Paramilitary Violence in Hungary after the First World War

By Bodo, Bela | East European Quarterly, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

Paramilitary Violence in Hungary after the First World War


Bodo, Bela, East European Quarterly


Introduction

Long-term structural problems, such as the unequal distribution of power among ethnic groups, a cumbersome bureaucracy and a rigid and essentially undemocratic political structure, coupled with the tensions produced by industrialization and the Great War, led to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in October 1918. The demise of one of the oldest states in Europe failed to generate much sympathy among the Austro-Germans and the Hungarians, who had benefited the most from the existence of the Dual Monarchy, and was welcome by the oppressed minorities whose personal status had suffered from its legal system. The collapse of Austro-Hungarian Empire was also welcome by the Western powers that considered Austria-Hungary, at least since the military debacles of 1916, as nothing more than a German proxy state. The Hungarian Republic that emerged, along with half a dozen small states, to take the place of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 was in a revolution ignited by war weariness and genuine desire for reform. The October Revolution created Hungary's first democratic government; led by the "Red Count," Mihaly Karolyi, the new government quickly initiated wide-ranging social and political reforms, and sought peace and reconciliation with the ethnic minorities in Hungary and the neighboring states. (1) These were formidable tasks, and the Hungarian government, like its Czechoslovak, Yugoslav and Rumanian counterparts, could have accomplished them only with Western support. The victorious powers, especially France, were hostile towards Hungary: they considered the Hungarian aristocracy illiberal, arrogant and semi-Asiatic, and wrongly accused them for the outbreak of the Great War. They generally supported Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Rumania and even Austria in their border disputes with Hungary for a number of reasons: besides general antipathy towards the Hungarian elite and Hungarians in general, an attitude tinged with racism, and resentment over the oppression of ethnic minorities before 1914, geopolitical and economic considerations, i.e., the desire to build barriers around Soviet-Russia and Germany and to replace German capital with French and British investment in East-Central and South-Eastern Europe, also pushed the Western powers to disregard Hungarian claims. The Western powers, in particular France, acquiesced, and in some cases supported, the policy of Czechoslovak, Yugoslav and Rumanian governments to create facts on the ground and, in direct violation of the principles of national self-determination, grab more and more Hungarian lands.

The French and British support for the neighboring states undermined the legitimacy of the first democratic Hungarian government, which, in addition to domestic reforms, promised to defend the country's territorial integrity and hoped for an honorable settlement of the border issues. The quick waning of popular support for democracy was in part the government's own making: pacifism, mistaken faith in the goodwill of the Western powers and belated land and social reforms certainly contributed to the decline in the regime's popularity. On the other hand, it is rather difficult to imagine that a strong government could have emerged in Hungary after October 1918 or that strong-armed policies would have been tolerated for long by the war-weary and increasingly disobedient population. Faced with renewed Western demands for more and more territories, the Karolyi government finally handed over power to a group of politicians who belonged to the Social Democratic and Communist parties in March 1919. The rationale behind this move was that Bela Kun and his comrades would obtain Soviet military aid to defend the country's independence and territorial integrity. (2) In spite of the backing of many Social Democrats, Liberal and Conservative politicians--support that, however, did not last long--the first National-Bolshevik experiment in East-Central Europe proved to be a complete failure. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Paramilitary Violence in Hungary after the First World War
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.