Never-ending Race Hatred out of a Peace Treaty 1920
by Csapó Endre
HUNSOR correspondent, editor of Magyar Élet
3th june 2010., Magyar Élet, HUNSOR.se
One out of every three Hungarians lives outside the present borders of Hungary. How did this come about? At the end of World War I the victorious powers reorganized Central Europe, creating new states ("Successor States") with new borders. This happened 90 years ago, on the 4th June, 1920, when Hungary, under duress, signed the Treaty of Trianon (a palace near Paris).
Hungary's agreeing to sign this treaty was the condition imposed by the Allies for recognizing her sovereignty, albeit over just one third of its pre-war territory. Although the Western leaders who drew up this peace treaty maintained the importance of the principle of national self-determination, when the new borders were drawn up the populations in the areas concerned were not consulted, there were no plebiscites and no bargaining in Paris. Therefore, Hungary was faced with the choice of accepting humiliating losses of territory or complete annihilation as a state.
At the time of the peace settlement the treatment meted out to Hungary was justified on the following grounds: first, that the idea of self-determination of all nations had to be adhered to; second, that the nation states established in place of the Habsburg Empire had to be economically viable; third, that boundaries in that part of Europe had to be militarily defensible and lastly, that the future stability of the area had to be assured as far as possible.
It seems, however, that the peacemakers used these principles only when they worked to the disadvantage of Hungary.
The doctrine of the self-determination of nations was only applied to make sure that as few non-Magyars were left to Hungary as possible. Many important regions were taken away from Hungary to assure the economic viability of the successor states, while no one cared if these losses permanently disrupted the Hungarian economy. Strategically defensible borders were drawn only where their establishement served as a justification for detaching additional Magyar populated regions from the country. The argument for the need to assure future stability in East Central Europe was adhered to only when it resulted in the further weakening and disarming of Hungary. At the same time the prospect of internal peace within the successor states was dangerously prejudiced by the inclusion of large Magyar and other minorities in each of them.
The Peace Treaty was imposed on the Hungarian people under conditions which, in fact, meant the continuation of the state of war. Indeed, as Clémenceau put it, "...another means to continue war". However, this type of war differed from the one the Peace Treaty terminated. For Hungary, the war ended with unconditional surrender. Then the second stage of war began by "another means". This second stage has been in force for 75 (now 90) years with some variations. One third of the Hungarian nation lives almost as prisoners of war on their land of birth, which the successor states received as spoils of war, and they treat them accordingly. In order to perpetuate the splendid historical experience they regard the liquidation of their Hungarian minority populations as a patriotic commitment.
The destruction of Central Europe's political unity has created a power vacuum in this "Marchland" region. The fragmentation of the states has prevented the formation of a strong buffer-zone between the rival eastern and western powers and there is little chance today that the present states of the region will ever reach a state of sincere cooperation.
For centuries the domination of these Marchlands has been the key to European supremacy. This is why the First World War was followed by the second one: frustrated in their attempts to extend their influence over the region, both Russia and Germany used the between-wars period to extend their influence over the countries of Central Europe. Both powers had suffered defeat at the end of World War I. It would have been opportune therefore to establish a strong independent zone here to hold both powers at bay. Unfortunately, the Trianon Treaty had fragmented the area and had set the nations against each other, instead of uniting them. Germany was the first to move. Gradually Germany coerced the small nations into her camp: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Yugoslavia- Croatia, Hungary in 1938-41 whilst the only state to resist, Poland was conquered in 1939 (in concert with Russia).
The other rival power, Soviet Russia, began its conquest by the occupation of Poland, followed by the annexation of the Baltic states (1940) and the attack on Finland (1939-40). When the German- Russian conflict turned into a Russian advance, the Soviet extended its domination over most of Central Europe.
One nation in eight states
In our days the accepted definition of "national minority" usually refers to a group of people, who migrated into the established country of another nation and failed to assimilate.
This is why immigration states, which accept migrants to increase their population fail to understand that there are some minority groups who want to keep their own language, culture, and demand their own institutions, they want to maintain the character of their villages and towns, and want to administer the land they are inhabiting in the form of autonomy. There are no immigration states in Central Europe, consequently no migrant minorities. The minority problem does not originate from movement of people but from movement of country's borders. In Central Europe, mainly in the Carpathian Basin the concept of national minority means a group of people who were born where they live, whose ancestors established the villages, towns and civilization. In view of this fact they should not really be called "minority" but probably fellow-nationality. Not "minority rights" should be demanded by them, but at least the status of co-dominionship with local-, personal- and collective autonomy. They should be considered as a companion-nation of the particular state.
The four million Hungarians who live outside the borders of the Hungarian state are considered as part of the Hungarian nation, only they are prevented from living together by state borders and by many lawful and unlawful means. To retain national identity is a just demand.
The Hungarian nation today lives in eight states: Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Rumania, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. Before the Treaty of Trianon, these eight parts of the nation lived in one state and even today live on contiguous territory. Naturally they constitute a "minority" in the successor states, but the definition above does not apply, because they are natives of that particular land, they didn't migrate from their motherland. They were torn away together with their birthplace, and forced under the domination of alien states. Accordingly they cannot be considered as ethnic minorities but as part of the Hungarian nation and at the same time they are one of the nationalities of the particular state into which they have been forced to live. Of the 14 million Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin only 10 million live together, 4 million were forced apart under hostile conditions. As the state borders moved across the nation's body very few opportunities were available to various Hungarians to liaise with each other during the last 75 (now 90) years.
The Hungarians on both sides of the borders are one nation, ethno-graphically they are part of the majority nation inhabiting the Carpathian Basin for eleven hundred years. Here they held established statehood for the same eleven hundred years, building this complete geographical unit in Central Europe into a lasting and functioning economic, political and cultural entity long before the Vlach immigrants, forefathers of the Rumanians, began to migrate into the Eastern part of their country. On the ethnographical map of the Carpathian Basin this Hungarian majority still constitutes an almost uninterrupted unity.
In the course of history, over the past centuries, large numbers of foreigners, in other words other national groups, immigrated and settled in historic Hungary, and in compliance with this the state rearranged itself accordingly. In modern terms Hungary has always been a multinational state.
When the Magyars established the Hungarian state in the Carpathian Basin there was a state of interregnum there: the Avar Empire had already collapsed, and the area was waiting for a new state founder.
Hungary didn't have any ethnic problems till the 19th century, although, during the foundation of the Hungarian state in 896 A.D. several tribes, ethnic groups, did dwell in the Carpathian Basin. These people, accepted the rule of the Hungarian state, because it meant protection for them. Most of these people were related to the state-creating Magyars, like for instance the Avars. They also found small fragments of various Slavic ethnic groups who settled into the country during the centuries of the the Avar Empire, but never were able to establish a state.
Therefore, Hungary from the very beginning, using today's expression, was a multinational state. This didn't cause any problems, not even when after 150 years of Turkish occupation half of the inhabitants were of different nationalities due to immigration of refugees and new settlers.
These settlers quite naturally accepted to become loyal subjects of the Hungarian Crown. The only exception was Croatia, a codominion of the Holy Crown for 800 years enjoying the protection of a larger unit. Non-Magyars have become members of the rather numerous Hungarian nobility quite easily and without any restriction of racial consideration. So they have become part of the nation, equal subjects of the Hungarian Crown. This is how the man-made constitution served and satisfied the nature-made economic, geographic, strategic unit: the Carpathian Basin.
The doctrine of the Holy Crown successfully safeguarded the unity of the Carpathian Basin for ten centuries, but was unable to have an answer to the historical challenge which originated from the shady side of the French Revolution, namely nationalism.
The First World War on the part of the World Powers was waged against Germany, but at the end, they smashed the very country which developed and practiced the idea of a common state for many races and maintained for them an atmosphere of harmonious life. Those nations lost everything that this economic and cultural unit offered and received in exchange hatred, misery, misunderstanding, war, devastation, insecurity, instability and a hopeless future.
No bargaining position
The Treaty of Trianon delivered one third of the Hungarian nation into the practice of the liquidation of nations. This slow but rather effective "final solution" is the product of the amalgamation of Byzantine-originated xenophobia, the incurable desire for territorial expansion of the Slavs and the "nation-state" ideology of French-origin. This creates a hopeless future for Hungarians now living in the Successor States.
For a long time now the issue has not been a dispute of the frontiers, nor any demands for minority rights. The issue is a large-scale cultural genocide which cannot be stopped by any international treaty or by the nowadays fashionable bilateral "fundamental" pacts.
None of these solutions will succeed because they are contrary to the very nature of the conquerors, and no treaty is respected by the partners anyway. Any treatment of the symptoms is worthless: the inherent cause, the source of the crime must be eliminated.
This problem cannot be handled between the interested parties, as it could not be handled during the past 75 (now 90) years.
The Hungarians are not simply in quarrel with their neighbours, which can be ended by some mutual compromises. Hungary was attacked militarily in 1919 after the Armistice by the forces of the neighbouring countries with the assistance of the Great Powers.
Seven neighbouring countries hold Hungarian-populated territories in captivity and they are not interested in settling the "quarrel", they are only interested in keeping Hungarian territories. They know very well, they can only keep the loot eternally if they clear the land of Hungarians. In this simple equation Hungary is not in a bargaining position, consequently there are no reasonable grounds for any bilateral treaty.
The Hungarian people desire peace, but possess none of the elements required to achieve it. The Successor States are not interested in making sacrifices for the desired peace.
That historical task should be assumed by the Great Powers who are responsible for creating this situation by imposing the Trianon Treaty 90 years ago and forcing Hungary to sign it on the sorrowful day of 4th June, 1920.
Excerpt from an Essay "Peace to end Peace" written by Endre Csapó published in 1995 by the Federal Council of Hungarian Associations in Australia and New Zealand. The full text of the Essay can be read at www.hungarian-history.hu/lib/csapo
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