dictator, Mátyás Rákosi (who ruled from 1945 to 1956).
By the 1970s these reforms—supported by generous Western loans—made Hungary and its system of "goulash communism" the envy of the communist world.
In the 1980s, however, the system began to flounder, and economic problems resurfaced.
With the expansion of the Ottoman Turkish Empire into the Balkans in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Hungarian influence over the northern Balkans declined and was replaced by that of the Turks.