Hungary, flag, blue, sky

The Forum of Hungarian Lawmakers in the Carpathian Basin (KMKF) called on the Hungarian parliament and government to declare 2020 a year of national cohesion in its closing statement published on Friday.

In line with House Speaker László Kövér’s proposal, the statement called on parliament to make all decisions in its power so that “the nation may remember the tragedy of [the post-WWI] Trianon [peace treaty] in a worthy manner and … draw strength to preserve its identity.”

The document welcomed that the Hungarian government has declared 2019 the year of Hungarian children born abroad.

It also said that a strong representation of the Carpathian Basin in the European Parliament can keep the issues important for the community on the agenda. The KMKF expressed unanimous support for the Minority SafePack, an initiative to protect indigenous minorities within the EU.

The KMKF finds the curbing of acquired rights of ethnic minorities “unacceptable”, and expresses solidarity with Transcarpathia’s Hungarian community sticking to its long-standing system of mother-tongue education.

The widest possible range of self-governance is the best way to ensure the long-term existence and prosperity of ethnic minorities, it said.

The forum welcomed the forthcoming visit of Pope Francis to Sumuleu Ciuc (Csiksomlyo), a traditional pilgrimage site for Hungarians in Romania, as a historic event for Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin, KMKF said in its closing statement.

Source: MTI

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  1. The Hungarian shame of Trianon
    On 04.06.1920 the Treaty (Betrayal) of Trianon was signed. Many Hungarians are still angry about the lesser-known brother of the Treaty of Versailles in Western Europe. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán uses ‘the shame of Trianon’ not only to increase his popularity as many people think. [1] On 15.03.2018, the Hungarian Prime Minister held a speech on the steps of the gigantic neogothic Parliament building in Budapest dedicated to the 170th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and the subsequent War of Independence. In spite of the fact that the Hungarians fell victim to it, March 15 is an official holiday, which is graced annually with traditional singing and dancing and a speech by the prime minister. It is full of historical references, mostly to the many setbacks that the Hungarians have to deal with in their history. Likewise in 2018. According to Orbán, the great lesson of 1848 was that Hungary must be a free, independent and Hungarian country. That idea was surpressed in his eyes. There are people who want to take our country away from us. Not with a stroke, like almost 100 years ago in Trianon, but now they want us to volunteer offer our country to others, over a period of a few decades [2], says Orbán, referring to the European migration issue. His speech gave him a nod of approval. Not only because there is a large support for the migration positions of Orbán and Fidesz, but especially because history is alive in Hungary. The essence of the Christian-national program of Orbán’s party is formed by the image of Fidesz sketches of Hungarian history: a brave, yet lonely Christian people who have always been under attack from foreign powers. The main role is reserved for the treaty signed on 04.06.1920 in the Grand Trianon pavilion in the Palace of Versailles, to which Orbán referred in his speech. Many Hungarians are still outraged by the shame of Trianon. (Trianon treason) Outside Hungary, very few people will know the Trianon Convention. It is one of the five peace treaties that the victors made with the losers after the First World War. It is the lesser known brother of the Treaty of Versailles with Germany. Or as many Hungarians say today, the dictation that Hungary was wrongly ordered on 04.06.1920. The Trianon Convention is for many Hungarians what the Sykes-Picoto Convention is for some parts of the Middle East.
    On 28.06.1914 the Austrian successor Archduke Franz-Ferdinand was murdered together with his wife in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. The murder was committed by the Bosnian Serb student Gavrilo Princip. Austria started this First World War because of this murder of Franz-Ferdinand. The Hungarians were neither part nor part of this and wanted to be kept out of this situation. Everywhere in Hungary, on posters, T-shirts and postcards you see images of Great Hungary, the Hungary before Trianon. A politician who knows how to bring this ideal to his people can count on unprecedented popularity. Viktor Orbán cleverly anticipates on what is the biggest trauma in the recent history of Hungary for Hungarian nationalists. He would even have drove around for a while with a bumper sticker from Great Hungary on his car. That the current Hungary is considerably smaller than Great Hungary has everything to do with the outcome of the First World War. Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire in Central Europe before 1918. Since 1867, as the Kingdom of Hungary, it was on an equal footing with the Austrian Empire within the double-monarchy of Austria-Hungary, which was ruled by Emperor Franz Joseph. The Kingdom of Hungary included an area that roughly corresponds to today’s Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukrainian Transcarpathia, Romanian Transylvania, Serbian Vojvodina, Austrian Burgenland and part of Slovenia. After the First World War, which was disastrous for Austria-Hungary, the victors found that the at that time independent Hungary as a rightful heir of the double monarchy should not get away with impunity. A very debatable statement because the Austrians and not the Hungarians have started this war. During the peace conference in Paris, 67% of Hungarian territory was allocated to Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia and even Italy and Austria. Hungary shrank from 282,000 to 93,000 square kilometers. Of the 10 million Hungarians, 3 million came as a minority just outside the borders of Hungary. The country was also hit hard economically. Hungary lost 5 of the 10 largest cities, an important part of its extensive rail network and crucial industrial and mining areas.
    Internationally, historians agree that the Treaty of Trianon does not deserve a beauty award. However, they also believe that it would have been very difficult to find a better solution for all wishes that lived in Eastern Europe after the First World War. In addition to 10 million Hungarians, the Hungarian part of the double monarchy also had 8 million inhabitants with a different nationality. Moreover, populations lived together – in Transylvania, the Hungarian minority was (and is) concentrated in a number of areas – and this made it impossible in practice to draw purely ethnic boundaries. No matter how the boundaries had been drawn, it always had sour faces. That was certainly the case in Hungary when the peace conditions became known. The Hungarians found that two measures were taken because the self-determination for all peoples – an important basis for post-war peace treaties – in the Fourteen Points of American President Woodrow Wilson did not seem to apply to them. The betrayal of Trianon was seen as the death blow for the kingdom. Hungary collectively assumed a victim role. During 3 days of national mourning, black flags were everywhere in Budapest.
    The signing of the Treaty of Trianon was the final piece of a very traumatic period in Hungary. Not only had the new neighbors of the post-war chaos used to swallow up Hungarian territory because the Hungarians followed the term ‘never again war – destroy all weapons’ and massively destroyed their weapons. After a short-lived communist adventure, a ‘Christian-national’ alliance of conservative Hungarian aristocrats and right-wing radical soldiers was violently restored to the Kingdom of Hungary. Miklós Horthy (1868-1957) was the head of that alliance. As one of the few Hungarian war heroes he was seen as the ideal figurehead. Horthy was the strong man that many Hungarians were yearning for: on 01.03.1920 he became regent of the Kingdom of Hungary. Horthy continuously looked for opportunities to undo the Treaty of Trianon during his more than 24 years of regency. Finally, in the 1930s he found a willing ear with Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. In 2 so-called Referee Statements, based on the wish of the Italy and Germany to join them and thus claim the Hungarian lost areas such as South Slovakia and Romanian North Transylvania. In 1941 the Hungarian army occupied part of Yugoslavia in the wake of the German Wehrmacht. The Kingdom of Hungary then grew to 172,000 km2 and Horthy’s popularity as an area expansion was at its peak. Hungary, however, was firmly in the camp of the Axis countries. At the end of the Second World War, Hungary once again belonged to the losers. The boundaries of Trianon were restored.
    Hungary came into the Russian sphere of influence as a communist People’s Republic. The Treaty of Trianon was labeled as non-issue by the Communist Party. And after all, there is no way to bury the brother population around territory. The idea of Great Hungary had to give way to the ideal of the communist state of salvation. However, when the Iron Curtain (after many bloody uprisings!) had fallen, Trianon soon returned to the political agenda. József Antall (1932-1993), the first prime minister of post-communist Hungary, stated in one of his first speeches after taking office in 1990 that he was ‘in the spiritual sense’ prime minister of all 15 million Hungarians, including those in neighboring countries. The Hungarian minority is still significant in some countries. In censuses in 2011, Hungarians represented 8.5% and 6.5% of the population of Slovakia and Romania respectively. Fidesz has adopted those 2.5 million Hungarians and strives for ‘the unification of the Hungarian nation across all borders’. In 2010, the Hungarian Parliament voted “National Cohesion Day” by an overwhelming majority on 4 June – the day on which the Treaty of Trianon was signed in 1920. In addition, Hungarians abroad were given active and passive voting rights in Hungarian elections during a constitutional revision in 2011.
    The nationalistic course that Fidesz sails is not only reflected in legislation. The history of Hungary has also been enthusiastically taken up with a series of government-sponsored historical institutes, publicly funded documentaries, new history books, adapted curricula, fine museum exhibitions and the (re) creation of monuments and statues. We look back wistfully at the heyday of the Kingdom of Hungary at the time of Stefan the Saint (975-1038) and his successors. But also the period of the Austro-Hungarian double monarchy under Frans Jozef as a glory time. Even Horthy is placed in a positive light. Orbán has acclaimed the regent in 2017 as ‘exceptional statesman’. That is remarkable, because Horthy does not exactly have a flawless reputation. Apart from a debate about Horthy’s role in the persecution of Hungarian Jews the Regent was the head of a conservative and anti-democratic regime from 1920 onwards, which acted harshly against communists and also introduced the first anti-Semitic legislation in Europe after the First World War.
    The historical research institute VERITAS, which the Orbán government created in 2014, is working diligently on a revaluation of Horthy’s policy. VERITAS wants to create a portray of Hungary as an innocent victim of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The Treaty of Trianon is described by VERITAS as ‘the greatest Hungarian tragedy of the 20th century, whose wounds have not even been healed in our time’. With the ‘Day of National Cohesion’ Hungary is the only member of the European Union with a public holiday on the calendar that is marked by irredentism, the desire for a lost territory. Nostalgia for past glory is being exploited politically. The annual speeches of the Hungarian Prime Minister on 15 March are an excellent example of this. Trianon has been back since the interwar period. The Hungarian government rewrites the past with a view to the future. Historical victimhood is fueled to strengthen their own position of power. Nationalism and irredentism are deliberately touted to subsequently make political gain. The almost 100 year old trauma will therefore not heal quickly. Moreover, Hungary’s image of Hungary as a country under attack by foreign powers is diametrically opposed to the image that lives in Brussels. There, Hungary is the transverse member state and leader of the resistance against any further integration, a common one migration policy in particular. European criticism is corn on the mill of the Hungarian government, which the Hungarian voter can successfully present the specter of a new ‘Trianon’. Understanding for the Hungarian situation is unfortunately completely absent by the ‘old’ EU member states.

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