The Treaty of Trianon, which dismembered the state of Hungary after the Great War, came into force exactly one hundred years ago today. Hungary and the Western Allies signed the instrument at the Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles; hence its name.
Hungary ended up losing two-thirds of its territory under the terms of the treaty, which stranded more than 40% of its population outside the borders of Hungary without anyone having to move.
Our Hungarian correspondent CrossWare has translated the following essay about the Treaty of Trianon, which relates Trianon to the earlier Muslim invasion, from the conservative portal PestiSracok.hu:
Suleiman was also present at the Trianon execution attempt
by László Kovács Vésey
May 25, 2020
Like when a man is beaten down with bat, so was the Trianon peace dictatorship: he falls to his knees, the world spins around him, and he doesn’t even understand what happened to him. To date, we have not recovered from it, either as a country or as a people. Those who demand that we at last leave this Trianon problem behind us and deal instead with the future do not take note of reality, because the past cannot be left behind unfinished. Trianon itself is a good example of this, as it has not fallen into our head without antecedents. Even a hundred years ago, the unprocessed past, our own omissions, and the fruits of the trickery of our enemies ripened together.
In today’s eyes it is almost inconceivable that Hungary came to the end of the Middle Ages as a sparingly stable and unified country, one of the leading powers in Europe. Even if the nobles and lords intervened at times in the king’s affairs and were able to stir up internal strife, no one could question the existence of a unified royal power. The kingdom had serious reserves of power, and was rich in precious metals, ores, and salt, not to mention food. Hungary had one and a half times as many inhabitants as England or Poland, two and a half times as many as the Czech Republic, and we had a decisive influence on the life of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. There was no mention of a united Germany and Italy at that time; France was working on the creation of a centralized kingdom, just as a similar process took place in Spain after the success of the Reconquista. Besides ourselves, the latter two states were real military powers in that era.
It may even be considered a vagary of fate that in the immediate vicinity of this Hungary, which was a great power in all respects, the Ottoman Empire, which surpassed the strength of all European countries, had arisen. To this day there is no consensus among historians as to whether we would have been able to defend ourselves, but if we had, it would have required unparalleled self-discipline and conscious unity for two centuries from the king, nobles, and serfs. We lost the inevitable clash, but the Turks did not have enough strength to swallow our entire country. Thus, we did not sink into the Balkans (Transylvania, Partium and the South, after Trianon), but in terms of population, nothing worse could have happened to us. For two centuries our country became a battleground, with marches of the ever-increasing Ottoman, Habsburg, and Transylvanian armies regularly passing through our territory, requisitioning the peasantry that remained after taxation and double taxation. And if only they had just taken the taxes!
We Have Suffered a Disastrous Destruction
The Ottoman looting of the rural populations was accompanied by a significant extinction of the population and the destruction of the settlement structure. The whole countryside was depopulated, and many villages disappeared forever. If we look at the map of present-day Hungary, we can see that there are still only rare settlements in the Great Plain. During the uncertain period of occupation, instead of defenseless villages, people concentrated in a few swollen market towns and settled on large-scale animal husbandry, which was more sustainable in terms of possible escape, rather than farming. For this reason, there are settlements with a larger population and sparsely populated areas in the Great Plain, and the instances of single standalone farms are also rooted in this fact. But the Hungarian population remained at least partially here.
Hungary’s settlement density — the footprint of the Ottoman Turks is still visible today (source: terport.hu)
Muslim conquerors killed a large number of people and drove the enslaved Hungarians in endless columns to Istanbul and then sold them to various corners of the empire. During the Turkish conquest of 1521-1568, the Fifteen Years’ War of 1591-1606, the Austro-Turkish War of 1663-1664, and the expulsion of the Turks between 1683 and 1699, we suffered immeasurable horrors, probably the most brutal genocide in Europe in the last thousand years. At that time the Hungarians of Szerémség disappeared from the Hungarian majority of Temesköz, but by the end of the Turkish expulsion, the Hungarian population of Baranya, Tolna, Somogy counties and Partium had largely disappeared. These flat areas were the main terrain of the movements, so their populations became extinct, which in the vast majority of cases meant the Hungarian population.
Our Numbers Were Dwindling, While Everybody Else Was Thriving