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Events Leading to Trianon

EVENTS LEADING TO TRIANON

LÁSZLÓ BOTOS

On November 3, 1918, when the cease-fire was signed by General Weber of the Monarchy and General Diaz, representing the Allied Forces, this meant the end of the war for the Hungarians. While Mihály Károlyi and his delegation were in Belgrade meeting with General Franchet d’Esperey, discussing further negotiations, the Serb army marched into the Hungarian territory of Szerémség and on November 8, the Czech army occupied many cities of northern Hungary, Felvidék, although the Serbs and the Czechs had already signed the cease-fire. The conditions which the Belgrade Convention presented to Hungary were so severe that Károlyi did not sign the ceasefire agreement until November 13 and then only under duress.[1]

At the negotiations with the Rumanians, Oszkár Jászy from the Hungarian side tried everything to reach a just agreement with the Rumanians for drawing the border lines but his efforts were unsuccessful because the Rumanians were just stalling for time to convince the Rumanians living in Transylvania to join the Kingdom of Rumania. At that time these Transylvanian Rumanians were not eager to join the Rumanians outside the country. Another reason for not agreeing with Jászy was to win the acknowledgement of the Entente to Rumania’s right to enter Transylvania to keep the peace there. They used another stalling tactic by making an agreement with the Kolozsvár Rumanian army commandant that together with the Rumanian National Guard, they would instigate constant small clashes between Rumanians and Hungarians in the cities. In this way the Rumanians could come into those territories which were not yet occupied by the Rumanian army, in order to keep the peace. Finally, on December 17, the Rumanians received permission from the Entente to move north of the Demarcation Line. The Károlyi Government asked the Entente to explain why the Rumanians had the right to break the cease-fire agreement, cross the Demarcation Line and occupy Hungarian territory. Instead of answering, General Philippe Berthelot, the commander of the French Army, on December 23, stated that he gave the order for the Rumanians to cross the Demarcation Line. (Raffay, p. 64)

In the Rumanian and Hungarian disputes, the Rumanians made the excuse that they did not break the cease-fire agreement, because the Hungarians had made that agreement not with them but with the Entente. However when the Rumanians occupied Transylvania, they declared themselves to be the army of the Entente. When Károlyi, on November 8, 1918, came to the agreement with the Entente for a cease fire, the Rumanians did not accept it although they were part of the Entente. The purpose of the Rumanians for occupying the territory beyond the Demarcation Line was to present the Entente with a fait accompli, which they would accept. At that time there was a big disagreement between the Transylvanian Rumanians and the Rumanians of the Kingdom of Rumania. The Hungarians tried to use this to their own benefit. The goal of the Rumanians was to prevent them from doing so. Therefore their goal was to occupy Transylvania as soon as possible.

On December, 1, 1918, at the Rumanian National Assembly at Gyulafehérvár, the leaders of the Transylvanian Rumanians declared that they wanted to join the Rumanian kingdom forever. On December 13, this decision was seconded by the Consiliul Dirigent. This was a breach of international law because the International Peace Treaty Conference had not yet assembled so they could not have accepted it. There were approximately 100,000 Transylvanian Rumanians who took part in the Rumanian National Assembly. The rest of the populace of this territory, Serbs, Saxons and Hungarians were not allowed to take part in this assembly. This makes it illegal. Later, it came to public knowledge that this National Assembly was arranged by the Royal Rumanian Government through the Transylvanian Rumanian leaders. It is obvious that the Rumanians intended to influence the decisions of the Peace Treaty. (Raffay, p. 71)

The Rumanian Government did not acknowledge the Army Convention which took place on November 13, 1918, nor did they acknowledge the Demarcation Line of Apáthy-Berthelot which went north and south from Kolozsvár. At the beginning of 1919, a dispute broke out between the diplomats who wanted the territory and those who were trying to maintain the integrity of Hungary.

The Hungarian Prime Minister, Dénes Berinkey, declared that the only solution to the dispute was the plebiscite which was denied. Instead of this, it was suggested that those territories which the Hungarians occupied when they entered the Carpathian Basin, be taken away from Hungary and „given back” to the „rightful owners”, i.e. the peoples of the Successor States, the Czechoslovaks, Serbs and Rumanians. So it became clear that the anti-Hungarian politics of the Successor States had reached their goal among the Entente politicians who were unfamiliar with the geography and history of Central Europe.

Julin Maniu, the President of the Transylvanian Rumanian Government Council, tried to prove that the Hungarian government acknowledged the annexation of Transylvania to Rumania. In seven points, he set down his proofs which now I will not study in detail because they are too long but they can be found on p.72 of Raffay’s book. I shall just mention Berinkey’s answer: „All this (the seven points) according to my understanding, proves exactly the opposite of what Mr. Maniu was hoping to prove because the facts he presented declare that the Hungarian Government had always given every freedom to the minorities living within its borders. Now the Government wishes to give all the minorities the right to self-determination or national autonomy.” Berinkey continues: „One of the Hungarian ministers went to the city of Arad with the purpose of discussing the autonomy of the Rumanians who were living in Hungary. When it became obvious that the Rumanian Nationality Council’s only goal was to annex Hungarian territory to Rumania, the Hungarian government stopped all negotiations with the Rumanian Government. The Ukrainian and German minorities however were given autonomy.” (Minority Laws, 1918: X. 1919: VI.) (Raffay, p. 73)

According to Berinkey’s reports of October 12, November 9 and December 1, 1918, Hungary did not, of her own will, give up Transylvania to Rumania. The Hungarian Government did not acknowledge the National Assembly of Gyulafehérvár because only Rumanians attended it and no Serbs, Saxons or Hungarians. Another reason that we cannot acknowledge the decision of the Rumanian National Assembly is that in 26 counties the Rumanian populace was only 43%. These reasons are enough proof for the rejection of the Gyulafehérvár decision.

Raffay says that the Rumanians wanted to obtain the Hungarian acknowledgement that they gave up Transylvania, so that when they went to the Peace Conference, they could show that the Hungarians gave up this territory. (p. 74)

The Rumanians intended to obtain Transylvania with armed force. After the Rumanian armistice agreement on November 3, 1918, which took place in Padua, the French army envoy went to Rumania on November 6, and the Rumanian king immediately made Prime Minister Alexandru Morghilon resign because he was a German sympathizer. He named Colonel Eremia Grigorescu as his successor. Grigorescu mobilized the Rumanian army immediately and recruited all men between the age of 18 and 38. This mobilization took place at the end of the war. France wanted Rumania as an active military partner at the Peace Negotiations on the Entente side. There was an obstacle to Rumania becoming the comrade-in-arms of France in that, six months before the end of the war, Rumania had signed a peace treaty with the Central Powers in Bucharest and had become an ally of Germany. With this act she nullified the secret agreement with the Entente powers which she had signed at Bucharest in 1916. This meant that Rumania lost her right to obtain the territories which were promised to her in that secret agreement. So to demonstrate that she was a military ally of the Entente, Rumania mobilized her army and attacked the retreating German Commander, General Mackensen from behind. The German army had already surrendered the day after Alexandru Morghilon resigned and the Hungarian army had laid down their arms a week before that. The French foreign ministry only succeeded at the last minute in persuading the Entente to accept Rumania as an equal partner. Raffay says that it is obvious that Rumania, with armed force, intended to achieve the goal that she was unable to achieve in 1916, the annexation of Transylvania and to extend her border to the one promised her at the secret treaty. If Rumania had reached that goal, the present Hungarian territory to the east of the Tisza would be Rumanian territory now. (Raffay, p. 75)

The eagerness of the Successor States to take land from Hungary caused disagreements between the Serbs, Rumanians and the Czechs. When the Rumanians occupied Hungary, the Czechs were afraid that they would take so much booty from Hungary that there would not be much left for them. The Serb-Rumanian antagonism almost resulted in a war between the two because they both had claims on the Bánság.

The plan of the Czech-Yugoslav territorial corridor was suggested in January 1919. This corridor was planned to be located in the western part of Transdanubia. It would be 200 kilometers long and 80 kilometers wide. This would belong to Czechoslovakia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. This corridor would have cut through four Hungarian counties, Moson, Sopron, Vas and Zala. There were 1,171,000 people living on this territory, 662,000 Hungarians, 220,000 Slavs and 289,000 others. The purpose of the corridor according to the Czechs, was to separate the Germans from East and Central Europe. They emphasized this for the benefit of the French. They also mentioned that they wanted to join the Northern and Southern Slavs. Their real purpose was that Czechoslovakia would have a seaport and and they intended to make Pozsony a great Danube harbor. This would isolate Hungary even more They advocated that Pozsony was the ancient capital of Slovakia, omitting the fact that Pozsony was for four centuries the coronation city of Hungary.

At Trianon, the verbal disputes became very angry because the Serbs did not acknowledge the secret agreement that the Rumanians had made because it had been made in secret. They demanded the territory of the Bánság and Temesvár for themselves on an ethnic basis and because some of the great Serb leaders were born on these territories. These great Serbian leaders were accepted by the Hungarians as refugees from the Turks. This did not mean anything. The Hungarians had no right to claim this territory yet many great Hungarian leaders, poets and writers were born here and buried here. The Serbs acknowledged that the Germans were in the majority on these territories but they said they had to disregard that because the defeated had no rights. These were the reasons they gave for their „just” claim to these territories. (Raffay, p. 87)

In the Rumanian-Serb dispute, the Serbs stated that if Rumania received the Bánság, then Belgrade could no longer be the capital of Yugoslavia, because it would be too close to Rumania and could not be defended adequately. (Raffay, p. 102)

The fact that Budapest, the capital of Hungary, was very close to the Slovak border was not even considered in the negotiations. After World War II., „because of the goodness of Stalin", Csallóköz was given to Czechoslovakia, so that the Czechs could own both sides of the Danube. This puts the city of Esztergom within shooting distance of the Czechs. If the decisions of Hitler, who was declared to be a mass-murderer, are overturned (the Vienna Award), then the decision of the greater mass-murderer, Stalin, should also be overturned.

The inhumane actions of the Rumanians, in the city of Zilah, are described by Gyula Kemecsei, János Mészáros, György Kiss and Lajos Kiss: „On February 16, 1919, the Rumanian army treated the Hungarian populace in the most merciless way. In the afternoon of that day, the soldiers, together with the mob, allowed extensive robbery and looting in the city. All those Hungarians, who were unable to provide the requested food, money and housing for the soldiers, were beaten with sticks and the butts of guns and were chased out of their homes. Their houses were robbed and everything taken from them. The Hungarian officials were taken to Zsibó and imprisoned. The Hungarian populace of Zsibó were forbidden to give them food and clothing.” (Raffay, p. 106) This is the way the Rumanians worked as the ally of the Entente.

How did Mihály Károlyi, the President of the Hungarian Republic, react during this time? In one of his letters he wrote:

„I trust in the victory of Wilson’s pacifist teachings. I do not believe that the great President of America would allow, instead of peace, punishing expeditions against innocent peoples. I do not believe that, in place of the imperialism which is now at an end, he would allow a new imperialism to take over and again threaten World Peace. I am sure that a democratic agreement will take place and not a victorious peace achieved by an armistice. To reach this goal, America and Wilson have strong supporters in the truly democratic politicians of the western democracies, France, Italy and Britain. It cannot be that half of Europe has to experience an imperialistic, humiliating and disheartening peace. I trust that soon that time will come when the small nations around us will come to the conclusion that imperialism is not in their own interests. Now we (Hungarians) are surrounded by all kinds of enemies but I am not disheartened and I believe that we will be able to settle the disputes, one by one, and the uncertainty will dissolve and in its place consideration and understanding will take root. We will not put grenades in the hands of the soldiers but hammers, shovels and ploughs. With these means we will forge together a new Hungary.” (Raffay p.115-116)

Mihály Károlyi finally came to the conclusion that Wilson’s principles were only a lure for the Central Powers to lay down their arms. It was not possible to stop the enemies coming into Hungary from every direction with democratic slogans. So he decided himself that Hungary needed self-defense but it was too late. Károlyi gave a command to Colonel Stromfeld to recruit a hundred thousand soldiers as soon as possible.

We know from the Stromfeld documents that he authorized Lieutenant Colonel Jenõ Tombor to do this recruitment. It was obvious that they intended to organize a nationwide military defense, which would be made up of 18 divisions and 3 Szekler armies, which could successfully repel the Czech and Rumanian invaders.

The Károlyi Government’s documents dealing with the national defense were signed by Colonel Kratochwill. They show that they seriously intended to arm themselves and defend themselves from the invaders. The speech of Károlyi to the army :

„I hope and I believe that the sensational injustices committed against us will be resolved justly at the conference at Versailles. I cannot believe that Wilson would allow the imperialist influence to take hold. If that were to happen, Hungary would be a victim of this imperialist movement. I am convinced that the democratic and socialist public of America and the Entente will object to the mutilation of Hungary, which would cause her to be unable to survive. We Hungarians are never going to accept that. Let the whole world hear that they cannot run over a nation. The spirit of survival cannot be killed out of a nation that wants to survive. They cannot destroy a country whose only goal is to give to every citizen the same rights. Let the world hear and understand that if the Peace Conference at Paris goes against the Wilson Principles, against the right of the people to self-determination, which would be a vote against peace, then we, in our last hour of need will, with arms in hands, free our country.” (Raffay, p. 119-120)

When the leader of the Hungarian Government was beginning to understand the situation, the Czechs and Rumanians came forward with huge territorial demands. The Czechs demanded the larger part of Transdanubia, the cities of Győr and Komárom and the railroad, which ran south of the Bükk Mountains. Some of them even wanted to claim Budapest as well. The Czechs at that time submitted documentation to the Great Powers, which stated that only one million Hungarians lived in Hungary in the eighteenth century. The rest of the population was Slovak, which was the majority. That such extraordinary lies could be presented at the Conference shows how misinformed were the members of the Conference. The Conference rejected the suggestion of a Czech corridor and, under American pressure, the proposed borders of the Czechs were moved further to the north.

General Gondrecourt remarks about the unjust borderline,:

„I have come to the conclusion that the Peace Conference has been misled. We had to be blind to believe that such a mutilation could be forced upon Hungary without driving the country into despair, for we did not have any data about this country. As I am writing this, I have not yet expressed my deepest thoughts because I regard myself to be a newcomer in this matter. But it is my conviction that it has been excessively proven that neither Rumania nor Serbia has deserved that the great powers satisfy their oversized ambition of taking territory from Hungary. We have thrown the dice to put ourselves in a new adventure called Communism which might possibly start another war.” (Raffay p.131)

He also writes: „Because the Hungarians cannot organize themselves otherwise to defend themselves with a chance of success, they are using Bolshevism for their benefit. It is true it is hard for a nation to survive, when they have been left no coal, no mines, no forests and no industry. We really went too far.” (Raffay p.131)

Gondrecourt says that the Hungarian people are Bolshevist only out of fear or out of nationalism. But if the Hungarian Bolshevist mob comes to power then it will be impossible for the West to stop them.

He states . . . „Presently there is senseless waste in the economy. These bandits are now occupied with ruining a country which could have splendidly paid back the cost of the war.” (Raffay, p. 132)

Talking about the role of the French, he says: „We French are playing there in Hungary a thankless role. They so greatly accepted us French a few months ago. The French are highly honored in this country and we could have benefited from this situation, but no more.” (Raffay, p.132) General Gondrecourt measured up the situation well and he was able to be unbiased. He was the only one to recognize the interest of France in this territory.

The Hungarian Soviet Republic did not declare that the territory of Hungary could not be divided but it opposed the occupation by the imperialistic Successor States. The Hungarian Government did not accept General Smuts’ border proposals.

On April 20, 1919, the Rumanian army, under the pretext of fighting against Bolshevism, started their attacks against the Hungarian Communists and took over the city of Nagyvárad. At that time, some Hungarians were even pleased at their intervention because they were hoping that they would help Hungary to become free of Communism. It did not take long for them to become disillusioned. On August 4, 1919, they took Budapest. At this time, the Szekler division disbanded. General Prezon of Rumania, had made an offer to the Commander of the Szekler division, stating that, „ because of the superior strength of your enemy, we give you a suggestion. Your life will be secure. Your money and your possessions will not be touched and you can peacefully return to your home. Measuring up the hopeless general situation, I cannot take responsibility for later on shedding more blood under such circumstances. You choose which path you want to take!” (p.134)

The condition was to lay down their arms. When that happened, each of the soldiers of the Szekler army had to sign the following declaration: „The undersigned prisoner of war from the Szekler army states: when I am freed, I give my word of honor to make it my duty to follow the following conditions:

1. I shall continue to live in the village of . . . . . . .. and shall be able to leave the village only with the permission of the Rumanian commander.

2. After I arrive in the village, I shall immediately report to the closest Rumanian Army Headquarters and after that, I shall report as often as they request.

3. I shall not wear the uniform of the Austro-Hungarian Army, except if it is completely altered. I shall never wear the cap.

4. I shall not carry or hide any kind of weapon.

5. I shall never oppose the Rumanian state or its army in action or in words.

6. If I do not obey the first or second points as I promised, I shall be imprisoned for five years. If I do not obey the third point, I shall be imprisoned for one year. If I do not obey the fourth point, I shall be imprisoned for ten years and fined ten thousand lei. If I do not obey the fifth point, I shall be sentenced to death by firing squad.”

On August 2, 1919, according to the Peace Conference, the Rumanians were not allowed to occupy Budapest, but because they were there on August 4, the Conference allowed them to stay. This is how the small country of Rumania presented the Entente Powers with a fait accompli. The Peace Conference, in one and a half weeks, sent four memoranda to Bucharest to remind the Rumanians to be more humane and more reasonable and to put an end to the looting. It was in vain. The Rumanians did not obey. On August 14, Bratianu sent this memorandum to the Entente in reply to the requests of the Entente: „In the wake of the success of the Army, Rumania has not altered her territorial demands but Rumania believes that the actions of the army, which they were forced to undertake, to suppress the Hungarian offence, and which they were forced to undertake for the sake of civilization and the Entente, gave them the right to claim their dues.” (Raffay, p.135)

The Rumanian looting continued in the country. The Entente was unable to do anything about it. Clemenceau intended to send a memorandum to Rumania and Lord Balfour proposed a demonstration by the Black Sea fleet against Rumania. Finally, on September 5, the memorandum to Rumania was ready. It asked three questions of Rumania:

1. Is Rumania willing to withdraw her forces from Hungary?

2. Is Rumania willing to return the goods taken from Hungary?

3. Is Rumania willing to work with the Entente to form the domestic policy of Hungary? (Raffay, p. 137)

The Entente Powers sent Sir George Clerk to examine the situation in Rumania but the trip was fruitless because, at that time, the Rumanian Prime Minister Bratianu resigned. He was not willing to negotiate the problems of the minorities, as he was required to by the Entente. Bratianu regarded the treatment of the several million Rumanian minorities as Rumanian business. Clerk then went to Budapest and he obtained a promise from the leaders of the Rumanian Army in Budapest that they would leave Hungary when the new Hungarian Government was formed on the multi-party system. The Rumanians employed delaying politics to gain enough time to take the stolen goods out of the country. Bratianu wrote to King Carol of Rumania on September 12 that he resigned because the Entente did not fulfill the secret treaty that was signed in 1916. Clemenceau was so upset with the behavior of Bratianu and the Rumanians that he was trying to find a legal means to change the decision to give Transylvania to Rumania. The Entente finally, on November 25 1919, gave an ultimatum to the Rumanians to:

1. Leave Hungarian territory to the final borderline.

2. Sign the Peace Treaty with the Austrians, together with an agreement to uphold the rights of the minorities.

3. Give the Entente the right to check all the goods which Rumania took from Hungary.

On December 9, the Rumanian General Coanda signed the agreement that approved the rights of the minorities. The Rumanians did not sign the Austrian Peace Treaty. On the same day, the Entente gave an order for the Rumanians to leave Hungary. The Rumanians did not obey this order. The Entente could have come to the conclusion that they could hardly control the imperialistic demands of their allies.

In December 1919, the Yugoslavs were demanding the Hungarian coalmines around Pécs. They were already there and did not intend to leave. The Rumanians dismantled and took out all the Hungarian factories that they were able to reach. They took factories that produced arms, ammunition, screws, printers and agricultural machinery. They took mills, electrical companies, pumping companies and railroad wagon companies. They took all the cars that they could find. The Manfried Weiss machine company, the Wolfner leather company and the Bárdi automobile company suffered enormous damage. The Bárdi company, only a few years earlier, was installed by the German Opel Company with the newest technical advances. From the agricultural industry, they took all the animals they could find, even chickens. They took meat, milk, animal fodder and seed for the next year’s planting. They took the newly established ironworks at Diósgyõr. This was just a fraction of what the Rumanians took from Hungary. (Raffay, p. 138)

The Hungarians made an inventory of all the things that the Rumanians took out of Hungary because they thought that they would be able to subtract the value of these goods from the payment that Hungary would have to pay to Rumania after the War, but this was not counted.

Pál Prónay organized the Hungarian army after the Commune was defeated. The Government of Károly Huszár was established and the Horthy administration followed that. Károly Huszár, the Hungarian President, in his letter to Clemenceau, wrote:

„The highest advisory board of the Entente could very effectively contribute to calming the Hungarian disposition. If they would be willing to send envoys to Transylvania, especially to Kolozsvár, Nagyvárad and to Marosvásárhely and to northern Hungary, to Pozsony, Rózsahegy and Kassa, and finally to southern Hungary, to Szabadka and Zombor and their territories, to study the situation, they could come to their own conclusions about the injustices which are conducted against the Hungarians by the Successor States, and they might do something about it to make these sufferings end.” Clemenceau did not even answer this request. (Raffay, p. 142)

On July 1, 1920, Bratianu spoke to the Rumanian Parliament: „We cannot rest until we completely destroy the Hungarian people, economically and militarily because, as long as there is a spark of life in the Hungarian nation, we ourselves cannot feel secure.” (Raffay, p. 142)

Ferenc Heinrich, Hungarian Minister of Finance stated: „The eye of Hungary is turning toward Paris. . . We Hungarians will never give up Felvidék (northern Hungary), the Carpathian Mountains or the valleys of Transylvania. . . We must kill Bolshevism at the root and we have to use that weapon against them which they first took from us - the right to religion and honor.” (Raffay, p. 142)

Károly Huszár spoke to Count Albert Apponyi before he went to Paris to the Peace Treaty negotiations. He said:

„A Hungarian statesman never traveled a more difficult road than that which you are about to travel. You have been for your whole life the greatest son of the nation. You were the impassioned apostle of the national feeling and national thought. You were also the impassioned apostle of the national character and the national development. Fate did not grant you the opportunity for your ideals and your desires to come true. Fate did not allow this thousand year old nation to come to full bloom. What is waiting for us (at Trianon) will decide not only the fate of Hungary but how lasting will be the peace in Europe. A just peace will mean for European civilization peace and security. An unjust peace will be another suicidal attempt at peace in Europe.

„We send the best son of the Hungarian nation, and the pride of the nation to tackle this problem. May God’s blessing and the prayers of all the Hungarians accompany you and whatever fate deals us, we will act as our heroes did during the last thousand years in good times and bad.

„Like a nation which does not lose heart in misfortune, and is not overconfident in success, we know that you will do all that you can. We know that there is not much hope that our desires will come true but we are trusting and we hope that the peace will be such that the nation will be reborn and renewed and given strength to survive in the coming centuries.

May God Bless you and be with you all. Through your work, may God give the nation a better future.” (Raffay, p.145)

The Hungarian delegation arrived at the Chateau Madrid in Neuilly on January 7, 1920, where they were placed under a strict military guard, as if they were common criminals. The Hungarian delegates sent eight studies to the Conference, with all kinds of information and maps. These data proved that Hungary was blameless in the outbreak of the war, described Hungary’s role in the history of Europe and explained why the history of Hungary is not well known among the Western European nations. These studies showed that, for centuries, Hungary was not allowed to have a foreign policy, not even foreign trade, under the Hapsburg rule. Under public law, Hungary and Austria were separate states in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The unity of Austria was a result of the dynastic politics whereas Hungary had already existed as a unified state for a thousand years.

The independence of Hungary was broken by the Turkish conquest. During that time Hungary fought and bled for the whole of Europe and diminished in numbers and so Hungary became the state of the refugees and the immigrants and became a multi-national state. The Compromise of 1867 gave Hungary her independence on paper. But the fact that Hungary was bonded to Austria in diplomacy and that they had a combined army choked the Hungarian development. In the eighteenth century, with laws that came from the Emperor, Germans, Rumanians and Serbs were settled into Hungary.

The Hungarian delegation mentioned in the studies sent to the Congress that, if Hungary were carved up, then instead of one multi-national state, they would create three multi-national states. If they took into account the interests of these three states the conflicting interests would be multiplied. The historic Hungarian borders were unpopulated mountain ranges. The borders of the new artificial states would cut through economic centers and such borders would not seem to be secure in the future. If Hungary were carved up, it would make it impossible to protect Hungary against flood and the pollution of the waterways. There would be a risk of the Successor States poisoning the drinking water for Hungary.

The Entente powers disregarded every Hungarian argument. The Conference, on the last day, January 16, allowed Count Albert Apponyi to speak to the members, but they limited the length of his speech. The decision had already been made and there was no possibility for change. There were only two possibilities, to accept the decision or refuse it. Just as Apponyi said, „The only choice left for the country is to commit suicide so that they will not kill her” because the territory which would remain for Hungary would be unable to survive. (Raffay, p.151)

Apponyi said that the conditions of the Peace Treaty opposed the principles, which the Allied Forces had advocated. They opposed the interests of Europe. They opposed the requirements of civilization. They opposed the economic reconstruction, and general human interest. He said that the newly formed states would become heterogeneous states just as Hungary was but they would not have the economic unity of Hungary, which in time would require the re-annexation of these territories to Hungary. Another reason that the mutilation should not occur was that the Successor States, who were culturally inferior, by every means would apply oppression on the Hungarian people who would come under their rule. This would cause the cultural standards on these territories to decline. This would also cause a constant unrest between the peoples. (Raffay, p. 155-156) He also emphasized that if the Conference favored the Hungarian proposals, then Hungary would provide a very wide cultural autonomy and, depending on to the geographical possibilities, would give territorial autonomy to these peoples. Transylvania would remain an autonomous country under the Hungarian Crown. He proposed the plebiscite on those territories that were located between the present Historic Hungarian borders and the borders suggested by the Conference, with the exception of Croatia, which had always been an autonomous state. Every person over the age of 21, regardless of sex, and who was living on this territory on November 1, 1918, should be allowed to vote. (Raffay, p. 159)

Lloyd George felt that Count Albert Apponyi was not strong enough in his demand for a plebiscite: „It was unfortunate that he (Apponyi) did not not emphasize the plebiscite on those borderline territories where the Hungarians without question were in the majority and the Borderline Committee annexed these territories to other states for economical and geographical reasons. If he had directed his critics to these territories, there would have been enough material to put him into a strong position which would be indisputable.” (Raffay, p. 194)

On May 6, the Allied Forces gave the text of the final decision to the Hungarian delegation and the accompanying letter written by President Millerand of France in the name of the Entente. Here is a part of the Millerand letter:

„Mr. President:

The Allied and Associated Powers have conscientiously studied those documents which the Hungarian Delegation forwarded to the Congress on the subject of the conditions of Peace. In our examination we were led by the desire to make decisions which serve the truth and those higher interests which we guard. If the result of this study leads us to disagree with the Hungarian Peace Delegation’s counter-proposals, the only explanation we can offer is that the Allied Powers find it impossible to accept the proposals of the Hungarian delegation. . . .

„But when the Border Committee starts its work and comes to the conclusion that the decisions of the Peace Treaty somewhere . . . . are unjust, and it is in the general interest to correct these injustices, then you (Hungarians) may submit a report to the League of Nations.

„In this case the Allied and Associated Powers will accept that the revisions of the original borders be undertaken in those places where the committee has found that they are unjust. The Allied and Associated Powers trust that this procedure will provide enough possibilities to correct all the injustices where basic objections are brought.” ( Raffay, p. 162)

On January 11, 1935, Millerand, in the Est newspaper denied writing this letter. He forgot that there is a written document to prove that he did so! Pozzi quotes from a letter from Millerand to Lloyd George: „We all definitely acknowledge that there is a possibility of revisions of the Treaty.”[2] When Millerand showed his letter to Clemenceau, Clemenceau said: „We have committed so many merciless acts that now we can at least correct one.” (Pozzi, p. 293) Because of the promise of possible revisions in the Millerand letter, Hungary signed the Treaty on June 4, 1920. Three weeks later, Millerand, in a circular letter, informed the Border Committee that the duty he had assumed in the name of the Entente was invalid. This letter was dated June 22, 1920. (Pozzi, p. 293)

The Border Committee was disturbed because they had not known of the original letter so they did not know what duty he was referring to. On June 22, 1920, in spite of the circular letter, the Border Committee gave Muraköz to Hungary, because the majority of its population was Hungarian. This decision was accepted by the League of Nations. But because the Serbs had already occupied this territory and would not move out, the Entente Advisory Board allowed them to stay there. Ever since, the Entente has behaved as if the Millerand letter never existed, yet this letter was written in their name. (Pozzi, p. 293)

The Hungarian National Assembly replied to this letter on May 10. This is an excerpt from that letter:

„ . . . When we were demanding the plebiscite, we (Hungarians) were considering the rights of the peoples concerned. We chose that path because we intended to close out every possibility of disagreement. We accepted the plebiscite as a basic principle because it is an unquestionable principle, unparalleled in its effect. We also declared that we would accept in advance the will of the peoples concerned.”

. . . „With this declaration we gave our final answer to the continued accusations that the Hungarian people oppressed their minorities. We will give these people, whom we supposedly oppressed, the choice of where they wish to belong.” (Raffay, p.164)

The Allied Powers did not apply to the Hungarians this principle which they were advocating at the beginning of the war. The French politician Charles Danielou recognized this in an article in The Daily Mail on June 21, 1927.

„Those who intended to apply the principle of self-determination made the biggest mistake when they excluded three million Hungarians. The ratio of the three million in the new states to the eight million who remained in Hungary is too great. Who would believe that these eight million Hungarians would accept a situation where they would be separated forever from the three million Hungarians in the new states? It is especially ironic that the Czech border was pushed 40 kilometers further toward Budapest so that the city would be within firing range of the Czechs. At the same time, Bácska was annexed to Yugoslavia so that Belgrade would be far from the firing range of the Hungarians.” (Raffay, p.179)

Some anti-Hungarian propaganda advocates that there were some assemblies where the people were allowed to decide where they wanted to belong but we have to state that these so-called „assemblies” were not representative of the whole population and they were not authorized to make decisions in the name of a particular people.

Finally the Hungarian delegation had to accept the decision of Trianon. The Hungarian Government needed to borrow money to rebuild the country. Their application for a loan was accepted on condition that they sign a document stating that there was no coercion when they signed the Treaty of Trianon and that they had ratified it willingly. They needed the money so they signed the document.

The American Congress did not ratify the Treaty of Trianon but made a separate peace treaty with Hungary on August 29, 1921. Even in France the dissatisfaction continued for weeks in the French Parliament, yet they were the ones who created the Treaty of Trianon. The French Parliament ratified the Treaty only on the condition that the French Government would make further examination of the unjust decisions.

How could Hungary have obtained a more favorable decision for the benefit of the Hungarians? The economical and geographical concerns dictate that the unity of the Carpathian Basin be maintained, so why was territory given to the Successor States „for economical and geographical reasons”. We have to acknowledge that in the territories annexed from Hungary the Hungarians were not in the majority but neither were the people of the Successor States to whom these territories were given. In Felvidék, Northern Hungary (Slovakia), 1.7 million Slovaks were living and 1.87 million other nationalities; in Eastern Hungary, Transylvania (Rumania), 2.8 million Rumanians and 2.46 million other nationalities. In the Serb-Croat-Slovene state, there were 1 million Serbs, 1.7 million Croats and 1.36 million other nationalities. 232,000 Germans and 126,000 other nationalities came under the rule of Austria. Neither the Slovaks nor the Croats were asked if they wanted to live under Czech or Serb rule. We can see that the advocacy of self-determination was only a pretext under which the dismemberment of Hungary could be accomplished.

The following are a few of the articles from the Treaty of Trianon:

ARTICLE 44

The Serb-Croat Slovene State recognizes and confirms in relation to Hungary its obligation to accept the embodiment in a Treaty with the Allied and Associated Powers such provisions as may be deemed necessary by these Powers to protect the interests of the inhabitants of that State who differ from the majority of the population in race language or religion, as well as to protect freedom of transit and equitable treatment of the commerce of other nations.

ARTICLE 47.

Roumania recognizes and confirms in relation to Hungary her obligation to accept the embodiment in a Treaty with the Principal Allied and Associated Powers such provisions as may be deemed necessary by these Powers to protect the interests of the inhabitants of that State who differ from the majority of the population in race, language or religion, as well as to protect freedom of transit and equitable treatment for the commerce of other nations.

ARTICLE 55.

Hungary undertakes to assure full and complete protection of life and liberty to all inhabitants of Hungary without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion. All inhabitants of Hungary shall be entitled to the free exercise, whether public or private, of any creed, religion or belief whose practices are not inconsistent with public order or public morals.

ARTICLE 58.

All Hungarian nationals shall be equal before the law and shall enjoy the same civil and political rights without distinction as to race, language or religion.

Difference of religion, creed or confession shall not prejudice any Hungarian national in matters relating to the enjoyment of civil or political rights, as for instance admission to public employments, functions and honors, or the exercise of professions and industries.

No restriction shall be imposed on the free use by any Hungarian national of any language in private intercourse, in commerce, in religion, in the press or in publications of any kind, or at public meetings.

Notwithstanding any establishment by the Hungarian Government of an official language, adequate facilities shall be given to Hungarian nationals of non-Magyar speech for the use of their language, either orally or in writing before the Courts.

Hungarian nationals who belong to racial, religious or linguistic minorities shall enjoy the same treatment and security in law and in fact as the other Hungarian nationals. In particular they shall have an equal right to establish, manage and control at their own expense charitable, religious and social institutions, schools and other educational establishments, with the right to use their own language and to exercise their religion freely therein.

ARTICLE 59.

Hungary will provide in the public educational systems in towns and districts in which a considerable proportion of Hungarian nationals of other than Magyar speech are resident adequate facilities for ensuring that in the primary schools the instruction shall be given to the children of such Hungarian nationals through the medium of their own language. This provision shall not prevent the Hungarian Government from making the teaching of the Magyar language obligatory in the said schools.

In towns and districts where there is a considerable proportion of Hungarian nationals belonging to racial, religious or linguistic minorities, these minorities shall be assured an equitable share in the enjoyment and application of sums which may be provided out of public funds under the State, municipal or other budgets, for educational, religious or charitable purposes.

It is interesting to note that the articles 55, 58 and 59 prescribe in detail the obligations of Hungary to her minorities. Why was it necessary to do this when it had been Hungary’s policy for a thousand years to give the minorities all the rights, which are stipulated in these articles? In fact, it was precisely because Hungary had given her minorities all these rights that these minorities had grown to such proportions that they were in a position in 1920 to demand their independence. However, as we have seen, it was only under false accusations of oppression that they were able to obtain the territories from Hungary, which they demanded. Why were the Successor States not instructed to treat their minorities as humanely as Hungary? Why were they not placed under the supervision of the League of Nations, as Hungary was, to monitor their treatment of their minorities? And why even after the Helsinki agreement of 1975, have they still continued to oppress their minorities and conduct a policy of cultural and actual genocide without any actual opposition from the western states?

In 1922, the Hungarians succeeded in breaking through the wall that the Little Entente had created around Hungary, when the country was accepted into the League of Nations. The Hungarian Government had to turn to the Reparations Committee because they could not satisfy the demands of the committee. They wanted to obtain a short-term loan of 40-50 million golden crowns. The Little Entente and France opposed this request. Hungary had to consider that her territory would be occupied by those countries, which she could not pay, just as the territory of the Ruhr Valley was occupied by the French and the Belgians. In this case the disagreement between Britain and France helped Hungary. Hungary asked the Reparations Committee for the loan which they had promised them and suggested that the League of Nations monitor their use of the money. They also asked that the reparations, which they had to pay and the total which Hungary needed to restart her economy be separated. After a long dispute, Britain, with financial pressure on the states of the Little Entente, forced them to take the question of the loan to Hungary to the League of Nations for negotiation. Finally, in July, 1923, the Little Entente accepted that Hungary could pay the war reparations separately from the loan. At the same time, they were demanding for themselves the right to oversee Hungary’s military preparedness. Hungary accepted that for two and a half years the League of Nations could check over Hungary’s economy. The Reparations Committee declared that Hungary had to pay the Successor States for reparations in the sum of 179 million golden crowns. In addition they had to provide Yugoslavia with coal for three years. At the same time Hungary had to give up her claims to reparations from the Rumanians for the damage and the robbery, which they had committed during their occupation. So Hungary suffered even more losses. The loan, which Hungary received was not enough to rebuild the country so Hungary was unable to pay the fines. Hungary had to organize secretly to develop the country’s military defense. In order to develop a revision policy Hungary needed military power. Now the reader can see what terrible obstacles the country had to overcome. (Raffay, p. 215-216)

(Chapter 16 of The Road to the Dictated Peace)

______________________

[1] Raffay, Ernõ: Magyar Tragédia; Trianon 75 éve, Budapest, 1996, p. 55

[2] Pozzi, Henri: Szazadunk bűnösei, 1936, translated by Dr. Frigyes Marjay, Budapest, p.292; Letter to Lloyd George

 

Source: magtudin.org

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