Hungary’s International Relations in the Dual Monarchy and the Era of the Two World Wars, 1867-1947: THE TRANSYLVANIAN TWIST IN THE TALE   Leave a comment

The Other Hungary:

001I recently found a copy of a book, published in 1986, by the Hungarian Institute in Melbourne, called The Other Hungary, by Anthony Endrey, obviously a Hungarian exile. Although aspects of Transylvania’s history have been dealt with in my various publications on Hungarian history, I had yet to see a complete history of the territory, once an important Principality, in Hungarian, let alone in English.

Given the important role it played in the fate of the Hungarian state and people before 1944, and its remaining resonance in Hungarian cultural and political life since (especially during and after the Romanian Revolution of 1989), I thought I would re-publish, in summary form, some extracts from Endrey’s book here, together with relevant documentary evidence from the diaries of Domokos Szent-Iványi, himself one of the group of Transylvanians, led by István Bethlen and Pál Teleki, who laboured (unsuccessfully) to re-unite the Hungarian peoples as well as to maintain Hungary’s independence from German Nazi control in the twenty-five years between the Paris Peace Conference and the Occupation of Hungary, 1919-44. Other factual details are drawn from László Kontler’s (2009) History of Hungary.

The Dual Monarchy and First World War, 1867-1918:

In the post-1867 period, Hungarian public opinion was preoccupied with questioning the Ausgleich, the ‘Compromise’ with the Habsburg Empire, and this went on until the outbreak of the First World War. The Dual Monarchy was a hybrid; it united Hungary, a country with a long history of constitutional government, with a collection of Habsburg territories with an autocratic structure under an absolutist dynasty. Austria was therefore almost pre-determined to become the senior partner in this artificial creation. The army, central banking and foreign affairs were largely in Austrian hands and the customs and economic policies of the monarchy were also geared to the interests of the Austrian provinces at the expense of Hungary.

002In this situation, the majority of Hungarians felt imprisoned in an alien structure, which prevented them from attaining full national independence. They were therefore determined to change the basic features of the Compromise even if they lacked the will to take the logical step in bringing the Dual Monarchy to an end. For nearly half a century, the attention of Hungarians was diverted from other pressing problems, which threatened their very survival. These included the problems of the national minorities within the Hungarian half of the Empire. Those who protested against Budapest’s violation of the 1868 nationality law were discriminated against in public offices and courts. Nevertheless, they campaigned for national recognition and territorial autonomy. From 1881, a united Hungarian and Romanian National Party demanded the separation of Transylvania, with its former autonomous status, from Hungary, and in 1892, enjoying the support of the Romanian King Charles I, addressed a Memorandum to Franz Josef, listing its grievances and claims. The Emperor passed it directly to the Hungarian Government, and the fact that it had been made public by its authors led to their prosecution for subversive propaganda, resulting in harsh sentences. The Congress of the Nationalities that took place in Budapest in 1895 also rejected the idea of the Hungarian nation-state and demanded territorial autonomy. Many of the activists who attended were persecuted through the courts for doing so, and harassed by the police.

Transylvania itself drifted along in an era of great economic prosperity, although beset with grave social problems due to the neglect of its poorer classes, and without proper attention being given to its increasing internal conflicts between its constituent nationalities. When Count István Tisza became the Premier of Hungary in 1913, he opened negotiations with the national minorities and attempted a compromise with the Romanian National Party, but his efforts were frustrated by the manipulations of the Romanian Government which had close ties with the Romanian leaders in Transylvania, preventing a reconciliation with Hungary as a whole. Tisza then entered negotiations with the other nationalities, but time ran out in 1914, with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his Consort in Sarajevo on 28 June, leading to the outbreak of the Great War, which extinguished historic Hungary in its flames.

Although Romania was still bound by a military pact with Austria-Hungary and Germany, the Romanian Government declared its strict neutrality at the outbreak of hostilities and watched the bloody contest from the sidelines. Eventually, however, the prospect of acquiring Transylvania the easy way proved too strong for them, and the Entente powers promised them not only the whole of Transylvania, but also a substantial part of the Great Plain of Hungary. On 27 August 1916, when the Russian Army was on the offensive on the eastern front, Romania declared war on Austria-Hungary. The following day, the Romanian Army invaded Transylvania, occupying Brassó and Nagyszeben. Within a few weeks, however, hastily assembled Austro-Hungarian and German troops counter-attacked and not only evicted the invaders but also pushed deep into Romania, occupying Bucharest on 6 December. The following spring, the Revolution broke out in Russia and the Russian war effort collapsed. The Romanians sued for peace and, after concluding an armistice at the end of 1917, signed a definitive peace treaty with Austria-Hungary and Germany on 7 May 1918.

Besides the propaganda directed at the populations of hostile countries, which naturally affected the ethnic minorities of Austria-Hungary, the Entente countries also gave shelter to the national committees of émigré politicians and encouraged their campaign for the dismemberment of the Monarchy and the creation of ‘national’ states. The Romanians laid claim not just to Transylvania but also to other Hungarian lands east of the Tisza. However, it was only in the last weeks of the war that they founded the Council of Romanian National Unity in Paris.

The Balkanisation of Transylvania, 1918-1938:

By October 1918, the Habsburg Monarchy had disintegrated and a radical-socialist coalition took power in Budapest, with Mihály Károlyi as its figurehead. On 1 November, he ordered the return of all Hungarian troops, concluding an armistice with the Entente powers. This required Hungary to evacuate all her south-eastern territories in favour of the Romanian and Serbian armies. However, the Romanians launched an undeclared war on Hungary, mounting a second invasion of Transylvania, now in a completely defenceless state. On 1 December 1918, the Romanian National Council of Transylvania voted for union with Romania, supported by the Saxons, who had been bought off by huge concessions. The Hungarians and Szekely of Transylvania were not even invited to this convention. With this act, the Balkanisation of Transylvania began.

The only armed resistance to the advance of the Romanian Army in Transylvania came from a Szekely division which fought heroically against overwhelming odds, defending the northern part of the territory for nearly four months. These brave Szekels were, however, hopelessly isolated and outnumbered, and on 26 April 1919, their commanders agreed to surrender. The Hungarian Premier, Mihály Károlyi had already received an ultimatum from the Entente powers, requiring a withdrawal from Transylvania in favour of the Romanian Army, also indicating that the new demarcation line would represent the future political frontier. Károlyi and all the members of his cabinet immediately resigned. The Social Democrats then announced their fusion with the Communists led by Béla Kun.

Although Kun’s newly-raised Red Army did score some successes against the Czechs in northern Hungary, his ill-disciplined forces were no match for the Romanian Army which began its drive into the central plains on the pretext of ’saving’ Hungary from Soviet domination. The Kun government was forced to flee to Vienna on 1 August, leaving the capital without law and order or defence. When it entered Budapest, the Romanian Army carried out systematic looting of both state and private property. Not until 14 November was it forced to leave, with Admiral Horthy establishing his national government. The Romanians gradually withdrew from most of Hungary, but still occupied the whole of Transylvania together with the eastern parts of the Great Plain.

003On 4 June 1920, Hungary was forced to sign the Treaty of Trianon, which partitioned the historic Hungarian Kingdom, annexing over a hundred thousand square kilometres of territory to Romania, and placing nearly two million Magyars and Szekels under a government dominated by 2.8 million Romanians, out of a total population of five and a quarter million. It was not simply a question of numbers, however. Due to the significance of Transylvania in historical and national consciousness, its loss was especially painful, which made amicable relations with Romania out of the question

From the outset of the Romanian occupation of Transylvania, the province was placed under martial law, giving the Romanian Army and gendarmerie the opportunity, which they took, to commit many atrocities against the Hungarian population, in order to terrorise it into submission. Thousands were interned without trial, many of whom were beaten to death. The military code of the Regat (the original state of Romania) was extended to civilians in Transylvania and a large number of Hungarians were tried and imprisoned on trumped-up charges of ’offences against the state’. Immediately following the signing of the Trianon Treaty, the Romanian Government subjected all public servants in Transylvania to a Romanian language test which was carried out with the deliberate aim of excluding and dismissing all Hungarians from public office.


As a result, 150,000 Hungarian public servants were displaced overnight. In 1922, elections were held for a unified Romanian Parliament which, according to the Transylvanian Romanian leader, Julius Maniu (who later became Romanian Premier), were carried out amidst the wildest corruption, bribery, arrests, incitement and imprisonment of candidates. Although the Hungarians formed a united Hungarian Party, thirty of their thirty-three candidates were disqualified by the Romanian authorities, and only one was eventually elected.

It was in this atmosphere of ethnic intimidation that the Romanian Government introduced ’land reform’ in 1923. This amounted to no more than a dispossession of the Hungarian minority, as 2.7 million acres of prime agricultural land were taken from their Hungarian owners, mostly smallholders with less than a hundred acres, and handed over to the Romanian population. The clear aim was to alter the ethnic character of whole regions. The compensation for this confiscation came in the form of valueless government bonds.

The ousting of Hungarian public servants was accompanied by an influx of large numbers of Romanian bureaucrats from the Regat. These brought with them the ingrained habit of Romanians in the Balkans of demanding a bakshish, or bribe, for virtually every function performed by them, resulting in the kind of widespread corruption unknown under Hungarian rule. Even the Romanians of Transylvania resented this degradation of the public affairs of their province, but, by then, it was too late for protest.

Although it had successfully rigged the 1922 elections, the Romanian Government maintained martial law in Transylvania, with a few brief interruptions, right through to the Second World War. Transylvanians were therefore subjected to rule by a police state, though Romania pretended to be a democracy to the outside world. The Hungarian minority continued to be oppressed, as the Romanian government also launched an offensive against the long-established Hungarian school system in Transylvania. Both Catholic and Protestant parish schools, some dating back to the fifteenth century, were closed down and the use of the Hungarian language was forbidden. Romanian teachers were appointed in monoglot Hungarian districts and children were beaten for using their native language even in break-times. Increasingly deprived of educational facilities in their mother-tongue, the Hungarian Transylvanians also saw their cultural associations, theatres and newspapers suppressed.

The situation for the Hungarian minority was made even worse by the rising influence of chauvinistic right-wing organisation called The Iron Guard in Romanian politics. This movement eventually rose to power after the outbreak of the Second World War. It was savagely anti-Hungarian and committed many atrocities against the Hungarian population, and, to a lesser degree, against the German minority.

023The Vienna Awards, 1938-40:

By 1938, Hungary was strong enough to demand revision of the boundaries drawn at Trianon, and at the Munich Conference of 29 September 1938, Britain, France, Germany and Italy referred the Hungarian claims against Czechoslovakia to arbitration. This resulted in the First Vienna Award of 2 November 1938, which granted Hungary an area of twelve thousand square kilometres with a population of just over one million, mostly Hungarian. When Czechoslovakia was broken up by the Nazi German invasion of March 1939, the Hungarian Army annexed Sub-Carpathia with a further substantial population, partly Hungarian.

Encouraged by these gains, the Hungarian Government now demanded the return of the Hungarian-inhabited areas of Transylvania. Since Hungary was not involved in the first two years of the hostilities of World War II, she was able to support her claims against Romania with substantial armed forces. In June 1940, she was ready to go to war with Romania over Transylvania. The Soviets, anxious to make their subjugation of Bessarabia more palatable to Hungary, gave notice that they fully recognised Hungary’s historic rights to Transylvania; on 4 July Molotov informed the Hungarian Minister in Moscow that he regarded Hungary’s claims as just and well-founded. He made it clear that he was ready to support such claims at a peace conference. He also stated that he was uninterested in any territorial questions beyond the Carpathians.

The Hungarian public, however, was vehemently opposed to any co-operation with the ’Red Monster’ and began demanding swift, independent military action lest the Romanians, having capitulated to Russia, refused to return Hungary’s former territories. Despite Molotov’s assurances to the contrary, Teleki did not exclude the possibility of Russia turning her attention westwards, towards Transylvania, once Bessarabia and parts of Bukovina had been acquired. Macartney put it like this:

The Hungarian diplomatic writers say that Hungary ’refused the Russian offer’, and although no details of the refusal are available, it is certain that no such co-operation took place. In the negotiations which followed, Teleki… addressed himself exclusively to the Axis Powers, and throughout treated Russia’s moves as those of a potentially hostile Power, the value of his own proposed action lying in the defence which it provided against these moves. But, in direct contradiction to Germany and Italy’s point of view, he felt that Russia’s activity made a counter-move by Hungary essential, for it was not safe to assume that Russia would content herself with the acquisition of the two provinces. If Hungary did not move, the Soviet troops might cross the Carpathians and themselves occupy Transylvania; or, alternatively, might foment a revolution, resulting in Romania’s turning herself into a Soviet Republic and placing herself under the protection of the USSR. Rumours to both effects were… reaching Hungary, and seem genuinely to have impressed and frightened him…

… Géza Teleki informs (me) that what really determined his father to act was the belief that if he did not do so ’he would find the Russians on the Tisza’. . The scare of a Soviet Republic may sound fantastic, but when, in 1942, a monster trial of some 130 Transylvanian Communists took place, nearly all of them Magyar-speaking Jews, many of the defendants stated that they had been ordered to organise the proclamation of a Soviet Republic in Transylvania simultaneously with the Russian advance into Bessarabia.’

008However, Berlin and the Axis Powers insisted that Hungary restrain her desire for a quick settlement of the Romanian question. Romania was marshaling its forces and the Hungarians also began to mobilise. The main worry in Hungary was that, if the Government prevaricated, Teleki and his cabinet might be forced to resign, leaving the way open for a pro-Nazi government to take power.

By the end of June, the Romanian Government found itself in a very precarious predicament. The Soviet Union was laying claim to Bessarabia as well as Bukovina; in the south Bulgaria was eyeing up the Dobrudja, while in the west, Hungary continued to threaten Transylvania. On 26 June Molotov had presented a note to Davidescu, Romanian envoy to Moscow, in which he summoned Romania to transfer Bessarabia and Bukovina. Since, in view of an imminent invasion of Britain, maintaining peace in South-eastern Europe and ensuring oil supplies from Romania were of strategic importance, Hitler called upon the Romanian King Charles to comply with the Soviet demands. At the same time, Hungary and Bulgaria declared their claims for the territories annexed after World War I.

Given the course of the war in the West, the guarantee given by Britain and France to support Romania seemed ineffectual at this juncture. In this grave situation Bucharest decided upon a volte-face such as the one successfully performed in 1917-20. Judging that she could not expect any support from her guarantors, she renounced the Anglo-French guarantee on 1 July and began hastily to seek rapprochement and collaboration with Nazi Germany. She now decided to follow a pro-German policy so long as her former guarantors were powerless and the Hungarian threat remained. In a letter dated 2 July, King Charles assured Hitler of undisturbed continuance of oil supplies (140,000 tonnes per month), informed him of the termination of the guarantee agreement with Britain, requested an agreement of alliance with Germany, agreed to reshuffle his cabinet to give it a pro-German orientation and asked Hitler to send a German military mission to Romania.

By attaching Romania to the Axis camp, Germany attained its goal of securing Romania’s oil supplies and strengthening the Berlin-Bucharest military alliance. In keeping with this strategy, the Nazi leadership did its utmost to avert a conflict between Hungary and Romania. In order to dissuade the Hungarians from embarking on a military adventure in Transylvania, they warned Teleki’s Government that all guarantees made by Berlin concerning Hungarian territorial claims would be withdrawn if any such action were taken. However, the pressure of public opinion in Hungary was such that the Teleki Government remained ready to take some form of armed action against Romania. In turn, Berlin increased its menaces, including Sztójay’s report of 6 July, according to which, in the event of military action by Hungary, Germany would adopt a policy of ethnic frontiers in connection with the final settlement of Hungary’s claims. This meant that Hungary could only expect to regain those parts of Transylvania where Magyars were the predominant part of the population. Since many Magyars had been displaced from their lands in the previous twenty years, this would not guarantee a return to pre-Trianon borders.

While both Germany and Romania wanted to avoid an armed conflict, it was in the interests of the weakened Western Allies, and of Hungary, that a clash should occur. In order to appease Berlin still further, Romania left the League of Nations on 10 July. When the Romanian Government appealed to Germany and Italy for arbitration over the territorial claims of Hungary and Bulgaria, the Second Vienna Award of 30 August 1940 took place. The Hungarians were, on the whole, less than willing to pursue this course of action. Premier Teleki came under immense pressure from Berlin, as well as in Budapest. In addition, Downing Street wanted any Hungarian advance to be undertaken with a view to safeguarding both Romania and Yugoslavia, the latter also occupying on ancient Hungarian territories given to it in the Trianon Treaty.

The Hungarian public entertained high hopes of the meeting, and even in political circles it was considered that an agreement on the issue of Transylvania was, at long last, a distinct possibility. The Conference was held on 10 July at the Führerhaus in Munich, with Hitler, Ribbentrop, Ciano, Teleki and Csáky, Foreign Minister, present. The Hungarian delegation aimed to secure Germany’s approval of a Hungarian military action against Romania, but Hitler categorically ruled this out. The Hungarian Government had no doubt that they would win a war with Romania. Commenting on the Munich conference of 10 July, Macartney observed:

Hitler seems to have admitted Teleki’s legal argument to be valid, so long as no attempt was made to found a policy on it. He agreed that Hungary had just claims on Romania, but went straight on to ask whether this was an appropriate time to try to enforce them; reiterating… his old formula. If Hungary wanted to march, that was of course her own business, but Germany would not help her… if she got into trouble… Hitler tried vainly to make them realise that the Romanian Army was much stronger and much better armed than their own; they simply replied that they possessed so much moral superiority that nothing else mattered.

Nevertheless,the Hungarian government was compelled to conduct negotiations of uncertain outcome, without the option of armed pressure and support from the Axis Powers. The Romanians, facing an armed conflict with Hungary, did their best to win over the Germans and Italians to their cause. Despite their overwhelming superiority in terms of area, population and military strength, Romania wanted to avoid a conflict with Hungary. Ciano’s comments on the Romanian style of negotiating, made in his diary on 27 July, are typical:

They are simply disgusting. They open their mouths only to exude honeyed compliments. They have become anti-French, anti-British and anti-League of Nations.

006By the middle of August, Bucharest had come to the conclusion that it could not resist the Russian demans, and that it was therefore better to cede Bessarabia to the Soviets than enter a hopeless war without external assistance. Since the claims of Bulgaria were relatively modest, Bucharest also decided to comply with them. After much discussion, Hungary and Romania agreed to enter into negotiations, and a delegation headed for Turn-Severin from Budapest. The negotiations opened on 16 August and ended without agreement on 24th of the same month. After the failure of these negotiations, the atmosphere in Hungary became grave and tense.

There seemed to be no resort left, except force. But then the situation was completely transformed by the intervention of the USSR. On 25th, Kristóffy telegraphed that Molotov had that day repeated to him that the Soviet Union,

regarded Hungary’s territorial claims as well-founded. The attitude of the Soviets on this question will be favourable to Hungary. The Hungarian Government may rest assured that the Soviet Government never regarded Romania of Versailles and Trianon as realistic, and that it was equally objectionable to Russia, Bulgaria and Hungary.

Teleki was careful not to seek arbitration from the Axis powers because, on the one hand, it would have entailed previous consent to any solution, and on the other hand he wished to emphasise as an imminent danger that a potential military attack was not out of the question. On 26 August, the Hungarian Government adopted the resolution on preparations for a campaign against Romania. Forty thousand soldiers were mobilised, and the attack was set to 28 August. While Premier Teleki was seriously considering the consequences of an isolated Hungarian-Romanian clash, Csáky considered this episode as a means to force Germany and Romania to consent to a revision of the Hungaro-Romanian frontier, i.e. the transfer of Transylvania to Hungary. With the threat of war over Transylvania, the Romanian Government finally urged Hitler to call a conference of the Axis, and Hitler acquiesced.

The Second Vienna Award returned the northern part of those territories which had been ceded to Romania by the Trianon Peace Treaty of 1920. This gave Hungary two-fifths of Transylvania, mainly in the north and east, with a population of 2.5 million, about 1.5 million of which was Hungarian, the rest made up of Romanians and Saxons. Nevertheless, over 600,000 Magyars and many historic Hungarian towns and cities remained under Romanian rule. This second (Belvedere) Conference was called for the benefit of Romania and Germany, and Romania got ample support from Germany. As Macartney wrote:

 ... Romania’s policy had been 99 per cent  favourable to Germany long before the crisis. The Germans were throughout on her side, against Hungary. They feared that any interruption of the services which Romania was rendering might have fatal consequences for them, and did their utmost to prevent Hungary from moving. The whole initiative was taken by the Hungarians, who held a pistol point to the Germans’ heads…

016The British, while not accepting the award, adopted a policy of wait and see. The Foreign Office in London told Barcza, the Hungarian minister in London, that Great Britain could not recognise any territorial changes which took place after 1 September 1939. This attitude contributed greatly to the weakening of Teleki’s position. Those in Hungary who had been actively urging closer cooperation with Nazi Germany were now in the ascendancy while those who advocated closer ties with the Western Powers lost much of their status and influence in Hungarian political life. From this point on, Teleki was never really respected in the same way. Nevertheless, the Second Vienna Award was completed on 30 August and on 14 September the re-occupation and re-annexation of the former Hungarian territories by the Hungarian military and civil administration began.

Hungary refused to abandon its claim to the rest of Transylvania and, in reality, a great part of Hungarian public opinion remained disappointed with the Award. The Romanians did not even pretend to be accepting of the new situation. In September, they organised a huge demonstration in Alba Julia against the Award, and both politicians and the press were tireless in their assertions that the territories lost to Hungary would be recovered at the earliest opportunity. Their anti-Magyar statements revealed a determination not simply to recover the Trianon frontier, but to go beyond it, at least as far as the frontier along the Tisza promised by the Entente Powers by the secret Treaty of Bucharest of 1916.

It was therefore Nazi Germany, not the Soviet Union and its subsequent Western Allies, which ended Hungarian hopes of regaining the whole of Transylvania. After the Second Vienna Award, Hitler deliberately used the Transylvanian question as a convenient means of blackmailing both Hungary and Romania into collaboration. He threatened both countries with a revision of the new boundaries if they did not make greater efforts in support of the Axis Powers. Teleki argued that the goodwill of Great Britain was, in the long run, more important than that of Germany. However, it was not easy at that point to believe that Britain would end the war in a position to enforce her will in eastern Europe, and, even if she did, it would not be for a long time. For some years, at least, Germany was the only power whose writ ran on the Danube. Besides, there was an evident contrast between the Axis had given to Hungary to realise, at least in part, her national ambitions, and the chilly reception given to the Award by Britain, coupled with her recognition of the Czechoslovak Government in-exile.

Division and Return to Romania, 1940-47:

003Transylvania therefore remained divided until the end of the war. After the partition, the Hungarian Government allowed the Romanians under its rule to retain their religious and cultural organisations as well as their educational system. Neither did they attempt to reverse the land reform of the early twenties. The new Romanian Government engaged in a fresh campaign of intimidation against Hungarians in southern Transylvania, in revenge for the loss of the northern and eastern areas of the province. The Iron Guard and the gendarmerie committed many more atrocities against the Hungarians remaining under Romanian administration. This, in turn, strengthened the Right in Hungary, who argued for an appropriate change of regime in Budapest, pointing to what was happening across the frontier in Romania. The whole Award had thrown Teleki into a state of extreme nervous irritation and despondency, as Macartney observed:

He had never truly lost his conviction that northern Transylvania would prove a Danaida gift, and had displayed his feeling openly enough. He had refused to attend the Belvedere meeting except as an ’observer’, to show himself to the crowds which flocked to see the delegates’ train return , or to sign the Proclamation which announced the terms of the Award. He said to one friend that the whole thing would be wasted labour, as after the war, Hungary would have to leave Transylvania again, having merely embittered relations with her neighbours. To another he said that the price would be very high.

On 23 August 1944, Romania switched sides again and surrendered to the Soviet Union overnight. Occupied by Germany, Hungary had no prospect of doing the same. Hungarian troops moved quickly into southern Transylvania to take up defensive positions but the Red Army divisions were already occupying the passes of the Southern Carpathians. Savage battles were raging all over Transylvania and southern Hungary as Hungarians fought to defend their homeland, but they were no match for the overwhelming superiority of the Soviet forces. By the end of September 1944, most of Transylvania had fallen, and the invading Russians reached the River Tisza on the Great Hungarian Plain. Teleki’s nightmare had become a reality for the Hungary he had left.

Under the terms of the armistice reached between the Soviet Union and Romania, the Second Vienna Award was annulled and northern Transylvania was restored to Romania. The advancing Red Army was followed by the Romanian Army, which again terrorised the Hungarian population of the province, engaging in the wholesale murder of civilians. The Hungarians of the Szekely area in Transylvania were treated with particular vengeance by the returning Romanian forces. Over 200,000 Hungarians escaped to Hungary from the neighbouring countries. Many atrocities were also committed against the German minority in Transylvania, as in Hungary itself, large numbers of whom were deported to the Soviet Union.

In March 1945, the Soviet High Command handed over the administration of northern Transylvania to the Romanian Government. The Hungarian-Romanian border drawn at Trianon was re-established by the Allied powers, although both countries were still under Soviet military control. The Soviets, who did not intend to cede Bessarabia, found it important to appease Romania with the whole of Transylvania. The fate of Transylvania was finally sealed by the conclusion of a formal Peace Treaty in Paris on 10 February 1947, which formalised the Hungarian frontiers along the lines drawn at Trianon. At the peace conference, the Australian Foreign Minister, Dr. H. V. Evatt, proposed the re-partition of Transylvania between Hungary and Romania, but he was quickly outvoted by the Soviet delegation, with the connivance of the western allies.

Transylvania was now once more embedded in the Romanian state which came increasingly under the control of the Communist Party. Hungary was once more confined within the Trianon borders. This outcome, which showed that not only the historic frontiers, but also an equitable settlement was unattainable, caused much bitterness, but one of a resigned, sobering kind, nothing like the hysteria of twenty-five years earlier.




Anthony Endrey (1986), The Other Hungary. Melbourne: The Hungarian Institute.

László Kontler (2009), A History of Hungary. Budapest: Atlantisz.

Domokos Szent-Iványi (2013), The Hungarian Independence Movement . Budapest: Hungarian Review.






Posted May 22, 2014 by TeamBritanniaHu in Uncategorized

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