Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

Nationalism: Price and Psycho-Social Effects. Romania - a Case Study

Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

Nationalism: Price and Psycho-Social Effects. Romania - a Case Study

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

"Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind"

Albert Einstein

"I am a Hungarian musician.

My works use Hungarian, Romanian [...] folk sources,

thus my music can be seen as representing the idea of integration.

My guiding thought, of which I have been conscious

ever since I found my own voice as a composer,

is that people should become brothers in spite of wars and feuds. "

Béla Bartók

The world renown Hungarian musician Béla Bartok was famous for his constantly arguing for a cosmopolitan, pacifist reconciliation polity in both Hungary and Romania, in order to attempt to heal the psychosocial wounds inflicted by the millennium-long nationalistic conflict revolving around Transylvania. Our discussion on the present inter-national and inter-ethnic tension departs from the argumentation that nationalism does not occur in the minds of the average citizen unexpectedly, without any premises and without any top-down ideological manipulation. Hardly do citizens commence hating each other merely due to ethnic and progenitorial differences. The nationalistic discourse and hence nationalism boom if they are systematically alimented from above, by key figures in the leadership positions within regional, national and super-national hierarchical structures. Therefore, in order to investigate the case of Transylvania, we will consider four nationalism-connected historic(al) events in Romania's post World War timeline: the Second Vienna Award in 1940, the Paris Peace Treaty in 1947, the totalitarian regimes during the 1940s - mid 1960s and the Ceauçescu Communist regime (1965-1989).

These instances in the history of Hungary and Romania, largely orchestrated backstage by the super powers, constituted milestones in the thriving of nationalism (even chauvinism) between these two neighboring states and nations. Hungary and Romania, two neighboring countries in Central Europe do not only share the same geopolitical frontier, but the conflict-breeding 'issue' of Transylvania as well.

2. 30th August 1940: The Victors Decide for the Second Time, Indirect Condoning of Growing Nationalism

Hailed by some and cursed by others, the Treaty of Trianon of 1920 had already given way to certain unleashing nationalism currents in Central and Eastern Europe (Chászár, 1982). In the same line of thought, history was preparing upcoming flare ups for the preexistent interethnic tensions in Transylvania: the Second Vienna Award signed on 30th August 1940. The German and the Italian foreign ministers met the Romanian - Hungarian delegations in Vienna and presented them with an ultimatum to accept the immediate retrocession of Northern Transylvania (Maramureç and part of Criçana) to Hungary, after it had been incorporated in Romania for the last twenty years (1920-1940).

One reason of the present ultimatum was the Axis' eagerness to make Romania join the War on their side, due to the perspective of Romanian oil and further natural resources vital for Nazi Germany in her arms industry. Romania was attempting to avoid entering the World War on either side. Due to the Axis threatening with invading Romania unless she joins, Romania had no further options but to enter the War on the Axis front and to accept the retrocession of Northern Transylvania to Hungary.

Similar to a tennis ball, Transylvania once again was at the mercy of the Great Powers, bouncing from on court into the other, while nationalism once again kindled up in this region: Transylvania went back to Hungary and now it was the Hungarian government's turn to show who had the upper hand, by pursuing an anti-Romanian, pro-Hungarian assimilation policy: street riots, street conflicts, propaganda all these impregnated the quotidian and deepened the inter-ethnic tension. Repeatedly, the whim of the dictating backstage world powers enhanced local nationalism in Hungary and Romania.

Following the Second Award, Hungary regained 43,104 km2 of its territories lost to Romania after the First World War as well as a population of approximately 1,000,000 Hungarians (Hitchins, 1994). …

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