A Date in Hungarian History: November 3rd, 1918

EPF

A Date in Hungarian History: November 3rd, 1918

Table at which the Armistice was signed.

On this date, General Viktor Weber Edler von Webenau, representing the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, signed the declaration of  Armistice at Villa Giusti, outside of Padua.  It stipulated the withdrawal of the Austro-Hungarian troops to the 1914 borders.  The declaration did not contain any military or territorial stipulations. But because the troops were so exhausted by the end of October 1918, their commanders were forced to sign the Armistice. 

It was scheduled to go into effect on the following day, November 4th, but  the Austro-Hungarian commanders unilaterally ordered an end to the fighting on the third.

On the six ”fronts” which had developed –

        – the Russian front

        – the Balkan front – against Serbia, Montenegro, Romania

        – the Italian front – after Italy changed sides in 1915

        – the Romanian front – after Romania also changed sides, in 1916

        – the Near Eastern front – where Austro-Hungarian troops were

           involved only symbolically

        – the Western front – which was maintained by the Germans, but

           where Austro-Hungarian troops were of  secondary importance,

Hungarian casualties numbered an estimated 531,000 to  661,000 (the exact statistics were destroyed in the 1950’s); 743,000 to 1.5 million were wounded; and 734,000 to 833,000 became prisoners of war.

Following such catastrophic bloodletting and such a blow to the country’s manpower,  it may be understandable that the Hungarian Minister of War, Linder Béla echoed a popular sentiment when he declared: ”I don’t want to see any more soldiers!”  But his shortsighted policy, of totally disbanding the army, immediately left Hungary open to invasion: on the South by the Serbs (beginning November 7th); in the North by the Czechs (beginning November 8th); the Southeast by the Romanians (into Bukovina on November 11th, Kolozsvár on December 24th). Troops of the Serbian-Croatian-Slovenian Kingdom occupied the Muraköz area on December 25th.

On November 17th, 1918, the Austrians publicly demanded parts of western Hungary (see Magyar News Online, June 2018 issue).

On February 6th, 1919, representatives of Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia sent a joint memorandum to the Paris Peace Conference, containing their demands of Hungarian territory, and objecting to the plebiscite proposed by Hungary.  

Only the Ruthenian national assembly declared, on March 15th, 1919, that it did not want to be joined to the Czechs, but belonged to Hungary.   

Thus the hastily signed Armistice left Hungary – the only country which had NOT wanted to go to war in the first place! – totally defenseless against the onslaught of its neighbors.  It was the precursor of the devastating Treaty of Trianon.