ÚJKOR – ÚJ KOR? abstracts

Cultural history

Gábor Ambrózy: The Hungarian Political Literature at the End of the 1780s and Its Aspects of Infrastructure Development

The political pamphlet literature at the end of the 18th century written mainly by the antijosephinist Hungarian conservative nobility can be regarded as a relatively undiscovered area of our historical research, even though the last months of the rule of Joseph II, (Holy Roman Emperor 1765-1790, ruler of the Habsburg Monarchy 1780-1790) got into a turmoil considering its unity and stability. Joseph II’s program was to create an economically integrated and strong Habsburg monarchy with centralized state administration; however, by the time of his death the empire had been showing the signs of disintegration. These pieces of writing, pamphlets, commercial drafts, memoirs of the inner members of the state administration offer a significant insight into this turbulent period. This study is to highlight some of these documents especially the political pamphlets of the primate, József Batthyány, and those of his brother Tivadar Batthyány.

Keywords: Josephinism, The Batthyány family, Church policy, constitutionalism, History of transportation

Réka Zsidai: Principles of John Locke and J. J. Rousseau in practice. The upbringing of László Festetics (1785– 1846) in the spirit of the Enlightenment and in the light of the documents governing today’s education

At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, one of the defining figures of the Hungarian Enlightenment was Count György Festetics. Due to his rank and social status, the Count of Keszthely paid close attention to the upbringing of his son, Count László, in line with the expectations of the period. György Festetics hired the highly educated József Péteri Takáts in 1790 then István Kultsár in 1799 as his son’s tutor.

Count László’s upbringing was primarily determined by the principles of J. J. Rousseau and John Locke. These laws governing modern teaching, such as the National Core Curriculum and the Pedagogical Programme, have clear roots. The sources confirm that at the heart of László’s upbringing was the preparation for a life in office and court, which was for the service of the common good.

In my study, I present the basic principles of contemporary education, such as moral, intellectual and physical education in the light of the National Core Curriculum in force.

Keywords: László Festetics, enlightenment, education, pedagogy, John Locke, J. J. Rousseau, educator, commonwealth, National Core Curriculum, Pedagogical Programme, teacher competence, instructions

Institutional history and administration

Dénes Lőrinczy: Additions to the Public Security of Sepsiszentgyörgy (1877–1913)

The modernization of the counties in 1876 determined the administrative division of Székely settlements until the end of World War I. The new county seat became Sfântu Gheorghe. In the Austro-Hungarian period, the local government maintained its own police authority from private budget, which had the direct responsibility of sustaining personal and financial security of the town. However, over the years the number and the capability of the crew turned out to be insufficient, therefore local authorities decided to hire the crew of the Hungarian Royal Gendarmerie.

According to the register of the Gendarmerie, the department from Sfântu Gheorghe belonged to dictrict I’s second wing’s first section, with a total number of 8 serving gendarmes.  They were explicitly responsible for the neighbouring villages and territories.

The local government of Sfântu Gheorghe continously tried to develop the town’s gendarmerie department despite lacking financial resources. These desperate attempts to stabilize public security were suspended by the outbreak of the First World War.

Keywords: public safety, local government, local police, matter of public safety in Saint George, Hungarian gendarmerie

István Pap: The birth of a bank

Born in Trieste in 1879, Camillo Castiglioni is one of the most influential persons in European industrial and banking history. At the beginning of the 20th century he took part in the establishing and financing of a number of major companies. His key achievement is still the construction of aircraft factories, including MLG and Ufag, and his role in the launch of the BMW machine factory and the foundation of its economic success. He set up several banks, and his financial talents did not leave him during the years of World War I and the Great Depression. He was one of Europe’s most important financial professionals and business owners until fascism came to power. Because of his Jewish ancestry, he eventually had to hide and survived World War II as a disguised monk.

In 1920 with the fusion of the Incorporated Credit Institution of the Hungarian Timber-Merchants and the Hungarian National Bank, and with the participation of the Banca Commerciale Italiana and the Allgemeine Depositenbank, Camillo Castiglioni established the Hungarian-Italian Bank, which was one of the most important banks of the Horthy-era. During the Great Depression the balance-sheet of the bank approached 36 million dollars. The Great Depression, followed by  the fixed currency exchange rates and the difficulties of the foreign payment transactions barely inhibited the foreign business of the bank. After World War II it was liquidated without any successor.

Keywords: Camillo Castiglioni, Hungarian-Italian Bank, World War I, History of banking, industrial companies, Great Depression

Military history

Norbert Keserű: Gábor Egressy as government commissioner in 1848 – 1849 Hungarian revolution and war of independence

Gábor Egressy was an important person of the Hungarian Reform Age. He was one of the most known actors, he made Shakespeare plays known in Hungary. He was a good friend to Sándor Petőfi, the most famous poet in Hungary. Egressy joined the Hungarian revolution in 1848 and he fought in the War of independence. In the further reading section there are not many pieces of information about his activity, my aim is to collect the information in my dissertation. Egressy was a government commissioner at the end of 1848 – in this study I write about this period using the further reading and the archives’ sources. His main tasks were to organise the home guard’s equipment, food and to persuade the City of Szeged to exhibit recruiters. Some of the studies show Egressy incompetent, but considering the difficulty of the function and the historical background, he did what he could and the government appreciated his work – later he was a captain general of a ”guerrilla” army in Borsod County.

Keywords: Government commissioner, National Defense Commission, National guard, Southern Serbian uprising, Guerilla (warfare)

Márton Mati: The role of the Hungarian Red Cross Mission in the Siberian pows’ repatriation

More than 1.5 million Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war were held in captivity by the Entente forces during the First World War. Most of these prisoners were kept in rural Russia, mainly in the deserted Siberia. The majority of these soldiers were still held in captivity after the capitulation of the Dual Monarchy in 1918. After the devastation of the war, the abandoned  Hungary did not have the power and the resources to repatriate some of these soldiers, especially those, who were kept in the Far-Eastern region of Russia.

This study explores how Hungary tried to repatriate thousands of Hungarian POWs back to their homeland jointly with the International Committee of the Red Cross and other Hungarian-related American civil associations.

This mission was a success despite difficulties, such as money shortage, civil war between various Russian factions, and the ignorance of the Entente Powers. Captain Geza Dell’Adami, who led the Hungarian Red Cross Mission, managed to rescue more than 13000 POWs from the easternmost part of Siberia.

Keywords: captivity, the Eastern Front and the Far East, First world war, International Committee of the Red Cross, Hungarian prisoners of war

Róbert Vendriczki: A Spy Game in Vietnam – The Hungarian mission in Vietnam in the light of archival sources of the Pax residency

In 1954, the Geneva Accords established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and the Republic of Vietnam (RV), but the convention did not bring peace and the war continued. The treaty to end the Vietnam War was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. This agreement guaranteed the establishment of the International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICCS), in which Hungary also served between 1973-75. The Hungarian mission served in three shifts in South Vietnam, within the framework of which the Pax residency was also established. In addition to its duties at the ICCS, as defined by the Paris Convention, the residency also had to perform additional operational and information tasks. Along with the Hungarian military Intelligence Service, they supported Moscow, North Vietnam, and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam (PRG). In 1974, an outstanding result was achieved in the field of »dark« information acquisition, and thus the work of the residency became more valuable for the communist side. Hungarian intelligence activity continued until the fall of Saigon, on April 30, 1975. During the siege, the Hungarian contingent was withdrawn with American assistance and left the country on May 8.

Keywords: Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Republic of Vietnam, International Commission of Control and Supervision, Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam, Pax residency, Paris Convention, Moscow, Saigon, Intelligence collecting, Hungarian Mission

Social history

Gergő Segesdi: The republican issue in the Hungarian public discourse between 1918 and 1928

The ideas of republic and republicanism do not belong to the major strata of Hungarian history. Still, the question can be asked how, after such a controversial attempt as the 1918 Károlyi-republic, the idea appeared in an atmosphere the legitimacy of which was mostly based on the rejection of the revolutionary system. Was it apparent during the era known as the Horthy-regime? The short answer is, yes. In the beginning of the 1920s many in political public life spoke out for the republic. First of all, we have to mention the republican movement of György Nagy, which had been a proponent of the republic even pre-WW1. Next, we ought to look at the social democrats, whose attitude towards the question was seriously regulated by the so-called Bethlen-Peyer Pact. Finally, we need to mention those outside of these two groups, who still voiced their support to the idea of the republic. The three groups listed have common ideas concerning the structure of the republic, as its realisation must be peaceful and legal. Another commonality is the fact that they were targeted by the authorities, some more than others.

Keywords: Horthy-era, republic, republicanism, left-wing politics

Eszter Juhász: An “Impossible” Catholic Church in the heart of the Capital – Years of the Formation, 1945-1952

Following World War II the Hungarian Catholic Church had to face many challenges: not only the shock following the defeat, but also the appearance of the danger of communism, represented by the Soviet Union. In 1947 cardinal József Mindszenty, archbishop of Esztergom reorganized the system of the decanal districts, in order to better serve the congregation living there. The newly organized vicarages were given new leaders; the Church of Saint Rita was placed under the leadership of dr. János Galambos. Galambos asked for and received Saint Rita (who was known to be the patron of “impossible matters”) as the patron saint of the parish. On the 1st of April 1946 with the appointment of Cardinal Mindszenty the new vicarage was formed and was endowed with full parish authority given by the chief pastor. People were just pouring into this “odd little church” – that initially had no shape or form of a church – seeking the patronage of Saint Rita. Therefore the pastor introduced an official form of reverence; the Saint Rita Thursdays with Mass, Sermon and Litany. János Galambos kept up and evolved the young community with a firm hand, which soon caught the attention of the authorities. In September of 1952 he was transferred to another parish. In the ’50s, an enormous number of priests served here for longer or shorter periods, either officially or not.

Immediately upon founding, various bodies of religious life began to function, and spiritual life began. The caritas and the soup-kitchen were constantly operating, they visited the sick and the poor in the neighborhood. But the political events of the upcoming years limited the operation of these bodies.

Meanwhile the biggest task was to build a proper church. A tire repair shop, a soda water plant and a shed with crumbling walls – these were the bases and components that eventually came together as a church that was finally consecrated as a chapel in the fall of 1947 by Cardinal Mindszenty. The cult of Saint Rita began within the walls of this church and still enjoys unbroken popularity throughout the country and even beyond borders. The essay attempts to present the formation of this unique, non-church-like church, its priesthood, and most importantly the Catholic community and the spiritual life that still surrounds it today.

Keywords: Saint Rita, Hungarian Catholic Church, communism, Church policy, Rákosi-era

Tamás Madácsy: The appearance of the Hungarian Democratic Forum’s Zala County organisations in the local public sphere in 1988-1989

In my thesis, I attempted to illustrate through local press publications how the followers and representatives of an intellectual movement named Hungarian Democratic Forum – later the founders of its Zala County organisations -, who were almost silenced in the autumn of 1988, reached the point where twelve months later they were able to send their own candidate to the last state party parliament. After becoming a party in 1989, the Hungarian Democratic Forum (Magyar Demokrata Fórum – MDF) won the first free parliamentary elections a year later.

Our two years of oral history research on this topic covered the whole of rural Hungary and resulted in the recording of audio and visual material from 60 conversations. The history of politics in the county during the years of the system transition is supplemented by a number of useful contributions from oral history interviews with participants who recall the events. The three decades that have passed provide enough of a distance for the participants of the events to draw the necessary conclusions and share the history of the political changes in the countryside from a personal viewpoint, complemented with details not found in other sources.

Keywords: system change (Political Transition), social movement, Hungarian Democratic Forum, Lakitelek Meeting, local publicity