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Hungarian and Bulgarian Interwar Revisionism: Part 9

Updated on May 14, 2012
Tomas Masaryk
Tomas Masaryk | Source

The hatred of the Czechs toward Hungary had a huge part to play in bringing about Trianon. The intrigue with which Masaryk and Beneš worked in order to set up Czechoslovakia was directed not only against the hated Hungarians, but also against the supposedly “brother nation” of Slovakia, which was meant to have full and equal rights to the Czechs, but this occured only in theory. The Pittsburgh declaration to set up the state of “Czecho-Slovakia” in 1918 involved Masaryk’s being able to get the Slovak emigres’ assent.

The promise the Czechs made for Slovak autonomy ended up being nothing but a lie. It appears that the Slovaks were never taken very seriously, and autonomy was only promised them in order for them to agree to the forming of a so-called ‘federal’ state, in which in reality the Slovaks were mere second-rate citizens.

We can see that the hunger for power by Masaryk and others extended to the subjugation of Slovaks and Ruthenians as well as Hungarians to the supposedly more “cultured” Czech way of life. It is for reasons such as the above that many Hungarians who had the means fled from the new successor states into the new Hungary proper.

Trianon caused an exodus of those Hungarians – mainly aristocrats and those employed by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy – to ‘skeletal’ Hungary. The number of those leaving just Transylvania on its own for the new Hungary at a higher number than the total from all successor states.

Hungary became a virtually ethnically homogenous state following Trianon. This, however, to Hungarian thinking at the time, was comparable to a human torso which is very compact in and of itself, but useless without its limbs. These ‘limbs’ for the Hungarians were the lost territories.Initially there were differences between the ideas of the French and Americans as to the new frontier between Hungary and Romania. Still, it is important to note that the United States did not in fact condone Trianon.

The issue of Hungarian anti-Semitic tendencies also oftentimes go towards discrediting the Horthy régime. Official Horthyite anti-Semitism lost no time in making repressive laws against Jews.

Thus we see the seeds of the new - and later in the interwar years very strong – Hungarian focus on Christianity and race. This trend would reach its most extreme after the rise of Hitler in Germany, and a subsequent Hungarian borrowing of ideas which replaced the “Aryan race” with the “Magyar race.”

The obvious unacceptance of Hungary of Trianon, and the plain will to revise the treaty did not go over the heads of France and the successor states. This fear of Hungarian irredentism lead to the establishment of the Little Entente, with the full support of France. This did nothing more than isolate Hungary even more on the international scene, and thus producing the subsequent backlash of becoming more and more reactionary. The establishment of the Little Entente isolated the new Hungarian state even further, and this was its main aim.

Interwar Hungary’s obsession with revisionism directly led to the founding of the Little Entente in 1920, which compromised Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

Tomas Masaryk


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