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PROTESTÁNS

FELSŐOKTATÁSI
SZAKKOLLÉGIUM

ANGOL MŰHELY

The Trianon syndrome

Domonkos Anna Flóra

Műhelydolgozat

Műhelyvezető:
Danku Márton

Budapest
2019/2020 őszi félév
Opening

After World War I, the victors broke up the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and the
real losers are the Hungarians. In the 1920 Trianon (Paris) peace settlement they lost almost
three million Hungarians to the successor states. This situation created the so called "The
East-Central European Syndrome, or more precisely " The Trianon Syndrome". All states in
the Carpathian Basin suffer from it. No matter, what the government does, most Hungarians
cannot accept the situation.

1. Stephan Bela Vardy’s article

Among other things, I would like to show Stephen Béla Várdy’s article. Stephan
Béla Várdy was a historian, university professor, member of the Hungarian Academy of
Sciences. He was the author, co-author, or co-editor of nearly two dozen books and over
six-hundred articles, essays, and reviews. He wrote among other things the Historical Dic-
tionary of Hungary and the Hungarians in the New World. He wrote this article in 1997,
was published in the Hungarian Studies Review.

1.1. Battle of Mohács and the Treaty of Trianon

Várdy mentioned in the article, that Traty of Trianon (1920) can only be compared
to the Battle of Mohács (1526), which made the country into the battleground of two empires
for two centuries. We can say that these dates changed completely our country. This is the
connection between them.

1.2. The Three Generations

The Treaty of Trianon was a shock for Hungarian people, this shock and magnitude
was best expressed by Gyula Szegfű, who wrote the Three Generations book. "This book is
my personal experience.... I felt... I would never be able to recover my strength and my will
to work until having taken account of the decline that had lead us to this disaster.”12 Szegfű’s

1
Stephen Bela Vardy (1997): The Trianon Syndrome in Today's Hungary, Hungarian Studies Review, Vol.
XXIV pp. 73.
2
Gyula Szekfii, Harom nemzedek. egy hanyatlo kor tortenete [Three Generations. The History of a Declining
Age] (Budapest: Elet Irodalmi es Nyomdai R.T., 1920): 4.

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view reached almost every layer of the society, like politicians and poets, scientists and his-
torians, bureaucrats and artisans, right-leaning gentry and left-leaning intellectuals.

1.3. National taboo


Under socialism, during the four decades, the subject was taboo. The history
books didn’t specify or mention Trianon. It seems to be a very interesting fact, that the 40
years long dictatorship’s leaders were born beyond this country. Mátyás Rákosi was born in
Ada (Serbia), and János Kádár was born in Fiume (Croatia). They had opportunity to get
back their native land, but they didn’t care about the life of the other side of the border.
Basically, in the psychology of Kádár-system the past didn’t exist. József Révai the “cul-
turepope”, pronounced the Trianon word last time in 1945 in a conference, in case that the
theme is closed and there wouldn’t revisionism. After 1946, this tendency became stricter.
People weren’t allowed to speak about Trianon, neither the war of independence nor mar-
tyrs.3

1.4. After the regime change of 1989


After the regime change of 1989, the issue returned to the political agenda. In
general, it was a topic used by a right, but every political party agreed that the Treaty of
Trianon was unjust and placed lots of Hungarians in a disadvantageous position.4 So, it was
the early 1980’s and 1990’s when for the first time in many years, some dared to talk about
Trianon and the psychological dislocations it has caused.

3
Balogh Gábor (2009): Kádár és Trianon https://tortenelemportal.hu/2009/08/kadar-es-trianon/ (letöltés
dátuma :2019. 10. 25.)
4
Agnieszka Doneik & Stanislav Holubec (2018): Historical memory of central and east european
communism, Routledge

2
One of the people, who talked about the Trianon was Péter Hanák, who was also the
member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He wrote an article in the Life and Litera-
ture, and he pointed out the fact that the Hungarians have never been able to elaborate or
digest Trianon because the trauma of the defeat was terribly deep.56
Suddenly after the fall of communism, as I have mentioned before, the situation
changed. The result was the appearance of a whole series of Trianon-related works. Many
of these have not value, they are just emotion-filled post-communist publications, but there
are exceptions. For instance, there are some respectable and well-researched monographs by
József Galántai and Jenő Gergely.7 Another change, that after the fall of communism, be-
yond this country, they could use the original place names besides the foreign names. I can
mention for example Párkány and Sturovo or Ógyalla and Hurbanovo. In other word, they
could use the original city names in trains, in official places too. By way of example, before
this law they saw the name of Cluj-Napoca, after it they found the name of Kolozsvár. This
change was determining in people lifes.8

2. Demonstrations

2.1. Demonstration in 2006

In the second part of my essay, I would like to write about the demonstrations. In my
opinion when we are speaking or thinking about the Trianon-syndrome, the demonstrations
are very important. People here can express how they feel, what their viewpoint is, what they
stand for.
My father has a personal experience. In 2006 there was the first demonstration in
Versailles. My father heard about the idea of demonstration, when he took part the events of
HVMI- Hatvannégy Vármegye Ifjúsági Mozgalom. (In english: Sixty-Four Counties Youth
Movement).

5
Stephen Bela Vardy (1997): The Trianon Syndrome in Today's Hungary, Hungarian Studies Review, Vol.
XXIV pp. 74.
6
Peter Hanák, "Viszonylagos nemzettudat" [Relative National Cnsciousness], in filet es Irodalom [Life and
Literature], 25, no. 28 (July 25, 1981): 4-5.
7
Stephen Bela Vardy (1997): The Trianon Syndrome in Today's Hungary, Hungarian Studies Review, Vol.
XXIV pp. 74.
8
Bauko János (2012) Társadalom és névhasználat, Komárom, Selye János Egyetem tanárképző Kar, pp. 42-
50

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Their tour was three days long. The travelling happened individually, they didn’t join
to the bus group. At first, they visited the typical tourism attractions, then they stood in with
the Hungarian group. They sang the Hungarian National Anthem in front of the Castle of
Versailles. My father remembers that it was the most memorable and powerful moment he
has ever felt. Then they walked from the Castle of Versailles to the Hotel of Trianon. During
the walk, they shouted Hungarian words, slogans of Trianon. In the Hotel of Trianon there
was a concert by Kárpátia band. As my father remembers, he saw lots of famous Hungarian
people like singers, politicians. The concert finished with the “Székely” Anthem. It was a
one-day demonstration, everybody went home that evening. There was not conflicts with the
local police, except one situation, when they sequestrated a penknife from a man.

2.2. Demonstration in 2020


After 2006 there were more demonstrations in Versailles. The question is
what will happen in 2020. Will we get back our territories? Unfortunately, there are a few
points that we should take into consideration. At first, the peace treaty is not valid today

4
since Hungary had to sign a new one after World War II. Moreover, the Hungarian govern-
ments signed basic treaties with the neighbouring countries in the 1990’s in which they
cleared that Budapest has and will have no territorial claims towards them.9
However, despite these facts, a lot of people still believe in Hungary that in 2020 all
lost territories will suddenly return.

My opinion

In the conclusion I would like to write my own opinion. As for me, I also stand for
the group, who says that Trianon was unfair, but I know that after 100 years we won’t get
back our lost territories, just because it is a centenary. The neighbouring countries violently
assimilated the Hungarian minority, and there are less and less people who speak the original
Hungarian language. I know that in Transylvania there are lots of Hungarian speakers, but
as I feel, they don’t want to join to Hungary, they want to be independent, and not the part
of our country. The question often comes up that there will be a demonstration next year or
not, but I am sure, if the answer is yes, I will be there.

9
https://dailynewshungary.com/when-will-hungary-get-back-its-lost-territories-trianon-is-99-yrs-old/
letöltés dátuma: 2019. 10. 25.)

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Applied literature

Agnieszka Doneik & Stanislav Holubec (2018): Historical memory of central and
east european communism, Routledge

Balogh Gábor (2009): Kádár és Trianon https://tortenelemportal.hu/2009/08/kadar-


es-trianon/ (letöltés dátuma :2019. 10. 25.)

Bauko János (2012) Társadalom és névhasználat, Komárom, Selye János Egyetem


tanárképző Kar, 42-50

Gyula Szekfű, Harom nemzedek. egy hanyatlo kor tortenete [Three Generations.
The History of a Declining Age] (Budapest: Elet Irodalmi es Nyomdai R.T., 1920): 4.

Peter Hanák, "Viszonylagos nemzettudat" [Relative National Cnsciousness], in filet es


Irodalom [Life and Literature], 25, no. 28 (July 25, 1981): 4-5.

Stephen Bela Vardy (1997): The Trianon Syndrome in Today's Hungary, Hungarian
Studies Review, Vol. XXIV

https://dailynewshungary.com/when-will-hungary-get-back-its-lost-territories-trianon-is-
99-yrs-old/ letöltés dátuma: 2019. 10. 25.)