Treaty of Trianon

Alex Rover | May 17, 2023


The Treaty of Trianon (French: Traité de Trianon, Hungarian: Trianoni békeszerződés) was drawn up at the Paris Peace Conference and signed at the Grand Trianon in Versailles on 4 June 1920. It formally ended World War I between most of the Entente Allies and the Kingdom of Hungary. French diplomats played the main role in the design of the treaty, with a view to creating a coalition of the newly formed nations under French leadership. It regulated the status of the independent Hungarian state and defined its borders generally along the cease-fire lines established in November-December 1918 and made Hungary an enclosed state, with an area of 93,073 square kilometres, 28% of the 325,411 square kilometres that made up the pre-war Kingdom of Hungary (the Hungarian half of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy). The colonnaded Kingdom had a population of 7.6 million, 36% of the pre-war Kingdom’s population of 20.9 million. Although the territories ceded to neighbouring countries had a majority of non-Hungarians, 3.3 million Hungarians – 31% – lived in them and were then in a minority status. The treaty reduced Hungary’s army to 35,000 officers and men, and the Austro-Hungarian Navy ceased to exist. These decisions and their consequences have been the cause of deep resentment in Hungary ever since.

Βασίλειο των Σέρβων, Κροατών και Σλοβένων (κατοπινή Γιουγκοσλαβία) και η Πρώτη Αυστριακή Δημοκρατία. Ένα από τα κύρια στοιχεία της συνθήκης ήταν το δόγμα της «αυτοδιάθεσης των λαών» και ήταν μια προσπάθεια να δοθούν στους μη Ούγγρους τα δικά τους εθνικά κράτη. Επιπλέον η Ουγγαρία αναγκάστηκε να πληρώσει πολεμικές αποζημιώσεις στους γείτονές της. Η συνθήκη υπαγορεύτηκε από τους Συμμάχους παρά ήταν αντικείμενο διαπραγμάτευσης και οι Ούγγροι δεν είχαν άλλη επιλογή παρά να αποδεχτούν τους όρους της. Η ουγγρική αντιπροσωπία υπέγραψε τη συνθήκη διαμαρτυρόμενη, και άρχισαν αμέσως κινήσεις για την αναθεώρησή της.

The present-day borders of Hungary are the same as those defined by the Treaty of Trianon, with some minor modifications until 1924 regarding the Hungarian-Austrian border and the notable exception of three villages annexed to Czechoslovakia in 1947.

Only one referendum was allowed on the disputed borders in the former territory of the Kingdom of Hungary after World War I. It resolved a minor border dispute between Austria and Hungary in 1921, later known as the Sopron Referendum, in which polling stations were supervised by army officers belonging to the Allied forces.

The Treaty of Trianon is the peace treaty signed on 4 June 1920 at the end of World War I between the Entente Allies and the United States (23 countries in total) on the one hand, and Hungary, one of the successors of Austria-Hungary, on the other.

This treaty, ratified on 13 November 1920, contained 364 articles and included as an introduction (preamble) the Covenant of the League of Nations, and provisions of the treaties of Versailles (28 June 1919) and St. Germain (10 September 1919). This treaty redefined the borders of Hungary with Austria, Czechoslovakia, the then South Slavonia and Romania, as well as the regulations concerning its international position (obligations of the new state, rights of minorities, etc.).

Hungary lost the 3

In particular, Hungary lost the following territories:

In general, most of it was granted to Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.

This treaty perpetuated for another 20 years the problem of the Danube countries, causing many conflicts and ethnic conflicts, minority issues, irredentist claims, and even economic crises, some of which reached the modern era with the dismemberment of the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. Under this treaty, Hungary was now excluded from the sea and from its ore- and timber-rich mountains, retaining only its fertile plains. Since the signing of this treaty, Hungary has been referred to in diplomatic circles as ‘the great cripple of Europe’, precisely because of the extensive land mutilation it suffered as a result.

This treaty was followed by the Belgrade Agreement (1920) (between Czechoslovakia and Serbia), the Bucharest Agreement (1921) (between Czechoslovakia and Romania), and the Belgrade Agreement (1921), (between Yugoslavia and Romania), all of which were bilateral agreements between Hungary’s neighbouring countries aimed at preserving both the present Treaty of Trianon and the creation of the so-called “Little League” or better known as the Little Entente.

World War I and the Austro-Hungarian Armistice

On 28 June 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist. This caused the rapidly escalating crisis of July, resulting in Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia, and the entry of most European powers into World War I quickly followed. Two alliances were pitted against each other, the Central Powers (led by Germany) and the Triple Entente (led by Britain, France and Russia). In 1918 Germany tried to crush the Allies on the Western Front, but failed. Instead, the Allies launched a successful counterattack and forced her into the Armistice of 11 November 1918, which marked the surrender of the Central Powers. Irredentism – the demand for the reunification of the Hungarian people – became a central theme of Hungarian politics and diplomacy.

On April 6, 1917, the United States entered the war against Germany and in December 1917 against Austria-Hungary. The goal of the American war was to end the aggressive militarism of Berlin and Vienna. The United States never formally joined the Allies. President Woodrow Wilson acted as an independent power and his Fourteen Points were accepted by Germany as the basis for the November 1918 armistice. They outlined a policy of free trade, open agreements and democracy. While the term was not used it implied self-determination. They called for an end to the war by negotiation, international disarmament, the withdrawal of the Central Powers from the occupied territories, the creation of a Polish state, the redrawing of European borders on national criteria and the creation of a League of Nations, which would guarantee the political independence and territorial integrity of all states. It called for a just and democratic peace uncompromised by territorial annexation. The Tenth Point expressed Wilson’s “desire” to give autonomy to the peoples of Austria-Hungary-a point that Vienna rejected. . Germany, Austria-Hungary’s main ally in World War I, suffered heavy losses in the Hundred Days Offensive between August and November 1918 and had been negotiating an armistice with the Allied Powers since early October 1918. Between 15 and 29 September 1918, François d’Espéret, commander of a relatively small army of Greeks (9 divisions), French (6 divisions), Serbs (6 divisions), British (4 divisions) and Italians (1 division), carried out the successful Axios Offensive in Vardar Macedonia, which ended by putting Bulgaria out of the war. This collapse of the Southern Front was one of several developments that effectively triggered the Armistice of November 1918. The political collapse of Austria-Hungary itself was now a matter of days. By the end of October 1918 the Austro-Hungarian Army was so tired that its commanders were forced to call for a cease-fire. Czechoslovakia and the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs were declared and the soldiers began to desert, disobey orders and retreat. Many Czechoslovak troops in fact began to act for the Allied cause and in September 1918 five Czechoslovak regiments were formed in the Italian Army. Austro-Hungarian troops began a chaotic withdrawal at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto and Austria-Hungary began negotiating an armistice on 28 October.

Chrysanthemum Revolution and the First Hungarian Republic

During the war Count Mihály Karoly led a small but very active pacifist anti-war independent group in the Hungarian parliament. He even organized secret contacts with British and French diplomats in Switzerland during the war. The Austro-Hungarian monarchy collapsed politically and disintegrated as a result of its defeat on the Italian Front. On 31 October 1918, amidst negotiations for an armistice, the Chrysanthemum Revolution in Budapest brought to power the liberal Hungarian aristocrat Count Mihály Karoly, a supporter of the Allied Powers. King Charles had no choice but to appoint him as Prime Minister of Hungary. On 25 October 1918, Karoly formed the Hungarian National Council. The Hungarian Royal Army (Honvéd) still had more than 1,400,000 men when Mihály Karoly was proclaimed Prime Minister of Hungary. Karoly gave in to US President Woodrow Wilson’s request for a pacifism, ordering the unilateral self-disarmament of the Hungarian army. This was done under the direction of War Minister Béla Linder on 2 November 1918. Hungarian self-disarmament made it immediately possible for the relatively small Romanian army, the Franco-Serbian army and the armed forces of the newly established Czechoslovakia to occupy Hungary. When Oskar Jasie became Hungary’s new Minister of National Minorities, he immediately proposed democratic referendums on the disputed borders for minorities. However, the political leaders of these minorities rejected the very idea of democratic referendums on disputed territories at the Paris Peace Conference. After Hungarian self-disarmament, the Czechs, Serbs and Romanian political leaders chose to attack Hungary instead of holding democratic referendums on disputed territories.

At the request of the Austro-Hungarian government, an armistice was offered to Austria-Hungary on 3 November 1918 by the Allies, but military and political events changed quickly and drastically after the Hungarian unilateral disarmament:

Under the government of the pacifist cabinet of Karoly, Hungary lost control of about 75% of its pre-World War I territory (325,411 km2) without a battle and came under foreign occupation. The Armistice of 3 November signed with Austria-Hungary was concluded as far as Hungary was concerned on 13 November, when Caroly signed the Belgrade Armistice with the Allied nations in order to conclude a Peace Treaty, which limited the size of the Hungarian army to six infantry divisions and two cavalry divisions. Boundary lines were drawn defining the territory that would remain under Hungarian control. The lines would remain in force until a final border was established. Under the terms of the armistice, Serbian and French troops advanced from the south, taking control of Vanatu and Croatia. Czechoslovakia took control of “Upper Hungary”, which consisted of present-day Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia. Romanian forces were allowed to advance on the Mures River (Maros). However, on 14 November Serbia occupied Pec. General François d’Espere completed the victory by occupying much of the Balkans, and by the end of the war his troops had penetrated deep into Hungary.

After King Charles withdrew from the government on 16 November 1918, Caroly proclaimed the First Hungarian Republic, with himself as provisional president of the republic.

Fall of the Hungarian liberal regime and a communist coup

The Karoly government failed to manage both domestic and military issues and lost popular support. On 20 March 1919 Bella Kun, who had been imprisoned in Marco Street Prison, was released. On 21 March he led a successful communist coup. Caroly was deposed and arrested. Kuhn formed a social democratic-communist coalition government and proclaimed the Hungarian Soviet Republic. A few days later the communists expelled the social democrats from the government. The Hungarian Soviet Republic was a small communist state. When the Soviet Republic was established in Hungary, it controlled only about 23 % of Hungary’s historical territory.

The Communists remained strongly unpopular in the Hungarian countryside, where the power of this government was often non-existent. Instead of distributing large estates to the peasants – a measure that would have won their support for the government but would have created a class of small-owning peasants that Marxist theory considers inherently conservative – the Communist government proclaimed the nationalization of large landholdings. But without the skilled people to manage the estates the communists had no choice but to leave the existing managers of these in place. They, while officially accepting their new government bosses, in practice maintained their loyalty to the fallen aristocratic landlords. The peasants felt that the Revolution had no real effect on their lives and therefore had no reason to support it. The Communist Party and Communist policies had real popular support only among the proletarian masses in the large industrial centres – especially in Budapest – where the working class represented a large percentage of the population. The communist government followed the Soviet model: the party created its terrorist groups (such as the infamous Lenin’s Children – Lenin-fiúk)) to “overcome obstacles” in the Hungarian countryside. This later became known as Red Terrorism in Hungary.

In late May, when the Entente’s military spokesman asked for more territorial concessions from Hungary, Kuhn tried to “fulfill” his promise to respect Hungary’s historic borders. The men of the Hungarian Red Army were recruited mainly from the volunteers of the proletariat in Budapest. On 20 May 1919 a force under Colonel Aurel Stromfeld attacked and crushed the Czechoslovak troops from Miskolc. The Romanian army attacked the Hungarians with troops of the 16th Infantry Division and the 2nd Vanatori Division, with the aim of maintaining contact with the Czechoslovak army. The Hungarian troops prevailed and the Romanian army retreated to its bridgehead at Tokay. There, between 25-30 May, Romanian forces were called upon to defend their positions against Hungarian attacks. On 3 June Romania was forced to retreat further, but extended its line of defence along the Tisza River and reinforced its position with the 8th Division, which advanced from Vukovina on 22 May. Hungary then controlled territory almost up to its old border and regained control of the industrial areas around Miskolc, Sulgotarian, Szelmetsbania (Banska Stjavnica) and Kasa (Kosice).

In June the Hungarian Red Army invaded the eastern part of so-called Upper Hungary, now claimed by the newly established Czechoslovak state, and had some military successes at first: under the leadership of Colonel Aurel Stromfeld it drove the Czechoslovak troops from the north and planned to march against the Romanian Army in the east. Kuhn ordered the preparation of an offensive against Czechoslovakia that would increase domestic support for him, making good on his promise to restore Hungary’s borders. The Hungarian Red Army recruited men between the ages of 19 and 25. Industrial workers from Budapest volunteered. Many former Austro-Hungarian officers re-enlisted for patriotic reasons. The Hungarian Red Army transferred the 1st and 5th artillery divisions – 40 battalions – to Upper Hungary.

Despite promises to restore Hungary’s pre-war borders, the Communists declared the establishment of the Slovak Soviet Republic in Presov (Erges) on 16 June 1919. After the proclamation of the Slovak Soviet Republic, Hungarian nationalists and patriots soon realised that the new communist government had no intention of reconquering the lost territories, but only to spread communist ideology and establish other communist states in Europe, thus sacrificing Hungary’s national interests. . Hungarian patriots and professional military officers of the Hungarian Red Army saw the establishment of the Slovak Soviet Republic as a betrayal and their support for the government began to wane (the communists and their government supported the establishment of the Slovak Communist state, while the Hungarian patriots wanted to preserve the occupied territories for Hungary). Despite a series of military victories over the Czechoslovak army, the Hungarian Red Army began to disintegrate due to tensions between nationalists and communists during the establishment of the Slovak Soviet Republic. This concession broke up the support of the communist government between the professional military officers and the nationalists of the Hungarian Red Army. Even the Chief of General Staff, Aurel Stromfeld, resigned his post in protest.

When the French promised the Hungarian government that the Romanian forces would be withdrawn from Tisandul, Kun withdrew from Czechoslovakia the rest of his military units that had remained loyal after the political fiasco with the Slovak Soviet Republic. Kun then tried unsuccessfully to turn the remaining units of his morale-less Hungarian Red Army against the Romanians.

Preparation of the Treaty

The Hungarian “Peace Terms” were drawn up on 15 January 1920 and their “Observations” were delivered on 20 February. French diplomats played the main role in the drafting and the Hungarians were kept in the dark. The long-term goal of the former was to create a coalition of small new states led by France and capable of resisting Russia or Germany. This led to the “Little Entente” of Czechoslovakia, Romania and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (from 1929 Yugoslavia). The long negotiation process was recorded on a daily basis by Janos Wetstein, deputy first secretary of the Hungarian delegation. The peace treaty in its final form was submitted to the Hungarians on 6 May and signed by them at the Grand Trianon on 4 June 1920, coming into force on 26 July 1921. The United States did not ratify the Treaty of Trient. Instead, they negotiated a separate peace treaty with Hungary in 1921, which did not contradict the terms of the Treaty of Trent.

The Hungarian government ended its union with Austria on 31 October 1918, formally dissolving the Austro-Hungarian state. The de facto provisional borders of independent Hungary were defined by the ceasefire lines in November-December 1918. Compared to the pre-war Kingdom of Hungary, these provisional borders did not include:

Vanato, Bácska and Baranja (which included most of the pre-war Hungarian counties of Baranja, Bács-Bondrog, Torodal and Temes) were placed under the military control of the Kingdom of Serbia and the political control of the local Slavs. The Great People’s Assembly of Serbs, Bunjevci and other Slavs from Vanato, Batka and Baranja declared the union of this region with Serbia on 25 November 1918. The ceasefire line had the character of a temporary international border until the treaty. The central parts of Vanato were later ceded to Romania, in accordance with the wishes of the Romanians of this region, who on 1 December 1918 attended the National Assembly of Romanians in Alba Julia, which voted in favour of union with the Kingdom of Romania.

After the advance of the Romanian Army across this cease-fire line, the Entente forces asked Hungary to recognize the new Romanian territorial gains with a new line along the Tisza River. Unable to reject these conditions and unwilling to accept them, the leaders of the Hungarian People’s Republic resigned and the Communists took power. Despite the fact that the country was under Allied blockade, the Hungarian Soviet Republic was established and the Hungarian Red Army was quickly created. This army achieved initial successes against the Czechoslovak Legion, due to secret food aid. This allowed Hungary to reach almost to the former border of Galicia (Poland), thus cutting off the Czechoslovak troops from the Romanian troops.

After the Hungarian-Czechoslovak ceasefire signed on 1 July 1919, the Hungarian Red Army abandoned parts of Slovakia on 4 July, as the Entente forces promised to invite a Hungarian delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference, an invitation that was not granted. Bella Kun, leader of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, then turned the Hungarian Red Army against the Romanian one and attacked the Tisza River on 20 July 1919. After fierce fighting that lasted for about five days, the Hungarian Red Army collapsed and the Royal Romanian Army entered Budapest on 4 August 1919.

The Hungarian state was restored by the Entente forces, which helped Admiral Horthy come to power in November 1919. On 1 December 1919 the Hungarian delegation was officially invited to the Versailles Peace Conference. However, Hungary’s newly defined borders were almost finalized in the absence of the Hungarians. In the preceding negotiations, the Hungarian, together with the Austrian, supported the American principle of self-determination: that the populations of the disputed territories should decide by free referendum to which country they wished to belong. . This view did not prevail, as it was ignored by the decisive French and British delegates. According to some opinions, the Allies drew up the outline of the new frontiers with little regard for the historical, cultural, ethnic, geographical, economic and strategic aspects of the region. The Allies ceded territories inhabited mostly by non-Hungarian ethnic groups to other states, but also allowed them to absorb significant territories inhabited mostly by Hungarian-speaking populations. For example, Romania acquired all of Transylvania, which had 2,800,000 Romanians, but also a significant minority of 1,600,000 Hungarians and about 250,000 Germans. The Allied intention was mainly to strengthen the neighbouring states at the expense of Hungary. Although the countries that mainly benefited from the treaty raised the issues in part, the Hungarian representatives tried to draw attention to them, but their views were ignored by the Allied representatives.

Some mainly Hungarian settlements, with more than two million people, were located in a 20-50 km wide strip along the new border with the neighbouring countries. More concentrated groups were found in Czechoslovakia (parts of southern Slovakia), Yugoslavia (parts of northern Delvidek) and Romania (parts of Transylvania).

The final borders of Hungary were determined by the Treaty of Trianon signed on 4 June 1920. Apart from the exclusion of the aforementioned territories, they did not include:

Under the Treaty of Triannon, the towns of Pec, Mohács, Baja and Sigetvar, which had been under Serbo-Croatian-Slovenian administration after November 1918, were ceded to Hungary. An arbitration commission in 1920 annexed small northern parts of the former counties of Arwa and Seppes of the Kingdom of Hungary with a Polish majority population to Poland. After 1918 Hungary lost access to the sea, which pre-war Hungary had had directly via the Rijeka coast and indirectly via Croatia-Slavonia.

The representatives of the small nations living in the former Austro-Hungary and active in the Congress of Oppressed Nations saw the Treaty of Trient as an act of historical justice, because a better future for their nations “would be founded and endure on the firm basis of universal democracy, true and sovereign government by the people and a universal alliance of nations, invested with the power of arbitration, “while at the same time calling for an end” to the existing intolerable domination of one nation over another “and to make it possible” for nations to organize their relations with each other on the basis of equal rights and free contracts”. Moreover, they believed that the treaty would help usher in a new era of reliance on international law, the brotherhood of nations, equal rights and human freedom, and civilization in the effort to rid humanity of international violence.

Signature of 1910

The last census before the Treaty of Trianon took place in 1910. This census recorded the population by language and religion, but not by ethnicity. However, it is generally accepted that the largest ethnic group in the Kingdom of Hungary at that time was the Hungarians. According to the 1910 census, the Hungarian language was spoken by about 48% of the total population of the kingdom and 54% of the population of the territory referred to as “mainly Hungary”, i.e. excluding Croatia-Slavonia. Within the boundaries of “mainly Hungary” there were many ethnic minorities: 16.1% Romanians, 10.5% Slovaks, 10.4% Germans, 2.5% Ruthenians, 2.5% Serbs and 8% others. 5% of the population of “mainly Hungary” were Jews, who were included among the Hungarian speakers. The population of autonomous Croatia-Slavonia was mostly made up of Croats and Serbs (who together made up 87% of the population).

The 1910 census classified the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Hungary according to their mother tongues and religions, so it shows the language of the individual, which may or may not correspond to his or her ethnic identity. To further complicate the situation in the multilingual kingdom, there were territories with ethnically mixed populations, where people spoke two or even three languages by birth. For example, in the region of present-day Slovakia (then part of Upper Hungary) 18% of Slovaks, 33% of Hungarians and 65% of Germans were bilingual. In addition, 21% of Germans spoke both Slovak and Hungarian in addition to German. These reasons provide grounds for discussion about the accuracy of the census.

While several demographers (David Paul, ) state that the census result is reasonably accurate (assuming it has also been correctly interpreted), others believe that the 1910 census was manipulated by overstating the percentage of Hungarian speakers, pointing out the difference between an incredibly high increase in the Hungarian-speaking population and the decrease in the percentage of speakers of other languages due to the majoritization in the kingdom at the end of the 19th century.

For example, the 1921 census in Czechoslovakia (only one year after the Treaty of Trianon) shows 21% Hungarians in Slovakia, compared to 30% based on the 1910 census.

Some Slovak demographers (such as Jan Sveton and Julius Mesaros) question the result of any pre-war census. Owen Johnson, an American historian, accepts the data from previous censuses up to that of 1900, which showed the percentage of Hungarians to be 51.4%, but ignores the 1910 census as he believes that the changes from the previous census are too great. It is also argued that there were different results between the previous censuses in the Kingdom of Hungary and those that followed in the new states. Considering the magnitude of the discrepancies some demographers believe that these censuses were somewhat biased in favor of the respective ruling nation.

The number of non-Hungarian and Hungarian communities in the different regions based on the data of the 1910 census (in this census people were not asked directly about their nationality, but about their mother tongue). The current position of each region is given in brackets.

The territories of the former Hungarian Kingdom ceded by the treaty to neighbouring countries as a whole (and each separately) had a majority of non-Hungarian nationals. However, the Hungarian ethnic area was much larger than the newly created territory of Hungary , so 30 % of Hungarians were under foreign rule.

In the decades after the treaty the percentage and absolute number of all Hungarian populations outside Hungary decreased (although, some of these populations also recorded a temporary increase in absolute numbers). There are many reasons for the population decline, some of which were spontaneous assimilation and certain state policies such as ecclobalism, ecclumenism, and eccerbism, as well as a reduced birth rate of Hungarian populations. According to the National Office for Refugees, the number of Hungarians who emigrated to Hungary from neighbouring countries was about 350,000 between 1918 and 1924.

On the other hand, a significant number of other nationalities remained within the borders of independent Hungary:

According to the 1920 census, 10.4% of the population spoke one of the minority languages as their mother tongue:

The number of bilinguals was much higher, for example 1,397,729 people spoke German (17%), 399,176 people spoke Slovak (5%), 179,928 people spoke Croatian (2.2%) and 88,828 people spoke Romanian (1.1%). Hungarian was spoken by 96% of the total population and was the mother tongue of 89%. The percentage and absolute number of all non-Hungarian nationalities decreased in the following decades, although the total population of the country increased. Bilingualism was also disappearing. The main reasons for this process were both spontaneous assimilation and the deliberate policy of the state’s massification. Minorities made up 8% of the total population in 1930 and 7% in 1941 (in the post-Trianon territories).

After World War II, about 200,000 Germans were deported to Germany, according to the decisions of the Potsdam Conference. With the forced population exchange between Czechoslovakia and Hungary about 73,000 Slovaks left Hungary and according to different estimates 120,500 Hungarians from Czechoslovakia moved to what is now Hungarian territory. After these population movements Hungary became an almost ethnically homogeneous country.

Political consequences

Officially, the treaty was to confirm the right of self-determination of nations and the concept of nation states that replaced the old multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire. Although the treaty addressed some nationality issues, it also triggered some new ones.

The minority ethnic groups of the pre-war kingdom were the main beneficiaries. The Allies had explicitly committed themselves to the cause of the minority peoples of Austria-Hungary at the end of the First World War. The death knells of the Austro-Hungarian Empire sounded on October 14, 1918, when United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing informed Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Istvan Burian that the autonomy of the nationalities was no longer sufficient. Consequently, the Allies unquestioningly assumed that the minority ethnic groups of the pre-war kingdom wanted to leave Hungary. The Romanians joined their ethnic Romanian brothers, while the Slovaks, Serbs and Croats helped to establish their own nation states (Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia). However, these new or enlarged countries also absorbed large areas with a majority of Hungarian Hungarians. As a result, about one third of the Hungarian-speaking people found themselves outside the borders of post-Trianon Hungary.

While the territories that were now outside the Hungarian border had an overall non-Hungarian majority, there were also significant Hungarian-majority areas, largely near the newly defined border. In the last century concerns were occasionally expressed about the treatment of these Hungarian communities in neighbouring states. Areas with significant Hungarian populations included the Land of Szekely in Eastern Transylvania, the area along the new Romanian-Hungarian border (the towns of Arad and Oradea), the area north of the new Czechoslovak-Hungarian border (Komarno, Čalokoz), the southern parts of Subcarpathia and the northern parts of Vojvodina.

The Allies rejected the idea of referendums in the disputed areas with the exception of the town of Sopron, which voted in favour of Hungary. The Allies were indifferent as to the exact line of the newly defined border between Austria and Hungary. Furthermore, ethnically diverse Transylvania, with an overall Romanian majority (53.8% – 1910 census data or 57.1% – 1919 census data or 57.3% – 1920 census data), was treated as a single entity in the peace negotiations and assigned in its entirety to Romania. The alternative option of dividing it along national lines was rejected.

Another reason why the victorious Allies decided to break up Austria-Hungary, the great Central European power, a strong supporter of Germany and a rapidly growing region, was to prevent Germany from gaining any substantial influence in the future. The main priority of the Western powers was to prevent the revival of the German Reich and therefore decided that its allies in the region, Austria and Hungary, should be “contained” by a circle of Allied-friendly states, each of which would be larger than both Austria and Hungary. Compared to the Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary, post-Trianon Hungary had 60% less population and its political and economic footprint in the region was significantly reduced. Hungary lost its connection to its strategic military and economic infrastructure due to the concentric layout of its railway and road network, which were bisected by the border. In addition, the structure of its economy collapsed because it had been based on other parts of the pre-war Kingdom. The country also lost access to the Mediterranean and the important seaport of Rijeka (Fiume) and became landlocked, which had a negative effect on maritime trade and strategic naval operations. In addition, many trade routes crossing the newly established border from different parts of the pre-war kingdom were abandoned.

As far as national issues were concerned, the Western powers were aware of the problem posed by the presence of so many Hungarians (and Germans) outside the new nation states of Hungary and Austria. The Romanian delegation in Versailles feared in 1919 that the Allies had begun to favour the partition of Transylvania on ethnic grounds to reduce the potential exit (of Hungarians and Germans)] and Prime Minister Ion Bretianu even invited the British-born Queen Mary to France to strengthen their case. The Romanians had suffered a relatively higher rate of casualties in the war than Britain , so it was felt that the Western powers had a moral obligation to repay them. In absolute terms Romanian troops suffered significantly fewer casualties than Britain or France, but the main reason for the decision was a secret pact between the Entente and Romania. In the Treaty of Bucharest (1916) Romania had been promised Transylvania and some other territory east of the Tisza River, on condition that it attacked Austria-Hungary from the south-east, where its defences were weak. However, when the Central Powers noticed the military manoeuvre the attempt was quickly suppressed and Bucharest fell in the same year.

When the victorious Allies arrived in France, the treaty had already been settled, which made the result inevitable. At the heart of the dispute were fundamentally different views on the nature of the Hungarian presence in the disputed territories. For the Hungarians, the outer territories were not considered colonial, but rather part of the heart of the national territory. Non-Hungarians living in the Pannonian Basin viewed the Hungarians as colonial rulers who had been oppressing the Slavs and Romanians since 1848, when they introduced laws making Hungarian the language of education and local services. For the non-Hungarians of the Pannonian Basin it was a process of decolonization, not punitive partition (as it appeared to the Hungarians). Hungarians did not see it this way because the newly defined borders did not fully respect the territorial distribution of ethnic groups in areas where there were Hungarian majorities outside the new borders. The French sided with their allies the Romanians who had a long policy of cultural ties with France since the country’s departure from the Ottoman Empire (partly because of the relative ease with which Romanians could learn French) although Clemenceau personally despised Ion Bretianou. President Wilson initially supported a border outline that would have been more respectful of the ethnic distribution of the population based on the Coolidge Report by the Harvard professor of the same name, but later relented due to the change in international politics and courtesy to the other allies.

For Hungarian public opinion, the fact that almost three quarters of the territory of the pre-war kingdom and a significant number of Hungarians were ceded to neighbouring countries caused great bitterness. Most Hungarians preferred to preserve the territorial integrity of the pre-war kingdom. Hungarian politicians claimed that they were prepared to give non-Hungarian nationalities a great deal of autonomy. Most Hungarians viewed the treaty as an insult to the nation’s honor. The Hungarian political attitude towards the Triumvirate was summed up in the phrases Nem, nem, soha! (“No, no, never!”) and Mindent vissza! (“Return everything!” or “Everything back!”). The perceived humiliating treaty became a dominant theme of interwar Hungarian politics, like the German reaction to the Treaty of Versailles.

Under the arbitration of Germany and Italy, Hungary extended its borders to neighbouring countries before and during World War II. This began with the First Vienna Adjudication, continued with the break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1939 (annexing the rest of Carpathian Ruthenia and a small strip of eastern Slovakia), then with the Second Vienna Adjudication in 1940, and finally with the annexations of territory after the break-up of Yugoslavia. This territorial expansion was short-lived, since Hungary’s post-war borders under the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties were almost identical to those of 1920 (with only the transfer of three villages – Horvatjarfalu, Orošvar and Dunaczun – to Czechoslovakia). .

The perceived leonine treaty had a lasting impact on Hungarian politics and culture, with some commentators even likening it to a “collective pathology” that places the Triennial in a much larger narrative of the victimization of Hungarians at the hands of foreign powers. Within Hungary, the Triannon is often referred to as “dictatorial”, “tragedy” According to one study, two-thirds of Hungarians agreed in 2020 that parts of neighbouring countries should belong to them, the highest percentage in all NATO countries. Such irredentism was one of the main factors contributing to Hungary’s decision to participate in World War II as an Axis power. Adolf Hitler had promised to intervene on Hungary’s behalf for the return of the Hungarian majority areas lost after the Triumvirate.

Hungarian bitterness over the Triannon was also a source of regional tension after the end of the Cold War in 1989. For example, Hungary attracted international media attention in 1999 for passing the “regime law” affecting some three million Hungarian minorities in neighbouring Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Ukraine. The law was aimed at providing education, health benefits and employment rights to these minorities as a means of remedying the negative effects of the Triennium.

The legacy of Triannon is also involved in the question of whether Hungarian citizenship should be granted to Hungarians outside Hungary, an important issue in contemporary Hungarian politics. In 2004, a majority of voters approved in a referendum the extension of citizenship to non-Hungarian Hungarians outside Hungary, but this was not enacted due to low turnout. In 2011, the newly formed government of Viktor Orbán extended the citizenship law. Although Orbán described the new law as a correction of the Triennium, many commentators pointed to an additional political motivation : the law granted voting rights to Hungarians outside the country, who were seen as a reliable base of support for Orbán’s national-conservative Fidesz party.

Other consequences

Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia were obliged to assume part of the financial obligations of the former Kingdom of Hungary because of the parts of its former territory ceded to them.

Some of the terms of the Treaty were similar to those imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. After the war, the Austro-Hungarian army, navy and air force were disbanded. The army of post-Trianon Hungary had to be reduced to 35,000 men and military service was abolished. Heavy artillery, tanks and air force were banned. Further provisions stated that no railways with more than one line would be built in Hungary, because at that time railways were of considerable strategic importance economically and militarily.

Articles 54-60 of the Treaty required Hungary to recognise various rights of national minorities within its borders.

Articles 61-66 stated that all former citizens of the Kingdom of Hungary living outside the newly defined borders of Hungary would automatically lose their Hungarian citizenship in one year.

Under Articles 79 to 101 Hungary renounced all her rights to territories outside Europe, which included Morocco, Egypt, Siam and China, belonging to the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy.


  1. Συνθήκη του Τριανόν
  2. Treaty of Trianon
  3. ^ The United States ended the war with the U.S.–Hungarian Peace Treaty (1921).
  4. Craig, G. A. (1966). Europe since 1914. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  5. Grenville, J. A. S. (1974). The Major International Treaties 1914–1973. A history and guides with texts. Methnen London.
  6. Lichtheim, G. (1974). Europe in the Twentieth Century. New York: Praeger.
  7. Richard C. Frucht (31 Δεκεμβρίου 2004). Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. ABC-CLIO. σελ. 360. ISBN 978-1-57607-800-6.
  8. Central Europe and the Middle East The reorganization of central Europe, (angolul)
  9. Június 4. – a nemzeti összetartozás napja,
  10. A magyar forrásokban néha a Kis-Trianon kastély szerepel, ez ugyanakkor nem lett volna alkalmas egy ilyen diplomáciai esemény lebonyolítására. A francia források egyetértenek abban, hogy az aláírás a Nagy-Trianon kastélyban történt. – Ormos Mária, Majoros István. Európa a nemzetközi küzdőtéren. Budapest: Osiris kiadó (2003)
  11. A trianoni békeszerződés teljes szövege – Az 1921. évi XXXIII. törvénycikk az Észak-amerikai Egyesült Államokkal, a Brit Birodalommal, Franciaországgal, Olaszországgal és Japánnal, továbbá Belgiummal, Kínával, Kubával, Görögországgal, Nicaraguával, Panamával, Lengyelországgal, Portugáliával, Romániával, a Szerb– Horvát–Szlovén Állammal, Sziámmal és Cseh-Szlovákországgal 1920. évi június hó 4. napján a Trianonban kötött békeszerződés becikkelyezéséről. [2015. június 14-i dátummal az eredetiből archiválva]. (Hozzáférés: 2015. június 12.)
  12. Rainer Pál: A przeworski vasúti hídtól a trianoni palotáig, Trianontól Veszprémig: dr. vitéz szilvágyi Benárd Ágost és veszprémi kapcsolatai.[1] Archiválva 2015. június 5-i dátummal a Wayback Machine-ben
  13. Autres signataires : Belgique, Chine, Cuba, Grèce, Japon, Nicaragua, Panama, Pologne, Portugal et Siam.
  14. « Hongrie : une statue du régent Horthy fait ressurgir le passé nazi », sur Franceinfo, 13 novembre 2013 (consulté le 8 janvier 2019).
  15. « En Hongrie, un passé qui ne passe pas », sur La Croix, 7 janvier 2014 (ISSN 0242-6056, consulté le 12 avril 2018).
  16. [1].
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