The Treaty of Trianon

 By Adriana Szanto

 

 

"Trianon is, on an international plane, strangely similar to those evil acts of which, by tacit agreement and owing to a sense of shame, nobody will speak.... That conspiracy of silence is however more eloquent than any indictment or accusation could ever be."Danuver 92

In 1920 Peace Talks were scheduled in Paris to decide upon the reparations of the losers of the First World War. All the participating countries of the war, winners as well as losers, "set down" and agreed upon the treatments each country would receive. One of the countries whose fate was determined at this conference was Hungary. Her fate was phrased and stated in the Treaty of Trianon. The decisions wounded Hungary’s integrity and left her bleeding heavily by imposing sever measures on her.

The end of the First World War brought about the destruction of the large Empires that ruled the European continent until 1918. One of these destroyed empires was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Monarchy practically ceased to exist after the end of the war. During the course of the war Hungary has seen most of its territory having been occupied by foreign powers. Finally after peace has settled in Hungary and even the Bolshevik occupation was shaken off, Hungary was looking forward to independence and peace. The last step that had to be taken to finally reach peace was the Paris Peace Conference in 1920.

 

A delegation of the Hungarian Government lead by Count Albert Apponyi was sent to the Paris Peace talks. Soon after their arrival the delegation including their head was imprisoned in the Chateau de Madrid without ever having had the opportunity to be admitted to the Peace Talks themselves. On January 15 the delegation finally received the treatment their country would receive which stated great losses of territory. This treaty was declared as final. However, the Hungarian delegation did nor want to accept such an immensely unfair treatment and thus the delegation started to work for four months to prove the historic errors, geographical mistakes and economic absurdities that have been termed by the decisions of the Peace Conference.

According to the treaty Hungary should give up 71.5 % of its surface area and 63.6 % of its population. By these new borders Hungary’s economic and geographical unit was completely destroyed. The new frontiers cut through valleys, waterways, roads and railway lines. Through this Hungary lost 73.8 % of its roads, 64.4 % of its navigable waterways and 62.2 % of its railways. Furthermore Hungary was deprived from most of its natural resources such as timber, coal, iron and water power. Salt and silver mines that contributed to the country’s prosperity had been completely confiscated. Hungary also lost its most important port Fiume and together with that its entry to the sea.

 

But not only did the country lose territory and sources of prosperity, but it also lost a large part of its population. The original population of 18 Million was reduced to less than 8 Million. Frontiers were drawn arbitrary dividing cities, villages, farms and many local communities. In this manner about 1 million Hungarians were annexed by Czechoslovakia including the city of Bratislava (Pozsony), 400, 000 became part of Yugoslavia and 600,000 were given to Rumania.

These drastic measures where decided upon by the victors of the World War who wanted to weaken the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The French were especially eager to reward the nations who fought on the French side during the war with large pieces of territory. Once more the hand of injustice went down on Hungary. Though the original intuition was to weaken the entire Empire, integral parts of the Hungarian country were taken away that have belonged to her for over a 1000 years. Parts of the country were removed that have been established by Magyar tribes in the Carphatian Base in 896 and have ever since belonged to the Hungarian State.

 

Of course the smaller successor states around Hungary were eager to enjoy their success and to receive parts of Hungary. Some of these states have already played with the idea of receiving Hungarian territory well before the war as it is proven in many documents published after World War I. Thus delegates were sent to the Paris Peace Talks who should present misleading or even false information about Hungary’s economy and borders. Certainly the Western delegates should have faced the information with more distrust, since the intentions of the Eastern delegates were rather obvious and their hunger for territorial gain was easy to notice. Hungarian delegation was working very hard on fighting the absurdities imposed on their country by providing the leaders of the conference with accurate and truthful information. This information was entirely disregarded and the delegation was never once admitted to the conference in order to participate in the Peace talks nor to try to save their country from the brutal architects impersonated by the victors of World War I. According to Charles Danielou, a French politician, the victors did not want to punish Hungary as rather reward and satisfy their allying states.

 

As a result of the greed of her neighbours, and the naivete of the Western delegates Hungary has lost more than half of her population. The exiled people have become citizens of the neigbouring countries and they represent the largest national minority in Europe after the Russians. The Hungarian communities were eager to keep up their culture, traditions and language, but tough rules and regulations were imposed on them by their new state governments. In some countries such as Czechoslovakia and Romania the Hungarian language was abolished from schools and in some places even from the church. The Hungarian minorities in Transylvania as well as Slovakia still strive for autonomy, but regulations are toughened serving the purposes of ethnic cleansing.

Today the Treaty of Trianon and its consequences are not mentioned much in Hungary nor is resent felt towards the founding fathers of the treaty anymore. Of course the regret about losing such large parts of territory and population is still present, but Hungary has managed to recover its economy and learn to live within its given boundaries. Its diplomatic and political relationships with its neighbouring countries, though often strained, have improved over the years as well. The scares and wounds the Treaty of Trianon has left behind in Hungary have been healing at a fast pace and today become less visible from day to day.

 

 

Works Cited

  1. Danuver, Yves The Tragic Fate of Hungary, Munchen: Danubia-Druckerei, 1972
  2. Deak, Francis Hungary at the Paris Peace Conference, New York: Howard Fertig, 1972
  3. Count Bethlen, Steven The Treaty of Trianon and the European Peace, New York:
  4. Arno & The New York Times, 1971

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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