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In the Interest of Peace: Appeal of the World Federation of Hungarians

In the Interest of Peace

Appeal of the World Federation of Hungarians

initiated by László Botos

The future of Hungary, mutilated on June 4, 1920, is in jeopardy, and the situation of the Hungarian people is unbearable. The dismemberment of the Hungarian nation has lasted for almost a century without any effectual remedy on the part of the Hungarians, even on an intellectual level. However, the Eighth Hungarian World Congress and the New Hungarian Definition of the Nation, accepted by this Congress, have in their title created an intellectual base to protest against the Trianon (1920) and Paris (1947) Peace Dictates: Future in the Spirit of the Holy Crown.

The most significant contribution of the Hungarian nation to the progress of mankind is embodied in the establishment of the state system, which, in unique measure, places at the center the human respect for all the people living there, without discrimination on grounds of sex, race, nationality or religion. This state was established by our forefathers on the basis of the Doctrine of the Holy Crown and we call it the country of the Holy Crown”– states the New Hungarian Definition of the Nation, accepted in 2012.

On the 93rd anniversary of the Trianon Peace Dictate, the Hungarians of the World and every well-intentioned person will employ a measure, more effective than any so far, made available to them by two eminent Czech intellectuals, whose arguments coincide with the assessment of the Hungarian World Congress in supporting the untenability of the Trianon Dictate and justice for the Hungarian Nation.

Rudolf Kučera, a Czech political scientist, in his book: Közép Európa története egy cseh politológus szemével (Central European History from the Point of View of a Czech Political Scientist), published in 2008, quotes a well-known Czech historian, František Palacký:

František Palacký, in his book: „Idea státu rakouského” (The Austrian concept of state) evaluates the Hungarian Constitution in the following way: ’The Hungarian state institution is, in its essence, so sound and blessed that, in my opinion, it would be beneficial for other countries to adopt it. In it is the living seed of true autonomy, without which civilian and political freedom cannot last long anywhere. Within it is also the concept of reform and boundless perfectibility, without which every human institution must perish and be destroyed. From this, we can understand and explain to the Hungarians, (all citizens of Hungary, not just the Magyars) their common love for their own ancient constitution (constitutio avitica) and the unusual energy they expend in upholding and defending it. The Hungarians cannot live happily in a bureaucracy.’ 34 [1]

What then was this constitution and what was its historical significance? First of all, we have to state that the Hungarians’ insistence on the continuity of their thousand year-old Constitution created the basis for the existence of the historical Hungarian state. The main advantage of this constitution was the sharing of power between the rulers and the estates, while, as a matter of fact, the actual „democracy” lay in the broad decentralization and the autonomous state institutions. First, let us mention the State Assembly, the Parliament, which debated every proposal of the King and elected the Palatine, the King’s vice-regent, from its own ranks, who, with the aid of his council (consilium locumtenentiale) carried out the plans that the king and the estates had together agreed upon. His deputy, the Lord Chief Justice, presided over the royal courts of appeals, which were called „tabula septemviralis”. The actual basis of the decentralized state power rested in the counties, the authorized units of public administration in various territories of the kingdom, which were headed by the Lord Lieutenant („comes”), the Deputy Lieutenant and other locally elected officials. Every county sent two representatives to the State Assembly. The County Assemblies, in which the free local population took part, elected the body of officials who took care of county business.

The laws that were accepted by the State Assembly and sanctioned by the King, were to be announced at the County Assembly, so that the county authorities might execute them. The measures taken by the state’s highest organizations also had to be announced by the county officers, and the county assembly had the right to protest against those laws which they considered to be offensive (gravaminalis). They had to submit their objections (representacio) and suspend their execution of these laws until the matter was decided. If it concerned an unpopular law, the various counties conferred with each other about the substance of their objection. This was the way that, in Historic Hungary, the people were able to object to unpopular laws and prevent them from being carried out. This widespread system of county self-government was the invincible shield, with which the Hungarians defended their state self-determination and with which they overruled the unifying endeavors of the rulers.’35 [2]

The struggle of the Hungarians on behalf of their constitution was long and bloody, like every struggle in which they fight for their political freedom. This struggle belongs in the most glorious pages of European history and, in the future, it should be a part of every school-book that deals with European history. It has traditions that apply to our struggle for human and civil rights today and which we should adopt instead of the unfounded glorification of the formation of the Central-European nation-states. The nation-states, in any case, have only temporarily achieved their numerous national endeavors; they have brought freedom to some peoples, while taking it away from others and, what is most important, they have not secured long-term political freedom, nor have they brought peace to Central Europe – which, according to Saint Augustine, is the goal of human society: ’People first of all love peace and this love for peace unites them in a society.’”

Do we need any more convincing proof than the arguments of František Palacký and Rudolf Kučera to convince us that the country of the Holy Crown, created by the Hungarian nation, did not oppress the minorities living within its borders?

Hardly. Therefore the demand of the New Hungarian Definition of the Nation is legitimate and due.

In exchange for the large-scale state arrangements, which made it possible throughout the centuries that in the country of the Holy Crown the peoples who made up the later successor states of Trianon were able to flourish, we expect that these nations establish in their constitution that fact that Hungarian communities, forced by political decisions to be scattered in their states, in the future immutably be considered a part of the Hungarian Nation.”

Accepted by the Praesidium of the World Federation of Hungarians on February 17, 2013, in Budapest

Announced on June 4, 2013 in Versailles at the site of the Trianon Peace Dictate

[1] Palacký, František: Úvahy a projevy, Melantrich, Praha, 1977, p. 376

[2] Palacký, František: Česká politika, Praha. 1907., Vol.2. Part 1, p. 159