|Regicide at Marseille|
Among the Peace Treaties which ended the first World War, two were resented as particularly repulsive by the interested nations: the Treaty of Sevres (August 20, 1920) which in fact sentenced Turkey to death; and the Treaty of Trianon (June 4, 1920) which carved up Hungary with the intent to cripple her to helplessness. The hour for the burial of these two vital nations, however, had not struck. Within three years (July 24, 1923), in the Treaty of Lausanne, the victorious Turks humiliated all their foes and then proceeded to build up on solid foundations their rejuvenated national State. Nor did the Hungarians, encircled by hostile forces, ever accept mutilation as the final solution of their national destiny. "Subjected to trials which might have destroyed altogether a weaker and less courageous nation," wrote the British Professor Macartney in 1940, "the old tree is able to withstand any storm and even to push out new leaves. . . . Summer always does come back to Hungary."'
Threatened with strangulation by the Little Entente, Hungary reacted with amazing resilience and achieved, instead of her expected collapse, considerable progress between the two World Wars. In 1947, she was subjected again to the ignominy of a second Paris Peace Treaty surpassing the first one in injustice and severity. Her youth decimated by war, her people and her land mutilated, undermined by Communist intrusion, disabled by foreign occupation, spoliation and deportations followed by ruinous inflation - all this twice within half a century - what nation has ever shown such endurance? The Hungarian spirit remained unbroken during the long decade under the Soviet heel, and revealed itself again in 1956, in Hungary's heroic Fight for Freedom: the ninth time since 1604 that the Hungarian people had risen to arms against foreign oppression.
Some misdeeds, bordering on crime, have been committed in our century by Western political leaders which have remained unintelligible to me. Why, for instance, did Lloyd George wish to destroy Turkey, the traditional ally of Britain against Russian imperialism? Of course Britain's wartime alliance with Russia had undermined the British
1Hungarian Quarterly, Vol. VI, No. I, p.189.
position in Constantinople. But as soon as the war was over, did not the Western world need a strong Turkey again to stand guard at the vulnerable Southern flank of Russia? Who was to fulfil Turkey's traditional mission at the Dardanelles: the defense of the Mediterranean world? What interest did it serve to unleash against the Turks outdated colonial ambition - the French in Syria, the Italian in Rhodes and in the Dodecanese, the Greek in Smyrna and its hinterland - unless it was to justify the cumbersome British mandates in Palestine and in Mesopotamia? Who would profit from the breaking up of the Near East into feuding bits of countries while rendering Turkey completely powerless?
One afternoon in London, in the late twenties, I did ask Lloyd George, in a polite way, what were his motives for this policy. The colorful Welshman had dropped in to see Lord Rothermere, who received him in my presence. Still vital, and accentuating his points, Lloyd George admitted that he had erred in his judgment. When the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was destroyed, he believed that Turkey was the remaining "sick man" who also had to be deprived of all influence in order to restore sanity in Europe. "But only the Sultanate was weak; the Turkish people proved to be strong!" he exclaimed. "Now that they have defeated us, you will see, we will be good friends again." This forecast proved to be correct. But even in retrospect his buoyancy prevented Lloyd George from realizing what damage had been done to Europe, when the unity of the Danubian Basin was destroyed.
As far as Hungary was concerned, Lloyd George, a co-author of the Trianon Treaty, was not too happy either. Long before the Treaty was concluded, he became worried about the exaggerated territorial claims of Hungary's neighbors. On March 25, 1919, he wrote that 'there will never be peace in Southeastern Europe if every little State now coming into being is to have a large Magyar irredenta within its borders."2 He also warned that people staying with their motherland should have "precedence over considerations of strategy, of economics or communications, which can usually be adjusted by other means," instead of separation.
These warnings by Lloyd George were not heeded, however, by the
Peacemakers, including Lloyd George himself. The opportunistic con-
2 Lloyd George, Memoirs of the Peace Conference (New Haven, 1939), p. 226.
sideration prevailed in Paris that at the expense of Hungary all her neighbors could be gratified. Moreover, in 1919, from March 22 to the beginning of August - that is, during the period while the Treaties with the Successor States were being drafted - Hungary was subjected to the evil rule of the Communist dictator, Bela Kun. In mid-March, President Wilson had sent George Creel, one of his close collaborators, to Budapest to determine whether there existed in Hungary a stable government which could be invited to the Peace Conference. Creel, later a close friend of mine, related that for three nights, while in Budapest, he slept in his railroad car, such were conditions in the distressed Hungarian capital. He called on the Hungarian President, Count Michael Karolyi, saw his confused collaborators and then reported to President Wilson that the Karolyi Government, befuddled with Marxism, would not last and that Hungary was heading for Communism. A few days later, the degenerate Count, disgusted with excessive French demands, released Bela Kun from jail and handed over his country to this Soviet agent.
So, during the crucial months, while Hungary's fate was being decided, there was no one in Paris to represent Hungary's rightful interests. Neither mercy, nor fairness was practiced by the Peacemakers concerning Communist-ruled Hungary.3
On January 15, 1920, the Allies handed their peace conditions - a truly devastating document, physically to Hungary, morally to themselves - to Count Albert Apponyi, the President of the Hungarian Delegation. Next day, in the name of the people of Hungary, Apponyi addressed a single demand to the Supreme Council. He referred to "the great principle so happily phrased by President Wilson, namely that no group of people, no population, may be transferred from one State to another without being first consulted - as though they were a herd of cattle with no will of their own - in the name of this great principle, an axiom of good sense and public morals," he said, "we request, we demand a plebiscite in those parts of Hungary that are now on the point of being severed from us. I declare we are willing to bow to the decision of a plebiscite whatever it should be."
3 Thanks to David Hunter Mil1er, it is known that Hungary's fate had been irrevocably settled by the Frontier Delimitation Commision of the Supreme Council at the beginning of May, 1919, when the territorial clause, of the Trianon Treaty were completed. It was only on January 15, 1920, that the Hungarian Delegation was handed the Peace Treaty. By then the treaties with the Successor States had all been signal and no territorial change whatsoever could be effected.
Evil though they may be, accomplished facts create more durable results than does a just cause devoid of all power. During the period of revolutionary turmoil in Hungary, the Successor States had transformed the military lines of demarcation into political frontiers guaranteed in Treaties, signed in 1919, by the Allies. Unwilling to remedy a gross injustice, or to undo the badly mangled map of Danubian Europe and then re-do it all over on the basis of the ethnic principle, as pledged, the President of the Supreme Council, Alexandre Millerand, in his Covering Letter, dated May 6, 1920, refused to provide for a plebiscite anywhere. The Letter - conceived by Lord Curzon - cynically argued that having acquired "the certitude that . . . a consultation . . . would not offer a result different sensibly from those which they (the Allies) have arrived at," plebiscites were considered "unnecessary." But to induce Hungary to swallow the bitter pill, it was sugarcoated with another promise, also to be broken. The Letter gave assurance that the Allied and Associated Powers, mindful of the principle which had guided them in the fixing of the frontiers, were ready to admit that some frontiers might not be in harmony with ethnographic and economic requirements, and that local investigation might demonstrate the necessity of shifting the present border-line here and there. Modifications judged desirable by a Delimitation Commission were therefore allowed to be reported to the Council of the League of Nations which would offer its services for an amiable rectification of the frontier. In conclusion, the Letter declared that the Allied Powers expected a Declaration from the Hungarian Delegation within ten days giving them to understand that they were authorized to sign the Treaty as it stood.
A note from Count Apponyi, the next day, to Mr. Millerand, expressed the Hungarian Delegation's "most painful surprise" at the Allied Powers' refusal to apply in Hungary's case the principle they had proclaimed. Unable to accept the responsibility for an affirmative answer, Apponyi announced the entire Delegation's demission. On May 17, 1920, the Hungarian Government reiterated Apponyi's protest "against the manifest breach of the principle of the right of a free self-determination" for the people of Hungary and stated that it was "precisely by virtue of this principle that the Government thought it possible to abstain from insisting on incontestable historic rights." The foundation for a future Hungarian policy aimed at the revision of "Trianon"
was therewith established. Then, battered into helplessness, and with reference to Millerand's Covering Letter seeming to contain "formal promises of a nature to alIow, some softening of the stipulations of the Peace Treaty in the near future," the Hungarian Government declared: "Led by this supposition and fully conscious of the grave situation of the country, the Hungarian Government do not consider themselves able to refuse signing the Treaty of Peace." This act was perfected on June 4, 1920, in the palace of the "Grand Trianon," located in the park of Versailles. On the same day the dejected Hungarian Government resigned.
The Note in which the representatives of the Hungarian Government informed the Conference of Ambassadors on November 24, 1920, of the ratification of the Treaty, contained a passage reminding the Allies of their obligations toward Hungary: "Never in all the thousand years of Hungary's history has the nation been called upon to ratify so cruel a treaty and one containing such severe conditions. It could only do this in the sure and unshakable hope that the signatory Great Powers will find and apply the most adequate means for enforcing the few provisions designed to protect Hungary's interests." This "unshakable hope," based mainly on the Millerand Letter, did not materialize. No action was ever undertaken or even considered by the League of Nations to rectify any part of the Hungarian frontier. Such Hungarian demands were already squelched at the level of the Delimitation Commissions in which the desires of the beneficiaries of the Trianon Treaty prevailed.
Nor had the Hungarian hope been fulfifled concerning the protection of the Hungarian minorities thus created. In its Note of November 24, the Hungarian Government once more emphatically called attention to this problem. It stated that, "Means should be found to regulate the question of the national minorities living in the transferred territories, whose lot is very far from enviable. Imprisoned, maltreated, bereft of their possessions, exposed to every kind of molestation, their rights violated, with no possibility of appeal to any impartial authority for redress of their wrongs, these unfortunate people find their situation going from bad to worse and are enjoying none of the minority rights promised them under the Treaty of Trianon. Denied the advantages of a plebiscite," the Note ended, "we had to let our fate be decided by the victors. We resigned ourselves to the inevitable, but in so doing
were led by the conviction that the Great Powers would be able to enforce their will not only to the detriment of Hungary but also in the interest of the victims of the Treaty, that is, of the minorities in the transferred territories."
Western critics, even some unfriendly to Hungary, find little satisfaction in her senseless crippling in contravention of pledges and principles proclaimed by the victors. Harold Nicholson, the British chronicler of the Peace conference-never accused of being friendly to Hungary explains morosely in "Peacemaking" that the main objective at the Peace Conference was not to offer a general regional settlement to the Successor States, but to consider the specific claims submitted by the Czechoslovak, the Rumanian and the Yugoslav Committees.4 It was too late when it was realized that these "entirely separate Committees bad between them imposed on Hungary a loss of territory and population which, when combined, was very serious indeed. . . . The total cessions imposed placed more Magyars under alien rule than was consonant with the Doctrine of Self-Determination." According to the Hungarian census of 1910, 3,352,791 Hungarians were transferred under alien rule without having been consulted. Rumania alone obtained 31.7 per cent of Hungary's territory, with only 28.6 per cent remaining in Hungary of the land cultivated and defended for over one thousand years with the sweat and blood of the Hungarians.
Another British expert, Hugh Seton-Watson, who inherited some of his father's pro-Slav bias, while generally defending the 1919 Peace Treaties admits5 that as a result of the Trianon Treaty "large numbers of people were left on the wrong side of the frontiers, and their existence gave rise to a series of international problems commonly summarized under the name of Minority Problems...." He tells us that "the northern fringe of the Hungarian plain was taken by Czechoslovakia on the grounds that, although its population is mainly Hungarian, a strip of fertile land was necessary to the economic life of Slovakia. The plainland west of the Transylvanian Western Mountains was assigned to Rumania in order to give that country a railway line of economic and military importance connecting north and south . . Subotica and Baranya areas on the Hungarian frontier were given to Yugoslavia for strategic reasons. In areas of this kind minorities are separated by
4 Harold Nicholson, Peacemaking (London, 1933), pp. 117, 127-128.
5 Hugh Seton-Watson, Eastern Europe Between the Wars (Carnbridge, 1940), pp. 269-270.
what seems to them an arbitrary line from the main body of their peoples, with whose countries they are immediately contiguous."
Professor C. A. M. Macartney,6 recalls "what the Treaty of Trianon did to Hungary. It made an end of the historic State which had existed ever since Arpad led his warriors across the Carpathians at the end of the ninth century A.D. Of its area (excluding Croatia-Slavonia) of 282,876 square kilometers, it assigned 4,020 to Austria, 61,633 to Czechoslovakia, 589 to Poland, 103,093 to Rumania, 21 to Italy and 20,547 to Yugoslavia, which also received the 42,541 square kilometers of Croatia-Slavonia, leaving Hungary herself with only 92,963. Of the population of 18,264,533 (Inner Hungary. Census figures of 1910), Austria received 291,618, Czechoslovakia 3,517,568, Poland 23,662, Rumania 5,257,467, Italy 49,806 and Yugoslavia 1,509,295, besides the 2,621,954 inhabitants of Croatia-Slavonia. 7,615,117 persons were left to Hungary. And although the dismemberment of Hungary was effected in the name of national self-determination, substantial numbers of Magyars were, on any computation, transferred to the Successor States. . . . The persons of Magyar mother-tongue shown by the 1910 census as residing in the area assigned to the Successor States (adjusted after the Sopron plebiscite and other minor rectifications) amounted to 26,183 to Austria, 1,063,020 to Czechoslovakia, 230 to Poland, 1,704,851 to Rumania, 6,493 to Italy and 441,787 to Yugoslavia (besides 105,948 in Croatia-Slavonia). . . . In many cases, solidly or preponderantly Magyar areas contiguous to the main central bloc of Magyar population were left outside Hungary's new frontiers for the economic or strategic benefit of the Successor States..."
The Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs published in 1920 the papers which his Government had submitted to the Paris Peace Conference.7 We read there that in Hungary, preceding her dismemberment, "persons of Hungarian mother tongue make 54.5 per cent of the whole population and those of another language than the Hungarian are distributed among three greater and several small races: Rumanians 16.1 per cent; Slovaks 10.7 per cent; Germans 10.4 per cent; Serbs 2.5 per cent;" (others 5.8 per cent). Considering that the Czech element only made up slightly less than half of Czechoslovakia's population and the Serbs in Yugoslavia only 36 per cent, it was only Rumania
6 C.A.M. Macartney, October Fi/teenth: A History of Modern Hangary, 1929-1945 (Edinburgh, 1957), pp. 4-5.
7 Viclor Hornyansky, Hungarian Peace Negotiation, (Budapest, 1920), p.2.
among the Successor States where the racial composition of the population appeared to be more homogenous (73 per cent) than it had been in old-time Hungary.
But according to the Rumanian census of 1930, in Transylvania proper-the most ancient Hungarian province transferred to Rumania - with a population of 2,870,751, the Rumanians numbered 1,657,923; thus forming only a slight majority of 56.1 per cent. Even after the expatriation of 197,000 Hungarians from Transylvania there stfll remained in 1930, 826,796 Hungarians, about half as many as there were Rumanians. This Rumanian superiority in numbers was offset, however, by the higher cultural and economic standards of the Hungarians. The above quoted Hungarian official publication of 1920 describes the racial composition of the inhabitants in the 41 towns which had to be ceded that year by Hungary to Rumania: 64.6 per cent were Hungarians, with only 17.7 per cent Rumanians and 15.3 per cent Germans, the latter representing equally higher cultural and economic standards than those of the Rumanians. At the time of their transfer to Rumania, in the towns and villages with more than three thousand inhabitants the majority, 58.7 per cent, were Hungarians, and the Rumanians amounted to 23.4 per cent. Only in rural areas with villages under three thousand inhabitants did the Rumanian population achieve a majority.
It is in consideration of such facts that Professor Macartney8 properly stated that "while the authors of the Treaty had held the ethnic principle to possess an overriding validity before which all historical, economic and other considerations must give way, they had in practice violated that principle very largely to the detriment of Hungary. And those other considerations had not been negligible. Historic Hungary had constituted a geographical unit of a perfection hardly to be matched in Europe. . . So the Treaty which dismembered Hungary did not lop off outlying parts unconnected with the center, or with each other; it cut through organic nexuses, severing sources of supply from factories, primary industries from their finishing counterparts, the finished product from its purchaser. The remnant which called itself Hungary was left with useless amputated stumps sticking out in every direction and an economic structure unsuited to its natural conditions, being semi-industrialized, with emphasis on the
8 Ibid., p.5.
finishing industry, but containing, so far as was then known . . few mineral resources or sources of power and thus, as it appeared, destined by nature to be an agricultural country...."
As the leader of the Small Holders (Peasant) Party, I conducted, between the two World Wars, research on various economic and social problems. Among the twenty-five European Continental states, Hungary was ninth, at that time, as far as the density of the population was concerned. I found that Hungarian agriculture could not support more than 120 persons per square mile. But the density of the population was 217 and machinery was not being used on the farms in order to provide more work for the rural laborers. Industry had to be developed even though very few raw materials necessary for industrialization were left. In sources of energy Hungary had become unusually poor; her coal supply per capita amounted to only 5 per cent of the European average and hydroelectric power was simply non-existent. Under Soviet domination the Communist Governments in Hungary have been having a tough time also; their industrialization plans have broken down twice within sixteen years. Hungarian labor continues to pay with its hardships for the mistakes of the Peacemakers.
The problems of the white collar workers could not be solved properly either. The overhead of a much larger country weighing on post-war mutilated Hungary was augmented by 350,000 refugees, most of them intellectuals of all professions, employees, teachers dismissed by the new rulers. These paupers came streaming back from the ceded areas to what had remained of Hungary. In the budget of the Hungarian State Railways pensions soon amounted to more than did the salaries. Wives were dismissed from employment to make place for the refugees. In the overcrowded country, there were no jobs, practically no place left for the youth. Of the three thousand graduating yearly from the Hungarian Universities, about one thousand found some work, often in menial jobs, or by underbidding union wages. What happened to the rest of these desperate youth? It was Hitler who had an answer to their problems, and for that the Paris Peacemakers must share the responsibility.
No aid could be expected for Hungary from abroad either, following the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. An ethnographic frontier may become a political frontier, but it should not serve as an instrument of economic isolation. Within the ring formed by
the Carpathians almost every river, and every valley leads in the direction of the Hungarian Plain; and the timber and industrial raw materials produced in the mountainous districts are just as indispensable to the inhabitants of the Plain as are the foodstuffs produced in the Plain to the peoples living in the mountains. The settlement of the inhabitants in the whole territory in question, as well as the establishment of towns, has actually followed the dictates of this necessity. More than a thousand years ago the Magyar conquerors of the country took possession of the fertile plains, slopes and river valleys; the peoples of other races living there at the time, withdrew to the world of forests and mountains, which later on also became the home of the foreign settlers who filtered into the Carpathian Basin.
This ethnographical distribution of races in the Basin has remained practically unchanged down to our times. The centrally-situated capital of Hungary, Budapest, was built on both shores of the Danube, at the most important point of contact between the Carpathians and the Plain; the commercial and industrial centers of the provinces have also sprung into being at points of contact between the Highlands and the Lowlands, at the places most advantageous for the exchange of their products. Consequently, the provincial towns lie at the meeting points of mountain and plain, whereas on that line ethnic groups in most cases become separated. In the event of the interposition of customs frontiers, these towns-whether annexed to the Plain or to the Highlands - become incapable of fulfilling the mission awaiting them. They were compelled to undertake a one-sided economic function, whereas their natural function is a double one: to form a connecting link between two economic areas and systems of divergent character. These towns have two hinterlands - not one. And customs frontiers act as particularly anti-economic and disturbing factors in the disunited Carpathian Basin. The crippling of the Hungarian nation crippled the beneficiaries also.
We must in general describe as untenable the miniature economic autarchies formed after the war by the tiny States of the Danube Valley which have become the source of an unnatural and injurious development. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was economically a well balanced structure. With respect to agricultural products it was practically self-supporting; it did not produce export surpluses and was therefore able to ensure all agrarian producers a reasonable
price by the aid of a moderate customs tariff. In the industrial field the Monarchy had in general a favorable balance, thus providing possibilities for export and the accumulation of capital and wealth. Apart from the advantage that the Monarchy was not dependent upon any outside factor, its independence was also ensured by the circumstance that it was not driven to rely on the German market to the extent in evidence in all the agrarian States of the Danube Valley, following the disruption of the Monarchy.
The Paris Treaties substituted for the customs frontier of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy - some five thousand miles in length with a moderate customs tariff on imports - a "Chinese Wall," some nine thousand miles long, imposing absurdly high customs duties. Apart from intersecting the economic lines of connection that had existed for centuries, the new economic frontier grew into an impassable barrier and led to the systematic introduction of export and import prohibitions, paralyzing the once active merchandise traffic between the interdependent territories of the Danube region.
This unnatural situation eventually compelled the small States of the Danube Valley to halfheartedly introduce a system of self-supply, if only for the purpose of satisfying home requirements. During the course of two decades, each of these States appropriated the trifling capital at its disposal for the purpose of developing those branches of production which could not operate at a profit and, for that very reason, had not been in existence before. The agrarian territories - short of hard currencies - created heavy industry while the industrial countries brought into being a subsidized agriculture for the purpose of making themselves independent of outside pressures and influences. And, urged on by their political antagonisms, these States invested capital in this unnatural development in proportion as the necessity for an extension of the number of articles protected by customs duties and the measure of protection increased. Before her annexation by Germany, Austria was paying her farmers a higher subsidy for the wheat produced in that Alpine land than the market price of wheat was in neighboring Hungary. Economic isolation was undoubtedly harmful to Hungary, but it became equally detrimental to her estranged neighbors, for none of them possessed the attributes of economic independence; particularly at the time when Hitler began to pull them systematically into the Nazi living-space. Incomparably greater
were the attributes of stability in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy which had been changed in the workshop of peace into a shaky new system, expected to last unchanged.
It had been Hungary's historical role to organize the united defense of the Central Valley of the Danube surrounded by the majestic Carpathian Mountains, against assaults, whether from the East or from the West. During three centuries of continuous warfare against onslaughts of the Ottoman Empire, the Hungarian nation - as numerous as the French in the fifteenth century when the Turkish invasions starte - decreased from five million to one million by the end of the Turkish wars in the beginning of the eighteenth century. The two hardest hit Hungarian provinces in the South were repopulated mostly by refugees fleeing Northward from the still beleaguered Balkans: Transylvania by Rumanians, and the Banat by Southern Slavs and other nationalities. In the Banat ceded to Yugoslavia, there still remained-in spite of the ravages of three centuries of warfare - a relative Hungarian majority as against the Southern Slavs (Serb, Croat, Bulgar and Bunyevac populations) who in 1919 took over this province.9 By the end of the first World War, these nationalities made up 45.5 per cent of Hungary's total population. They were allotted by the Trianon Treaty 71.4 per cent of her territory and 63.5 per cent of her population.
Even temporarily, this kind of peace settlement could only be maintained by force, not by the consent of the victim. In this respect, the military clauses of the Trianon Treaty betrayed much foresight and a complete lack of decency. Surrounded by neighbors hostile to her - for fear was preying on their mind - Hungary's new frontier was to become indefensible. Deep inside the Big Plain, it afforded no natural obstade whatever against invasions from the North, East and South. Budapest, the capital, was less than 20 miles away from the border and the next two largest cities, Szeged and Miskolcz, were even closer to it. No major effort would be needed to destroy these cities overnight with gunfire from across the border, against which Hungary would have no protection.
For, wide open to enemy attack as she was, the Trianon Treaty deprived Hungary of all effective means of defense. "No heavy gun, i.e. a caliber greater than 105 mm.," no armored cars or tanks of any
9 Magyar Statisztikai Szemle, 1940, No. 11, p. 773.
size (Section 1, Table V) were authorized for the token armed force of Hungary with which to defend itself against such excellent arms as were manufactured in Czechoslovakia by the Skoda Works for the use of the Little Entente and, some time later, for Hitler. Conscription and the drafting of recruits were forbidden in order to prevent Hungary from forming a reserve force for her army limited to 35,000 mercenaries while the combined armed forces of the hostile Little Entente amounted to half a million men. The enslavement of Hungary was to remain in all events a cheap affair, for the Treaty ordered: "The armed forces of Hungary must not include any military or naval air forces" (Article 128). This prohibition extended even to the purely defensive fighter planes. To eliminate every risk for the victors should the Hungarians have to be slaughtered from the air, anti-aircralt guns were not authorized either. Completing the elegance of these stipulations, Hungary was to be kept in ignorance concerning eventual military moves or preparations directed against her. She had to undertake "not to accredit nor to send to any foreign country any military, naval or air mission" (Article 142), herself remaining subjected to military control.
This control, carried out mainly by hostile Little Entente personnel, was not only rigid, but also vexatious and was to serve political as well as military purposes. In January, 1928, the Little Entente powers protested to the League of Nations against a shipment of armaments sent from Italy to Hungary. The ensuing international investigation established that the five freight cars-discovered at the border station near Szentgotthard-were loaded with machine-gun parts. It was some rusty Italian booty from the World War, unusable for military purposes. But it was useful material for propaganda against clandestine Hungarian rearmament and was fully exploited as such.
Why was this rubbish ever acquired by the Hungarian Army? Only because it was in contravention of the Trianon Treaty! An attitude of defiance was developing in the tiny Hungarian Army, justified as far as its contempt for the Treaty was concerned, but unhealthy when involving undue risks for the nation. The Trianon Treaty gradually created a situation in Hungary which made parliamentary control of military affairs, at first difficult, and later impossible. From 1935 on when Nazi Germany discarded with impunity all her military restrictions, the Hungarian Army felt itself bound by nothing except the
limitations of its budget. It considered all interest of civilian - like members of Parliament - in military affairs as unpatriotic snooping into secrets that were not to be divulged. No worthwhile progress was thus achieved in the military sense, but the Army maintained its self-respect by disobedience to the despised Treaty.
Only in 1938, one year before the outbreak of the second World War, could Hungary announce her decision to rearm, and belatedly her military organization did proceed thereafter according to an orderly plan. Only Hitler profited however from Hungary's military unpreparedness which disabled her from resisting the German Army's march across her territory in April, 1941, for the attack against Yugoslavia.
|Regicide at Marseille|