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Stephen Borsody

Hungary's Road To Trianon:
Peacemaking and Propaganda

To Hungarians, the word "Trianon" is a symbol of a national catastrophe-a rather unlikely connotation for the twin names of two lovely palaces in the gardens of Versailles. In less subjective terms, the Treaty of Trianon, concluded with Hungary after the First World War, belongs to the tortuous history of Europe's reorganization according to the principle of nationality and nation-state. As a controversial act of peacemaking, it is a typical product of European nationalism, hailed by some and cursed by others. And since the ideas of nationalism-more recently in tandem with Marxism-have conquered mankind's mind as a whole, it is proper to place "Trianon" in the context of a world revolution.

Bourgeois nationalism and revolutionary Marxism, two ideas of Western origin, have given modern mankind two world religions which have divided rather than united the nations of the world. It is not surprising, therefore, that both nationalist and Marxist interpretations of the Treaty of Trianon have shared lively controversies.

* * *

The negative nationalist interpretation of Trianon from the Hungarian point of view is quite well known, though perhaps not always duly appreciated. Trianon sanctioned not merely the territorial partition of historic Hungary, but the ethnic dismemberment of the Hungarian people as well. In statistical terms: Trianon left only about two-thirds of the Hungarians in territorially radically reduced Hungary, while almost one-third of them ended up under the domination of three neighboring states-newly created or drastically enlarged-Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.1 The Hungarian nation's dislike for having been cut up into four parts is understandable. Moreover, following the Second World War, as a sequel to Trianon, the Hungarians came to be further divided, now into five parts. Namely, the transfer of the former Subcarpathian

Ruthenia from Czechoslovakia to the Soviet Union placed a good number of Hungarians under Ukrainian rule. Thus, today, while about three-fourths of the Hungarians of the Danube region live in Hungary proper, one out of four Hungarians lives either in Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, or the Soviet Ukraine. The drop of the ratio of Hungarians outside Hungary from one-third after World War I to one-fourth today is due mainly to the fact that, in the adverse minority environment outside Hungary, the Hungarian population is not growing at all, or only at a rate far below that of Hungary's proper-let alone that of the majority populations of Hungary's neighbors. It should be kept in mind that nationalist rivalry in the Danube region is a cutthroat race for both the size of land and the number of people. Trianon only exacerbated this ill-fated race.

Of course, the nationalist interpretation of Trianon among Hungary's neighbors is quite different from the negative Hungarian interpretation. Hungary's neighbors believe that Trianon liberated the Danubian people. To them, the Trianon peacemaking is the epitome of justice and truth. Moreover, the reaffirmation of the provisions of the Treaty of Trianon by the Treaty of Paris after the Second World War is seen by them as a vindication of the Trianon peace settlement following Hitler's destruction of it.

Arguing with nationalist interpretations of peacemaking is a rather hopeless exercise. On more neutral academic grounds, however, attention should be called to the fact that the Western Powers themselves, who drew up the Trianon Treaty, came very close at one time to admitting the shortcomings of their own peacemaking. This happened during the appeasement period of European history-admittedly, a very bad time for clarifying the conditions of a just peace. Repudiation of Munich, along with the events that led up to it, and followed from it, became during the Second World War, as well as during the postwar peacemaking in 1946, a condition, so to speak, of democratic sincerity and allied unity. Thus, as far as the search for a just peace in the Danube region is concerned, the positive effects of the policy of appeasement were discarded along with its negative results-a typical case of throwing out the baby with the bath water. It could not be admitted in 1946, at the time of the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, that the drawing of Hungary's boundaries under Hitler's auspices was actually more fair from the point of view of ethnic justice than the Trianon boundaries.2

Arguments of ethnic fairness are of no avail against the rigidity of nationalist interpretations. On the other hand, Marxist interpretation of Trianon, the Soviet interpretation, has evaded fairness by indulging in too much flexibility. After the First World War, the Soviets denounced passionately the work of the "bourgeois-imperialist-capitalist" peacemakers of Paris. After the Second World War, however, they endorsed it no less passionately, insisting-against very mild Western objections in a few instances-on a total restoration of the Trianon territorial settlement. Forgotten was the much vaunted superior sense of proletarian international justice. The Soviets acted, not unlike the much maligned capitalist West, in a way that seemed at the moment to serve their own power interests.

A memorable document of the Soviet anti-Trianon interpretation is the so-called "Resolution on the National Question in Central Europe & Balkans," endorsed by the Fifth Congress of the Comintern in 1924. It states in its introduction:

Saint-Germain, Versailles and subsequent treaties dictated by the victorious Entente powers, created a number of new small imperialist states-Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Rumania, Greece-as a means of fighting against the proletarian revolution. These states were formed by the annexation of large territories with foreign populations and have become centres of national oppression and social reaction.3

After going on in this vein for several pages, the Comintern resolution embraces "the rights of every nation to self determination, even to the extent of separation," and supports the "political separation of the oppressed peoples from Poland, Rumania, Czecho-Slovakia, Yugoslavia and Greece." More specifically, Point VIII of the Comintern Resolution, on the so-called "Magyar Question," considers it essential to intensify Communist work among the Hungarian populations of the territories annexed by Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia. It launches the slogan of "the right of these Magyars to self-determination, even to separation from the States that annexed them". And Point IX of the Comintern Resolution, on the so-called "Transylvania Question," approves the slogan advanced by the Communist Party of Rumania for "the separation of Transylvania from Rumania," and the forming of an "independent region" of Transylvania.4

These were, in Marxist terminology, "prerevolutionary" aspects of the Soviet interpretation of Trianon. Today, in the "post-revolutionary" period of the Danube region's history, the Communist parties of all countries in the Soviet orbit of power have radically changed their minds. The most intriguing spectacle in this process is the change in the position of the Hungarian Communist Party. In the name of proletarian internationalism, the Hungarian Party now approves the Trianon settlement reimposed on Hungary after the Second World War. This may make the Communist regime of Hungary popular with Hungary's neighbors, but as far as Hungarian feelings go, the Communist position adds only insult to injury. "Trianon" is surely not only a problem of the past but of the Communist present as well.

* * *

In discussing Hungary's road to Trianon, I chose to emphasize the propaganda aspects because it seems to me that the Trianon peacemaking was above all a triumph of propaganda.5 The victors, persuaded by their own propaganda, believed that the structure of peace designed for the Danube region would be good for that region, as well as for the peace of Europe as a whole. National self-interest and idealism met in perfect harmony in their peace plans. Propaganda won the day.

Since the structure of peace in the Danube region was anti-Hungarian, the victors' propaganda, not surprisingly, had an unusually favorable view of Hungary's victorious neighbors, whereas it had an unusually unfavorable opinion of the defeated Hungarians. This black-and-white propaganda view was well expressed by Harold Nicolson, secretary of the British delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, in his memorable book, Peacemaking 1919. Summing up the victors' view of so-called "New Europe," then in the making, he wrote:

We thought less about our late enemies than about the new countries which had arisen from their tired loins. Our emotions centred less around the old than around the new ... . It was the thought of the new Serbia, the new Greece, the new Bohemia, the new Poland which made our hearts sing hymns at heaven's gate. This angle of emotional approach is very significant. I believe it was a very general angle. It is one which will not be apparent from the documents in the case. It is

one which presupposes a long and fervent study of 'The New Europe'-a magazine then issued under the auspices of Dr. Ronald Burrows and Dr. Seton-Watson with the doctrines of which I was overwhelmingly imbued. Bias there was, and prejudice. But they proceeded, not from any revengeful desire to subjugate and penalize our late enemies, but from a fervent aspiration to create and fortify the new nations whom we regarded, with maternal instinct, as the justification of our sufferings and of our victory. The Paris Conference will never properly be understood, unless this emotional impulse is emphasized at every stage.6

Wise advice, indeed, only it has never been taken to heart. Refusal in fact to understand "this emotional impulse" became one of the main reasons why a rational understanding of the blunders of Danubian peacemaking never penetrated the minds of those living there nor those who, as ultimate arbiters, decided the destinies of that region. Incidentally, a continental counterpart of "The New Europe" magazine was "L'Europe Nouvelle," edited in the same emotional spirit of wartime bias and prejudice.

Recalling the emotional times of New Europe's rise over the ruins of defeated Austria-Hungary, Mr. Nicolson confessed his own emotions on peacemaking as follows:

My attitude towards Austria was a rather saddened reflection as to what would remain of her when the New Europe had once been created. I did not regard her as a living entity: I thought of her only as a pathetic relic. My feelings towards Hungary were less detached. I confess that I regarded, and still regard, that Turanian tribe with acute distaste. Like their cousins the Turks, they had destroyed much and created nothing. Buda Pest was a false city devoid of any autochthonous reality. For centuries the Magyars had oppressed their subject nationalities. The hour of liberation and of retribution was at hand.7

How had the Hungarians fallen into such ill repute? Partly it was their own doing. They had been successful in joining the nationalist currents of contemporary European history but had failed to respond with equal enthusiasm to the modern world's democratic currents. More democracy certainly could have lessened the distaste both Hungary's neighbors and foreign observers, such as Harold Nicolson, felt toward the Hungarians. However, it should be

emphasized that more democracy would not necessarily have reduced the gravity of what came to be known at the time of the First World War as the great crime of the Hungarians-namely, the oppression of their subject nationalities. For had the policy of so-called Magyarization proceeded hand in hand with democracy-as, for instance, Americanization did in the United States-the assimilation of non-Hungarians would most likely have been even more successful. It is also true, however, Hungary's other great crime, her alliance with Germany in the war, would have blackened her once bright prestige in the West under any circumstances.

Neither assimilation motivated by the ideal of the homogeneous nation state, nor alliances to serve nationalist interests, are uniquely Hungarian phenomena. Hungary's neighbors had committed similar, and sometimes even worse, crimes in the pursuit of nationalist objectives, in particular after the Second World War. What was unique in Hungary's case at the time of the Trianon peacemaking, so rightly emphasized by Mr. Nicolson, was the emotional manner in which Hungary's as well as her neighbors' historical records were evaluated by the peacemakers. The principal fountainhead of that emotionalism was the formidable success of wartime propaganda mounted against Hungary by her rival neighbors. And its most effective agent was the propaganda of Czech exiles under the twin leadership of T. G. Masaryk and Eduard Benes.

Masaryk distinguished himself mainly by impressing the Western democracies with his attractive analysis of the brave new world to be born with the implementation of the "New Europe" plans. Advocating the partnership of the fair-minded Slavs with the West against the abominable Germans was the crux of Masaryk's propaganda.8 Benes, while fully identifying himself with Masaryk's pro-Slav and anti-German ideas, distinguished himself throughout his political career by his singularly vitriolic attacks against the Hungarians. Masaryk, too, was anti-Hungarian, but without Benes's venom.

* * *

Benes's famous pamphlet, Detruisez l'Autriche-Hongrie!, was a particularly successful wartime propaganda weapon in arousing indignation against the crimes of Austria-Hungary, both real and imaginary.9 It advanced a liberal cause which the Western democracies at that time felt was worth fighting for: the liberation of Europe's

small nations. It branded Austria-Hungary as the most dangerous tool of German imperialism-obviously the highest conceivable crime at a time when the Allies were locked in a life and death struggle with the German enemy. But the other enemy pilloried by Benes, which the Allies knew much less about than they did about the Germans, was the Hungarians-or the Magyars, as wartime propaganda preferred to call them, in order to distinguish them from the non-Magyar half of Hungary. As enemies of European peace, the Magyars in some respect ranked even higher in Benes's propaganda than the Germans.

Benes spared no effort to cure the liberal-democratic world of its still lingering sympathies for the Hungarians, earned by their heroism against the Habsburgs in 1848-49, and also by their moderation in the compromise peace with the Austrians in 1867. Benes described the Magyars as "the most loyal allies" of the Germans, "spiritual kins" of the Germans, "members of the band of Central European oppressors." He also made the Magyars responsible for the outbreak of war in 1914. The Magyars, he argued, were the instigators of the Habsburg Empire's anti-Slav Balkan policy which triggered the war. He also burdened the Magyars with crimes of more ancient origin against the Slavs. They had prevented, he claimed, the union of Serbs and Croats into a Yugoslav nation, as well as the union of Czechs and Slovaks into a Czechoslovak nation.

The nefarious role of the Hungarians in Slav history was originally invented by the 19th century Czech historian, Frantisek Palacky. In the anti-Hungarian wartime propaganda, this unattractive role of the "Asiatic" Magyars-an epithet Hungary's rivals were fond of using-sounded even more odious. The wartime propaganda skipped Palacky's recipe for reconciliation, his federalization program of the Habsburg Monarchy, that is. Instead, to undo the historic injustices inflicted by the Hungarians and Germans upon the Slavs, a punitive program was propagated, which allowed no room for reconciliation. Particularly hard hit by the supposedly historic German-Magyar alliance against the Slavs were the Czechs and Slovaks, or Czechoslovaks, as they came to be called during the war. It was nothing short of miraculous, Benes exclaimed in his Detruisez l'Autriche-Hongrie!, that the Czechoslovaks survived the "brutal millenial German and Magyar oppression."

In short, Austria-Hungary was guilty of crimes deserving nothing less than the death penalty. She was an arch-foe of the Slavs, a tool

of Germany's bid for European hegemony; she existed in violation of the liberal-democratic ideals and principles the Allies were fighting for. By contrast, the Slavs, democratic and peace-loving, were natural allies of Europe, both East and West, against the central German power, as well as against the Germans' perennial allies, the Magyars. Austria-Hungary's destruction was necessary not in the interest of the Slavs alone but also in the interest of the Allied powers and of Europe as a whole, and, added Benes for good measure, in the interest of mankind.

* * *

History written in the heat of war seldom distinguishes itself by objectivity. Benes's pamphlet, and the anti-Austro-Hungarian wartime propaganda in general, is no exception to the rule. In times of war, even more so than in times of peace, truth has a hard time prevailing. On the other hand, the accusations leveled against Austria-Hungary were not without foundation. Austria-Hungary's mistakes were numerous. However, her evil role had nothing to do with any "millenial" German-Magyar alliance against the Slavs. What caused the trouble was the result of a relatively recent change in the structure of the Habsburg Empire-the Austro-Hungarian Compromise (or Ausgleich) in 1867, the act by which Austria-Hungary was created.

The Dualist Monarchy created by the Compromise of 1867 was a Habsburg surrender to Hungarian nationalism. The Compromise acknowledged Hungarian supremacy in multiethnic Hungary, while it reaffirmed the long established German supremacy over the multiethnic Austrian half of the Monarchy. Propositions for equal rights for the nine other nationalities of the Empire were ignored. The losers were mostly Slavs who made up the ethnic majority of Austria-Hungary.

The Dualist system worked differently in the two halves of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the Austrian half, the state remained supranational under Habsburg dynastic rule. In Hungary, on the other hand, the state became national under Hungarian chauvinistic rule. The ancient kingdom of Hungary was being energetically refashioned into a unitary Hungarian nation-state on the Western model. (Parenthetically: I am most critical of the policy of Magyarization and wish the Hungarian political leadership of the Dualist era had had the political wisdom to follow a federalist policy

instead of emulating the Western model of a unitary nation-state. However, criticism of the policy of Magyarization without an equally forceful criticism of the nation-state policies of Hungary's neighbor since World War I to the present, it seems to me, perpetuates a widely accepted point of view which condemns the Hungarians for a policy which is either overlooked or treated much less critically in the case of Hungary's neighbors-not to speak of the fact that the Hungarians in their eagerness to achieve nation-state homogeneity in the pre-W.W.I liberal era have never committed acts of brutalities comparable to those committed by Hungary's neighbors in the post-W.W.II totalitarian age.)

A federalist trend in the Austrian half of the Monarchy was trying to deal with the peculiar problems of Danubian multinationalism. But this feeble Austrian federalism fighting against overwhelming odds was unable to slow down the momentum of Hungarian nationalism. And the example of a Hungarian nation-state in the making only whetted the nationalist appetites of the other Habsburg nationalities. Moreover, the rising nationalist temper of contemporary Europe further hindered the efforts of the handful of Danubian federalists, who were anxious to see Dualism replaced by Federalism.

The survival of the Habsburg Monarchy depended above all on a modus vivendi with the Slavic majority of the Empire. Around the turn of the century, 60 percent of the population in the Austrian half of the Habsburg Monarchy was Slavic, while in the Hungarian half (with Croatia-Slavonia included) the Slavs accounted for 30 percent of the total population. However, without Croatia-Slavonia, Hungary proper only had a total Slav population of less than 20 percent-largest among them being the Slovaks, about 12 percent. (Hungary's single largest non-Hungarian nationality were the Romanians, about 17 percent, who were not Slavs.) Austria's rulers at least tried to meet the crucial Slav problem by making concessions to the Slavs through a policy of Austro-Slavism. No similar effort was made by Hungary's rulers. "Hungaro-Slavism" was a non-existent concept. And even Austro-Slavism, in the other half of the Monarchy, was ill-thought-of and suspected of hurting Hungarian interests.

The Hungarian-Slav conflict was of relatively recent origin. There was no historical analogy as portrayed by wartime propaganda between Hungarian-Slav hostility and the age-old German-Slav antagonism. The Hungarian-Slav conflict began only when both sides discovered that their modern national aspirations were mutually

incompatible. However, the peace of the distant past between Hungarian and Slav was of no help in curing the new-born feelings of hostility. Magyarization convinced the Slavs that the Hungarians were their mortal enemies, while Russian intervention against Hungary in 1849 deepened Hungarian fear of a Slav menace. The bogey of pan-Slavism had so deeply entrenched itself in the Hungarian mind that any kind of Slav demands for national equality during the Dualist era became lumped together with the threat of Russian imperialism.

The sum total of problems undermining the very existence of multiethnic Austria-Hungary was staggering. The "ramshackle" label attached to the old Empire during the War of 1914 was a fitting one. Yet, Austria-Hungary was not on the verge of collapse in 1914-and her internal problems became a threat to world peace only because they were enmeshed with the external conflicts of the Great Powers.

Among the many conflicts that plagued the Habsburg Empire both internally and externally, none was loaded with graver perils to peace than the South Slav problem. Its focus was in the Balkans where the vanishing supremacy of the Ottoman Turks left a power vacuum. Both Russia and Austria-Hungary, the two powers bordering on the Balkans from the North, were looking for a sphere of influence there.

Europe in 1914 would not let Austria-Hungary get away with a military solution to a local crisis in the Balkans-unlike Soviet Russia, which has been getting away, so far, with invading neighboring states in Central and Eastern Europe since the Second World War. The Sarajevo murder tripped off a general war in Europe which became the First World War, instead of adding still another local war-or "little war" in contemporary terminology-to the two Balkan wars of the preceding two years.

* * *

More than half a century after Austria-Hungary's demise in the First World War, the debate over the crimes of Austria-Hungary and over the punishment she suffered is far from over. In particular, the debate continues over such matters as whether or not the multinational Habsburg Empire was a viable state, and whether it was doomed to dissolution in the age of national states or destroyed only because of a lost war.

Speculations apart, the facts are clear enough to furnish the answer to a few fundamental questions, both with reference to Hungary and to Austria-Hungary as well. First and foremost, the rulers of Austria-Hungary decided to declare war on Serbia, at the risk of a European war, in order to preserve the status quo. There were no straws in the wind showing strong new directions of change. There were no convincing signs the Danubian Empire was about to fulfill her modern mission as a commonwealth of nations, and thus she forfeited her ancient role in the European balance of power as well. Hungarian national hegemony was unyielding. Austrian supranationalism was disintegrating. The Habsburg Empire was not on a federalist course which could have saved her from nationalist fragmentation. She was not on the road to becoming an "eastern Switzerland." She was not leading mankind away from nationalism to universalism-as many believed that she should and some still believe that she did.9 In brief, Austria-Hungary went to war in defense of national inequality. She also stood for the preservation of a structure of society which was hostile to democracy.

Germany's backing was a decisive factor in Austria-Hungary's decision to go to war. Reliance on the German alliance filled the rulers of Austria-Hungary with confidence that they could win. They also agreed with the widely held German view that the war was a struggle between Slavs and Teutons for the mastery of Central Europe. On the other hand, Germany's aims in Central Europe-let alone her aims in the world beyond Austria-Hungary's orbit of interest-were not clearly understood either in Vienna or Budapest; perhaps because only during the war did German hegemony fully replace the so-called Central European confederation of Hohenzollerns and Habsburgs conceived by Bismarck. When the governments of Austria-Hungary learned about Berlin's wartime Mitteleuropa plans there was no rejoicing either in Vienna or Budapest. Yet, apprehensions and misgivings concerning the war aims of their German ally notwithstanding, Austria-Hungary's rulers certainly preferred a Berlin-dominated Mitteleuropa to a Central European new deal with equal rights for all.

The mistakes of Austria-Hungary were grave indeed. The Dualist system had to be dumped in order to liberate the Danubian people from national discrimination. The old regime had to be terminated in the interest of both domestic justice and international peace. In the cruder language of wartime propaganda: Austria-Hungary had to be

destroyed. But the war also raised the question of what to put in Austria-Hungary's place? The truth of the matter is that the "New Europe" peace plans of Slav exiles and their Western supporters fell woefully short of providing a satisfactory answer to that vital question.

* * *

In declaring my dissatisfaction with the victors' "New Europe" plans, I feel obliged to disclose what would have been, in my opinion, a better peace plan for a truly new Europe in the Danube region, free of the shortcomings of the old. I have expressed my views on this subject many times in many forms. And rather than pretend that these are new ideas, I would prefer to quote from an essay I wrote on the 50th anniversary of the break-up of Austria-Hungary:

The program that carried the day when Austria-Hungary collapsed was the liberation plan of the Western Allies. "National self-determination"-the lofty principle of that plan, associated with President Wilson's name-unfortunately turned into a policy of territorial punishment and territorial reward. An irreconcilable conflict existed between the territorial demands, supported by the victorious Allies, and the Wilsonian principle of national self-determination. Only a federal reconstruction of the Danube region could resolve the conflict-and the experts knew it. The American Peace Commission's Committee in charge of boundary questions clearly recognized this fact when it reported to Wilson that it was unable to discover a territorial division of Austria-Hungary which would be both just and practical. The Committee's report pointed out that the difficulties could be solved only if the boundaries were to be drawn "with the purpose of separating not independent nations but component portions of a federalized state." ... An Allied federalist liberation policy, emphasizing the democratic solidarity of the Danubian people, could have perhaps united victors and vanquished. In that case, T. G. Masaryk, Eduard Benes, Karl Renner, Otto Bauer, Mihaly Karolyi, Oszkar Jaszi, Milan Hodza, and other liberal Danubians-essentially all of them of the same democratic persuasion-might have joined forces as founders of a Danubian federation, instead of going their separate national ways. In concrete political terms, a federalist liberation policy would have meant a program of preserving the unity of the Habsburg empire without the Habsburgs.11

Admittedly, in actual life, policies can be made only with existing forces-and no federalist forces were at hand in the Danube region or anywhere else in Europe at the time of Allied victory over the Central Powers, except among the defeated Austrians and Hungarians. A Danubian peacemaking according to the federalist plans of the defeated Austrian and Hungarian Socialist and liberal democrats, Oszkar Jaszi's plans of the United States of Danubia in particular,12 would certainly have made a better peace than the nation-state plans of Masaryk, Benes, and other Central and East European victorious nationalists, supported by the "New Europe" well-wishers of the Western democracies.

However, even a nation-state peace, such as the "New Europe" plans of Danubian exiles supported by the Western democracies, could have made a better contribution to peace had propaganda and emotions not triumphed over reason and common sense. For there was no reasonable need whatsoever, from the point of view of European peace, to humiliate the Hungarian people the way Trianon did. Legitimate rights to national independence in the Danube region could have been safely satisfied without placing one-third of the Hungarians under foreign domination of triumphant neighbors. Justice as well as common sense dictated reconciliation. The peace dictated by the Danubian victors to the vanquished Hungarians perpetuated national conflicts. Trianon did the opposite of a true peacemaking.

Instead of encouraging regional union and cooperation, peacemaking in the Danube region after the First World War placed the issue of nation-state boundaries at the top of Danubian politics, thus fanning the flames of rivalry and territorial imperialism. Not unlike the Dualist system of the Ausgleich, the post-First World War nation-state system too poisoned the relations among the Danubian peoples; both systems failed to recognize the rule of national equality, the only way to make enduring peace. The inequities of the Ausgleich era do not vindicate the inequities of the Trianon settlement-the less so because the Trianon peace was supposed to carry out the Western democratic ideals of national self-determination which the Ausgleich never claimed to do.

Thus did the Western democracies, total victors of the first total war, miss a unique opportunity to create out of the ruins of the Habsburg Empire in the Danube region a modern democratic

community of self-governing peoples, founded on a mutual recognition of equal rights.


1. According to the Treaty of Trianon, of the then ca. 10,000,000 Hungarians only about 67% were left in territorially radically reduced Hungary. The rest of them were divided among the territorially enlarged or newly founded neighboring states as follows: Romania got roughly 16% of them, Czechoslovakia 10%, and Yugoslavia 6%. A small number of Hungarians was attached to Austria, a loss which has never been resented the way Hungary's other losses were. The new boundary between Austria and Hungary, moreover, had partly been decided by a plebiscite, keeping the city of Sopron in Hungary.

2. Following the revisions of the Trianon boundaries with Hitler's help, the ratio of ethnical majority and minority in Hungary was not worse, but rather better than in most of the Central and Eastern European countries favored by the territorial settlement of the Paris peacemakers after the First World War. In 1941, the Hungarians held an almost 80% majority in their enlarged country, whereas the majorities in the victor states after the First World War were as follows: around 70% in Czechoslovakia and Poland, 72% in Romania, and 83% in Yugoslavia. Cf. Stephen Borsody, The Tragedy of Central Europe: Nazi and Soviet Conquest and Aftermath (New Haven, 1980), p. 97.

3. The Communist International, No. 7, December 1924-January 1925 (Moscow), p. 93.

4. Ibid., p. 99.

5. Only after the Second World War did Western scholarship turn its attention to a systematic study of First World War propaganda. Scholars of Czech origin did a pioneer work in this field: Z[bynek]. A. B. Zeman, The Break-up of the Habsburg Empire, 1914-1918 (London, 1961); Harry Hanak, Great Britain and Austria-Hungary During the First World War: A Study in the Formation of Public Opinion (London, 1961); D. Perman Dagmar Horna-Permani, The Shaping of the Czechoslovak State: Diplomatic History of the Boundaries of Czechoslovakia, 1914-1920. (Leiden, 1962).

6. Harold Nicolson, Peacemaking 1919 (London, 1933), pp. 32-33.

7. Ibid., p. 34.

8. Masaryk's wartime memoirs offer a detailed account of his propaganda activities: Dr. Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, The Making of a State: Memoirs and Observations 1914-1918; An English Version, Arranged and Prepared with an Introduction by Henry Wickham Steed (London and New York, 1927). However, Masaryk's memoranda which so decisively influenced Allied postwar plans were published only during World War II: R. W. Seton-Watson, Masaryk in England (Cambridge, 1943).

Of particular interest in that collection of documents is Masaryk's memorandum, "At the Eleventh Hour," circulated confidentially in 1916 with a Preface by Ronald M. Burrows and R. W. Seton-Watson, later editors of the periodical, The New Europe, a public propaganda forum for Masaryk's ideas. The peace program Masaryk advised the Allies to implement was called a "Non-German, Anti-German European Central Europe," made up of an "anti-German barrier" formed by Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, three Slav states. One of the "corollaries" of this plan was "the organization of a Magyar as opposed to a Hungarian State," a Trianon Hungary, that is, only even smaller in the sketches Masaryk submitted with his memoranda to the Allied Governments. A book-length elaboration of Masaryk's peace plans was his Nova Evropa; Stanovisko Slovanske (The New Europe: A Slav Point of View) which appeared only after the war.

9. Benes's pamphlet is available both in French and English; the phrases quoted in my summary are translated from the French original: Eduard Benes, Detruisez l'Autriche-Hongrie! Le martyre des Tcheco-Slovaques a travers l'histoire (Paris, 1916). A less shrill version of the same in English translation: Bohemia's Case for Independence. With an Introduction by Henry Wickham Steed (London, 1917). Benes's wartime memoirs supplement those of Masaryk's on Czech propaganda activities: Dr. Eduard Benes, My War Memoirs (London, 1928). Also of interest on the implementation of Czech plans for the reorganization of Central Europe are the memoranda to the Paris peace conference, composed either by Benes personally or under his direction. The text of those memoranda was published in the context of German anti-Czech propaganda of the appeasement thirties, itself a fact of interest: Hermann Raschhofer, Die Tschechslowakischen Denkschriften fur die Friedenskonferenz von Paris 1919-1920 (Berlin, 1937).

10. See Adam Wandruszka, The House of Habsburg: Six Hundred Years of a European Dynasty (New York, 1965), pp. 155-157. -The flare-up of interest in Habsburg studies both in the United States and in Europe after the Second World War is a phenomenon which transcends the narrow world of scholarship; it reflects the general concern over the political developments in Central Europe since the break-up of the Habsburg Empire. The best source of information on a broad range of topics and views in this area are the volumes of Austrian History Yearbook. edited by R. John Rath.

11. Stephen Borsody, The Break-Up of Austria-Hungary; Fifty Years After, reprinted under the title "The Empire: An Unrealized Federal Union," in The Austrian Empire: Abortive Federation? Edited by Harold 3. Gordon, Jr. and Nancy M. Gordon (Lexington, 1974), pp.151, 153.

12. On the eve of the Habsburg Monarchy's collapse, Oszkar Jaszi presented his vision of a federal reorganization of Central and Eastern Europe in his A monarchia jovoje: A dualizmus bukasa es a dunai egyesult

allamok (The Future of the Monarchy: The Fall of Dualism and the Danubian United States) (Budapest, 1918). This pamphlet was translated into German by Stefan V. Hartenstein: Dr. Oskar Jaszi, Der Zusammenbruch des Dualismus and die Zukunft der Donaustaaten (Vienna, 1918). While Jaszi in Hungary was writing his federalist plan, Masaryk, traveling in Russia from Moscow to Vladivostok on his way to the United States, was working on his "The New Europe," projecting the nation-state reorganization of the Danube region. See my essay on "A Story of Two Books" in Hungarian: Istvan Borsody, "Jaszi & Masaryk: Ket konyv tortenete," Latohatar (Munich) X, 1-2 (1959), pp. 56-61.

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