Hungarian Irredentism: Give Us Back Transylvania! Edition

Most people probably don’t know this, cheap but Hungary got royally screwed at the end of the First World War. With the albatross of a bunch of incompetent Austrian emperors hanging around its neck, salve Hungary was dragged into the debacle of Imperial Germany, and being on the losing side meant that nobody at the Versailles Peace Conference gave much of a shit about Hungary. Two thirds of the country was given away to places like Yugoslavia and Romania, and nobody paid any attention to dumping large numbers of Hungarians in other countries.

In particular, Transylvania, which was part of the main Hungarian homeland established about a thousand years ago but was settled by large numbers of immigrants from Romania in recent centuries, was turned over as a block to Romania, despite the fact that there was a big chunk of Magyar inhabitants. The Szeklers (Székelyek in Hungarian) were not one of the original seven Magyar tribes, but tagged along and became sort of honorary Hungarians (at any rate they speak Hungarian), and their homeland was in Transylvania. So they wound up in Romania.

Here’s an interesting video of a song bewailing the loss of the Szeklerland. It doesn’t exactly say we want it back, but Arpad the Leader (the guy under whom the Hungarians conquered their country in AD 895) isn’t cited as having bestowed their territory on the Szeklers for nothing.

This video seems to have struck a chord with somebody, since it’s been viewed nearly 1.3 million times. Anyway, listen to the strains of Hungarian nostalgia, which somewhat resembles the language of Mordor…

Where are you Szeklers? (Hol vagytok Székelyek?)

2 Replies to “Hungarian Irredentism: Give Us Back Transylvania! Edition”

  1. You would be surprised, actually, about the number of people who have read a bit of history. I will disagree with you on some things and agree with you on others. I get that being a Hungarian, this is a sore topic for you. Try to read through this long opinion from a guy from far away (hence not inclined to be biased to any particuar European country)

    Yes, indeed Trianon was a heavy blow to historical Magyarország. But first:

    What else did you expect when a war is waged an then lost?.

    Let’s see. Hungary had a great degree of autonomy within that multi-ethnic empire since 1867. Was there any attempt so secede before the war broke out? To stop the Austrian raging imperialism? Was there any attempt to stop the part Austria-Hungary played in the chain of events leading to the war?. To maybe step in and say “the annexation of Bosnia is not the best idea”, “Nothing good will come from continuing to mess with balkan slavic populations?

    Habsburg Austria was sure a destabilizer because of imperialistic policies. They had those policies towards magyars too. So, what about the slavic ethnics under Hungarian rule for centuries? Was there ever any desire from Hungarians monarchs to free these people? To placate, by doing so, the nationalism that was a major cause of the war?

    Second. Lest go to the consequences.

    Trianon, on June 4th 1920, proposed primarily the separation of non-magyar ethnic groups and lock them in borders defined by ethnic distribution. So, saying that 2/3 of Hungary were given away is not the best way to put it. Let’s say 2/3 of a multi-ethnic country run by a Hungarian elite was partitioned into it’s ethnic constituents and free them from Hungarian determination towards self-determination.

    Now, was the ethnic division strictly observed?. Clearly not.

    Certainly every territory lost by Hungary had a majority of non-magyar population, but it’s also true that there was 31% of magyars within those territories, not a majority, but an important number nevertheless. These Magyars faced a difficult situation because they were instantly converted form ruling elite to isolated “minority” in a new country not likely to give these people a good treatment (Not after years of Hungarian domination, anyway).

    The biggest abuse commited by the victors was not taking a Hungarian representative in the making of the treaty, and as such it was imposed to accept or refuse and not to negotiate. Should a Hungarian representative been there, sure, there would have been some resistance but it’s likely that a lost of territory would have been accepted as inevitable, but keeping more adeqcuate borders for more magyars to be within their own nation-state.

    Now the issue of Transylvania is complicated. By 1918 there were more Romanians than any other ethnic groups, and this heavy majority freely elected to be joined with Romania.

    Transylvania, I give you this, was a part historically within the Hungarian state ever since it’s formation. Even after Trianon a large number of magyars was in Transylvania. The problem lies in their location,closer to the Carpathian Mountains, and separated from the rest of ethnic Magyars within 1920 Hungary or Magyars close to the new border, by a large population of Romanians. So, what do we do? Do we give Transylvania to Hungary and leave large numbers of Romanians in Hungary?, Should we make an enclave of Hungarian territory within Romania but separated from Hungary itself, so as to observe ethnic distribution? Or should Transylvania be Romanian and leave an important number of Magyars in Romania?

    None of these options makes every part involved happy, obviously. In the end it was reduced simply to: Romania was part of the victorious allies (a heavily defeated one, but OK) Hungary was part of the utterly collapsed Central Powers. Hence, Romania has to be rewarded and Hungary punished. A crappy deal.

    As to who deserves more, or can claim more right to Transylvania, there are 2 sides to be considered:

    As to who had Transylvania as a part of a proper state first, ok, point to Hungary, Transylvania being a part of their Kingdom since the begining in the 900-1000’s. Romania never had a proper state until 1848-1859, although Wallachia and Moldavia were important Romanian principalties in the Middle Ages before Ottoman conquest and voivodeships of Romanian rulers were present in Transylvania before Árpád came. Whether it was a largely autonomous part, it kept Hungarian law and Hungarian princes.

    That also in my opinion makes for a more logical border geographically speaking since Hungary is placed in the Pannonian Basin and the Carpathian mountains sure make a suitable border. That was the situation until 1918, Romania was delimited by the Carpathian Mountains.

    On the other hand, you can ask yourself who was there first? Point to Romania. They are not inmigrants. Maybe more Romanians came later to the area, but Romanian ethnogenesis began when imperator Traianus conquered the Pannonian basin in 116 and added it to the Roman Empire as the Provinces of Pannonia and Dacia. Romanians and Romanian language are the result of the mixture of conquering romans and native dacians. Again, Romanian princes ruled smallvoivodeships in Transylvania prior to Hungarian invasion. Hence, Romanian people were there long before Magyars left the Urals and came to the Pannonian basin.

    Complicated issue!

    In the end, I agree with the fact that more strict ethnic borders considering Hungarian opinion was necessary in 1920.Definitely a population exchange should have been excercised providing for ethnic minorties in Hungary to leave for their new nationalities, along with Hungarian minorities left outside transfered to new Hungary borders, so as to secure their welfare. A compensation of the goods or properties left behind in both cases would have been a nice idea while doing it.

    Something like this happened in 1923 between Turkey and Greece. Islamic Turks left Greece for Turkey and Greek orthodoxs left Turkey for Greece. After they fought a war that is. Trust me it was a sore deal for Greeks even more that for you Hungarians, because it ment to end thousands, instead of hundreds, of years of greek presence in Anatolia (even leaving the ever famous greek millenial city of Smyrna now as the Turkish Izmir). But for the most part, it secured both Turks and greeks welfare within their own borders.

    I don’t agree with this “give-us-transylvania-back” type of irredentism. I was already tried under Miklós Horthy when he aligned Hungary with Nazi Germany. The results cannot be unknown to you. Hungarian Army decimated. Hundred of thousands Hungarian deaths. Wehrmacht occupation. Red Army invasion. Debrecen captured. Budapest sieged and devastated. 50 years of Soviet influence in Hungary. Do you really want Hungary to break the good relations successfuly established with it’s neighbours in the post-communist years?

    Anyway. The song is beautiful and nostalgic, even if I can understand a single word of it.

  2. Romani:Means, Gypsis. Romania: Means:Also Gypsis. Their History: Newer had one. The “Faked” a Dako-Roman,story. Olah-is their proper Tribes name, not Romanian. Their clame for Transivania, based on “Falsified nationality” Which is a Criminal offence. REad:htts.//eurocom the forged their Language, and why. See who the are

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