Author: Pál Pritz 1
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  • 1 Hungarian Academy of Sciences Budapest, Hungary
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After June 4, 1920 the objective was nevertheless the restoration of Saint Stephen's Hungary. How can such a program be implemented? There are three things that are definitely needed. 1. A relevant political force in the country. 2. An international situation conducive to the aims and a foreign policy that can make the most of it. 3. Hungary's former national minorities should be willing to return into Saint Stephen's empire. 1. The losers of the treaty of Trianon probably supported the recovery of the lost territories. This discontent supported and at the same time stifled the revisionist movement. The leaders of the country too strengthened the illusion that Trianon was a result of the revolutions of 1918 and 1919. 2. No great powers supported the restoration of Saint Stephen's Hungary. The Germans showed the most receptive attitude, but neither the Weimar Republic, nor Hitler's Germany was willing to follow Bismarck's policy, who had considered it important to maintain a strong Hungary. Mussolini - even if he had wanted - could not have a say in this matter. 3. The Compromise of 1867 with the House of Habsburg maintained the Hungarian empire for another fifty years, but its hour struck in 1918. This is despite the fact that in the demise of Hungary the entente powers's intent, which was proved strong by history, was as important as the desire of the national minorities to secede. These questions are fully analysed in the study, which then states: in theory it would have been possible to follow a way different from the actual event, but in fact the tragedy of Hungary in the Second World War had to happen as inevitably as it actually did.

  • Quoted by Gyula Juhász: Magyarország nemzetközi helyzete és a magyar szellemi élet 1938-1944 [Hungary's International Situation and the Hungarian Intellectual Life 1938-1944] (Budapest, 1987), 9-10. And two years later it restated the English standpoint in the same way: "We never wanted to guarantee that country against Germany as we had done with Romania. In other words, we acknowledged that Hungary belonged to the German sphere of interest." Herczegh, ibid., 271.

  • "The Soviet Union protested in a memorandum against the fact that Germany and Italy alone had decided in the Transylvanian question, which Moscow was deeply involved in". Herczegh, ibid., 313.

  • The military committee of the League of Nations terminated on 31st March 1927, Bethlen went to Rome between the 4th and 6th of April and the Hungarian Revision League was founded on 27th June. The Debrecen Speech took place on 4th March 1928.

  • The situation is accurately illustrated by the fact that László Ottlik had to clarify himself because of his above mentioned article mainly because it was seen as a relative of Oszkár Jászi's ideas of federation. and Ottlik did not take kindly to any of this 'kinship'; he made every attempt to prove that he had nothing to do with Jászi's ideas. The second Ottlik article can be found in: Éva Ring, ed., Helyünk Európában (Our Place in Europe) (Budapest, 1986), Vol. I, 170-182.

  • Gyula Juhász, ed., Diplomáciai iratok Magyarország külpolitikájához [Documents in Hungarian Foreign Policy] DIMK Vol. V (Budapest, 1982), No. 201, Barcza 16 July 1940, and MOL K 63.2.1368/1940. Barcza to Csáky, 4 March 1940. In: Tóth, ibid., 53.

  • And at the same time it also changes the image traditionally handed down to us.

  • 'Bömbölő honfibú, an expression by László Németh.

  • Lajos Varga, et al. eds, A szociáldemokrácia kézikönyve [Handbook of Social Democracy]. (Budapest, 1999), 129-130.

  • DIMK Vol. V, No. 214, pp. 349-350, Barcza 23 July 1940.

  • Géza Herczegh, A szarajevói merénylettől a potsdami konferenciáig [From the Assassination in Sarajevo to the Conference in Potsdam] (Budapest, 1999), 440.

  • For the looseness of confidentiality see: Iratok a magyar külügyi szolgálat történetéhez [Writings on the History of the Hungarian Foreign Service] (Budapest, 1994), 173-179.

  • As Albrecht Haushofer, who was clear about the bandit nature of Nazism and assassinated by SS men in April 1945, had tried as early as 1941 to influence the various circles of the Reich with a peace design that would have annulled most of the territorial changes that were in favour of Hungary and as Hitler himself had no particular interest in the happy fate of Hungarians, it may probably be taken for granted that a final German victory would have restrained Hungary more than the situation after Trianon.

  • Prague feared even the defeated Germany very much. If we only think of the 3 million Sudeten Germans whose new country was to be Czechoslovakia, we can see that their fears were well grounded. But the so-called 'Czechoslovakianism' was not only needed by the Czech nation-alists, but also by the French nationalists. For the French conception of security policy needed the guarantee for the influence of Paris in Central and Eastern Europe, and, as a consequence, for curbing the Germans.

  • Éva Haraszti, ed., Horthy Miklós a dokumentumok tükrében [Miklós Horthy as Reflected by Documents] (Budapest, 1993), 68, 86.

  • Ibid., 406.

  • Gyula Juhász: Magyar-brit titkos tárgyalások 1943-ban [Hungarian-British Secret Peace Talks in 1943] (Budapest, 1978), 87.

  • Ibid., 158-159.

  • Ibid., 102.

  • DIMK Vol. V. No. 318. Pastor, ibid., 182. Antal Czettler, Teleki Pál és a magyar külpolitika, 1939-1941 [Pál Teleki and Hungarian Foreign Policy, 1939-1941] (Budapest, 1997), 149-150.

  • The leaders/makers of Hungarian foreign policy knew already in 1935 - when Mussolini suddenly turned to Paris - that nothing could really be built on the support of the Italians, but they did not consider it important to inform Hungarian public opinion about it. And in 1940 Italy's defeats made it clear - to those able to see - that Rome became one of the satellites of Berlin. But meanwhile, Hungarian public opinion did not realise the fact that one of the main pillars of Hungarian foreign policy had collapsed. Herczegh, ibid., (1999) 321.

  • It was especially their mutual interest in preventing a Habsburg restoration, which is totally understandable historically, that brought the two countries together.

  • Quoted by Mária Ormos: Mussolini. Second, revised edition. (Budapest, 2000), vol. II, 435.

  • It is best illustrated by the (euphemistically put: not too wise) fight for the position of first joiner to the Three Power Contract.

  • See Mária Ormos, "Bethlen koncepciója az olasz-magyar szövetségről (1927-1931)" [Bethlen's Conception About the Italian-Hungarian Alliance (1927-1931)] in: A két világháború közötti Magyarországról [On Hungary Between the Two World Wars], ed. Miklós Lackó (Budapest, 1984), 114-116.

  • Gyula Juhász wrote that the Hungarian Ministry for Foreign Affairs initiated the restoration of the functioning of embassies in March 1939. In: A moszkvai magyar követség jelentései, 1935-1941 [Reports of the Hungarian Embassy in Moscow, 1935-1941] (Budapest, 1992), 8. The documents were selected, the notes and the index were made by Peter Pastor.

  • György Barcza: Diplomataemlékeim 1919-1945 [My Diplomatic Memoirs, 1919-1945], Vols I-II (Budapest, 1994), vol. I, 405.

  • Magyar Országos Levéltár (Hungarian National Archives - MOL) K 63. 2/16. 7627/1939. Letter of Barcza to Csáky, 30 October 1939. Thesis by R. J. Tóth: Barcza György diplomáciai pályafutása [Barcza's Diplomatic Career], 2000, p. 53.

  • The economy developed at a modest rate in the whole period, so this was not a strong base for an aggressive foreign policy.

  • Ormos, ibid., 438.

  • Ibid.

  • The practice of the Hungarian Council Republic (Tanácsköztársaság) of 1919 kept it in memory with memorable examples.

  • Pastor, ibid., 256-257 and Gyula Juhász: A Teleki-kormány külpolitikája [The Foreign Policy of the Teleki Government] (Budapest, 1964), 128.

  • There would be some point in discussing the role of the apparatus with foreign policy or rather, it would be logical. Still, we believe that the apparatus must be discussed here because we consider it such a social-sociological creature whose make-up, but rather its mentality was formed by the nature of the Hungarian society of the time.

  • See István Diószegi: Bismarck és Andrássy. Magyarország a német hatalmi politikában a XIX. század második felében [Bismarck and Andrássy. Hungary in German Power Politics during the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century] (Budapest, 1998).

  • Miklós Kozma noted probably not only his own conviction in his diary at the end of September 1938 when writing: "There are 9 million Hungarians living in the cage created at Trianon. It is flanked by the Little Entente on three sides and the fourth side has been taken by Germany since the Anschluss. If in the future, and it is doubted by no-one, we get back our territories peacefully or in a bloody way, it only means that we'll live in a somewhat bigger cage. Ruthenia (Sub-Carpathia), on the other hand, means that we manage to break the ring of the Little Entente between Romania and Czechoslovakia and we have a common border with Poland. It is only natural that we must keep on with the friendly policy towards Germany pursued so far, but it is equally natural that in another way than it is done now. The line Warsaw-Budapest-Belgrade-Rome is not opposed to policy of the Berlin-Rome Axis, but it's a great relief to us." However, history proved that the real judgment of the situation was followed by plans built on sand, as the plan of the horizontal axis, which had a long history in the previous years, could not be a real force against Berlin. MOL K 428 Diary entry on 28 September 1938. The text quoted several times was first referred to by Magda Ádám: Magyarország és a kisantant a harmincas években [Hungary and the Little Entente in the 30s] (Budapest, 1968), 327. These thoughts are similar to those of Géza Herczegh's statement: "Hungary with a territory of 160,000 square kilometers was exactly so defenseless and exposed in the circle of Hitler and his satellites as the Hungary with a territory of 93,000 square kilometers within the claws of the Little Entente." (Herczegh, ibid., 331.)

  • See, for example Gyula Kádár: A Ludovikátöl Sopronkőhidáig [From the Ludovika to Sopronkőhida] (Budapest, 1978).

  • It would be worth studying the consular reports from Prague between 1939 and 1944 and to follow to what extent they were known in Hungary.

  • Mentioning the argument that the peoples of Eastern Europe, regardless of being winners or defeated, shared the same fate after 1945 in the Soviet sphere of interests belongs to the after-life of the question. This view is true to a certain point only. If we only think of the territories set out by the peace treaties, then this statement can hardly be maintained. For the borders set out by the peace treaties have their great significance even today. Let it suffice to mention only the hard life of being a minority and the environmental catastrophes inflicted on neighbouring countries. This is why today's security policy has a much different content than it did between the two wars. It means that until there exists a unified Europe, and there is a unified environmental policy or protection, the question of the borders will remain. And even if the new order exists, the historical fact that this issue has been very important for long decades will not be changed.

  • László Teleki, Válogatott munkái [Selected Works] (Budapest, 1958), vol. II, 27.

  • Géza Herczegh writes that this truth was demonstrated again in April 1941. For "the nationalities of the historical country did not want to return, and no superpower wanted to restore the Hungary of St. Stephen." Herczegh (1999), 330.

  • See Antal Czettler's A mi kis élet-halál kérdéseink. A magyar külpolitika a hadba lépéstől a német megszállásig [Our Little Questions of Life and Death. Hungarian Foreign Policy from Entering into the War to the German Occupation] (Budapest, 2000) for the latest material on the question.

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Hungarian Studies
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2020 Volume 34
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