At the end of WW1 Hungary was dismembered and therefore a power vacuum evloved in this „balkanized” Central Europe. Statesman of the time were shocked:
President Woodrow Wilson: “The dismemberment of Hungary was absurd.”
Sir Winston Churchill: “Ancient poets and theologians could not imagine such suffering, which Trianon bought to the innocent. In their eyes, that was only bfor the damned in Hell.”
Father R. P. Gratry: “Every nation’s homeland is sacred. If you destroy one, you mutilate the entire human race.”
Field Marshall Jan Smuts: “A plebiscite refused is a plebiscite taken.”
Tacitus: “We Hate Whom We Hurt”
Trianon deprived the thousand years old kingdom of Hungary 63.6% of her inhabitants and 71.5% of her territory. In comparison, the leader of the WW1 central powers, Germany lost only 9.5% of her territory. The Treaty of Trianon was the creation of French politicians who wanted to dominate the whole of Europe and could not do so while a strong Central European power existed to balance their influence.
Seldom has a peace, imposed by violence, been so brutal in its bias, more forgetful of the lessons of history and better calculated to create future upheavals. Yet it took nearly 80 years for the unnatural creations of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia to self-destruct. Hopefully it will not take that long to eliminate this power vacuum in East-Central Europe and to restore the balance and stability of the whole of Europe.
On March 31, 1919 President Wilson called for the establishment of ethnographic boundaries based on the right to self-determination by the inhabitants, but his plea was ignored by the French. The United States Congress also supported Hungary and refused to approve the Treaty of Trianon. They too felt, that it is unjust to make foreigners out of the inhabitants of Hungarian towns and villages by redrawing the borders around them.
At the end of WW2, Eduard Benes, the foreign minister of Czechoslovakia ordered the deportation of a large number of Hungarians from the land that had been their home for centuries and justified that action by claiming that they were “collectively guilty” of collaboration with the Nazis. This was a total fabrication, because the only member of the Slovakian Parliament who in 1942 voted against expelling the Jews from the Parliament’s Hungarian member, János Eszterházy.
The properties of the deported Hungarians were confiscated and they themselves were thrown into cattle cars and expelled to Hungary. To this day, the Benes Decrees have not been repealed, nor have the persecuted been compensated for their loss of property, humiliation and suffering. Actually the discrimination against Hungarians is still going on. Recently, Slovakia instituted a language law which not only limits the use of minority languages but a “language police” can fine anyone up to £4,380 for “misusing the Slovak language”.
Discrimination against Hungarians is also continuing in other neighboring states and neither their local autonomy nor their property rights have been fully restored. It was for this reason that in 2005 the United States Congress passed its House Resolution HR191, demanding the return of Hungarian church properties in Romania. Yet, some 1000 Hungarian church and other properties have still not been returned. Similarly, Serbia has not even apologized for the mass killings of Hungarians in Vojvodina at the end of WW2.
So what should be done? How can the consequences of Trianon be erased? How can the stability and economic power of a „balkanized” Central Europe be restored? We know that history does not solve problems accidentally. Those who want a better future must first have a plan, a concept of that future. The goal of this plan must be the stability and prosperity of the European Union as a whole. We also know that the acid test of civilization is the respect for minority rights. Therefore, part of this plan must be the elimination of all ethnic tensions within the European Union. This requires the establishment of uniform standards that outlaws all discrimination against national minorities and guarantees the local autonomy and self government for all of them within the EU.
Justice can only be served if all Europeans have the same rights, or to paraphrase Lincoln: “Nothing is settled for good until it is settled justly.”
Once minority rights are guaranteed throughout the EU, another important goal would be the establishment of a Central European Federation. The formation of this Danubean Federation would be similar to the federation of the BENELUX countries. The formation of such a federation is in the interest of both the region and of the EU. It is in the interest of the region, because by joining into a federation, the Danubean people would learn to defend their common interests by speaking with a single voice. This would give emphasis to their interdependence and would diminish the tensions that existed among them in the past.
This federation is also in the interest of the European Union, because it would eliminate the economic power vacuum that exists in Central Europe. By returning this power in turn would eliminate the economic burden and dependence of the region on the West and thereby would stabilize the whole of Europe. The seeds of this federation have already been planted by the formation of the “The Visegrád Four”, a cooperative formation of the four nations of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
It would be desirable if both the United States and the European Union would nurture this seed of cooperation until it grows into a Central European Federation representing the common interests of the whole region. It would be fitting if on the 90th anniversary of the tragedy of Trianon, – and after the unnecessary and undeserved suffering of three generations of innocent Hungarians -, the leaders of the world, including President Obama, would expresss their support for both the autonomy of all national minorities within the EU and for the expansion of the Visegrad Four into a Central European Federation within the EU.
The formation of such a federation would not only rebalance and stabilize the whole of Europe but would also prevent the economic expansion of Russia into the region. It is high time to not only emphasize the long-standing friendship between the United States and the former satellite nations, but to also erase the memory of Yalta! The 90th anniversary of Trianon would be the perfect time for emphasizing this special relationship between the United States and East Central Europe and there would be no better way to empasize that than by announcing that the NATO headquarters will be moved to Budapest.
FUTURE OF HUNGARY (MAGYAR LOBBI, TRIANON, KIBONTAKOZÁS)