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Trianon day

June 5th, 2013

Commentators disagree on what lessons to draw from the post-World War I peace treaty.  The interpretation of national history has always been one of the main dividing issues between left and right in Hungary.

In Magyar Nemzet, Csaba Lukács recalls that on the 90th anniversary of the treaty that dismembered Hungary and left one third of ethnic Hungarians beyond the new borders, Parliament declared 4th June “the day of national cohesion”, stressing what we share with cross-border Hungarians, rather than the grievances of the past. He welcomes the fact that almost half a million Hungarians living abroad have asked for Hungarian citizenship and many more are expected to follow.

In Magyar Hírlap, Ferenc Sinkovics condemns those who think that it is pointless to ruminate over past injustices, instead of finding solutions in a united Europe. This reminds him of the increasing barrage of criticism Hungary receives from the European Union: “more and more people want to judge us, in the European Union in particular”. He suggests Hungarians should “close ranks and work hard” in response.

In Népszava, veteran columnist Tibor Várkonyi recalls that in the 1950s and 60s, France and Germany decided to put past disputes and hurts aside and hoped for a future without national conflicts. He admits that they were too optimistic, for “old instincts have proved to be more stubborn than that”. But the shock of Trianon (the name of the Versailles palace where the peace treaty with Hungary was signed in 1920) “can only be obliterated through a higher level of integration.”

In Népszabadság, Sándor Révész thinks nationalist Trianon-mourners don’t know what they are talking about. “Greater Hungary” was a multinational and multi-ethnic country, and the Paris peace treaties created nation states in its place. Therefore nationalists should be happy with such developments, Révész contends, while the only ones entitled to mourn, are those who believe in multicultural and multi-ethnic societies.

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