The Treaty of Trianon: Or the Definition of Injustice

By Joseph Balogh and Robert Kranyik

Originally published in June 2008

On June 4, 2008, Hungarians the world over will recall sadly the 88th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Trianon which effectively ended the Hungarian involvement in World War I, and which is viewed by us as the greatest tragedy to ever befall the one thousand year old Hungarian nation.  Signed under duress by the Hungarian delegation, led by Count Albert Apponyi, the Treaty was extremely harsh and has been viewed by many as unjustifiably one-sided.

The Hungarian Prime Minister, Kálmán Tisza, was the only one in the Crown Council who opposed the war, yet, as a result of Trianon, Hungary lost two thirds of its territory and one half of her total population, including one third of her Hungarian speaking people.  It brought economic ruin to the nation and the collapse of the Hungarian government. Hungary lost its access to the sea at (Fiume), making it henceforth a landlocked nation.

Although the major role in World War I was played by Germany, the Germans lost far less territory than the Hungarians, who were in the War as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The only area where the population was offered a choice was a small area along the Austrian border, and some opted to go with Austria, while others, including the people of Sopron, voted to stay with Hungary.

The big winners were a number of other ethnic groups including the Czechs, Slovaks, Romanians, and others, who succeeded in convincing the Allies to transfer large amounts of territory to them as part of the settlement, including areas which had been part of the Kingdom of Hungary for a thousand years, and in which lived millions of ethnic Hungarians and Hungarian-speaking peoples.

Trianon was a shameful act on the part of the Allied nations, which intended to destroy Hungary by falsifying facts, giving credibility to the exaggerations and untruths of several of Hungary’s neighbors, and creating pockets of Hungarians in the new states, who to this day suffer from discrimination.  Far from eliminating minorities, which the treaty of Trianon purportedly meant to do, it created the largest ethnic minority in all of Europe by giving some two million Hungarians to Romania.  As part of the series of treaties which ended World War I, it helped to create the conditions for the onset of World War II.  It is perhaps the grossest violation of sovereign territory in modern history.  And, it was the greatest tragedy to befall the Hungarian people, who have survived the Mongols, the Muslims, the Revolution of 1848, and the long time Hapsburg occupation of the land they had occupied for a millennium.

Joseph Balogh (was) the Editor of Magyar News Online and  had a distinguished career in journalism both in Hungary and in the United States.  Robert Kranyik (was) a member of the Editorial Board of Magyar News Online, and a retired Professor and Dean from the University of Bridgeport.

Caption for the picture of the lead: The Palace of Trianon at Versailles, where the terms of the Treaty were dictated to the Hungarian Delegation which was not even allowed to sit in on the talks, but had been placed under house arrest.