The Hungarian War of Independence was widely reported in the American press. Kossuth hoped to bring about a fundamental change in U.S. foreign policy: to convince the country that the time came for taking an active role in international affairs. Sixty-six years later, the U.S. came to act exactly along the lines advocated by Kossuth. Ninety years later the Atlantic Charter came to embody the very principles first expressed by the Hungarian leader.
Hungary seems to have almost perennial dilemmas about the course to be taken in its foreign policy. Attempts by powerful empires (the German, the Habsburg, the Ottoman and the Russian empires) to dominate the country led to loss of independence from the 16
to the 20
century, and full sovereignty has been regained only in 1991 with the seizure of Soviet occupation. The relations with the peoples living next to or intermingled with the Hungarians have also been always difficult because of the conflicting claims to identical territories. Following the collapse of Communism there was the danger of the renewal of hostilities with those neighbours, either by opening the issue of border change, or related to the (mis)treatment of close to three million Hungarians detached from Hungary by the Peace Treaty imposed in 1920. The restraint of the Hungarian government led by J. Antall, the creation of cooperative mechanisms exemplified by the Visegrád Cooperation, and the conduct of the Euro-Atlantic partners, including measures adopted for the protection of national minorities, explain why Central Europe did not become the scene of violence which characterised the Balkans in the 1990s.