Ethnic Violence and the Societal Security Dilemma

By Paul Roe | Go to book overview
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7

Romanians and Hungarians

Their [the Romanians'] history is more than a series of struggles for independence or honour: it is a permanent war, for centuries on end, for their own survival. In each battle they risk everything: their right to life, to religion, to their language and culture. God is by their side each moment, because each moment they run the risk of disappearing. 1

A nation placed as the Magyars have been, ever since they entered Europe, has indeed no alternative between extinction and an almost ferocious attachment to its ways and manners…. [F]or the Magyars no compromises have ever been possible. 2

In these next two chapters (7 and 8), I further explore the applicability of the societal security dilemma, this time in terms of relations between Romania and its Magyar population: the Transylvanian Hungarians. As with Chapter 5, the intention here is to provide some basic historical context, and, in doing so, to illuminate - in Chapter 8 - how particular threat perceptions were able to take hold.

The chapter is divided into five sections.The first section looks at Romanian- Hungarian relations from their early beginnings to the time of Ottoman invasion. The second section deals with the period of Turkish rule until the 1876 Ausgleich between Austria and Hungary, and to the formation of the Independent Kingdom of Romania in 1881. The third section is concerned with the subsequent period through to the end of the First World War. The fourth part deals with those dramatic changes during the inter-war and Second World War periods. Finally, the fifth section looks at the nature of relations between the two sides in the Communist period; in particular, focusing on the Ceausescu regime in Romania.


Early beginnings

According to the so-called 'Daco-Roman Continuity Theory', the origins of the Romanian people can be traced all the way back to the ancient Dacians.

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