Institute of Hungarian
Below is a list of papers written by graduate students on various
themes related to Hungary. The opinions expressed in these papers are not necessarily
those of the Institute.
Sinespe Libertatis: Slavery in Hungary under the House of Arpad:
Master Thesis, May 1998, James Theron Wilson; CEUS
Currently studying history at Indiana University.
Most histories of Hungary, like those of other states, give scant attention to the existence of slavery during the Middle Ages. The position of serfdom in "feudal society" is often discussed. Even the lives of those taken as slaves to the Ottoman Empire is a common topic. But for discussions of chattel slavery among the Hungarians, one must look to more specialized literature. Nonetheless, the existence of discussions of slavery is particularly missed in descriptions of Hungarian society under the House of Árpád, as this period is a uniquely important component of Hungarian self-image. Indeed, slavery was a major factor in the Hungarian economy for several centuries, later than in most states West of Hungary, and was regulated by a large body of law. Moreover, these slaves were not just foreign prisoners of war. Many were probably native Hungarians, whose ancestors may have entered the Danubian basin with the seven tribes...
The Borders of Trianon: Blunders and Regrets:
Master Thesis May 2000, Thomas Cooper; CEUS
Currently studying comparative literature at Indiana University.
Historians dealing with the Treaty of Trianon tend to explain the treaty as a reflection of the strategic interests of the two powers that dominated the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, France and Great Britain. The ethnic principle was violated, they explain, in order to incorporate railroad junctions in states that, it was hoped, would prove valuable allies. While this explanation is crucial to an understanding of the treaty, it implies that the Treaty of Trianon was the result of a consistent plan on the part of these two countries. An examination of documents from the archives of the French Foreign Ministry (first published in 1993) reveals that the process by which Hungarys exact borders were determined was by no means part of a consistent plan. On the contrary, the leaders of the Peace Conference adopted new borders for Hungary as a precipitate response to a new military crisis. When fighting broke out between Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Romania in the spring of 1919, the leaders of the conference feared that the conflict might lead to the spread of Bolshevism. Hoping to remove the source of the fighting, they hastily adopted the recommendations of territorial committees charged with the task of drawing new borders for the states of the region. These decisions they immediately communicated to each of the countries concerned, stipulating that the new borders would not be changed by the outcome of the fighting. Later, although prominent members of the Peace Conference expressed serious doubts about the wisdom of the borders suggested by the committees, they found themselves bound by their own insistence that the borders were not subject to change. Thus the borders drawn according to the Treaty of Trianon were not the realization of any sort of consistent plan on the part of the allies. They were the result of an impromptu procedure dictated by military exigencies.
Out with the Old:Broad-based Oppositions
Prevail in Hungary and Yugoslavia:
Alex Dunlop, 2000; REEI/SPEA
No two countries in East Central Europe share the same experience of Communism. Parallels can be drawn between countries, groupings can be made and put into tiers, and data can be compared. But each country has a unique past which continues to make itself felt in the present day, despite the common direction the countries are taking towards a free market economy and multi-party democracy. Hungary, for example, has a more westward-leaning tradition than Yugoslavia does. Though their alliance with the Hapsburg Monarchy may have hindered the development of institutions of self-governance and a modern economy, that same tradition with Austria probably also helped it usher in the changes of 1989 more swiftly than many of its neighbors. The debate is still going on as to whether the Austrians did more harm than good for the country, but one thing is clear: Hungary has enjoyed a far less painful transition than many of its neighbors, including Yugoslavia. A comparison of the overall transition since 1989 in the two countries lies well beyond the scope of this paper; I intend, however, to look at the election systems, the most recent election outcomes and the major political powers in place in Hungary and Yugoslavia and draw some similarities between the opposition coalitions were formed.
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