Balázs Ablonczy, leader of the Trianon 100 research team, told that in the autumn of 1919 there was a real chance that Hungary disappears because the neighbours divide it among themselves. It would not have been without a parallel in the region because the same happened to Poland at the end of the 18th century.
Balázs Ablonczy said to index.hu in an interview that the Hungarian society was yet unable to process the question of Trianon and there are many conspiracy theories linked to the issue in people’s mind (HERE you can read about some of them). He says that people feel it rightfully that the peace treaty did something very unjust to the Hungarians, which is impossible to forget and hard to understand.
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In short, Hungary lost 2/3rd of its territories because of the peace treaty and more than 3 million Hungarians were forced to become citizens of the neighbouring countries who behaved and still are behaving hostile towards them. This is the core of the problem. The main task of the Trianon 100 research group lead by Ablonczy is to measure the events between 1918-1920 from different perspectives and provide answers on the frustrating “How could that happen?” question. This is important because the answers to this question and
the whole issue polarise the Hungarian society even today
and it has an understandable impact on bilateral ties and regional stability, as well.
Mr Ablonczy says that Trianon became the metaphor for all the catastrophes we experience in our lives. One starts to speak about the peace treaty but continues with criticising the names parents give their children and concludes that his wife divorced him and took the house.
During the communist Kádár-regime, the issue was considered as a taboo. Today, even though 2-3 million people in Hungary have ancestors coming from the Hungarian communities living abroad, Hungarians still were not able to speak about the issue freely. Therefore,
more people get their information about Trianon from conspiracy theories spreading on YouTube than from Historians.
But why did Hungary receive such a harsh peace? Balázs Ablonczy, Ádám Kolozsi and András Zsuppán (all Historians) agreed in a podcast of index.hu that when the great powers decided to divide the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, they said that only the core territories populated by the Hungarian people could belong to future Hungary. Therefore, there was no chance to keep, for example, the Szeklerland where 700 thousand Hungarians live in a block in the heart of today’s Romania.
The central territories populated mostly by Hungarian nationals were much bigger than today’s Hungary. However, in that case, other factors decided. In the North, those were the geographical position of the rivers (Danube, Ipoly) while in the East that was the railroads because of what 98 pc Hungarian cities like Nagyvárad (Oradea, Romania) were lost.
The three Historians agreed that Hungarians were alienated in contemporary Europe and, in contrast to their positive assessment in 1848 (people of freedom),
they were viewed as the people of oppression by 1918.
They said that the whole Hungarian elite is responsible for what happened and that the 133 days long communist rule between March and August of 1919 did not strengthen the positions of Hungary during the peace talks in Paris. Indeed, the country was not even invited there.
Talking about today’s problems, Ablonczy said that many Hungarians reject the national belonging with those who live beyond the borders. Some of them say that
Hungarians from Transylvania “are like Romanians.”
Finally, what good – if any – did Trianon?
Almost nothing. It was realistic in the autumn of 1919 that Hungary disappears from the maps. 2/3rd of the country was occupied while the economic collapse seemed almost impossible to survive.