„Blessed are the Peacemakers. . .”
The Memorandum which Lead to the Transsylvanian UNO-Trial
„Since the first King of
One hundred years ago, these words rang out in the Hungarian Parliament, and there is still no solution to the question of the survival of the Hungarians. When the Peace Treaty of Trianon (June 4, 1920) smashed into pieces the historical-political framework of the Hungarians and the Hungarian state, overwhelming necessity would no longer allow any further postponement of this question. It became clear that the inability to solve the problem of the ethnic minorities endangered the life of the whole nation and it also became clear that it was reasonable -- on our part and on the part of our „neighbors” – to accept that only the Hungarians could solve this problem. Convinced of this, the leaders of Hungary at that time – perhaps not quite properly but in any case, excusably – set aside all other important duties and devoted themselves, with all the strength in their reserves, to the solution of this problem. In keeping with the concept of Truth, we can state that this endeavor was not a vague attempt on the part of a thin upper crust, but was a purposeful movement of the whole Hungarian nation.
We can state that the so-called revisionism was not imperialistic, and had no aggressive intention, but was the peaceful, pure effort of a whole nation to assert its most basic will to live. This movement reaped undeniable successes, which were significant although they were of short duration. The last endeavor was to preserve a heritage, said to be one thousand years old, and the movement was not to blame for the failure of this endeavor.
Nevertheless, if it had been successful,
it would not have solved the question of the nationalities, because this was
not one of its goals. Its precept
was the following:
After World War II, it
was natural that the people were reluctant to take up this question again, that
– according to them – they had already paid for. Of course, the Government, which was a
vassal of Russia, exploited the situation and, with all its strength and with
slogans like: „on good terms with the neighbors”,
„peace”, „the exoneration of the Trianon state”, was bent on diverting the attention of
the public from the fact that we could not be on good terms with the neighbors,
as long as there were insoluble problems between us, that this tension caused a
high degree of uncertainty for peace and security, and that, due to the lack of
raw materials, Hungary was constantly on the brink of collapse. In the fall of 1956, it became clear
that – from their point of view – the Russians were right when,
among all the peoples of the
The question of the ethnic minorities, therefore, must be resolved, because it endangers the future of Hungarians to the utmost degree. In this solution, however – independently of the present international situation – let us be determined but reasonable. We cannot give up on a certain solution for our future, and we cannot expect that our neighbors should give up either.
We, Transylvanian Hungarians, as those most closely affected, take up the question again in the name of all the Hungarians forced to live under foreign rule. We are a part of the Hungarian nation and we look at this question from the point of view of all Hungarians. We have a direct interest, and we believe our objectivity will not be placed at a disadvantage, but will be enhanced by the fact that we see the situation from up close and that we primarily bear the risks of the consequences.
The Treaty of Trianon
(1920) divided up
Referring to the doctrine
of self-determination, the Great Powers divided up a country, in which 54.5% of
the population was Hungarian and 45.5% was made up of a number of other ethic
groups. The northern part, which
was inhabited by 48.2% Slovak residents and 51.8% other nationalities, was
annexed to Czechoslovakia; the
eastern part, in which 53.8% were Romanian and 46.2% were other nationalities,
was annexed to Romania and the southern part, in which 31.4% of the population
was Serbo-Croatian and 68.6% other nationalities, was annexed to
Yugoslavia. In this way, the Czechs
and Slovaks made up 58.7% in Czechoslovakia; the Romanians in Romania 66.7%; in
Yugoslavia, the Serbs, Croatians and Slovenes made up 74.5% and in Hungary, the
Hungarians made up 88.4% of the population, in comparison to the former ethnic
population. Of the 8,319,906 ethnic
residents in pre-Trianon
Therefore, it is clear that the result was in no way proportionate to the trauma suffered by those affected, and there were even greater sacrifices which accompanied the redistribution of people, if we take into account the later negative effects and the extent of the responsibility.
If we compare the number of the population of the separate successor states with the total population of the particular state, so that we make the population of the particular nation equal to one hundred, in the case of the Czechs and the Slovaks we get 165, the Romanians, 148, the Yugoslavians 132 and all three together, 148, while the same number of Hungarians and the inhabitants of the state is only 74. This means that the territorial distribution of Trianon awarded the one side 48% more and the other – the Hungarians – 26% less inhabited territory than was fair.
There was no
historical basis to these distributions and, if we just glance at the map of
With the new
distribution of territory, the Treaty of Trianon laid down a new base for the
economy of the people of the
We can state, although
there are no statistical data to support it, that before Trianon, in proportion
to their numbers, Hungarians received a larger part of the industrial raw
materials than the ethnic minorities.
The Treaty of Trianon – taking into account the size of the
populations in the new territories – gave
In the area of
culture, the superiority of the Hungarians over the ethnic minorities was
striking before the Treaty of Trianon. The rich national traditions, the old
and the new institutions, the comparatively low number of illiterates, all made
it obvious that the state belonged to the Hungarians. Nevertheless, the fact that they had an
exquisite literature, that their music and art was on a par with the rest of
It is true that, before Trianon, the state established few schools for the use of the minorities, but, in comparison, this was more than the present states allowed in Trianon for the Hungarians who became a minority. It is also undeniable that, before Trianon, the Hungarians did very little for the cultural improvement of an undeveloped region like Carpatho-Ukraine but, in this area, the successors of Trianon did not do much either: the Czechs continued to neglect it and the Romanians – not to speak of their own ten million illiterates – continued their chauvinistic cultural politics in the regions inhabited by minorities, which had the highest cultural level.
After all this, we can safely say that, under the Trianon redrawing of borders, the new possibilities, created for the culture of the minorities, were incomparably fewer than those offered to them in the cultural peace and cooperation that existed before it.
The minority politics
As could be reasonably
expected, the rule of the former servants topped the huge stack of
inequities. Only Trianon
The most serious mistake of the Treaty of Trianon was that, even with the use of the afore-mentioned hurtful and forceful methods, it did not solve the minority question. On the contrary, it aggravated it.
As we have seen above, the main reason for the problem lies in the mixture of the various ethnic minorities. While these peoples were able to live beside and among each other in peace, they generally did so. Even if the problem became more serious, and appeared insoluble, individuals belonging to the various ethnic groups were able to live on good terms with one another, and work together in economic and social arenas.
serious inequities of the Treaty of Trianon nevertheless cut through every
thread which bound or could have bound the various ethnic groups that were
living together. If the serious national loss did not affect everyone, the
humiliating differences, the never-ending harassment and the increasing number
of offences caused the Hungarians to be insecure and suspicious, consequently
making them withdrawn. However, even if the Hungarians had been able to
disregard this instinctive defensive method, this isolation still would not
have been dispelled. The victorious
peoples experienced their victory with uncertainty because they felt it was
unfair. The Hungarians were the
ones who threatened their victorious position and therefore, naturally –
sometimes not even consciously – they organized against the
Hungarians. Thus there developed
unwritten -- but general – rules in the
People say that this hatred and lack of understanding are promoted by certain groups or classes. This is a result of the unfortunate situation among the nationalities in the course of the ensuing historical events, just as an explosion is the result of the mixture of oxygen and hydrogen. Moreover, the superficial restraint, appeasement and palliation only increase and intensify the continually growing vendetta-like struggle between individual and individual, family and family, village and village, and people and people. The newborn is born into this struggle – even his name starts the argument – and he is wounded in it, lives in it, if he can, as a man and he dies in it. Even at his funeral, the dispute continues.
In the course of this
struggle, which promises no real solution, the better part of the
participant’s strength and capabilities is consumed; it slows down his diligence,
ruins his character and his moral values.
Meantime, the world goes on and we, Hungarians, here in the
Since, as a consequence of the Treaty of Trianon, the situation of the Transylvanian Hungarians is the most disadvantageous, and our homeland is the least suitable to be our home, the struggle for co-existence jeopardizes our lives primarily. We are the ones, therefore, who must initiate and advocate for the solution and, if, in addition to our determination, we are also reasonable, it is certain that we will find a solution that is acceptable to everyone.
II. After discussing the general question,
we now should examine the question of
Treaty of Trianon annexed 103,093 km2 from
One third of the Hungarians makes up the overwhelming majority in the Székely-land; another third makes up a comparable majority in the stretch of land in the counties along the border and the rest live scattered – in the territory amounting to approximately three quarters of the territory of Transylvania – among the Romanians, who are six times more numerous than the Hungarians in this region.
A mountain range,
called the Szigethegység, divides Transylvania into two geographical and
climatic regions: the Border Region and the
Only one part of the Transylvanian Basin, the region between the Maros and Olt Rivers, is important from the point of view of agriculture. This part, particularly the K-küllő region, competes with the Border Region, especially in the cultivation of fruit, grapes and fodder. The other parts of the Basin – particularly the Székely-land -- can be developed agriculturally only with huge investments. It offers greater possibilities for animal husbandry but, even in this area, there is much to do. The forestry economy of the Székely-land is important today and easily developed.
From the point of view of mining – except for the northern part of the Basin, the Mezőség – the entire territory of Transylvania is important. The iron and coal in the counties of Hunyad and Bánát, the bauxite, uranium and asphalt in Bihar, the precious and non-ferrous metals in Szatmár, the salt in Máramaros and the Székely-land and the natural gas in Central Transylvania, could all make the whole country rich.
Transylvania’s industry – although it has developed considerably in the last few decades – compared to its possibilities, is still very underdeveloped. There are serious possibilities for the development of industries such as metallurgy, the iron and metal industry, the timber industry, engineering, synthetic materials processing, the building material industry and the various branches of light industry. With the development of agriculture, possibilities open up for the development of the food industry as well. The small industries of Transylvania remain important and meaningful for any healthy economic system.
Transylvania’s trade is deficient, although in the Border Region, where the population is richer and has a higher standard of living, and the railways and highways enable transport of goods, there is trade. However, the poor and simple people of the Transylvanian Basin live without trade in the sense the Europeans know it, thus the population of Transylvania, with its ancient past, trades only for its own needs. Naturally, a rise in the general standard of living – including the building of railways and highways – together with the appropriate legal regulation -- could bring an upswing in Transylvania’s trade. This is as necessary for the economic life of Transylvania as the healthy blood circulation is for the human body.
The hypothetical presentation of the numerous possibilities for development listed above indicates the tragic situation of Transylvania’s economy: the present recession. The Treaty of Trianon cut through economic arteries, the lack of which would cause difficulties even for the most knowledgeable politics of economic development. In any case, in Transylvania after Trianon, it is not possible to talk about such economic politics. The Balkan peoples in general and the Romanians in particular have an aversion for public investments and public projects because they do not believe that the state would offer them the possibility to enrich themselves. The Romanian politics neglected the development of the former Romanian territories and simply prevented the development of Transylvania. Perhaps we are not mistaken if we trace one of the causes of the struggle for co-existence in Transylvania, the economic struggle, back to the Asiatic methods of economic politics of the Romanian state. The bitterest struggle for co-existence is in the field of economics, although it is the least justifiable, therefore it offers the greatest possibilities for the economy of Transylvania.
The cultural heritage of Transylvania is very rich. Transylvania made every European and Hungarian idea her own, not just once or for a short time, but she was the standard bearer for Historic Hungary and even for Europe. Our (Székely) forefathers were the first to recognize and embrace the freedom of conscience. In this territory the literature of Hungary and Romania was born. In the course of centuries, the intellectual and political leaders of all the Hungarians and all the Romanians came from here. The neighboring peoples used her institutions as models because they were worthy of being used as examples.
The Treaty of Trianon had a dual effect – seemingly contradictory – on the Hungarian cultural life in Transylvania: material impoverishment and intellectual enrichment. The Transylvanian Hungarian culture lost not only the material support or good-will of the state, but also its recognition. Of course this meant the closing of a whole list of institutions, and a huge burden for those that survived. This became the source of great misery and many complaints. On the other hand, Trianon brought intellectual enrichment: there came into being the rule that, if a people is forced out of the political and economic life, it compensates itself in the area of culture. Politicians, soldiers, jurists, economists, civil servants and entrepreneurs become involved in the arts and the sciences and broaden, strengthen and breathe life into the literature. This is what happened after Trianon in the Transylvanian Hungarian literature. The remaining institutions were purged. The churches, agricultural and cultural organizations, the schools and the press all received new content and a new goal.
The Hungarians lived a strangulated life in Trianon Hungary too and this – in accordance with the above rules – unquestionably contributed to the renewal of intellectual life. The people’s movement was born and it was not accidental that the appearance of the Transylvanian writers turned the probable defeat of this movement into a victory, just as it was not accidental that the Hungarian newspaper with the widest circulation in Transylvania was published with the support of the Transylvanian Hungarian subscribers, and that the first collection of Hungarian folk songs appeared in Transylvania. Naturally, in the tracks of these successes, there began a moral cleansing of the Transylvanian Hungarian society, and steps were taken toward a more humane, more devout, more tolerant society that rejected the extremes.
Among the Romanians, the opposite of this played out: material enrichment – it must be admitted that they were badly in need of it -- and continued intellectual impoverishment. On the one hand, weak and superficial institutions were born, one after another; on the other hand, the cultural life attracted sound people to become politicians, jurists, soldiers, civil servants, economists and entrepreneurs. The natural consequence of this was lack of success and failure -- in the cultural as well as in the political and economic life – and this caused the nationalities in the majority to become more irritated with the minorities, and this in no small measure contributed to the aggravation of the Transylvanian struggle for co-existence.
The material impoverishment of the Transylvanian Hungarian culture of course only meant the undermining of its strong base. This destruction was topped by nationalization, emphasized by slogans – for the most part chauvinistic. All at once, not only every Hungarian institution and organization was shut down – except the churches, but also their foundation rights were taken away. The truth is that what the iron guards failed to do was accomplished by the Communists. Parallel to this, with the stronger supervision of the press and the elimination of academic freedom, the writers were cut off from the public and, thereby, the Transylvanian Hungarians were effectively excluded from the cultural life and pushed into the background, under the political and economic pressure.
Romania never took seriously the international agreements regarding the minorities. Comprehensive minority laws were never enacted. The violations of the rights of the minorities – particularly the Hungarians – were widely known up until the occupation of the Russians; the situation after 1944 nevertheless forced them to come to light.
Under the liberal and nationalistic Romanian governments, although harassed, the Hungarian churches were allowed to operate; Hungarian schools existed, and the use of the Hungarian language was allowed in the economic life – which at that time was still in private hands. With the establishment of the Communist rule, the remaining minority rights were wiped out, while using the slogans of democracy, equality and socialism. Along with the old parties, the Hungarian Party was also eliminated. Along with the former social organizations, the Hungarian associations were also shut down. The nationalization of the schools, however, was simply Romanization, because the Romanians did not have denominational schools. With the socialization of the economic life, the use of the Hungarian language disappeared from public life in every respect, so that the Hungarians could only speak their mother-tongue in the schools and within their families.
The number of civil service positions received in exchange for all this, not only did not match the ratio of the number of Hungarians but did not even match up to the past of their labor movements, even taking into account their numbers. Besides this, every important governing, official position fell to the Romanians, while the Hungarians received the unimportant governmental positions – and even more thankless – remained in positions in propaganda and state security. There had never been such a demand for unprincipled, spineless Hungarians, devoid of national feeling and for all kinds of desperate rabble. These occupied every position in the state, the Party and the trade unions and everywhere it was advantageous for them to occupy a position. With these people, at one time, there was a systematic by-passing of those Hungarians, who absolutely appeared to be capable of taking stock of the situation. Every slogan for war-crime trials, land reform, nationalization, internment, purging and class struggles as well as democracy and socialism, was used for the elimination or bypassing of one group or another. Those who did not die ended up in prison; those who ended up in prison lost their reason for living. All this happened to two million culture building and culture supporting Hungarians in the land of freedom of conscience.
The struggle for co-existence attained its full development with the socialist possibilities. Wherever there is any way to interfere with each other’s life, people can do great harm to each other. Where children are banned from school because their grandmother distills brandy, there is no point in trying to find out whether the suspect was really a social democrat, because if she was not, nobody would risk defending her, because he too would be suspect.
A result of this general Eastern European situation in Transylvania -- among others -- is that a majority of the people on the list of wealthy peasants (kuláks) were Hungarians, although in reality the majority of Romanian farmers were actually wealthy peasants. Another is that there were very few Hungarian heads of companies. At the same time, referring to the labor movements of the past, the Romanians blamed the Hungarians for the so-called democratic rule. If any Hungarian responded in like manner, the Rumanians took this as proof that this was true and they continued the struggle against the Hungarians with a clear conscience – naturally with socialist methods, which meant that all Romanians were against the Hungarians and vice-versa.
The list of socialist tools used in the nationalistic oppression would be incomplete if, besides the land reform, the class war and the accusations of chauvinism, we did not mention the so-called cosmopolitanism too. If someone could not be accused of nationalism or chauvinism because he was willing, without reservation, to cooperate in the elimination of Hungarian traditions, and did not do this convincingly enough in the interest of Romanian expansion, but instead, proposed some kind of international compromise or solution, he was labeled cosmopolitan, and all citizens, primarily the minority Hungarians, were obliged to engage in the relentless struggle against him.
It is natural that these people made the embittered struggle for coexistence inappeasable by continuing these unreasonable humiliations. The mutual contempt and jealousy between the nationalities living together do not serve to promote understanding. The Hungarians regard the Romanians as ignorant, lazy, untrustworthy, and their state to be a model for corrupt government. The Romanians are bent on painting the Hungarians in all kinds of unpleasing colors and present them as barbarians, arrogant and quarrelsome. All this results in both sides feeling that they have the right, in this ever increasing life-death struggle, to abandon or ignore all the rules of chivalry and humanity.
In summarizing, we announce that, as far as the Hungarians are concerned, the present situation in Transylvania is unacceptable because, besides placing unfair, heavy burdens on the Transylvanian Hungarians, it renders the future of the whole nation hopeless.
Let us examine the possible solutions to the Transylvanian (Erdély) question, with which the grave political and economical injustice against Hungarians can be ceased, the nationality question can be solved, and the hotbed of fire, which endangers world-peace, can be extinguished.
Let us examine the future of Transylvania in four political frames.
I. Transylvania would remain under Romanian rule. This has only one advantage: namely, that it is a comfortable solution, simply because nothing needs to be done. If Hungary’s international prestige were great, then, besides human rights, she would be able to force Romania to issue a law that would include special nationality rights, and she might even secure for her own economy the special acquisition of raw materials and market-possibilities in Transylvania. However, there is little hope of effecting such legislation and law because the next political wind-change would diminish Hungary’s influence, and would nullify the nationality law and economic agreement.
Europe, too, advances toward federalization. If Hungary and Romania, with their present area and population, were to enter into any mutual state-relationship, the first consequence would be that, except for human rights, the Hungarians in Transylvania would not be able to ask for the recognition of any other right. There would be Romanian administration, judiciary, army, nationalization and socialism. Romanian legislation would prevail and make decisions in the cases of Hungarian organizations, churches, schools, societies and trade unions, ancient libraries and historic monuments. Furthermore, Hungary, within a federation, could not ask for a larger share of Transylvania’s raw materials than any other state.
If Transylvania were to remain under Romanian rule, either in a federation or otherwise, the basic question would still not be solved: the mixture of nationalities. Therefore, no hope would remain that the struggle for co-existence would diminish in its intensity. Since, however, the borders would be open – either with a passport or without one – and emigration would be allowed, because it is after all a basic human right, the Hungarians in Transylvania, tired of the age-old hopeless struggle, would either emigrate or assimilate. They would not settle in Hungary either, because we can count on a great emigration from there too, since Hungary, within the framework of the Treaty of Trianon, is not suitable to be the home of all Hungarians. The more the Hungarians are assured of their coveted freedoms: free traffic, free trade, free labor conditions, elimination of the compulsory passports and customs, the more they will be convinced that it is better to be a free citizen of a rich and peaceful foreign country, than one of a hopeless, poor homeland – surrounded by neighbors full of hatred.
With Transylvania remaining under Romanian rule, it would not be possible for Hungarians to be compensated for the injustice that Trianon committed against them, yet the life-interest of Hungarians demands this compensation. Hungarians in Transylvania simply do not want to live under Romanian rule, and there is no legal principle or interest, whatsoever, which they can respect, if they are forced to do so. Indeed, there is no such fair legal principle or interest that could force two million people, who are living on their own ancestral land, to live under foreign rule.
If Transylvania were to remain under Romanian rule, every effort the government of both countries makes toward peaceful co-existence would be in vain. The continuation of the causes of their struggle for co-existence would make impossible a peaceful treaty between the two countries, the two nations – to the great danger of mankind. This hotbed of fire would remain forever a danger to world peace, and would provide an eternal cause for interference by the great powers in the domestic life of both countries.
II. Transylvania would come under Hungarian rule. This would have the obvious advantage that it would be a full compensation for the injustice of Trianon. Transylvania would resettle into its natural geographic, economic and historical frame. The economic life of Hungary would receive plenty of raw materials and a significant market. The economic prospects of Transylvania would be in the hands of honest and professional men, under the management of a European state. It would yield economic prosperity for the Carpathian Basin. The oppression of Hungarian people would cease; Hungarian culture would be enriched with the historical heritage of Transylvania and its vital intellectual power. Hungary and the Hungarian nation would be by far the most capable of assuring the national rights of the Romanians. We could continue listing in detail the advantages of ceding Transylvania to Hungary; however...
However: the acquisition of Transylvania would exhaust – perhaps over exhaust – the international and moral capital of Hungary. The Great Powers would regard Hungary as their debtor; her coveters and competitors would regard her as their enemy. The natural outbreak of Romanian irredentism would receive support from all sides and a new political turn around would take Transylvania from Hungary, just as the former one gave it to her. Obviously, there is no Romanian who would want live in Hungary, and there is no fair principle or interest which could force him to do so.
Hungary is a poor country. As a consequence of two lost wars, she has lagged so far behind Europe that it would be an enormous task to make up the loss. If she has to spend her moral, physical, economic, intellectual and financial reserves on the economic and administrative management of Transylvania, which is more underdeveloped and a bigger territory with poorer terrain character than Hungary, it would mean that Hungary would fall out of the economic world competition. It would not be possible to make Hungary the home of Hungarians. Yet it is time for it to be worthwhile being Hungarian, and not just equate „being Hungarian” with forever making a sacrifice. Or should Transylvania just be left to exist as a colony? It would not be fair to the Hungarians, and it could not be done either, since one third of Transylvania’s population is Hungarian.
However, even if the Hungarians were to construct roads, railways, factories and public buildings, start reforestation, open new mines, plant orchards and vineyards, establish settlements, regulate water, and create intensive farming in Transylvania, there would still be great difficulties because, in Transylvania, there are two Romanians for every Hungarian, and Hungarians have to be satisfied if the Romanians accept all their sacrifices. Even so, the Romanians could still give a reason for their lack of interest. Since it would not be their country, they would not build it up and would not keep it in good order. We, Hungarians, would build it, maintain it, pay their officials and teachers, and maintain a police force for them. We would seek their favor and we would not get it. In the best case, the situation would be similar to that of pre-Trianon, and we should prepare to accept the same results or worse.
Before Trianon, the struggle for co-existence in Transylvania – primarily because of the Hungarian rule which endeavored to be fair -- was not that intense. The Romanian rule has endlessly aggravated this fight, and there is no serious chance that a future Hungarian rule would considerably ease it. The mixture of nationalities engenders conflict of interest, and this mixture would remain under Hungarian rule too. If the Hungarians -- using their more favorable political situation – were to continue the struggle with stronger means, the greater frustration on the part of the Romanians would induce increased resistance from them. Hungarians would fight to keep Transylvania, the Romanians to acquire Transylvania. We would fight, and they would fight with all means and might. Since, in this case, the Romanian side would have an advantage over the Hungarian side, we can be sure that their fight would be more successful than that of the Hungarians; Hungary would lose Transylvania for the second time, and it would prove futile to elevate this question to the European level, even if Hungarians were to sacrifice all their physical and spiritual energy.
World peace would not gain anything by ceding Transylvania to Hungary. The restless hotbed of fire would remain here to endanger mankind. There would be even less chance of Romanian-Hungarian friendship, since we cannot expect the Romanians to show such magnanimity as to forget their four million brothers living in a territory considered by them to be their ancestral home. It is not fair for us Hungarians to do to others what we do not wish to be done to us!
III. Independent Transylvania. This idea was born at the beginning of the Trianon era; it vanished before and during World War II but, after that – in broader circles – it was reborn. This compromise reflects the wish of the Transylvanian intelligentsia for reconciliation. The Romanians – naturally – completely refused to consider it until most recently. Due to the growing international reputation of Hungary, since the fall of 1956, Romanian intelligentsia has shown some interest toward it.
It is generally accepted that an independent Transylvania would include the whole territory of Transylvania: the region ceded from Hungary to Romania. However, its border from Hungary and Yugoslavia (now Serbia, trsl.) would be just as forcefully artificial as the Trianon border is now. It would cut up the natural economic and cultural avenues, just as the present border does. On the Romanian side, the Carpathian range would create a natural border, but on both sides of it – like on all fabricated borders – members of the same nationality would live in a cohesive block.
The absolute majority of the independent Transylvania would be Romanian, thus Romanian rule would remain in Transylvania. In addition, there would be the danger that the Transylvanian Parliament, at any time, could decide to join the country to Romania. This would follow the demands of the natural aspirations of the Romanians and the principles of democracy would naturally justify protest on the part of Hungarians, in the face of possible international pressure. Thus, the Romanians, with less risk, and more surety are prepared to consider an independent Transylvania; however, they are not prepared to accept it, since they want to live in Romania, just as the Hungarians want to live in Hungary.
On the other hand, Hungarians in Transylvania would risk a lot in accepting an independent Transylvania. Hungarians in the border area – although the border would separate them unreasonably from the great majority of Hungarians – would enjoy the the geographical advantages and the planned border-traffic freedom, economically and culturally. The Hungarians in scattered communities, however, would have no other alternative than assimilation or emigration. Thus, the Szeklers would remain alone in the poorest region of Transylvania and they would have to serve as a protective shield for Transylvania, for there is not a single Romanian in Transylvania, who would willingly take up arms against Romania. Likewise, there is no Hungarian – let alone a Szekler – who would sacrifice his life to prevent Transylvania from belonging to Hungary. Consequently, this state-formation would be regarded by both nations as a transitory, forced solution, and both nations would do everything they could for Transylvania to belong to them.
If the nationalities remain mixed, the struggle for co-existence will continue. Moreover, since we are talking of a smaller, more democratic state – the state power, leaning toward one nationality, would be used more against the other nationality. Counting on this possibility, the adherents of an independent Transylvania intend to create homogeneous regions by a population exchange, which – on the model of the Cantons in Switzerland – would secure co-existence. The population exchange would require such a great sacrifice from the population that it should be debated whether those moved from their birthplace would receive as much as they had sacrificed Such a transitory, forced solution, as an independent Transylvania, is not worth such a sacrifice for the interested parties.
Economically, Transylvania is very underdeveloped. Its Europeanization would require huge investments. Its greatest lack is local capital and professionals. The full commitment of the inhabitants cannot be counted on, because of lack of security and the struggle for co-existence. If, however, Transylvania is unable to provide the necessary investments from its own resources, it will hopelessly become a colony of the Great Powers, who are lured with the hope of colonization by the present backwardness, the raw materials that can be found here and the favorable market possibilities. If we consider all these, we cannot count on economic prosperity in the independent Transylvania.
The badly needed raw materials and market would not be available to Hungary either, since the Romanians in Transylvania would turn their backs on her, more so than to colonization by the Great Powers. Hungarians would resist Romanian economic expansion, and consequently, Transylvania would be lost economically, ethnographically and politically to Hungary as well as to Romania, without the people of Transylvania receiving any benefit at all. This situation cannot be helped, either by an internal canton system or an external federation.
The general culture, in all probability, would gain from state independence, for Transylvania has a rich heritage, old institutions and a living Transylvanian culture. However, these cultural factors and resources are connected to ethnic nationalities, and the nationalities of Transylvania do not constitute one cultural community but they are members, separately, of national cultural communities beyond the borders. Thus, it is obvious that the cultural aspirations in Transylvania would remain centrifugal even after gaining political independence, and would lead, unwittingly, to the intensification of the struggle for co-existence.
An independent Transylvania would not solve the Hungarian question because Hungary, within the framework of Trianon, would remain in exactly the same hopeless geographic, political and economic situation as before, but with less hope for the future. Hungary would not be fit to become home for Hungarians; however, the creation of this home is the great common goal of all Hungarians, which cannot be given up, even if its relinquishment were to serve the interest of a part of the nation. Even if an independent Transylvania were actually acceptable to the Transylvanian Hungarians, it would have to be refused because its acceptance would be the betrayal of the life-interest of all Hungarians.
With the creation of an independent Transylvania, world peace would receive a new ”tampon-state”; however, its survival could only be assured by continuous international pressure. The causes of unrest would not be extinguished, just localized. It is not likely that mankind would gain much with an independent Transylvania, in comparison to how much sacrifice its creation and maintenance would require.
IV. The partition of Transylvania between Hungary and Romania. With this, the injustice committed at Trianon against the Hungarians can be redressed, without being unfair to the Romanians. In this way, Hungary would have a share of the raw materials and the trade of Transylvania. The heritage, living intellectual and national powers of Transylvania would not only survive but would definitely strengthen Hungary. This solution would not exhaust the international moral capital of Hungary, but would offer a possibility for the final solution of the Transylvanian question, peace between the nationalities and for the creation of a good Hungarian-Romanian relationship.
Since the signing of the Treaty of Trianon, this type of solution has had the largest number of supporters in both interested nations. The Vienna Award also intended to realize this. This idea has a long tradition and there are useful observations in this area. With the broader utilization of longstanding methods, and with the avoidance of the faults of the Vienna Award, certainly, this form of solution could be applied with general satisfaction.
As to the question of which part of Transylvania should become part of Hungary, and which part of Romania, we Hungarians are not able to answer this, because the decision will not be ours but that of the international authority. We can only demand consideration of these viewpoints from those whose acceptance in principle is in the life-interest of our nation and not unfair to our neighbor.
With its well-known border, the Vienna Award succeeded in dividing Transylvania into two parts, one with a Hungarian majority and one with a Romanian majority. However, both parts were overburdened with nationalities, and for both parties it painfully cut into two almost all the nerves of Transylvania, so that it did not yield the wished-for peace. It could not have brought that, since the Transylvanian question was born from and lives on in the mixture of nationalities, and while this mixture exists, the struggle for co-existence will continue, and it is futile to hope for peace and quiet.
The division of the territory would have to be followed by a population exchange. Let those who cannot live together be separated finally! Let everybody move peacefully to his own homeland! Let there be finally a cessation of the unnecessary weakening of both sides, which accompanies the vindictive co-existence and, instead of dreaming about the shades of old times, let us all build the earthly homeland for mankind of the distant future. Some of our generation will have to sacrifice their attachment to their birthplace, in order that their children, fully and with less bitterness, will love their future birthplace in a beautiful, rich and happy homeland which will offer a secure home.
Hungarians in Transylvania are ready for this sacrifice. After the Vienna Award, and especially after 1945, a few hundred-thousand people exchanged homes in Transylvania, without any advantage from the exchange, just because circumstances forced them. If the population exchange were to occur according to plan, in an organized way, without hurting the well-considered interest of the affected people, it would offer a peaceful, secure home in Hungary, a move, which would enrich and strengthen the entire Hungarian homeland, and then everyone would make this sacrifice. Everyone has been hurt to the depths of his heart with the injustice of foreign rule, the frustration of the vindictive co-existence, the hopelessness of the children’s future, the hurtful economic and spiritual misery, so much so that the exchange of homeland – perhaps for a more beautiful, richer one – would not appear to be a sacrifice, if, for this price, Hungarians can live together on the sacred land of their country, inherited from their common ancestors, together with the heroes of the Hungarian Revolution in the fall of 1956.
The acceptance in principle of the population exchange would essentially facilitate the partition of the territory because, in this way, the drawing of the new border would not need to follow precisely the ethnographic situation, whose capricious mixture, from the point of view of geography, economy, transport, culture and history would a priori create a freak from both parts of Transylvania. With the acceptance in principle of the population exchange, a line can be found on the territory of Transylvania, with which the new border would not cut an incurable wound– either on the land or in the hearts.
The new border, which would cede quite a large expanse of territory to Hungary, should be sufficient for the future interest of all Hungarians. It should, if possible, be a short, mainly natural border, which would cede the territory contiguous with Hungary – particularly the territory that is important to her economic life, ensuring raw materials, market and inner growth – to Hungary. The goal is that Hungary should become fit to be the home of all Hungarians.
If these practical, fair principles are observed by the international power, there will be no reason for complaint, whether the new border is drawn according to the Vienna Award, along the River Maros, the Királyhágó or any other line.
Undoubtedly, with the partition of Transylvania and with the population exchange, the territory remaining under Romanian rule would be lost as far as Hungarians are concerned. With it they would lose a part of Hungarian history, Hungarian culture, many towns, and a great number of historical monuments, much of the heritage so dear to all of them, in which they have invested so much. Certainly, those rural areas would be lost, without which Hungarian life would not feel complete. This is the sacrifice we would have to be willing to make. For, in this way, another part of Hungarian history and culture would be rescued, many other towns and country areas that are just as valuable and dear to all Hungarians as those that would finally be lost.
It is also doubtless that the population exchange would mean a great sacrifice, and would mean much bitterness for Hungarians in Transylvania, mainly for those who are forced to move. In order to render the sacrifice less painful, and capable of bringing the most benefits, it has to be carefully prepared; it should be accomplished with detailed planning and executed in an organized manner. If we do everything possible to make the move comfortable, and assure that, in place of the property left behind, everybody receives property at least equal in value – in a similar countryside and surroundings -- and that a similar residence and job awaits those displaced – if they can be assured that they will gain materially with the exchange, no one will regard the move as forced. If the move is executed with consideration in respect to heritage, denominations, villages, districts, towns, counties and regions, and in a way in which the resettled individual feels the loving support of all Hungarians and the good-will of all mankind, then he will feel no pain in leaving his birth-place. If, with the help of modern science and technology, we utilize this great opportunity of a population exchange to realize the well-considered economic, social and cultural interests of the Hungarians, the population exchange will yield rich fruits both for the Transylvanian Hungarians and all Hungarians in general. If we take into account that, during the exchange of population, we could reasonably influence the population density, the proportionate ownership and cultivation of the land; that we could purposefully influence the occupations and economic strata of the future society; that we could create adequate settlements in the most suitable locations from the point of view of economy and culture; and that there is no modern concept of construction, economy, settlement and administrative-policy, which we would have to avoid using – within the limits of pure reason; and that, by requiring almost everybody’s co-operation in performing administrative functions of great-importance, our people will acquire a political education of which we never-ever dreamed. The new and shocking series of impressions that our people are experiencing, would greatly enhance their consideration, diligence, character, culture and moral power – and before our eyes appear the many huge advantages that we would gain with a population exchange – the most important results which would accompany the solution of the nationality question.
With this, the entire Hungarian population of Transylvania would be free of foreign domination, free of the vindictive and stifling co-existence, the poverty that comes with it, and the assimilation into the Romanian society, or the homeless emigration. With it, the wedge separating Romanians and Hungarians would disappear, and it would be possible to live beside each other peacefully, mutually helping each other, participating in directing the future of mankind.
With the fair distribution of the disputed region and by means of the population exchange, the age-old aspirations of Hungarians would be realized: interior and exterior peace, with harmony among the national minorities; secure borders, a balanced economy and international competition. Beneficial international politics would create possibilities for long-range interior politics, and social, economic, and cultural reform in Hungary. Finally, Hungarians would be the lord and master of their own country. They would be free of the burdens that other nations have never borne and still do not bear. Hungary would no longer be a problem for the world, as she has been from the time of King Mátyás I (Matthias Corvinus (1558-1490) until now, but all her talents would work for the betterment of the people of the world. Hungarians would have a country, which they could build with security, on which every Hungarian could rely, wherever he lives on the earth: Hungary would be the home of all Hungarians.
Of the four solutions examined above, this one would correspond with the interest of all Hungarians, and would be the least hurtful to their neighbors; this would support the preservation of world peace, and finally this would solve the question of the Transylvanian Hungarians.
The Hungarians of Transylvania accept this solution.
Hungary’s first task is to annex an equitable part of the territory of Transylvania. Whether the territorial adjustment with other neighbors can take place at the same time depends upon the current international situation. In any case, the solution of the Transylvanian question is the most important, and after its success, the rest cannot constitute any difficulty.
In the course of the preparatory diplomatic and propaganda activities, the primary goal must be the territorial adjustment. The population exchange plan – since it is likely to stir up mass unrest – should rather be discussed theoretically, lest it risk the success of the entire solution.
After the annexation of the territory, it is imperative to reach an agreement on population exchange. This agreement must include, besides the solution to the conceptual and legal questions of population exchange, the economic, financial, as well as political, social, religious, cultural and fiscal aspects of the exchange of population. It should contain, as its main feature, the technical plan of the population exchange, and arrangements should be made to establish the necessary international security, monitoring, economic, and judiciary organizations.
After the agreement has been signed, a census must be conducted in the entire territory of Transylvania, in the presence of already active international organizations and with their assistance. The census should include only the nationalities, their movable and immovable property, residency and job claims, and should extend to families, institutions, companies and public bodies. The data of the census would provide the basis for the detailed plan of the population exchange, which should be prepared by a special committee, preferably on the ministerial level. This authority would be located in the Hungarian part of Transylvania; it should have a great number of experts, and an even larger number – mainly volunteers – of different types of associates to complete the very difficult but worthwhile task.
It is necessary for the population exchange to become a national movement for all Hungarians, and, as an important movement of world peace, to enjoy the support of all mankind. Every Hungarian must be well aware that the Transylvanian exchange of population serves the creation of a strong and happy Hungary, and all nations of the world must be aware that a strong and happy Hungary is necessary for the peace and security of all nations, from the point of view of the future happiness of mankind.
Undoubtedly, the solution of the Transylvanian question is an enormous and difficult task; however, without it the future of our nation can not be secured.
The Transylvanian Hungarians will accept the sacrifice; the members of the nation will share in the sacrifice; the Government of Hungary will have to make it possible for them to undertake the sacrifice, in order that Hungary, indeed, can become the happy homeland of Hungarians.
Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca), 8 February 1957