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THE Compromise placed Hungary in a position which in many ways was more favourable than she had enjoyed since Mohács; in some respects, the nation had never before in its history been so truly master of its own destinies. From Pozsony to the Iron Gates, from the Tatras to Nagykanizsa, a single law reigned, administered by one government, which was able to express its will, and that of the parliament to which it was answerable, in a far wider field and with far fewer limitations than ever before. In all internal affairs - and that term included the Hungaro-Croat relationship and the nationalities question - the Crown retained only those limited powers of intervention which the central European political philosophy of the day commonly allowed to a constitutional monarch. These included the right to appoint the Minister President and to dissolve or prorogue parliament, but not to rule indefinitely without a parliament, nor to veto legislation enacted by it; although this last omission was largely rendered superfluous by his power to choose the Minister President of his will and by a right conceded to him by convention to give or refuse 'preliminary sanction' to a Bill before it was introduced.

It was true that Hungary was not autonomous in the conduct of her foreign relations, or her defence. For these purposes, she still formed only a part of the indissolubly and inseparably interlinked complex of the Habsburg Monarchy, and her interests in these fields had to be coordinated with those of its other components, through 'common institutions'. Yet even here the improvement in her position was enormous. While the conduct of foreign affairs was still the monarch's prerogative, he now had to exercise it through a responsible minister, who, by convention, was chosen alternately from the 'Austrian' and Hungarian halves of the Monarchy. Moreover, any likelihood that Hungary's interests would in the future be sacrificed, as they had been so often in the past, in causes which did not interest her, was much diminished by the pragmatic fact that after the loss of Lombardo-Venetia, Hungary was larger in area than the rest of the Habsburg dominions put together and by far the largest single unit in them. It was easily arguable that the protection afforded her by the Austrian connection now far outweighed its dangers.

She had an equal voice, in law, in the tariff policy of the Monarchy and in other questions affecting its economic and financial interests as a whole. The customs union with Austria could be denounced; for the present, it met the interests of the leading Hungarian circles. The quota of 30 per cent which she had agreed to pay towards the common expenditure was, again, subject to revision; meanwhile, it could not be regarded as inequitable.

The real and large benefits which the Compromise conferred on Hungary were, however, half-hidden from the eye of the nation by the mists of suspicion engendered by the centuries in which the Austrian connection had brought it so much disadvantage; whereas there were certain points on which it was difficult for it to feel itself truly independent, even now. Easily the most conspicuous of these were those connected with the common army, over which, as has been said, Francis Joseph had retained a large a measure of control. It was psychologically impossible for him to regard this force otherwise than as the instrument of his personal rule, which must place loyalty to himself above any other consideration, including that of national sentiment. This was also the spirit of his senior officers, who continued to regard all national feelings, and especially Hungarian national feeling, as a threat to the integrity of the Monarchy. Flagrant proof of this was given by the prolonged resistance offered by them - which it took all Andrássy's personal influence with the monarch to overcome - to the dissolution of the Military Frontier. In the course of this controversy Francis Joseph also sanctioned the establishment of a secondline force, the Honvédség, in which Magyar was the language of command; but he refused absolutely to admit any language but German in the central army, and this the Hungarians regarded as another proof that in this field they were still regarded as mere subjects, and potentially rebellious ones at that.

A large measure of central control had survived also -partly, perhaps, because neither Deák nor Andrássy was well versed in the subject - in the finances of the Monarchy. There was only a single Bank of Issue, and Hungary had little control over its operations. In the numerous other questions which the Compromise left unclear, and over which Austria and Hungary soon clashed, it was not always the Hungarians who had the bigger grounds of complaint, but they had some grievances which were real.

Yet for all its imperfections, the Compromise still created a situation which was replete with possibilities for constructive work. Unfortunately, the political evolution of the country took from the outset a line which precluded the full utilisation of those possibilities by concentrating on the 'question of public law', i.e., the question whether the Compromise was to be accepted, altered, or completely overthrown.

It was on this question that the parties aligned themselves as soon as Hungary's parliamentary life proper began. Deák's followers, the men who had voted the Compromise and were now prepared to work on the basis of it, organised themselves in a party known by their leader's name. The view diametrically opposite to theirs was represented in parliament by a group known as the 'Party of '48', or 'Extreme Left', who rejected anything short of the position established by the April Laws. A third group, led by Kálmán Tisza and Kálmán Ghyczy, constituted itself under the name of the 'Left Centre'. Its programme, formulated in the so-called 'Bihar Points', emphasised its devotion to constitutional methods, but was tantamount to a complete repudiation of the Compromise, since it rejected any institutions which it described as incompatible with the nation's independence, as established in Law X of 1790, and consequently demanded an independent army and complete autarchy in the fields of finance and commercial policy.

This alignment was perhaps inevitable at the time, in view not only of the natural difficulty experienced by the national spirit, accustomed as it was by long habit to see politics exclusively in the terms of the struggle against 'Austrian' oppression, now to adapt itself to a new outlook, but also when the composition of the parliament itself is remembered; for new elections were not held when the Compromise was made law, so that the parliament of 1867 was, in membership, simply the Diet of 1865, whose sole raison d' etre had been the settlement of the question of public law, and the two main parties were merely the successors of the groups which had formed in the course of the earlier discussions. But what were initially natural interests hardened afterwards into obsessional fixations. The evolution was fatally facilitated by the withdrawal of the Crown from its traditional role of protector of national and social minorities, and by failure to redress the grave social-political imbalance thus created, by introducing a franchise wide enough to enable those classes to speak for themselves. Sheltered by a franchise which was already narrow, and which an amendment which became law in 1874 restricted still further[26], the two great groups into which the 'political nation' fell simply ignored, by tacit agreement, social and (once the Law of 1868 was passed) national questions; or if these did raise their heads, combined to repress them; concentrating instead on barren constitutional issues in which prestige all too often played a larger part than real interest.

The Deák Party got off to a good start. It negotiated successfully the Nagodba and the Nationalities Law, and enacted a number of Laws consequent on the Compromise and a whole number more bringing the administrative, judicial, confessional and economic system of the country up to date. It was able, moreover, to sun itself in an air of prosperity. The harvests were good, and the big landowners flourished. Foreign capital scented opportunities, and poured into the country. There was a banking and business boom in which speculators made quick fortunes, and a big programme of railway construction, most of it financed by foreign capital on which the state guaranteed the interest, was undertaken.

For all that, the position of the party was never easy. It kept its position owing to its good organisation, the support of the Transylvanians, and, in no small measure, the great personal prestige enjoyed by its leaders. But it never had more than a minority of the country behind it. The Nagodba had been got through the Sabor only by packing that body with the help of an electoral Law especially devised for the occasion, and Croat public opinion was unmistakably against it. The nationalities of Inner Hungary were equally discontented. When the Law had first been discussed in draft in 1861, the Slovak, Serb and Roumanian representatives had opposed even the idea of a politically - unitary state, however great the freedom enjoyed in it by a member of a national minority. The Slovaks had wanted an autonomous 'Slovak Territory of Upper Hungary', the Serbs, a near-independent Voivodina, and the Roumanians,. at least the maintenance of Transylvanian autonomy, with corporate rights in it for themselves. In 1868 they had repeated these demands, and alternatively had proposed that Hungary should be constituted as a multinational state with six official languages, and corresponding administrative electoral divisions. The Law had been imposed on them by force majeure, and its enactment had been followed by wide spread unrest in several districts.

But the defenders of the Compromise were also under constant fire from the other flank. Kossuth, still the most popular Hungarian, had from his exile addressed to Deák an impassioned 'Cassandra Letter', prophesying woe to the instrument and accusing its author of having sacrificed the

honour and vital interests of the country to a short-lived and illusory expediency. Few Hungarians at that time were prepared to follow Kossuth the whole way; even the Extreme Left, which went no further than 1848, could muster only seven representatives in the 1867 Parliament. But the feeling that Hungary had not made a good enough bargain was widespread. The Left Centre had a large parliamentary representation, and much popular support. A free vote in the Magyar districts would probably have gone heavily against the Compromise. As it was, when elections were held in 1869 they brought the 'national Opposition' considerable gains, and that although the government had resorted to a good deal of pressure.

The Deák Party, however, still commanded a comfortable majority, and for another year or two things still went well. Andrássy, in particular, was able on two notable occasions both to demonstrate in striking fashion the strength of Hungary's position, and to reinforce it. In 1870, while still Hungarian Minister President, he was yet able to veto a plan, strongly urged by the Austrian war party, to intervene in the Franco-Prussian War in the hope of recovering for Austria the hegemony in Germany. In 1871, when Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, he thwarted a plan for reorganising the western half of the Monarchy on a federalist basis more favourable to Czech wishes.

But already matters were taking a turn for the worse. The personal composition of the Party deteriorated. Deák grew old and ill; Eötvös died; Andrássy moved to the Ballhausplatz. The government found that it had overreached itself financially, especially on the railways programme; there were big budgetary deficits, and ugly rumours of personal corruption. The 1872 elections brought both the Left Centre and the Extreme Left large gains, while the Deák Party lost further members to a new Conservative Party. Then came the great financial crash of 1873, which pricked the bubble of the boom and swept away many insecurely-founded fortunes.

People were talking hopelessly of 'collapse' when the situation was transformed by a volte-face on the part of Tisza (Ghyczy had already crossed the floor), who announced himself ready to put the Bihar Points into cold storage until a more favourable moment; pending the arrival of this he would, in order to avert complete collapse, work on the basis of the existing Compromise. His motives were, of course, much discussed, and he was widely accused of having sold his principles for the sake of office, but the truth seems to be that he had come to realise that Hungary was simply not strong enough to challenge the Crown and the nationalities simultaneously, and had decided that the only practicable course was to suspend hostilities on the one front while consolidating the other. However this may be, he fused his followers with the remnants of Deák's in a new 'Liberal Party', pledged to the maintenance of the Compromise, and that Party thereafter remained continuously in office for thirty years, during sixteen of which (1887 - 1890) Tisza himself held the Minister Presidency.

The strength of the Left Centre had lain in the Magyar squires and squireens of the Alföld. When Tisza changed sides, many of these men followed their leader, so that, taking them together with the old Deákists, the Liberal Party now included a substantial proportion of Hungary's propertied classes. It still, however, had against it not only those factors in the country, such as the non-Magyars, who were against the Compromise for giving Hungary too much independence, but also those stalwarts who continued to oppose it for giving too little. The Magyar farmers and civites of the Alföld towns persisted in swearing by Kossuth and '48, and in rallying behind those who claimed to represent these magic traditions. Against both these forces the Liberal Party maintained itself by a brilliant internal organisation and by electoral devices. As the Magyar masses were difficult to dragoon, Tisza in 1879 carried through a redistribution of constituencies, the effect of which was that the Magyar districts of the Alföld elected only one deputy to several thousand constituents. In the non-Magyar districts, the educational qualifications confined the number of voters to what was sometimes no more than a handful, and they were quite simply coerced by administrative pressure into returning the government's nominees. By these means the party regularly secured comfortable parliamentary majorities, but its rule was simply that of a clique, and it was the achievements, good and ill, of that clique, not the free interplay of social and national forces, which made Hungary what it was at the end of the nineteenth century.

It is impossible to deny that those achievements were impressive in many fields. By the end of the period, financial order had been restored and although the national debt was still heavy, the most exorbitant loans had been paid off or funded on better terms. Budgets were balanced and the national credit was good. Foreign, as well as Austrian, capital had continued to find the country an attractive field of investment. With this help the grandiose programme of railway construction had been completed, the main rivers had been made navigable, and roads improved. This all~important first step had made possible further modernisation in almost every field. Agriculture still employed over 65 per cent of the population, but other occupations were gaining on it. The nascent industry of the first years had been set back by the crash of 1873, which ruined a great number of enterprises, and the customs union with Austria had retarded its rebirth; but after about 1890 the state had begun to encourage it by loans, subsidies, government contracts and similar devices, and by 1900 nearly a million men and 200,000 women (13 per cent of the gainfully employed population) were employed in mining and industry; the proportion in central and northern Hungary was considerably higher. The vast majority of the 'industrial enterprises' were, indeed, still tiny establishments of the village blacksmith or suburban cobbler class, but the larger establishments of 'factory' status were growing fast in number and size. The most firmly based were those which utilised the local natural resources: flour-mills, breweries, sugar refineries, sawmills, tanneries, but there was a growing metallurgical industry, and the mining of both coal and iron employed a considerable number of workers. Trade, too, had expanded largely, and the growing complexity of the new society had brought with it a big expansion of both the administrative and the professional classes. The 1900 census gave over 200,000 persons gainfully employed in the public services (excluding the army) and the professions.

Agriculture itself had made big advances: methods had been improved and yields raised. The area both under cereals and under intensive crops had risen sharply, and the national production of agricultural products had nearly doubled between 1870 and 1890.

The growth of the non-agricultural occupations had brought with it that of the towns. A quarter of the population still lived in scattered farms or small hamlets and only some 20 per cent in 'towns', but the latter figure was rising year by year. Budapest (now a single city) alone had a population of nearly 800,000, having doubled since 1880. Szeged had 102,000, Szabadka over 80,000, Debrecen 75,000, and a dozen more towns were on or near the 50,000 mark. The civic pride of many of these was attested by imposing public buildings. Thought and money had been lavished on the endeavour to make Budapest, in particular, a capital worthy of a great, and independent country and the peer of Vienna. Besides the famous Suspension Bridge, the child of Széchenyi's inspiration, four more bridges for road traffic and one for rail now spanned the Danube. An immense new royal palace crowned one end of Buda Hill; the other was laid out as a public garden, behind cunningly reconstructed bastions. From its walls the eye looked across the great river on to the 'corso' on which society strolled in front of a long row of fashionable

hotels and cafés; behind these were the luxury shopping streets, and a forest of roofs above which there rose the great contours of the National Museum, the University, of the Opera House, the Court Theatre, the Palace of the Academy. Upstream the waters washed the feet of the vast Gothic Parliament, architecturally inspired by that of Westminster; beyond it again, the green pleasure-gardens of the Margaret Island. Behind all this stretched huge quarters of humbler buildings, and away to the south, a forest of chimneys indicated Csepel Island, the site of Hungary's most important heavy industry.

In 1900 Inner Hungary had two universities, and Croatia one. Besides these there was a big polytechnic, afterwards promoted to university status, and a large number of colleges of law, theology, agriculture, mining, etc. Intellectual life was active. The contribution made by Hungary during this age to European civilisation was more than respectable: the names of the great physicist, Loránd Eötvös, and of Ignác Semmelweiss, alone suffice to attest this. The generation which succeeded it tends to rank its achievements in the creative arts, qualitatively, below those of its predecessor and its successors: it is true that the men who first made Hungary glorious in these fields - Vörösmarty, Pet fi, Arany, Madách, Jókai, Liszt, Erkel - were either dead before the era opened, or had their best work behind them, and Bartók, Kodály, Ady were yet to come. But quantitatively, its production both in literature and in music was very big, and Hungary also produced exponents of the visual arts who achieved world fame.

Yet pride in these achievements - and the celebrations of its millennium in which the nation indulged in 1896 were the occasion of extraordinary self-congratulation -could not alter the truth that the era had failed to solve a whole series of problems inherited from the past, and had even seen the creation (not always through its own fault) of new ones. Its proud structure concealed weaknesses which were destined, only a few years later, to bring everything which it had built up, indeed, the whole edifice of Historic Hungary itself, toppling to the ground.

Among these unsolved problems, the most conspicuous were those of the non-Magyar nationalities, and of Croatia.

The history of Hungary's relations with the nationalities after 1867 is the same dismal hen-and-egg story as before 1848, embittered on both sides by the memories of the intervening years. As we have said, the nationalities had accepted the Law of 1868 only under force majeure, and few of them thereafter showed any wish to make a success of it; the majority continued to hope openly for a situation to arise in which at least their old programmes could be revived.

But neither had many Magyars accepted in their hearts the notion that the primacy which the Law allowed the Magyar language was simply a pragmatic concession to administrative convenience, and that Hungary was no more the Magyars' state than that of the Ruthenes or Roumanians. For them, the Magyar national character of the state was axiomatic, and the conduct of the nationalities in and after 1848, and the attitude of Vienna towards them, had only confirmed their conviction that the very survival of the Hungarian state depended on the maintenance of its Magyar character.

While Deák and Eötvös were still there to exercise a restraining influence, the Law was still, up to a point, observed, but even then the national character of the administration was complete; that is to say, the officials might deal with the public in the local language - and indeed, local administration was so conducted up to the last, of necessity and not, as a rule, reluctantly but they did so as the representatives of a state which identified itself with Magyardom, and were seldom admitted to the service of the state unless they accepted the identification. Any cultural aspirations on the part of the nationalities, above the humblest level, even where permitted, were eyed with suspicion. The advent of the Liberal regime brought a further change for the worse. Now the whole public atmosphere at the centre of affairs (it is fair to make this qualification, for there were many localities which took their own multi-lingual character as natural and harmless;

it was a case of the higher, the worse) became charged with poison. Parliamentary demagogues, and the national press which aped their tone, treated as treasonable even protests against non-fulfilment of the Law itself, and those daring so to protest were overwhelmed with the most intemperate abuse.

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