On June 4 2020, the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon; a tragic event that had never happened before in Hungarian history. The two representatives of Hungary who signed the Treaty at the Versailles Palace back in 1920 had to go through an emotionally disturbing and difficult experience, as one signature changed their country forever. One of them wrote down his memories a few years after signing the contract.

Hungary joined the war as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after the decision was made in Vienna that the empire would declare war against Serbia. The Hungarian leadership did not have a word in the decision, but the country had to take part in war actions anyway. The military loss worth 660 thousand lives indicates that WWI cost Hungary dearly. But this was not enough. The Entente powers decided to wipe the Austro-Hungarian Empire off the map and replace it with a slightly maimed Austria and a completely split-up Hungary. Yes, it is true: Austria lost way less of its territory than Hungary did; in fact, the Austrians even got a part of Hungary (4,020 km2), which is truly inexplicable.

The winners took away 2/3 of Hungary’s territory through the Treaty of Trianon.

Hungary Trianon map
Read alsoA split up nation – Hungary was divided 97 years ago in Trianon

The two representatives of Hungary were Ágost Benárd and Alfréd-Lázár Drasche. The two men arrived in Versailles at 4.30 pm, and after entering the palace, they signed the Treaty following a fifteen-minute-long ceremony. In 1930, at the 10th anniversary of Trianon, Benárd, who signed first, thought back on how he felt, what instructions he was given, and how the whole process went.

Treaty of Trianon, Versailles, Hungary
Photo: Wikimedia Commons by Hello world

We were welcomed in complete silence, and keeping up with the formalities, we took our seats and waited for the ceremony to begin. After a short introduction, President Millerand announced that it was time for the members of the Hungarian delegation to sign the peace treaty. The leader of the ceremony stood next to me polity, walked me to a chair, and offered me to sit down.”

“Prenez place, Exellence Benárd.” “Merci beaucoup, Monsieur,” answered the Hungarian politician.

I politely refused the seat and decided to sign the Treaty standing up. I did not take the offered pen but used one weary and old wooden one I brought and found in my room where I was staying. I signed the contract and put a stamp on it with my ring. I left the pen on the table. Drasche followed me and signed the Treaty as well. I was offered a beautiful pen with marvellous enrichments on it sent from Budapest by Iván Praznovczky, who was the president of the Hungarian delegation and later the Parisian ambassador, but I refused because I did not want to use that pen. Later, the pen I was offered was taken to the Museum of Military History and was exhibited as if it was the actual pen I used, but I informed the director of the museum that that was not true.”

Versailles, Hungary, Treaty of Trianon
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Agence Rol

What I wanted to share by using an old and almost useless pen was my attitude towards the whole issue. I wanted to present and communicate that the signature we were forced to give had no impact on me at all. I did not consider it a celebratory act but a humiliating one our nation was forced to do no matter what would happen in the future or what kind of consequences the Treaty of Trianon would have.”


Treaty of Trianon

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons by Agence Rol. Agence photographique

Source: Daily News Hungary, Wikipedia

12 comments
  1. Year 1910, Austro-hungarian census ( “ Hungarian “ side of the empire ) according to peoples’ mother tongues:

    Transylvania: 54 % Romanian 31 % Hungarian 10 % German

    Upper Hungary: 58 % Slovak 30% Hungarian 7 % German

    Delvidek: 40 % Serbo-croatian 28 % Hungarian 21 % German

    Transcarpathian region: 54 % Ruthenian 31 % Hungarian 11 % German

    Fiume / Rijeka : 49 % Italian 27 % Serbo-croatian 13 % Hungarian

    Orvidek: 74 % German 15 % Serbo-croatian 9 % Hungarian

    Muravidek: 80 % Slovene 15 % Hungarian

    I think these figures re. those “ Trianon “ regions many Hungarians wrongly consider, still today, Hungarian regions, say more than any nationalistic bla bla bla. Hungarians were minority everywhere, therefore Trianon was fair: it gave a nation that lost the war its obvious borders, the borders within which Hungarians constituted a majority. Beside that, Hungarians were not kind or popular rulers at all. They were an arrogant elite with very little respect for local majorities. In Zagreb region, which was and is overwhelmingly inhabited by Croats, Croats would not be given train tickets unless they spoke Hungarian to the person in the ticket office. And this is only one example of many abuses.
    Hungary has its well established borders now, nobody is questioning that, and its government should give up absurd claims and strengthen cooperation with its neighbours.

  2. Maybe the even greater loss is the loss of the Carpathian Basin. Europe’s most beautiful raturally designed ecosystem. The treaty showed the IGNORANCE of powers of completely ignoring the environmental consequences of their selfish,, egotistical, inhuman and criminal attitudes in the peace treaty.

  3. Look forward should look back to why. Immigration! Looking Forward is the Carpathian Basin. Language no longer is factor with smartphones, google, English, etc. We are all Carpathian with many Cultures.We are an Ecosystem by design.
    I’m hanging out a GREEN FLAG that represents the Carpathian Basin. If I had all the other country’s flags I would hang them out also, but i only have the Hungarian one. Everyone should have their own flag ALONG WITH THE GREEN FLAG!

  4. Steve Tarnay, what do you mean by immigration? Magyars too are immigrant, they are not autoctones, since a thousand and so years ago they were nomads of the Asian steppes. As a matter of fact, save for the Germans, Hungarians are the last ones that settled down in the Carpaths. Slavs lived here decades before the arrival of the Magyars, and so did the Avars, the Dacians, the Romans etc.etc. just to mention some.

  5. The Treaty of Trianon was forced upon the Hungarian people without a plebiscite or without any regard to the historical boundaries of Hungary. The fate of a nation should be decided by its inhabitants and not some devilish French bureaucrats with greed and envy in their hearts. Hungary has had one of the most stable borders in all of Europe for almost a thousand years. If the Hungarians were so cruel to the minorities living inside her borders, how did these minorities survive for so long? If an outsider moved into your house, would you not want them to live by your ‘house rules’? The truth of the matter is that the spirit of independence that arose in the minorities living inside Hungary, such as Serbians, were inflamed by the Zionist movement who had their own designs on the Carpathian basin. Would it be fair to tear Germany or France apart and establish a sovereign Islam country just because there are so many muslims living there now? For hundreds of years the minorities in Hungary had no problem with Hungary, the Romanians kept moving into Transylvania, and the slavs kept moving into the outer fringes. They knew that they were living in another country as many of them did not even have their own countries yet. When discussing the Treaty of Trianon, please do not conveniently forget the role of pure hatred exhibited by the French administration towards the Hungarian nation.

  6. Attila is 100% correct when noting “the role of pure hatred exhibited by the French administration towards the Hungarian nation” in 1919.

    How DISGRACEFUL it is – 100 years since the Treaty of Trianon – that France EXPECTS Hungary to agree with the Macron / Merkel E.U. ‘Rescue Plan’ which is really nothing more than a modern-day ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’ approach to Europe post-Coronavirus : steal from the poor (nations) and give to the rich (nations) = France / Germany / Italy / Spain (and a few others).

    I say that Hungary should show France its middle finger and let those useless frogs sort out their own problems – as we Hungarians have had to do for so long now.

  7. I’ve always wondered why the Hungarian delegation even bothered to show up to sign this extortive treaty in the first place. Hungary did not start WWI, it was the Austrians, yet it was Hungary that paid the dearest price. And where is France now with all its liberal policies? Scared of all the muslims it let in.

  8. Look Forward. The original Hungarian borders were paid for in blood, Hungarian blood. The inhabitants that were sheltered by those borders and were protected by Hungarians were given an opportunity for survival because there was no way that they would not have survived the onslaught of the Turk, Tatars, Mongols alone.
    The Trianon Treaty could have been done far more fairly. If you read what had transpired over those few days, you will read that the “statemen” in charge grew weary of the whole process and agreed to anything put forward by the Romanians, Czech Slovaks and Serbs.
    The Austrians, gained Hungarian lands, when it was their fault the war started, yet were awarded.
    Plebiscite should have been taken before any lines on a map were drawn.
    The “Treaty” was and is a disgrace. The only ones now conscience of a disaster of loosing ones home territory/historic territory are the Serbs.

  9. Attila, I understand and respect your point. Also, I do sympathize with your feelings and emotions about Trianon. However, you should objectively consider that at the end of the 1914-18 War Hungary was on the losing side, and since Mankind exists no winner has ever asked the loser: ” do you agree with the terms of the treaty? Please, make a referendum, ask your people and let us know, so that in case they are not happy with the terms we can think of something different… ”
    Trianon did separate Hungarians from other Hungarians, but there is no way you can say that it would be fair if Zagreb, Rijeka, Bratislava, just to mention three big cities, were in Hungary.

  10. Edward, does Hungarian blood matter more than Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, etc. blood?
    You have a Hungaro-centric vision of History, but History was not born when Magyars arrived here eleven centuries ago. Hungarians are the newcomers here in the Carpathian basin, and that is one of the reasons why some Hungarians, luckily not many, are sickly xenophobic and regard present-day migrants as a danger.
    And if you believe that Trianon was not fair, well I tell you something: History is not fair. Croats will tell you that it was not fair that Zagreb was under Hungarian rule. Italians would say the same about Rijeka, Slovaks about Bratislava and Romanians about Transilvania.

  11. Its unfear somebody talking about the Hungarians without any historical knowledge in this case.
    In Transylvania (Erdely) has got good infrastructure and high quality cultural treasury that the Countries after Trianon destroyed. And so on

  12. Look forward … Hungary did nothing do deserve the absolute atrocity of The Treaty of Trianon. If you have read the actual Treaty, you will see how petty the French were towards the Hungarians. They literally counted every rock and almost everything of value was transferred out of present day Hungary, with their little pet, the Romanians enjoying the fruits of their thievery. Your comments also fail to separate the many different nations that were borne out of Hungary. For instance, for hundreds of years the Croats were quite happy to be administered by the Hungarians. Bratislava (Pozsony) has always been more Hungarian than Slovak. The point of Trianon was to tear Hungary apart, not to give the minorities their own countries. That is why the south became Yugoslavia, the north became Czechoslovakia and the east became part of Romania. If independence was truly what drove the spirit of Trianon, then a plebiscite would have been held and you might have ended up with countries similar to what you have today in Europe, but perhaps smaller in size as no way all of Transylvania would have voted to join Romania, and no way all of Slovakia would have joined the Czechs.
    The other important point you fail to bring forth is that Hungary as a country was established in the year 895. You mention that there were other people living in the Carpathian basin at that time, yes that it absolutely true, but these ‘peoples’ were smallish tribes and not independent nations. Let’s take the Romanians for example, they claim that they were in Transylvania before the Hungarians. Maybe, but they were Dacians and not Romanians per se. And if they were there, they sure had no problem with letting Hungary establish itself as a nation. Did the Romanians ever rise up and challenge the Hungarian nation? No, not a hundred, not two hundred, three hundred or even a thousand years later did they dispute the lands of the Hungarian crown. But by the end of WWI they all of a sudden find that with sympathetic French backing they can just steal land from their neighbour? Again, when Hungary established herself as a country, not one of the existing peoples living in the Carpathian basin took any issue with the lands of the Hungarian Crown. Please point to just one military battle where an existing people took up arms against Hungary to denounce her newly established borders.

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