Violence in the reflection of one hundred years: 1914-2014


Andrej Tóth from Czech Republic, Attila Hunyadi from Romania and Vahur Luhtsalu, from Estonia at the presentation of the film on the 27th of June 2014 in Budapest, ELTE University!

Géza Gecse, Budapest, ELTE, Aspektus:

– One hundred years ago Europe became engulfed in war following the shot of a pistol in Sarajevo No one thought that the war would last for years, certainly no Hungarian could imagine that a later peace treaty concluded at the palace of Trianon would tear Hungary to pieces. There are those who debate whether or not there was a direct correlation between the carnage which was to last for four years and what is known in Hungarian as the peace dictate. No one questions the fact, however, that Hungary's loss of the war contributed to her tragic peace. Consider now:

Violence in the reflection of one hundred years: 1914-2014. To what extent is there a direct correlation between World War I and the Treaty of Trianon?

Professor István Majoros, Budapest, ELTE:
– There is a debate amongst historians on this issue. One group says that the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was doomed to dissolution anyway and Oszkár Jászi, in his book "Dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy" cites several examples of those had previously predicted the dissolution of the Monarchy. Among them was for example Napoleon III, who called it a corpse. Now this Napoleon III had wished to enter an alliance with Vienna even before the Franco-Prussian War, but Vienna fortunately refused, therefore it was not Vienna who fell, but Napoleon III. The other groups of historians say, as I do, that the Monarchy was not doomed.

Zsolt Jenei, Budapest, ELTE:
– Trianon to me is a very divisive topic. It divides my own family. I think it divides the entire country. I don't gladly discuss it in general. I think that it happened 90 years ago and we don't need to bring it up all the time.

Csaba Szabó, Kolozsvár – (in Romanian: Cluj-Napoca) BBTE:
– I was born and grew up in Szatmárnémeti (in Romanian Satu Mare), which is 50% Hungarian, 50% Romanian, so I see the subject a little differently. When I came to Kolozsvár (in Romanian Cluj-Napoca) to university and was faced with the Romanian version of the Trianon subject I saw that the students from (the Hungarian ethnic conclave of) Székelyföld felt far more affected by, and painfully so, the Trianon syndrome than for instance those like me from the (Romanian ethnically dominated) Partium. There we form a more living community with Romanians, and I never felt a problem that I had Romanian friends. In Transylvania it is a syndrome, an issue, a painful memory and June 4 (the date of the signing of the Trianon Treaty in 1920) is a day of mourning for them, while students in Hungary don't know the situation here, neither in higher education, nor in the daily life of people.

Attila Hunyadi, Kolozsvár (in Romanian: Cluj-Napoca) BBTE:
– In the past 10 years the Trianon question has been treated in a hysterical manner in Romania. In 2004 for instance Koltay's Trianon film was screened here underground and the Romanian media got up in arms about it. What was a loss for Hungary was a complete gain for Romania. Romania gained more than 100 000 square kilometers from Hungarian territory and then Bukovina from the Habsburg Empire. This is a topic where it is very difficult to bring the perspectives together. I think that with an objective take on the topic we could transgress the dialogue of the deaf and mute by translating Romanian works into Hungarian and Hungarian modern historical works and film into Romanian.

Professor István Majoros, Budapest, ELTE:
– The Habsburg Monarchy dissolved in a particular situation, during the first World War, and of course this relates to Trianon as well. If there had not been World War I, there would not have been the Trianon Treaty. There were various plans to reform the Monarchy. One was a federal transformation. Ferenc Fejtő in his book “Requiem for a past Empire” writes that such a federation would have been inevitable, and that there were such plans, but that the war prevented it. But as the War came about and the Monarchy was defeated the successor states gained territory at the expense of the historical territory of Hungary.

Noémi Kovács, Budapest, ELTE:
– The Hungarian people were torn from each other. We know that Hungarians remained in what is now Romania, Slovakia, Austria etc. From this perspective I can understand those people, not as a historian, whose families are affected and who are affected emotionally by the Trianon decision. It didn't have to be this way, an ethnically more just border could have been drawn. This was a political decision.

János Fodor, Kolozsvár, (in Romanian: Cluj-Napoca) BBTE:
– I am from Marosvásárhely (in Romanian: TârguMures) which is interesting from this viewpoint. It is similar to Szatmárnémeti (in Romanian: Satu Mare) in ethnic proportions. The Romanians are in the majority and I think that the Trianon experience there is more similar to that of the Székelyföld. To today's youth the question is the same as it was to our parents and grandparents, who actually lived this national tragedy. But we have to try and live with this.

Éva Róth Hútvágner, Dunaújváros Secondary School:
– One can see the contradiction in that, for while everyone prepared for war, at the end of the war a few nations were singled out to be just as guilty as those who were responsible for the war. This contraposition implies that there is a correlation between the events of World War I and the Treaty of Trianon.

Raoul Weiss (Elsass) Kolozsvár – in Romanian: Cluj-Napoca, BBTE:
– In the region where I was born, Elsass, the date is an important one from a historical perspective, although few commemorate it. Here, however, there is a great folklore connected to this date. The result of Trianon or the Versailles Treaty in Elsass was total assimilation, there is no commemoration or “anti-memorial” of the event, which did not occur here.

Aranka Markaly, Kolozsvár–in Romanian: Cluj-Napoca, BBTE:
– This is a type of bereavement if we think back to the events. However, I don't think that we need to dwell on the sad part of what happened but instead we need to build on it and look to a new future.

Miklós Száray, Budapest, Apáczai Secondary School:
– We take as a foundation that World War I became an all-encompassing war and the warring parties banked all on winning the war, and to that goal gave up fundamental interests and viewpoints. For example Great Britain, which previously had wished to keep intact the Habsburg Empire and therefore the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Hungarian elite must have thought this as well, for when in 1848-1849 Hungarians fought for independence from the Empire, the great powers of Europe prevented that from happening. The Hungarian elite was faced then with the fact that the great powers were doing everything for a victory. As a result the Great Powers acquiesced to the Habsburg Monarchy, and to Hungary to being carved up.

Csaba Fehér, Budapest, ELTE:
– This has to be a negative experience for every Hungarian whether he thinks about it or not and whether he is from within the pre-, or post World War I borders of Hungary. But I don't really agree with the present politicizing of the topic by the right wing. This was always characteristic of the right, but particularly now. The problem is that the whining part has come to the fore "God, how we were treated, and we have to revise history, instead of considering further steps to be taken.

János Főcze Kolozsvár (in Romanian:  Cluj-Napoca) BBTE:
– From Gyimesközéplok (village in Romania with a Hungarian "Csángó" majority) it depends on whether we look at the young or the older generations. The elderly see it as a great injustice, as something planned, either by poor leadership or as a conspiracy against the Hungarians. Young people, in contrast, don't bother with the question. The radicals, and there are a few, see it as a great injustice. The majority though, see it as a marginal question.

Norbert Simon, Kolozsvár (in Romanian:  Cluj-Napoca) BBTE:
– Trianon is present at most at the level of the RMDSZ (Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania) which organizes commemorative events, but other than this there is no real effect on the population.

Attila Hunyadi Kolozsvár (in Romanian:  Cluj-Napoca) BBTE:
– Hungarian survived as minorities outside of the Hungarian borders in Slovakia, in Serbia, in Romania and in Austria as well and they were more or less able to preserve hundreds of financial institutions, churches, village schools and various interest groups. In Transylvania more damage was caused by the nationalization of property and the introduction of the communist regime, because this destroyed or nationalized those Hungarian institutions which were at the time still functioning. I don't wish to belittle the effects of the Treaty of Trianon but if we compare post 1945 and post 1948 nationalization then we can see that the post 1948 period and the socialist system destroyed far more Hungarian institutions than did the Treaty of Trianon.

Balázs Lados, Budapest, Saint Margaret Secondary School:
– Hungarian society was unprepared for such changes because they thought that the land of the Crown of Saint Stephen was indivisible, as it had existed for 1000 years. 40 generations of Hungarians had lived in that country, which had the most stable borders of all of Europe for over 1000 years. If we look at a map we see Hungary's borders varied the least. In addition, there was a so-called “Hungarus” consciousness in the various ethnic nationalities. The nationalities did not come forward with claims for independence until these were brought on by World War I.

Orsolya Bukta, Budapest, ELTE:
– We Hungarians in Hungary relate totally differently to the Hungarians outside the borders. They feel that they are treated differently, and they don't understand this because they are Hungarians just the same as we are, only a border divides us. I feel that it is not we who can help that.

Beáta Delinke Sánta, Kolozsvár (in Romanian:  Cluj-Napoca) BBTE:
– I grew up on the stories of my grandparents who would often say "Everything should be returned!" and "The country was torn to pieces". I think that opinions differ. This is a difficult question to answer. It depends on the environment in which one is socialized. It is in every event a loss, and a negative experience, for me as well. Taking into account my grandparents' experiences. I grew up in that environment. It is a great tragedy and it is difficult to be in a minority, particularly in a Romanian state.

Géza Gecse, Budapest, ELTE, Aspektus:
– To what extent is there a direct correlation between World War I and Trianon?

István Bukodi: (Gyula, Secondary School, Hungary).
– It is exactly 100 years to the day when that assassin in that certain city shot the crown prince of the Habsburg Monarchy which tipped off such a chain of events the result of which is the present day situation. Trianon is the trauma which the nation, and the people have not succeeded in processing for the past 100 years.  It is so deeply in our consciousness that it is necessary that we talk about it, not only for us but also for the neighboring peoples not only directly related to Trianon, but the similar traumas of other peoples.

Gellért Oláh, Kolozsvár, (in Romanian: Cluj-Napoca) BBTE:
– Trianon is alive actively today in people's memory as the Szepesszentgyörgyi (ethnic Hungarian) szeklers experienced such a drastic turn of fate and they carry with themselves to this day those character traits which this changed in them. It is totally different to live as a Hungarian in Hungary one day and the next in Romanian territory with Romanian institutions, and this has been carried through generations. I feel at home a contradiction between the older generation which has become resigned to the Trianon trauma and the younger generation which has, in spite of the ruling liberalism, has turned a bit conservative. I can say that in Szepsiszentgyörgy, and in Transylvania in general, Trianon is seen as a turn of fate.

Áron Bán, Budapest, ELTE:
– Several million Hungarians live outside the border of Hungary and it is plain that the state of the nation would be different if this were not the case. For instance our demographic problems perhaps would not be so serious if more Hungarians lived within the boundaries of the country.

Mária Mohácsi, Budapest, ELTE:
– When I first studied the question in middle school and we had to look at the nationalities on a map where they were indicated by different colours, I thought about what that Hungarian must have felt who one week lived in Hungary and the next week in a foreign land without moving from their home.

Attila Tokodi, Budapest, ELTE:
– They whine constantly about what would be if Trianon had not occurred, instead of trying to solve the current situation.

Hunor Mákszem, Kolozsvár (in Romanian: Cluj-Napoca), BBTE:
– One can transcend Trianon but it is impossible to completely process it. As an example amongst my own ancestors there are those who fought through both the first and the second world wars. There was a Hussar general from Budapest who fought in Galicia, my great-grandfather also fought in Galicia. These experiences were passed on to grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and that war is not pretty, and the results are far worse.

Éva Halász, Budapest, ELTE BTK:
– I live quite close to the Slovak border and it was really strange when my parents and grandparents told me that the area on other side of the border belonged to our town long ago and our town was essentially cut into two. They basically made a new, smaller town from it. My grandparents told me that that town (in Slovakia) Szlovákújhely was previously a part of our town, Sátoraljaújhely.

Ildikó Gúth, Budapest, ELTE BTK:
– The pressure from the teachers on us to tell our opinions on Trianon is always apparent. They make us feel that we have to have an opinion on this, positive or negative or perhaps with mixed feelings, but everyone attempts to be objective and avoid taking a political position so I remain with the feeling that I need to know something about the question for some reason but since they try to demonstrate the question with facts and figures, the feeling remains on the level of "I want to know something about it".

Gábor Zila (Budapest, Gáspár Károlyi Protestant University):
– In all cases the aspirations of the nationalities before the war should be emphasized. Not only of those in Hungary but also in the Habsburg Monarchy in general. Political preparations from the Romanian, but also from the Czech side were apparent. It enough to point to the endeavors of Masaryk and Beneš, early on, to break up the empire, an empire which may be considered the forebearer to the European Union. Also from the Romanian and Serbian side one can see attempts which someone once defined as "nationalities gravitating outward from the country", which meant in practice that they did everything to destroy this country. No one thought at the end of World War I, taking into consideration experiences of earlier peace treaties, - including the Hungarian society, and this is why this is a great, painful scar for the people -, that the end could be concluded in such a way. Take earlier peace treaties such as the 1878 treaties settling the Balkan region after the Turkish-Russian war: everyone was adversely affected and Turkey was reigned in strongly, but no country lost 75% of their territory! And the politicians of the time would have taken these examples into consideration.

Ernő Fancsali: BBTE, Kolozsvár (in Romanian:  Cluj-Napoca):
– As a Transylvanian it is easier to process the Trianon trauma than for those in the mother country of Hungary. It is easier because Transylvania always had a distinct status within the mother country and we don’t feel that we were torn apart from the country, so these scars heal more easily here. Another side to this showing that we survived the trauma better, at least to outward appearances, is that we have several Hungarian political parties here in Transylvania. If we had serious problems here, we would not be able to achieve this, I could say cynically. There are problems underneath, but I think Trianon has to be treated as a historical question, not as a living problem.

Zsuzsanna Fekete, Budapest, ELTE:
– For me Trianon is a very important aspect in forming a self identity as I myself am a Hungarian living outside the borders of Hungary. I live as a minority and am faced with this situation on a daily basis. A Hungarian living across the border has to live with this for their entire lives, whether they consciously deal with the situation or not.

Márk Vígh, Budapest, ELTE:
– To go on and on about how unjust the Treaty was and what a disadvantage it was to us is completely useless. Most treaties are like this. We lost that war, others won it, we let others win it. I also think that Trianon being seen as a blow of fate, a tragedy, is so emphasized because the Paris Treaty following the Second World War reinforced the treaty of 27 years earlier. And this is why it is seen as such a great tragedy.

Gábor Imre BBTE, Kolozsvár (in Romanian:  Cluj-Napoca):
Trianon is an issue still alive today and a defining factor for a minority living in Romania is in the language and cultural differences. There is a barrier which is difficult to cross for me as a young person from Székelyföld living apart from Romanians. This is a barrier we must overcome if we wish to succeed within the framework of the state. This is difficult, we face problems daily, but it is possible.

János Zila Budapest, ELTE:
– There are problems now as well, these have to be addressed. The present day problems which have arisen from the past must be solved.

Imre Örs Márkos, Kolozsvár (in Romanian:  Cluj-Napoca:
– 3 300 000 Hungarians became a minority after the Treaty of Trianon. To live as a minorty is difficult, one has to speak the language of the majority and at the same time accommodate to them. Our Hungarian identity is difficult to bear, I think that the Hungarians living as minorities know really well what it means to be a Hungarian, because we have to fight daily to remain Hungarian, to be able to speak Hungarian. Especially here in Kolozsvár! In Székelyföld it is not that bad. There it is more than 80% Hungarian, but here in Kolozsvár the percentage is only 18%. 

Zsófia Keres, Budapest, ELTE:
– For me Trianon is such a loss, such a national tragedy, that it is a determining factor for every Hungarian even if they do not realize it. There is so much that can be traced back to Trianon, it affects our daily lives, our economic situation, our relationship with the neighboring countries. Even as we see ourselves, as Hungarians. Our minority complex which came about as a result.

István Orosz, Budapest, Pázmány Péter Tudományegyetem:
– This is when the trials and tribulations of the Rutheniens of Sub Carpathia (formerly part of Hungary) began. The construction of the Ruthenian national identity was already in progress in Hungary, and then again when Sub Carpathia was returned to Hungary, but it was held up between both the World Wars, and then again following WWII, and to this day.

Nándor Miss, Budapest, ELTE:
– Trianon as an event was a terrible blow to Hungarians, just like the catastrophe at Mohács, the Turkish occupation, the rampage of the Tatars or any other similar historical tragedy. People don't talk about it though, and if we want to discuss the issue we are told "Oh we've been through that, leave it be!"

Mihály Hőgyes, Kolozsvár (in Romanian:  Cluj-Napoca) BBTE:
– I am particularly affected as my ancestors took part in the uprising of the Szeklers in the Sóvidék region which came about when the Romanians took power. We are faced daily with the fact that a part of Romanian society looks at us as if we fell here from the sky. As if we hadn't been here for over 1100 years and as if we had not contributed to the building of this region, which is mainly our achievement.

János Liszi, Budapest, ELTE:
– This issue has not been discussed in any way in today's Hungarian society, which has meant a barrier to the development of a healthy national identity.

Gergely Szikszai, Budapest, ELTE:
– More national content needs to be included and this is why I think we shouldn't forget the event. We need to commemorate it, but we need to make it more personal.

Noémi Both, Kolozsvár (in Romanian:  Cluj-Napoca) BBTE:
– When the question of autonomy comes up then they reject returning to the reality of the situation before Trianon but at meetings or rallies there are often shouts of the revisionist: No, No, Never! 

First part in Hungarian:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcKIasCUBqs

Second part still in Hungarian:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ5VWofUX8U