Trianon 100: national cohesion instead of taboos

June 4, 2020, marked 100 years since the Trianon “peace diktat” was signed, in the framework of which the victorious powers in World War I deprived Hungary of a significant part of its territory and population. In view of the anniversary, it is worth examining what is the attitude of Hungarians living in Hungary to Trianon today, and how the country commemorated this decision. The original article was published on the site of Origo on 10 June 2020.

First of all, it is important to point out that, during the reign of the communist regime, the peace treaty in question was a public taboo, which greatly contributed to the fact that the Trianon decision remained unprocessed in Hungarian society for decades. This situation escalated in the post-regime change government cycles when left-liberal forces governed the country: In 2004, at the time of the referendum on dual citizenship, the MSZP-SZDSZ government then in office, campaigned against Hungarians outside the border, in an unprecedented way. However, the undisguised purpose of the right-wing government in office since 2010 is to strengthen the self-awareness and national mindset of Hungarians, including the possibility of dialogues about historical traumas, such as the Trianon Treaty.

As it was highlighted by the research conducted by Századvég in June, there was a general societal consensus on recalling Trianon: 83 percent of the respondents considered it important to hold commemorations on the anniversary of the peace treaty. Thus, it can be concluded that instead of oblivion, there is a need for remembrance in the society - which is not surprising in view of the fact that the decision in question symbolizes a significant part of the respondents' national belonging and a sense of responsibility for Hungarians living abroad.

The significance of the issue raised is indicated by the fact that on the day of the 100th anniversary, a rarely seen cooperation took place in Hungary, expressed by the variety of commemorative programs and the number and diversity of participants in the events. On June 4, public figures, actors, musicians and the inhabitants of certain settlements, among others, made it clear in various forms of commemoration that the revival of the Trianon “peace diktat” and sharing the destiny of Hungarians outside the border is essential in the spirit of national cohesion. In summary, the recall of significant historical events and the social dialogue on national destiny issues go beyond current political battles. Recognizing this, Hungarians once again proved that they are capable of national unity for their own survival and responsible future alignment.

Author: Dr Gergely Erdős, internal policy analyst of Századvég Foundation