Jorg Hirsch / Kim Travnor (translation)

Andrew Andersen (map editing for web version)


Longman London and New York 1996






Hungary under the Dual Monarchy, 1867-1918





The development of the political parties


Following the long period of crisis, which originated in the pre- 1848 period, the Compromise of 1867 marked the beginning of almost half a century of peaceful development for the Dual Monarchy. Many were later to look back on it in a romantic and nostalgic light as 'the age of Francis Joseph'. Although the new political system required a period of consolidation, Hungary suddenly experienced an economic upturn and a sustained period of cultural progress. Though fundamentally a backward east-central European agrarian country, by virtue of its belonging to the Habsburg monarchy, Hungary enjoyed particularly favourable preconditions for modernisation in all areas. This development affected the country's economic structure much more that its social and political order which the landowning aristocracy and gentry continued to dominate. Although Hungary's negotiated autonomy of 1867 was not, of course, without its limitations, the Compromise restricted Hungary's internal administration only indirectly, to the extent that any state's domestic policy is influenced by the international situation at any given moment and the diplomatic and military measures which inevitably result from this. The principle of legal and constitutional sovereignty, which had figured prominently in Law XII of 1867, also included the autonomy of the Hungarian government in internal affairs, something Andrássy's new government was soon to make extensive use of. After Deák refused  post in the new government Andrássy, a former revolutionary who had been hanged in effigy in 1848, formed a cabinet consisting of members of the propertied nobility and the haute bourgeoisie.' The liberal minister for education and religion, Baron Jozsef Eötvös (d. 1871), a progressive writer, was the most prominent figure in the new cabinet. the difficult post of finance minister was filled by Count Menyhért Lónyay, that of minister of justice by Boldizsár Horvát. The new government relied on a bare two-thirds parliamentary majority of around 250 votes out of a total of 409 deputies. These were liberals who were held together on the strength of Deák's personal prestige (and thus often referred to as the Deák Party -Deákpárt), ranging from Old Conservatives to former advocates of a liberal centralism. Their newspapers, like the Pesti Napló, the Budapesti Közlöny and especially the Pester Lloyd, were held in high esteem.

These supporters of the 1867 Compromise were initially opposed by Kálmán Tizsa's Left Centre Party (Balközép), which numbered about 100 deputies. The landowning nobility of the middle-sized and smaller estates and the aristocratic intelligentsia were its chief supporters. Its deputies, most of whom were similarly drawn from the middle ranks of the nobility, approved of the Compromise as such, but objected to its form and what they believed were its over-generous concessions on the question of common affairs. Politically, they aimed at obtaining a 'more favourable' compromise and regaining their former position of having the decisive say in government over Hungary's wealthiest landowning families. They accused the latter of betraying the 1848 Revolution's most important achievements for the sake of holding on to their own position of political and economic power. On 2 April 1868, the Left Centre published its new party programme. "'The Bihar Points'" (Bihari pontok), which not only called for political independence and the abolition of the common delegations, but opposed the popular movement beginning to emerge in the Lower Danube region. The demand that there should be no change in the existing social order and the declared aim of pursuing a constitutional reform of the Compromise was bound to appeal equally to the lesser gentry and middle classes, both of which were hostile to the government. These political goals, which had popular appeal and were pursued with nationalist slogans, enabled the Left Centre to win several seats in the 1869 parliamentary elections from a government party weakened by internal factions and policy disagreements. In all, a total of 110 Left Centre deputies were returned to the new parliament which met on 20 April 1869.

Disgusted by opportunism, attempts at personal enrichment, the strong drift to conservatism and internal party squabbles, Deák retired from politics. After Eötvös's death, and since Andrássy was no longer a possible candidate for prime minister after his appointment as common minister of foreign affairs on 14 November 1871, the office of Hungarian premier fell to the common finance minister, Count Menyhért Lónyay. His acute business acumen and close contacts with the conservative aristocracy meant that he failed to command much respect. He was able to remain in power only by resorting to brutal measures against the nationalities and arbitrary actions in internal politics. Opposition to him grew rapidly, especially when, on the approach of the 1872 elections, he proposed to narrow the franchise based on the curia system, which, in any case, benefited only 7.1 per cent of the population and advocated extending the life of parliament to five years. The elections, which were as usual rigged and characterised by administrative corruption, resulted in the government winning 245 seats. However, the premier, accused of corruption, was no longer able to hold on to office and was forced to resign on 30 November 1873.

The subsequent succession of short-lived transitional governments failed to prevent the collapse of the government party or restore the state finances after the disastrous effects of the 1873 economic crisis. The threat of national bankruptcy was avoided only by the government's acceptance of a loan of 150 million guilders on extremely unfavourable terms from a foreign consortium of bankers headed by the Rothschilds. The government and its supporters, already weakened by the thankless task of having to defend the increasingly unpopular compromise against exaggerated Magyar nationalist feelings, continued to lose respect as many firms went into liquidation and the prospect of paying off the impending financial deficit and of effecting a revival of the economy was slight. To avoid complete disintegration and at the same time hold on to its share of power, the government party entered into negotiations with the Left Centre with a view to merging the two parties. After its poor showing in the 1872 elections, the latter was more willing to compromise and had no wish to let slip the opportunity of coming to power by legal means. Kálmán Tisza, who remained uncompromising on questions of social policy and the treatment of Hungary's nationalities, particularly rejected the idea of organising a broadly based mass opposition movement in order to help bring his party to power on the grounds that this more radical course involved too many risks. Following the enactment of a new electoral law based on existing census returns (law XXXIII of 1874) on the 1 March 1875, Tisza thought the moment had come to drop the 'Bihar Points' and merge the majority of his Left Centre with the fragmented and unstable government party. Relying on this new Liberal Party (Szabadelvü Párt), supported by the landed nobility and the still relatively insignificant middle class, he was appointed Hungarian prime minister on 20 October 1875 - an office which he held until the 13 March 1890.

This merger led to a significant strengthening of the pro- 1867 Compromise element in Hungary and was to guarantee the Liberal Party a monopoly of power for the next thirty years. The other rival parties found their scope for effective action seriously curtailed. The social classes which formed the main pillars of the state and which rejected any moves towards greater democracy were ready to give their full support to this single party of government, so long as it opposed radical social reform of any kind and supported, at least in its rhetoric, an improvement in Hungary's constitutional position within the framework of the Dual Monarchy. The introduction of a parliamentary system along the lines of the western European model, involving a regular change of party political direction in the exercise of governmental responsibility, was thus effectively ruled out.

The weakness of the opposition contributed to this development. At the outset those who were completely dissatisfied with the Compromise were represented by only twenty deputies, including those of the extreme Left, and were, moreover, divided into several factions. They included Kossuth's radical supporters, who, as loyal defenders of the achievements of the 1848 Revolution, devoted their energies to restoring the 'undiminished constitution' and establishing a greater measure of democracy in public affairs through the National Army Associations, founded in 1861. As a result of a violation of the press censorship law of 1868, their spokesman, László Böszörményi, was imprisoned by the government and died soon after. The popular movement led by the lawyer, János 'Asztalos, which demanded a fairer distribution of land and greater rights of political participation for the lower classes, was brutally crushed in March 1868 and Asztalos arrested. Despite its many repressive measures, the government's bureaucratic and legal attempts failed to prevent the rise of this '1848 party', which József Madarász formed into a parliamentary opposition on 2 April 1868 (Közjogi Ellenzék). It managed to win 40 seats at the 1869 elections and added a further 36 seats in the 1872 elections. Although prepared to acknowledge in principle a personal union under a common monarch, the '48ers advocated complete Hungarian independence based on democratic principles, full civil rights and a progressive franchise. They did not, however, take up the peasants' demands for a radical land reform, but instead supported only the realisation of the main points contained in the Liberals' agrarian programme of 1848. In the spirit of Kossuth, they were prepared to make concessions to the nationalities. A further reorganisation and, shortly thereafter, a change of name to the Independence Party (Függetlenségi Párt) can be attributed to the influence of Kossuth, who was seen as the party's spiritual mentor. The party programme, which was confidently addressed to the 'Citizens of Hungary!', held firmly to a position of fundamental opposition to the Compromise. However, party defections and an increase in the Liberal Party's membership, saw the political importance of the Independence Party decline towards the end of the 1870s. Only after incorporating several breakaway groups in 1884 could the opposition, now renamed the Independence and 48 Party (Függetlenségi és 48-as Párt), count on the support of nationalist landowners dissatisfied with government policy, some members of the intelligentsia and the urban population and wealthier peasants. Closely following the programme of 1848, the party demanded Hungarian independence, a loose personal union with the Austrian half of the Empire and middle-class liberal reforms. But endemic internal disagreements and personal intrigues prevented the party from realising its political programme and damaged its public image. Nevertheless, the Independence Party deputies could feel that their aims were endorsed by the Linz programme of the German National movement in Austria led by Georg Ritter von Schönerer which on 1 September 1882 demanded a purely personal union with Hungary and called on the latter to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina and Dalmatia.

The right-wing conservative opposition, holding tenaciously to the legacy of feudalism and supported by the magnates and court aristocracy, were badly affected by premier Tisza's policies, even though these were generally hostile to progress. Their United Opposition Party (Egyesült Ellenzék), founded on 12 April 1878, and renamed the Moderate Opposition three years later, lacked a programme of clearly defined aims under Count Albert Apponyi. It favoured strengthening the idea of a Hungarian state and constitutional power, defended the Compromise of 1867 and employed anti-liberal slogans which advocated conservative reforms. But it failed to win significant support in Hungary, its parliamentary strength falling from 105 deputies originally to only 46 in 1887.

Hungary's political parties were not at first organised on the basis of ideological positions or social class loyalties. Their opposition to each other did not result from differing social programmes, but differing constitutional views and aims. It was only the unresolved social and political issues resulting from the country's transition to a bourgeois industrial society -- and growing potentially more explosive towards the end of the nineteenth century -- that introduced change to the traditional structure of Hungarian political life and gave rise to ideologically based parties pursuing social and democratic reforms. But the new political tendencies expressed in political Catholicism, Socialist workers' parties, agrarian Socialist associations and also much later by the organised political representation of the urban intelligentsia, failed to change political issues and behaviour fundamentally, or effect even modest democratic and social reforms.

Although a General Workers' Association was founded on 9 February 1869, there was still no successful attempts at organising the steadily growing working class. The government acted firmly against its organisers and, following a wave of strikes in the spring of 1871, had the ringleaders sentenced on 1 May 1872 in the first political trial against the workers' movement. New attempts to create a single Workers' Party for the whole of Austria-Hungary, undertaken with the support of the Austrian labour movement, received fresh impetus with the adoption of a programme in Neudörfl in April 1874. Sickness benefit fund associations and the newspaper Népszava (Voice of the People) provided Leo Frankel, an erstwhile minister in the Paris Commune who had returned to Hungary, with the opportunity of furthering the establishment of a new party. The Non-Voters' Party, founded on 21 and 22 April 1878, later to become the General Workers' Party of Hungary (Magyarországi Általános Munkáspárt) on 16-17 May 1880, based its programme on Marxist ideology. Demands for a ten-hour working day, a ban on child labour and a guarantee of equal wages for women were accompanied by support for basic civil rights and the need for state control of the means of production. This resurgence of the labour movement, viewed with mounting mistrust by Tisza's government, suffered a serious setback with the arrest and imprisonment of Frankel in 1881, especially since after serving his sentence he went abroad as a result of constant police surveillance and internal party squabbles. Thus it was not until the founding of the Hungarian Social Democratic party ( Magyarországi Szociáldemokrata Párt) in December 1890 that the labour movement found a permanent organisational structure and effective representation.

Hungary's electoral laws, which were tightened up on several occasions, excluded the industrial workers, peasant farmers, domestic servants and urban lower classes from actively participating in the country's constitutional parliamentary system. Only 6 per cent of the population, i.e. 800,000 people, were entitled to vote. Like the gerrymandering which was necessary to protect the government's interests, the electoral laws had a built-in property qualification which ensured that the discontented, though enfranchised, peasants, middle classes and nationalities entitled to vote were practically unrepresented in parliament. Following numerous changes in the number and size of constituencies the Lower House eventually had 453 members of whom 40 were delegates from the Croation diet. Up to the late 1870s, 80 per cent of Hungary's parliamentary deputies were drawn from the landed aristocracy and gentry. In 1910, the figure still stood at 50 per cent. The number of deputies of middle-class origin - civil servants, lawyers and intellectuals - never exceeded a third of the total. Parliamentary deputies of peasant origin were rare. The workers, on the other hand, had no representation at all. The 1885 reform (Law VII of 1885), which abolished hereditary seats in cases where the member's land tax amounted to less than 3,000 guilders per annum, resulted in a fundamental change in the composition of the Upper House, although the greater nobility continued to occupy three-quarters of the seats. In addition, the monarch had the right to appoint as life peers to the Upper House fifty persons of merit nominated by the Hungarian cabinet. These appointees had a seat and voice in the Upper House alongside holders of high ecclesiastical offices, a few elevated representatives of the bureaucracy and the judiciary as well as the wealthiest landowners, who had held on to their great wealth. The government's rigging of elections and commissions charged with drawing up the electoral roll, together with bribery, the falsification of votes, intimidation of voters and the open ballot were normal practice and ensured the government a majority in the Lower House of the new parliament. The corruption which had also spread through the bureaucracy and judiciary helped the ruling élites not only to defend but to further their position of social and political predominance. Tisza's skilful use of patronage involving government posts, commission appointments and honours, helped him to create within his party and in the inflated but ineffective government apparatus a body of organised supporters on whose gratitude and loyalty he was able to build.



Magyar nationalism and the failure of the nationalities policy

In 1867, following the renewal of the union with Transylvania and the abolition of the special 'military frontier' areas, the territorial integrity and political unity of the historic 'territories of the Holy Crown of Hungary' was restored. Some 15.5 million people inhabited a total area of 325,411 square kilometres. Approximately 40 per cent of the total population were Hungarians, 9.8 per cent were Germans, 9.4 per cent Slovaks, 14 per cent Rumanians, 14 per cent South Slavs and 2.3 per cent Ruthenes (Carpatho-Russians and Carpatho-Ukrainians). One of the first tasks facing the new independent Hungarian government was to find a speedy settlement of the future constitutional position of the nationalities, a problem which demanded an immediate solution. The Emperor Francis Joseph had already stressed the need for a just settlement of this problem during the negotiations which had led to the 1867 Compromise and had received Deák's assurance of his desire to tackle the problem. But after initial contacts were established with the spokesmen of the non-Magyar nationalities and during the so-called 'mini-Compromise' negotiations with the Croats, the Hungarian 'view that 'in accordance with the fundamental principles of the constitution, all Hungarian citizens [constitute] a nation in the political sense, the one and indivisible Hungarian nation, in which every citizen of the fatherland is a member who enjoys equal rights, regardless of the national group to which he belongs' (Law XLIV of 1868) proved to be an insuperable obstacle to any agreement which would do justice to the needs and expectations of both parties. Right up to the Habsburg monarchy's dissolution the uncompromisingly defended fiction of a Magyar nation state on the western European model led to a denial of the political existence of the non-Magyar nationalities. This short-sighted attitude prevented any transfer of rights of self-government to the nationalities which constituted the majority of the population before 1890.

Negotiations were based on the Nationalities Law which had been passed during the state of emergency in Szeged in 1849. Despite the earlier promises by the Hungarian Liberals during the negotiations in 1868 on the matter of 'equality of the nationalities', only Hungarian citizens 'of a separate mother tongue' were formally recognised and nominally accorded equal civic rights, the unrestricted use of their native language in the lower levels of the administration, the judicial system, and elementary and secondary schools. Only the neighbouring territory of Croatia-Slavonia, designated as 'a neighbouring territory of the Crown of St Stephen', received in a 'mini-Compromise' a measure of autonomy in the bureaucracy, the judicial system, culture and education, which was exercised by provincial governors who were controlled by the Croation diet. All other areas of activity were regarded as 'common affairs' and subject to control by the government in Budapest, enlarged to include a minister without portfolio for Croatian affairs. Forty of the deputies delegated from the Croatian diet were to ensure the defence of Croatian interests in the Hungarian parliament. These blinkered arrangements destroyed the attempts of Deák, Eötvös and even Kossuth to institute a more sympathetic nationalities policy in a Hungary, whose strongly nationalist principles could only be implemented ultimately by force on account of the open opposition of the country's non-Magyars.


Click on the map for better resolution


Despite Deák's warning to avoid an abuse of state power for the sake of Magyar nationalism and Magyar domination of Hungary's non-Magyar population, the ruling élites observed neither the letter nor the spirit of the nationalities agreements. Over the years a nationalism which had been originally liberal in character began to identify itself wholly with the traditional Magyar sense of national mission, which viewed the Magyars' historic task in the second half of the nineteenth century as pioneering the new bourgeois economic, social and cultural progress in eastern Europe and the Balkans and transmitting the achievements of western European civilisation to its peoples. The aristocratic majority within the ruling élite dreamt of a Hungarian Empire which would arise when multi-national Hungary had become a Magyar nation state which would eventually become the dominant factor in the Habsburg monarchy. Arguing on the basis of its historical legitimacy a rampant nationalism developed which aspired to a nation state, recognising only one nation, i.e. the Hungarian 'political nation', within the frontiers of historic Hungary. Establishing Hungary's territorial integrity, political unity, the Magyar character of the state and Magyar supremacy, or at least that of the Magyar ruling class, remained a categorical imperative for all political parties and groupings up to 1918. All other aspects of modernisation and democratisation, even the extent to which national selfdetermination should be achieved, came second. The Hungarian ruling élite thus ignored the national, political individuality of the country's non-Magyar peoples and believed that neither collective rights for the nationalities nor the slightest degree of compromise on the question of administrative territorial independence were compatible with the 'idea of a Hungarian nation state'. They believed that recognition of individual equality for non-Magyar citizens, modest concessions regarding the use of their native languages and the guarantee of autonomy for the minority churches had already reached the limit of what the Hungarian nation state could reasonably concede.

In the Liberal Party, which emerged after the merger of Deák's party with the left Centre Party, the tone was set by the county aristocracy who in calling for the inevitable development of the Hungarian nation state, demanded complete Magyar supremacy in national life and the curtailment of the politically and culturally privileged position of the non-Magyar peoples. The protests of the national minorities against Magyar unwillingness to acknowledge their distinct national identity and the refusal to grant them selfgovernment gave the government the welcome opportunity to intensify its magyarisation policy and expel from political life any non-Magyar citizens unwilling to accept assimilation. The Elementary School Law of 1868 -- still the product of liberal spirit of 1848 -- introduced compulsory schooling for all children from the age of six to twelve and provided for subjects to be taught in the language of the local population. However, the Education Laws of 1879, 1883 and 1891 made the teaching of Hungarian compulsory in nursery and the elementary and lower secondary school, since the view prevailed that complete linguistic assimilation would also lead to total political integration, i.e. allegiance to the Hungarian nation. The aims behind the legislation were persistently and successfully implemented by the administration dominated by the Magyar gentry. The result was that an important linguistic and demographic shift took place on a major scale in Hungary between 1867 and 1918.

The Rumanians, Ruthenes and Slovaks, in particular, suffered from this intolerant policy towards the country's minorities. As early as 1875-76, several Slovak high schools were closed down and the Adult Education Association (Matica Slovenská) was banned. All teachers in minority schools had to provide proof of their ability to teach the Hungarian language and other sub in Hungarian. The influence of Hungarian was energetically promoted in all areas of public life, while the public use of non-Magyar languages rapidly declined. Whereas approximately 10 per cent of all civil servants belonged to the population's non-Magyar groups in 1910, Hungarian was spoken as a first language by 96 per cent of civil servants and 91.2 per cent of all state employees. Although about a fifth of citizens registered as a 'native Hungarian speaker', many may well have been in fact bilingual, having been only recently assimilated and still in the process of being integrated. Whereas, in 1880, only 14 per cent of Hungary's population could speak Magyar and at least one other of the country's languages, by 1910 the figure had risen to as high as 23.4 per cent.

Since the peoples of the Carpathian Basin occupied areas of settlement which considerably overlapped, it was not only the magyarisation measures ordered and encouraged by the state which resulted in a spontaneous process of assimilation, but Hungary's economic growth and the accompanying changes in the social structure wrought by urbanisation and greater mobility. Between 1880 and 1910 some 2 million people were drawn into the Hungarian orbit. Since positions of importance in Hungary's political, economic, cultural and social life were still dominated by the Magyar ruling élites, considerable advantages were to be gained if one acknowledged one's Hungarianness. After 1880, Hungary's 700,000 Jews, who had been granted full and equal civic rights as late as 1849 and 1867, thought of themselves as Hungarians. The same was true of 600,000 Germans, 200,000 Slovaks and 100,000 Croatians, whose common religion and similar cultural and historical traditions facilitated the process of assimilation. However, the social cohesion of the Rumanian and Ruthenian peasant communities, which still lived a very traditional life, formed an effective protection against magyarisation measures. The higher a citizen climbed on the social ladder, the more likely he was to change his national identity. A significant number of the middle class, especially the intelligentsia and the majority of businessmen in trade and industry, were assimilated citizens who played a crucial role in the development of Hungarian bourgeois society and made an essential contribution to the country's economic development, the adoption of western civilisation's achievements and the development of urban life. In literature and the arts, science, politics, the economy and the church, the newly assimilated citizens, accepted without reservation by the government and a nationalist- minded society, found great scope for participation and, by their efforts, contributed to the strengthening of a sense of Magyar national pride.

Hungary's Jews, in particular, were especially rapidly assimilated. At the time of the 1787 census during the reign of Joseph II, they had numbered 83,000, i.e. just 1 per cent of the total population. But, as a result of rapid immigration from Galicia and Moravia their number increased to 253,000 by 1850 (1.9 per cent) and 552,000 by 1869 (3.6 per cent). By the emancipation laws of 1849 and 1867 the Jews had recently been freed from political and economic discrimination. They were no longer excluded from owning property, holding public office or forming guilds. They were also now accorded full civic rights. From humble beginnings as moneylenders, grocers and retailers of livestock and agricultural produce, they used the generously offered opportunities for earning money which the gentry had ignored, demonstrated their willingness to be integrated and consequently underwent linguistic assimilation from Yiddish to Magyar via German. Zionist ideas were relatively uncommon. The desire to advance socially by joining the emergent middle class, their gratitude for the law's protection and the wide scope for activity available to them turned them into convinced supporters of the idea of a Hungarian nation state. Since most of the impoverished gentry and those of the nobility, who were now forced to earn a living, viewed the civil service as the only respectable form of employment, the Jews, who were concentrated in the rapidly growing cities, did not represent competition for their positions and livelihood. In the absence of a Hungarian middle class, they provided a kind of surrogate middle class of small and large-scale businessmen, lawyers, doctors and intellectuals. The Jews also made their mark on the country's economic development as directors of banks and large enterprises. In 1910, they numbered 932,000, i.e. 4.5 per cent of the population, of whom over 75 per cent spoke Hungarian as their first language. The percentage of Jews in the urban population amounted to as much as 12.4 per cent; in the bigger cities they comprised over 20 per cent of the population. Budapest with 23 per cent had the largest Jewish community.

Whereas a vociferous antisemitism dominated Austrian public opinion at the turn of the century, the Hungarian government tried to suppress any anti-Jewish movement from the outset. Early in the 1880s, the growth of nationalism was accompanied by the appearance of an antisemitism which spread rapidly among sections of the gentry and the petty bourgeoisie. It found its release in 1883 in the Tiszaeszlár ritual murder trial. The court rejected the entirely unfounded allegation that the Jewish community was responsible for the disappearance of a Christian girl. Outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence, vigorously opposed by the government, occurred in several counties, fuelled by superstition and other sinister motives. A National Antisemitic Party ( Országos Antiszemita Párt) founded by Gyözö Istóczy on 6 October 1883, succeeded in winning seventeen seats at the parliamentary elections of 1884. But by 1890 this party had again disappeared from the political scene. Although there continued to be a groundswell of antisemitism, particularly among the peasantry, which, encouraged by the poorer Catholic clergy, made its appearance on several occasions, it found no response in the majority of the population. The spread of a pro-Magyar nationalism among Jews in recognition of the government's attitude and in gratitude for their protection in no way arose from a sense of opportunism -- as was the case with other assimilated groups. Instead, it was fostered by a doubtless genuine sense of allegiance to their adopted country which was often enthusiastically expressed.

The greatest opposition to the policy of magyarisation came from the Rumanian inhabitants of Transylvania. Initially led by the Orthodox archbishop, Andreiu Saguna, they wanted a guarantee that the rights of the Rumanian Church would be protected. They also desired recognition of their equal status with the principality's Magyar and German settlers, especially since the latter were always represented in the Budapest parliament by twelve or thirteen deputies. Disagreement became more acute after 1881 when the Rumanian National Party (Román Nemzeti Párt) in Transylvania demanded that the principality be once more restored as an autonomous Crown territory, thus abolishing the union with Hungary. This led Magyar political leaders to accuse the Rumanians of irredentism. Magyar desires for greater centralisation, which subsequently became more noticeable in Transylvania, caused the Rumanians to put forward even more radical demands. Two possible schemes for separation from Hungary were discussed by the Rumanian Cultural League, founded in Bucharest in 1891. The preferred solution of the union of Transylvania with the Rumanian kingdom, did not, however, appear feasible in terms of foreign policy. The alternative proposal was that submitted by the Transylvania Rumanian deputy, Dr Aurel Popovici. He wished to see Transylvania incorporated into a ' United Federation of Greater Austria', envisaged as a separate federal state. Further federalization of the Dual Monarchy appeared to offer the only prospect of success against growing Magyar pressure. It also seemed to be the only way to defuse the national conflicts which were swelling up in the Habsburg Empire and thus guarantee the continued existence of Austria-Hungary. But, after the plans of the Austrian government under Hohenwart and Schäffle to reorganise the Dual Monarchy on a trialist basis by granting the Kingdom of Bohemia 'fundamental laws' had failed in the face of Hungarian intransigence, Budapest could not be expected to support plans for a federation as a precondition for realising equality of rights among the nationalities.

By the internal Hungarian-Croatian Compromise of 1868 the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, which had initially wanted to regulate its position in the monarchy on the basis of a personal union, was granted far-reaching constitutional autonomy and special status within Hungary. As a result the Hungarian government's magyarisation measures were not implemented here to the same degree as in other areas inhabited by national minorities. It was thanks to the patient labours of Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, for many years leader of the Croats and imprisoned on account of his 'Illyrian' patriotism on religious, political and cultural matters, that, with the founding of the university and a science academy in Zagreb, centres had been established to defend national and spiritual independence. When, in 1883, the growing pressures of the government's magyarisation policy sparked off demonstrations, the new Croatian governor, Count Károly Khuen-Héderváry, successfully pacified Croatia in line with the Hungarian government's ideas. By supporting the Serbian nationalist movement and the Serbian parties he skilfully exploited the rivalries between the different South Slav groups in order to play them off against each other. By these means he succeeded in wrecking the plans of Ante Starčević's Croatian State Party and its successor, Josip Frank's Pure Right Party, to transform the Dual Monarchy into a triple monarchy by creating a Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia enlarged by the acquisition of Dalmatia and Fiume.

When the conflict between the Habsburg monarchy and the Hungarian right-wing parties escalated in 1903, the Croatian political leaders showed that they were prepared to cooperate more closely with Vienna. But when the Emperor rejected their offers, the Croatian opposition, led by Ante Trumbić and Frano Supilo, completely swung round, largely accepting as its own the demands of the Hungarian Independence Party contained in the Fiume Resolution of 4 October 1905. The Monarchy's Serbs now rushed to support the new policy of the Croatian opposition in the Resolution of Zara. In contrast, against a background of growing conflict between Hungary's nationalities, the Croatian People's and Peasant's Party (Hrvatska Pučka Selječka Stranka), founded in 1904 and led by Stepan Radić -- without doubt the most important Croatian politician of the period -- came out further in favour of a federal system for the Monarchy, without, however, being able to effect any change in the long-entrenched positions or in Hungary's policy towards the Croats, which was conducted with growing intransigence amid an atmosphere poisoned by the Austrian annexation of Bosnia in 1908, the high treason trial in Zagreb (Agram) and the Friedjung trial in Vienna. the anti-Austrian movement, encouraged by Serbia, which aimed at destroying the Dual Monarchy by creating a pan-Slav empire in the Balkans could, however, appeal only to a section of the relatively small intelligentsia, in particular the student youth. The loyalty of the vast majority of Croatia's predominantly agrarian population towards the Empire and its ruling dynasty remained undiminished until the end of the war.

Around 1880, Hungary experienced a wave of emigration. This was not simply motivated by economic conditions, but by the desire to escape the government's repressive measures against the country's minorities. By 1913, over 2 million people had gone overseas. The number of Magyars who emigrated was far fewer than the average for the whole country, especially since many returned to their homeland at a later date. On the other hand, many Slovaks, Ruthenians and South Slavs, who were proportionately overrepresented among emigrants -- mainly small peasant farmers and craftsmen -- hoped to escape for good the material distress and limited scope for social mobility in Hungary. Since many of the immigrants who came to settle in Hungary, mainly from Moravia, Bohemia, Galicia and Italy, belonged to the second or third generation to be fully magyarised, these major population movements eventually resulted in an increase in the number of Magyars and their number relative to the size of the total population.

Despite all its shortcomings, it is still possible to describe the treatment of national minorities in Hungary before the First World War as relatively liberal and tolerable compared with contemporary conditions in eastern and south-east Europe. Despite the pecking order imposed by Magyar national sepremacy and the repression of the national minorities. Hungary offered reasonably good opportunities for development and a degree of security before the law to all the ethnic communities settled on its soil -- provided they were prepared to respect the principle of the unity and indivisibility of the 'Hungarian political nation'. But the quarrel between the nationalities -- above all the conflict between the ruling Magyar nation and Hungary's non-Magyar population -- grew more acute around the turn of the century to the extent that the Habsburg Expire collapsed, not least because of its failure to solve the nationalities problem.


Social stratification and economic development

Until the middle of the nineteenth century Hungary's social order was, like Poland's, dominated politically, socially and economically by a large nobility and distinguished by the presence of an exceptionally large rural proletariat within the peasant class. The undeveloped urban bourgeoisie was relatively unimportant in terms of its size and role in society. Although the 1848 Revolution had witnessed a change from a feudal society based on estates to a constitutional monarchy and had brought about the abolition of traditional obligations and the establishment of full civic equality, the dissolution of the feudal social structure proved to be a long and slow process. The legislature and the executive remained in the hands of the aristocracy and landowning gentry which saw itself as the only social class capable of governing.

According to careful estimates, 6 per cent of the population were members of the nobility; among the Magyars the figure was 12-13 per cent. Some 200 aristocratic and wealthy landowning families, together with approximately 3,000 wealthy families of the middle-ranking landowners, who as 'thousand hold men' owned estates of over 575 hectares (the so-called bene possessionati), dominated public life by virtue of their education and income. Their mentality and system of values, their liberal-nationalist politics and their aim to bring about what they saw as necessary democratic reforms in Hungary in a manner that would preserve their own social and political position of predominance, dominated attitudes, thinking and Hungary's way of life well into the twentieth century. The section of the landowning élite which was able to retain and modernise its property of 100 to 500 hectares saw itself as the true representative of the Hungarian nation and custodian of the Hungarian national identity. Comprising around 5,000 families, this gentry class had a firm social basis and exerted a crucial influence in the government, parliament and the county councils. Its chief preoccupation was managing its estates which comprised in all more than a third of the country's cultivable land. Those of their number who were more skilled in business, invested their capital profitably in banks and industry.

Most members of the old landed nobility, however, failed to adapt to the new economic conditions which followed peasant emancipation. They ran up debts, became impoverished and lost their estates entirely or in part. The economic decline of the former middle-ranking and petty nobility, referred to as the 'gentry' from the early 1870s onwards, forced many of its 500,000 or so members to earn a living in the country's expanding bureaucracy, from the legal system, municipal councils and county administrations to government posts, the army officer corps, gendarmerie and police force. Here they were able to preserve their aristocratic lifestyle and position of social predominance. Members of the gentry, many of whom were related by marriage, controlled about half the posts available in the government ministries and three-quarters of those in the county administrations. In order to maintain their positions they supported the system of the Dual Monarchy and the policies of the government party. In the absence of a broad, economically independent and self-confident middle class, the gentry formed the nucleus of an emergent urban bourgeoisie comprising assimilated groups and Magyar social climbers of petty-bourgeois or peasant origin.

After 1848 the peasants of noble status merged with the free peasantry and emancipated serfs to form a single social class of peasants.

In the early modern period the population of Hungary's towns was mainly made up of non-Magyar immigrants, of whom the Germans formed the largest single community. In the course of the nineteenth century they were increasingly joined by the Czechs and the Jews, who were undergoing rapid assimilation. This petty bourgeoisie, which earned its living from the craft industries and small trades took decided advantage of the opportunities for social advancement opened up by economic progress after 1850 and modelled itself socially on the gentry. But only in exceptional cases did its members succeed in acquiring great wealth. Hungary's Jews soon distinguished themselves as entrepreneurs by their enterprise and willingness to take risks. They were involved not only in marketing and exporting agrarian produce, but invested their capital in industry, railway construction and the banking system. By the turn of the century a financial oligarchy of about fifty families had developed. These families controlled all the key positions in Hungary's rapidly developing economy, but did not challenge the social predominance of the aristocracy. Indeed, they tried to ape their lifestyle in external appearances which went as far as the enoblement of 346 Jewish families of the haute bourgeoisie. Twenty-eight were made barons and many acquired large estates, with the result that before the First World War Jews owned a fifth of Hungary's major estates. But although some Jews were represented in the Upper House, the financial bourgeoisie from which they emerged was content to share power only indirectly. The strong Jewish element in the middle class and university-educated intellectual élite contributed to the fact that the increasingly confident city dwellers began to turn away from modelling themselves on the gentry in the twentieth century and developed their own bourgeois lifestyle, value system and codes of behaviour. The town dwellers' political views tended to be liberal-nationalist. The greatest possible measure of Hungarian independence within the framework of a monarchy transformed into a purely personal union, economic freedom, the guarantee of universal, equal suffrage and the secret ballot headed their list of demands.

The lower classes in the towns, poor craftsmen, downwardly mobile petty nobility and rapidly growing industrial proletariat were nationalistic in outlook and therefore anti-Austrian in their attitudes. They supported the movement for Hungarian independence. For a long time the state bureaucracy's repressive and coercive measures succeeded in preventing the spread of radical ideas which sprang from the social misery and denial of civic rights, but it did not feel obliged to take effective measures to remedy the miserable conditions. The social class of industrial workers living in the urban areas which attracted migrants rose from 182,000 in 1857 to 955,000 in 1910, but the specific character of Hungary's industrialisation meant that the nucleus of this class was provided by skilled workers from abroad. The ruthlessly exploited unskilled workers and day-labourers were often only seasonal workers, of whom more than half worked in large factories and a third in Budapest. Women and children supplied two-fifths of the workforce. Workers from the districts inhabited by the national minorities, mainly Slovaks and Germans, were also quickly caught up in the process of magyarisation, so that the proportion of Hungarian employees in industry rose to 60 per cent (in Budapest to 80 per cent) within the space of a few years. Since real wages failed to grow adequately, the workers in the twentieth century were increasingly prepared to form trade unions and organise themselves politically. This development and their readiness to back their demands by strike action could not be halted despite minor concessions in labour law, the introduction of a social insurance system and sickness benefits and a shortening of the working day by one to two hours.

Urbanisation on a major scale began in Hungary in the second half of the nineteenth century. Growth benefited the capital, Budapest, which came into being in 1873 as a result of the original German settlement of Buda merging with Pest and the old mediaeval town of Óbuda. Of its 880,000 inhabitants in 1910, 86 per cent spoke Hungarian as their first language. The city's elevated position as Hungary's economic and cultural capital was underlined by the fact that Greater Budapest with its ribbon development of suburbs contained only 5.1 per cent of the country's total population but 28 per cent of its workforce and two-thirds of its major industry. Hungary's provincial centres suffered as a result of the capital's dynamic growth. Only Szeged had a population exceeding 100,000. A third of Hungary's towns, including half of its major cities with over 50,000 inhabitants remained typical market towns with a pronounced village character, especially in the outlying areas. The majority of the country's inhabitants continued to earn their living from agriculture. By 1910, however, a good third of the population already lived in 145 urban settlements of over 10,000 inhabitants. As a result of the rapid process of assimilation 78.6 per cent of them spoke Hungarian as their first language.

Over 50 per cent of the population, however, lived in small villages, a further 15 per cent in isolated farmsteads and in farms on the open Puszta grasslands belonging to the large estates. As a result of rapid economic growth, the number of persons employed in agriculture showed a sharp and steady decline from 75 to 60 per cent between 1869 and 1910. At the same time, however, the proportion of the workforce employed in mining, crafts and industry rose from 10 to 18.3 per cent, that of white-collar workers in commerce and transport from 4 to 6 per cent and in the services sector from 13 per cent to 15.6 per cent. Hungary contributed almost half the Dual Monarchy's total agricultural production, i.e. 47.8 per cent. Although the redistribution of common land and forest after 1849 was often accompanied by peasant unrest, the majority of small tenants acquired a farming strip of a few furrows (1hold = 0.5754 hectares). By 1910 the size of the rural proletariat, the most populous class of poor peasants with small holdings, grew to almost 4 million as a result of the division and parcelling out of land. During the decades of major railway construction, which witnessed impressive improvements in flood and drainage control in the Tisza and Danube valleys (available land for cultivation increased from 8.7 to 12.8 million hectares) and rising grain prices, they were able to earn a modest living as seasonal workers and day-labourers. But after 1890 they became gradually impoverished and many were forced to emigrate. After 1910, the introduction of imported threshing and reaping machinery, together with a more efficient iron plough, meant that the lowest category of peasantry who owned less than 5 hectares and depended on secondary earnings, could at best find secure employment for only 88 days of the year. The result was that this group, which constituted two-thirds of the peasantry and owned about a quarter of the land and two-fifths of the country's livestock, also experienced increasing hardship. Only the quarter of a million or so middle-sized farms of up to 10 hectares were able to survive to some extent through stubborn and persevering efforts to cultivate the land, switching from extensive animal husbandry to intensive wheat or maize growing or specialised areas of production like market gardening, viticulture, poultry-keeping and tobacco growing. Between 1851 and 1895 the number of farms of less than 50 hectares, which were managed not only by major producers but by the impoverished and declining middle-ranking aristocracy, trebled from 65,800 to 188,300. Despite the immense changes in farming methods and rural society, the traditional structure of village life continued into the twentieth century. Traditional ways of earning a living by farming, together with a traditional mentality and way of life continued in the prescribed manner of feudal society.

Although 99 per cent of Hungary's landowners were peasants, they owned only 56 per cent of cultivable land, barely half of the available farming machinery and 80 per cent of the country's livestock. The state owned between 6 and 7 per cent of the land, but 33 to 35 per cent of cultivable land remained in private or church ownership, estates sometimes equalling whole English counties in their extent. Great landed estates were often organised as indisposable entailed estates which passed to a male member of the landowning family according to fixed rules of inheritance. This had enabled the Esterh;izys, the Counts of Schönborn, the Prince of Coburg-Gotha and Austrian archdukes to avoid the break-up of their estates. Among the episcopacy, the Bishop of Nagyvárad, and Archbishops of Esztergom and Kalocsa controlled the largest estates on which thousands of day-labourers and servants lived. They worked as agricultural wage-labourers in a hierarchically organised system of managed estates, often completely cut off from the outside world. This inequitable distribution of landed property remained essentially unchanged before 1918, although some changes did occur by 1945.

After the upward economic trend in agriculture in the 1860s, when Hungarian grain and cereal sales to western Europe and Austria produced substantial profits, the economic crisis of 1873 caused an initial price fall. Competition from cheap imports of foreign grain and protectionist policies meant that this lasted until the 1880s and reduced profits by two-thirds. High production costs caused by backward farming methods, natural disasters and the almost wholesale destruction of viticulture caused by the spread of phylloxera ruined many a landowner. The number of holdings which owners were forced to sell and parcel out showed a worrying increase as did the collapse of some 10,000 farms. With the help of state subsidies and protective tariffs, support was given to the introduction of modern farming methods which benefited the large estate owners in particular through the use of machinery and increased productivity. The introduction of intensive crop rotation, improved seedlings and the increased use of artificial fertiliser resulted in the doubling of the yield per hectare, although this lagged far behind that of western Europe. A gradual return to cereal production, switching to hoed crops and plants for industrial uses and the spread of dairy farming and livestock fattening led to an increase in the profits of the larger farms while the smallholders and smallest peasants could barely survive and were often reduced to the status of landless labourers. The new economic conditions in agriculture in the twentieth century, especially after the imposition of high agricultural tariffs in 1906, also benefited middle-ranking and large-scale farmers, but at the same time consolidated the dominant position of the vast estates and ruled out any redistribution of land which might satisfy the peasants' land hunger and the claims of the destitute rural population.

What particularly characterised the period between 1867 and 1914 was, however, the rapid growth of industry, commerce and transport in relation to agriculture, resulting in a profound transformation of Hungary's socio-economic structure. Thanks to an annual average growth rate of 2.8 per cent, Hungary was gradually able to close the gap with Austria and by 1914 already accounted for 28.2 per cent of the Habsburg Empire's total industrial output. But Hungary also had to accept an increase in its share of the Dual Monarchy's common expenditure which rose by 6.4 per cent to 36.4 per cent, while Austria's contribution fell from 70 to 63.6 per cent. Although agriculture still accounted for two-thirds of Hungary's national income in 1913, the share contributed by industry and trade had more than doubled since 1870. This was due not least to the foreign investment capital which had flowed into Hungarian railway construction, mining, large-scale estates and the creation of banks. This, together with the increasing availability of Hungarian capital, benefited large-scale industry. About half the foreign capital of 800,000 crowns invested in the Hungarian economy was Austrian. Access to the Dual Monarchy's. wider domestic market greatly later benefited Hungary's economic development because only this common market could absorb the increased production, given the Hungarian market's low level of demand. In addition, about 80 per cent of Hungary's trade was transacted with the Austrian half of the Empire.

Railway construction was an important factor in the modernisation of the Hungarian economy. The railway network grew from 2,200 kilometres in 1867 to 22,000 kilometres in 1913. Freight and passenger traffic developed extremely rapidly with the growth of Budapest as a major railway junction. The building of railways also benefited the domestic iron industry and manufacture of machinery, while guaranteeing employment for countless railway navvies. The food industry, in particular the flour industry, attained a leading position in Europe. In the timber, paper and leather industries the trend towards large-scale production was also pronounced. Coal and iron-ore production showed a dramatic growth-spurt and encouraged the expansion of the machine industry, which continued to do well with its traditional products, the manufacture of agricultural and milling machinery. Thanks to considerable state subvention the textile industry also experienced a marked boom, although, faced with superior Austrian competition, it could only cover a third of the needs of the domestic market.

The economic trend towards larger-scale enterprises continued unchecked. Industrial concentration was encouraged by foreign capital which in 1880 owned two-thirds of Hungarian industry, in 1900 a half and in 1913 about 35 per cent. The biggest firms, which accounted for only 0.5 per cent of all enterprises, employed 44 per cent of the workforce and produced two-thirds of the country's total manufacturing output. Business consortia and cartels, formed in various branches of industry, strengthened the influence of the new banks and industrial monopolies. The craft manufacture of consumer goods, in contrast, showed a marked decline. Craftsmen and small tradesmen found themselves living through a period of crisis. Hungary failed to attract the manufacture of more modern and future-orientated products, because Austria-Cisleithania's more advanced industry, shielded by high tariffs and well attuned to its own level of demand and price structure within the monarchy as a whole, managed to forestall Hungary's innovations, thus preventing any major structural changes within Hungary's established industrial structure. This conduct resulted in a less balanced and less favourable industrial development in Hungary, but did not justify the supposition of Magyar historians that Hungary had been completely exploited because of its imbalance of trade with Austria. During the initial phase of investment-intensive modernisation, Hungary was able to rely on the Monarchy's large market and the import of Austrian capital. It could sell its agricultural exports to Austria during the agricultural crisis, and, thus secured, hasten the dynamic growth in the leading sectors of the Hungarian economy, namely agriculture and foodstuffs. Hungary was by no means an economically exploited country held in economic subservience to Austria, but as it was modernised had to adapt to prevailing conditions in the Monarchy and accept a delay in its socio-economic transformation and the prolongation of its traditional economic structure. Although the gap with the western industrial nations was, therefore, only slightly reduced, Hungary in 1914 stood on the threshold of the changeover from a purely agrarian-based economy to an industrial nation.



Religion, education and culture

From the time of its successful Counter Reformation under the cardinal-primate, Pétér Pázmány ( 1570-1637) Hungary, which was often referred to as 'Mary's Kingdom' ( Regnum Marianum), was regarded as a typical Catholic country. In fact, only 56.14 per cent of its population in 1880 were practising Catholics. In 1910 the figure was 58.95 per cent. But, since the Catholic bishops had also exercised temporal power, Roman Catholicism had long been the established state religion and the monarch had been accorded the right of patronage, the appointment of archbishops and bishops, the creation of new dioceses and the general promotion of the Catholic faith well into the twentieth century. Subject only to papal approval, the Catholic Church exercised a disproportionate influence. It was only after the Emperor Joseph II's tolerance edict of 1781, which first permitted freedom of worship and allowed non-Catholics to hold public office, that the last remnants of the state's attempts at recatholicisation came to an end. Catholicism was also able to salvage its position of predominance beyond the 1848 Revolution. Since many of the 'insurgents' had been non-Catholics, the Church enjoyed the special protection of the central government in Vienna until 1867. Although the position of the state vis ŕ vis the Church was somewhat weakened by a Concordat concluded in 1855, no attempt was made to bring about the complete separation of church and state. In 1868 this Concordat was ruled to be invalid for the territories of the Hungarian crown and the Placet regium was reintroduced. All administrative and religious affairs which affected future relations between church and state became the responsibility of the minister for education and religion.

These measures resulted in attempts to establish lay-control of the Church in Hungary, a development which gradually eroded the Catholic Church's privileges and brought about genuine equality of status for the country's other denominations. It especially benefited the Calvinists and Lutherans, who in 1880 made up 30.75 and 4.04 per cent of the population respectively. Although only three-tenths of the country's Magyars were Calvinists. Calvinism was regarded as the 'Magyar religion' since the significant part played by its adherents in political and cultural life, and thus their scope for shaping the structures and behaviour patterns of Hungarian life, far outweighed their numbers as a percentage of the population. Adherence to the Lutheran faith (based on the Augsburg Confession), which was especially widespread in Transylvania, Slovakia and the German community caused it to be referred to as the 'German religion' in everyday speech. Already in possession of the equal rights accorded to legally recognised denominations, as decreed in 1848 (Law XXI of 1848), the protestant churches tried to build on the increased autonomy granted, them after 1867. They created a modern church organisation and began to take an active part in public life which was increasingly dominated by liberal values. From 1885 onwards, their dignitaries had seats and a voice in the Upper House. As a result of substantial Jewish immigration, the proportion of Jews in the population also increased from 5.69 per cent to 7.2 per cent between 1880 and 1910. The Jews consequently exerted a growing influence on Hungary's economic and spiritual life. A clear majority of Rumanians, Serbs and Ruthenes adhered to the Greek Orthodox Church and a smaller number to the Greek Catholic or Uniate Church.

After 1867 the Catholic bishops were unwilling to concede their powerful position without a struggle. The liberal Education Law of 1868 expressly allowed denominational schools, although at the same time it increased state control of education. The church authorities continued to be responsible for marriage ceremonies, the recording of births, marriages and deaths and adjudication in all questions concerning marriage. The Catholic clergy consistently ignored the government's directive that the sons of mixed marriages should be allowed to follow the father's religion and the daughter the mother's religion. Growing frictions and annoyance regarding the splendid lifestyle of the bishops, drawn mainly from the petty-bourgeois peasantry, caused the Szápáry government to take measures against alleged 'irregularities' in church politics in the summer of 1892. In this, the government could rely on the support of broad sections of the middle class and intelligentsia among whom religious indifference had become widespread and who, in keeping with the liberal values of the period, favoured reorganising church politics which had come down the centuries unchanged from mediaeval times. Although the petty-bourgeoisie and the peasantry still unhesitatingly obeyed their priests, a growing number of people sought to satisfy their religious needs outside the framework of official religion. Since the clerical camp even opposed the introduction of the citizen's right to choose a civil marriage and the liberals wanted to see marriage ceremonies and the recording of births, marriages and deaths become the exclusive preserve of the state authorities and, alongside religious toleration, to accord equal rights to orthodox Judaism and other denominations, church affairs became the subject of open conflict between 1892 and 1894.

Mobilised by the clergy and conservative aristocrats, the masses resisted any move towards reform and 'persecution of religion'. In this, they were supported by the papal encyclicaConstanti Hungarorum, specifically issued by Pope Leo XIII. However, the new government, led by Wekerle and supported mainly by the protestant community, the Jewish bourgeoisie, supporters of a secular nation state and the majority of the Liberal Party, was able after lengthy parliamentary debate to push through the new legislation which sanctioned compulsory civil marriages, the state's right to keep public records and civic equality for the Jews. The devoutly pious Emperor Francis Joseph made no secret of his rejection of the new laws whose finalisation he postponed until 10 December 1894. Wekerle's government, which he viewed as much too liberal, was dismissed on 14 January 1895. Two weeks later Count Nándor Zichy and Count Miklós Móric Esterházy founded the Catholic People's Party ( Katolikus Néppárt) to defend the Catholic Church's position and rights in Hungary while at the same time creating a political mouthpiece for Catholicism.

Of even greater significance was the movement for spiritual renewal within Catholicism initiated by the Professor of Theology and later Bishop of Székesfehérvár, Ottokar Prohászka. By adapting pastoral work to modern conditions and addressing urgent social problems, this movement took account of the changes wrought by industrialisation. The Church's return to its pastoral and socio-political tasks was also accompanied by a readiness on the part of some sections of the urban middle classes and the intelligentsia to embrace Catholicism actively once more. The protestants also experienced a similar movement of renewal at this time.

Even if, as a result of state legislation and contemporary liberal attitudes, the earlier social and political influence of the Hungarian churches was in relative decline in the years before 1914, their say on important matters and opportunities for influencing political and cultural life remained largely unaffected.

It was thanks to the personal involvement of Hungary's first minister for education and culture, the respected writer, Baron József Eötvös, that Hungary was given an Education Law imbued with liberal values as early as 1868. This law not only made education compulsory for all six to twelve-year-olds, but provided for state-controlled elementary schools alongside existing denominational schools. By 1914, the number of elementary schools increased from approximately 10,000 to almost 17,500, of which 5,000 were state-run or local government schools, each with one teacher or, in the case of 7,000 schools, several teaching staff. The number of children attending school rose from 729,000 to 2,621 million. As a result of the government's use of schooling in its forced policy of magyarisation the number of elementary schools in which Hungarian was the language of instruction almost doubled from 7,300 to 14,200. The number of grammar schools also rose by 87 to 213. Lessons were taught in Hungary's five non-Magyar languages in only forty-one of the grammar schools. Instruction in the country's ninety-two teacher training colleges was exclusively in Hungarian. Thanks to the improvement in basic education which benefited around 90 per cent of all schoolchildren, illiteracy among the population over six years of age fell from 55 per cent in 1867 to 31 per cent in 1914 and to 41.8 per cent for the total population in the same period. But the national minorities had to pay dearly for this dramatic improvement in the education system with the loss of their own languages as the language of instruction. All subsequent laws, such as the 1883 reform of middle school instruction based on proposals drafted by Agoston Trefort, disadvantaged the nonHungarian languages. Little wonder, therefore, that 84.5 per cent of candidates with university entrance qualifications and 89 per cent of those attending university lectures were Magyars or spoke Hungarian as their first language.

Hungary's system of university and technical education was also systematically expanded. In 1851 Hungary had only 810 students, most of whom studied at the university in Pest. By 1914, the number had risen to 16,300. Students could now also study at Budapest's Technical University (founded in 1872), in Kolozsvár (Cluj) (founded 1872), Debrecen or Pressburg ( Bratislava) (founded 1912). Legal (33 per cent), medical (19 per cent), humanities (10 per cent) and divinity (10 per cent) studies enjoyed particular popularity. Only 22 per cent of undergraduates chose to study the natural sciences, technical studies or economics. Since the proportion of students from working-class and peasant families was below 3 per cent, the majority of students were sons of the wealthy nobility (around 50 per cent) and the urban bourgeoisie (over 40 per cent). Jewish students were overproportionately repre- sented amongst graduates.

The period of 'national revival' had already created the preconditions for the growth of Magyar national culture before 1848. The National Museum in Budapest, whose benefactors were the father and son, Széchenyi, the National Library (1802) and the forerunner of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences ( 1825), which concentrated on the study of languages in the interest of creating a sense of national identity, had been followed by the establishment of a National Theatre in 1837. After the Compromise of 1867 the so-called 'national' disciplines, now freed from romantic dilettantism, were able to build on these foundations. Collections of historical source materials, the first compilations of Hungarian history and a history of the Hungarian language and its literature began to appear -- although still mainly conceived in a conservative nationalist spirit. With the opening of research institutes and cience laboratories, involving considerable financial outlay, the natural sciences and technical disciplines underwent rapid growth stimulated by international developments. The study of physics and the Budapest school of mathematics achieved particular distinction.

The period of the 'national classicism' of the patriotic school between 1840 and 1860 saw Hungary's national literature reach its first apogée which was linked with names like Sándor Petőfi, József Eötvös and János Arany. Following a period of relative academic stagnation and an output of derivative works a general revival took place from the beginning of the twentieth century onwards, which, parallel to general European cultural developments, embraced all areas of culture. Endre Ady and Zsigmond Móricz set new standards in literature which were reflected in the paintings of the Nagybánya school and in the later post-impressionist, avant-garde work of the so-called 'Eight', Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, who returned to traditional folk melodies for their inspiration, brought new life to Hungarian music and made a significant contribution to the development of modern music. Theatre, opera and operetta found an enthusiastic and knowledgeable public. Around 900 daily newspapers, numerous public libraries and many publishing houses catered for an interested readership.

If art and culture in Hungary had been dominated by Austrian and German influences before the turn of the century, the new liberated currents of Hungarian intellectual life in the years before 1914 turned increasingly to British and French models. As well as the national element, there was a strong sense of social and political commitment which sought to influence the intellectual creative process in a radical and democratic spirit.






The consolidation of internal politics

The vociferous and resolute objections which many Magyars and most national minority leaders raised against the Compromise of 1867 forced Andrássy's government to exercise extreme caution in dealing with Hungary's outstanding political problems and show all parties a desire to compromise. The introduction of a unitary centralist administration was given priority, but not surprisingly met with resistance from the county administrations which held on firmly to their feudal legacy and mostly opposed the government. Since every attempt to pass parliamentary legislation was also subject to the monarch's prior consent, the government and parliament's scope for innovation remained relatively limited, although new legislation was required in almost every sphere and draft proposals had to be submitted in advance to the Emperor. The organisational principles and legal norms to be applied had to observe the principle of the monarch's absolute rights. Since, moreover, Ferenc Deák and his immediate colleagues pursued more liberal views than the majority of the Compromise party, and the Hungarian nobility stubbornly defended its traditional prerogatives, the expansion of the Hungarian state apparatus and codification of the legal system came about only very gradually.

At the lowest level, particularly in the villages, both judicial and administrative powers were, as previously, combined in the person of the all-powerful local magistrate. As early as 10 April 1867, the government passed a decree containing its ideas for regulating the areas of competence of the municipal councils. This subordinated the right of municipal self-government to national interests and set out the principles to be observed in the election of judges and public officials. Legislation subsequently passed between 1870 and 1872 on the administration of the counties and urban and rural districts plainly revealed the government's desire to curtail local self-government and encourage greater centralisation. The situation was complicated by the fact that the legal norms observed in Croatia and Transylvania differed from those in the rest of Hungary. The county administrations and their elected officials continued to exist, but had to surrender some of their autonomy to central government. In future, each county was to be administered by a governor with extended powers, nominated by the government and appointed by the monarch. Over the years the various departments of experts were placed under the increasingly tight supervision of central government. In 1876, administrative committees of nominated civil servants were also created whose job was to supervise the administration in keeping with the government's policy of centralisation.

The expansion of the judicial system was characterised by the application of progressive bourgeois-democratic principles. The judiciary was made independent of the executive, state prosecutors were appointed and the new arrangements focused in particular on the judicial independence and appointment for life of judges nominated by the King and confirmed by the minister of justice (Law IV of 1869). Since there was no codified legal system, the modernised Corpus iuris remained in force. A new civil law code was introduced in 1868 which laid down extremely cumbersome procedural rules for trials. After several amendments, however, this was replaced in 1911 by a new system of rules which took more account of the needs of bourgeois society and remained in force until 1 January 1915. No modern legal code existed for the private sector. A new penal code was introduced after 1880, followed by a uniform code of criminal trial procedures after 1900.

The development of the fiscal administration and introduction of a new tax system culminated in the setting up of a new Government Audit Office in 1870 which was empowered to check the records and financial affairs of all government ministries as well as those departments entitled to make transfer payments. The government's increasing tendency to depart from the elective principle in developing new administrative institutions and extend the influence of central government was everywhere apparent.

The largely unjustified claim by opponents of the Compromise that Hungary was dependent on Austria in a semi-colonial sense was usually supported by the argument that Hungary did not exercise its due influence on the shaping of defence policy and decisions concerning the army. Apart from approving the size of the regular levée of recruits, sharing in defence expenditure and enjoying limited participation in decision-making, the Hungarian government and parliament could bring practically no influence to bear on the leadership, organisation and deployment of the common army or on the leadership and policies of the ministry of war. Although according to the terms of the Compromise the Hungarian parliament was not allowed to concern itself with the costs of the common army, which in keeping with the procedures on the respective expenditure quotas was a task reserved for the parliamentary delegations. Hungary's share of the defence budget had to be incorporated into the national budget. This meant that the Budapest parliament was able to have a certain say on defence matters, albeit indirectly, since it could pass a vote of no confidence in the government or oppose defence arrangements. Moreover, the taxes which had to be raised to cover defence requirements could not be collected on the basis of Hungary's own internal administrative laws, nor could recruits be conscripted without parliament's advance approval. This interpretation of the Compromise, which to some extent contradicted the King's expressly acknowledged right to sole command of the armed forces (Law XII of 1867, para. 11) not only caused friction between Vienna and Budapest, but occasioned increasingly acrimonious internal quarrels within Hungary about the nature and role of the army. The mutual antipathy which existed between the Hungarians and the army, whose officers often displayed offensive anti-Hungarian attitudes and the mentality of an occupying force, was the cause of continual conflicts which weakened the cohesion of the Dual Monarchy.

Satisfaction felt at the creation of a separate Hungarian ministry for the Hungarian territorial army (Honvéd) and the creation of purely Hungarian reserve regiments failed to compensate for discontent with the unpopular and omnipotent common army, in which German was the sole language of command. Magyars occupied only 6.8 per cent of the available posts in the ministry of defence and never supplied more than 10 per cent of the generals. It was only after difficult negotiations that Andrássy's government succeeded in 1868 in overcoming the opposition of the Emperor and the military experts to the creation of a separate Hungarian force, arguing that such a militia was absolutely necessary to maintain internal public order. Although its leadership was derived from a common Austro-Hungarian army, the Honvéd was a national army modelled on the Austrian territorial army. However, it had no artillery or technical units and was intended to function as a manpower reserve for the Austro-Hungarian common army. Like the gendarmerie stationed in Transylvania and Croatia-Slavonia, it was at first used chiefly as a means of intimidating the Empire's national minorities and crushing peasant discontent.

To some extent, its tasks of guaranteeing the government's executive power and maintaining internal order became of secondary importance in 1881 following the introduction of new regulations for the rural gendarmerie. In place of the old system of county constables a reorganised 'national' gendarmerie was created directly under the ministries of defence (Honvéd minister) and the interior. As well as pursuing common criminals, it was given responsibility for combating political activities. In 1882, the Budapest police force was reorganised. Following this example, the forces of law and order in the other self-administering municipalities were subsequently reorganised on the basis that they could call on the assistance of the national gendarmerie. The consolidation of the state apparatus, the extension of the powers of central government and the desire to be armed against possible sources of unrest -- whether nationalist or Socialist -- were the immediate motives behind these highly costly reorganisation measures.

The opposition's dissatisfaction with the 'alien, dynastic and absolutist' common army, most of whose officers had little understanding of the Magyar mentality and Magyar sensibilities, was strengthened in 1886 when General Ludwig Janszky laid a wreath at the grave of General Heinrich on Hentzi who had been killed fighting Hungarian insurgents in 1849. The response to this tactless and provocative action, which seemed quite outrageous in Hungarian eyes, was a long series of demonstrations which necessitated military intervention. In this tense atmosphere Tisza's government felt obliged after a great deal of pressure from both the crown and the military leaders in Vienna to propose a new army law which approved the size of recruitment intakes for the next decade, a matter especially close to the heart of Francis Joseph. It also proposed more up-to-date methods in officer training and a restructuring of the army. Above all, the rule that reserve officers would also have to sit a German language examination aroused fierce opposition from Magyar nationalist groups opposed to the government. During the winter session debates of 1889-90 in parliament they joined forces for the first time in a common cause and stirred the masses to action through their chauvinist appeals. Demonstrations held not only in the capital but in the provinces, also had to be violently dispersed by the military. Although the government defused the conflict to some extent by conceding tests in Hungarian and Croat to take place alongside that in German and managed to push through the army law against parliamentary opposition, the prime minister, Kálmán Tisza, his experience and skills put to the test, could no longer hold on to power and was forced to resign on 13 March 1890.

It was mainly thanks to Tisza, however, that Hungary's internal political condition had stabilised during the so-called 'period of calm'. Relying on a parliamentary majority which was safe as long as elections were rigged and the administration filled with his supporters, he had succeeded not only in defusing the problems inherent in the dualistic political system, but had bolstered the social and political order by constitutional means in a multi-national Hungary increasingly subject to class divisions. Although he lacked the stature of a great statesman, he showed a keen political awareness and a capacity to use people and institutions for his own nds. These qualities, together with his ability to evade problematical issues, his pragmatism and a solid political desire and ability to maintain his position, had helped smooth out differences and retain the Emperor's goodwill. Although he had promised in his first election campaign in 1875 that he would try to obtain better conditions for Hungary in the impending negotiations by the delegations on the prolongation of the Compromise and the customs union, during the three-year-long discussions he was only able to get his way on the pure formality of renaming the National Bank of Austria the 'Austro-Hungarian Bank'. The ensuing disappointment which spread throughout Hungary and led to political defections from the government camp, resulted in the government often relying on an extremely slender parliamentary majority. It also accelerated the founding of new opposition parties such as the United, later Moderate Opposition ( 1878-81), the 'Independence and '48 Party' ( 1884) and the Party of Non-Voters ( 1878). However, Tisza soon made use of the political reshuffle to reorganise his own government support to his benefit and adopted ostensibly liberal economic and education policies which took account of Magyar nationalist aspirations.

Hungary's political forces and struggles were thus kept within the strict bounds of constitutionalism while economic competition was given free reign. After the great stock exchange crash of 9 May 1873 the agricultural proletariat, which grew rapidly as a consequence, followed the workers in finding itself the object of the state's mistrustful surveillance. The Agricultural Labour Law of 1876, which covered male and female farmhands who made up almost 15 per cent of all agricultural employees with a minimum one-year wage contract, not only curtailed their legal equality and personal freedom, but placed the often inadequately accommodated, low-paid labourer, who was usually paid in kind and devoid of insurance protection, under the 'authority of his master'. Henceforth, the latter was allowed the right to discipline his workers with mild corporal punishment and could call on the gendarmerie to help him restore order if necessary. Although an improvement in the social conditions of the agricultural and industrial workers was certainly deemed necessary, the liquidation of the government's debts and the drafting of social welfare legislation, which had been prepared in 1889 following the government's enlargement to include ministries of trade and agriculture, did not take effect until 1892.



Hungary's influence on the foreign policy of the Habsburg Monarchy

In contrast to its influence on defence policy Hungary was able to play a significant, indeed decisive part in the shaping of the Monarchy's foreign policy. Three of the common government's ten foreign ministers were Hungarians (three and a half, in fact, if one includes Count Leopold Berchtold). In 1914, Hungarians accounted for 27.5 per cent of all foreign ministry officials and members of the diplomatic corps. Since para. 8 of Law XII of 1867 stipulated that the common Austro-Hungarian foreign minister required the agreement of both prime ministers including, therefore, that of the Hungarian government, the Hungarian parliament was able to influence foreign policy beyond its say in approving the budget. The direction of the Habsburg Monarchy's foreign policy, as pursued by Count Gyula Andrássy after 1871, was largely in keeping with the interests of the Magyar ruling élites who carried partial responsibility. No detailed research has yet been undertaken for the years preceding the First World War to find out how far and to what extent Hungarian demands and the Empire's relevant internal power relationships within the dualist structure influenced and -- in the perception of foreign public opinion -- burdened foreign policy in the long term.

There was little support in Hungary for the dreams harboured by members of the upper nobility, sections of the bureaucracy and army leaders after the defeat of 1866: revancheagainst Prussia, a foreign policy in which Austria took the lead in German affairs, the recovery of the lost territory of Silesia, the setting up of an Austrian protectorate over the South German states and even the restoration of the old unitary Habsburg Empire. Against this line, which was also pursued by the flexible Chancellor Beust in early summer of 1870, the then Hungarian premier, Andrássy, demanded that the monarchy stick to a policy of neutrality and prepare for an armed struggle against Russia. At a crown council meeting on 18 July 1870 the Emperor Francis Joseph decided against immediate mobilisation, but at the same time agreed to military preparations and an announcement of Austrian neutrality. The rapid German victories and Napoleon III's decisive defeat at Sedan put an end to revanchist plans for once and for all. Hungary was also not interested in a future extension of the Dual Monarchy's power, nor -- as was demonstrated by Budapest's veto of trialism in 1871 -- in attempting a federal reorganisation internally which would reduce its own relative political importance. Instead, it was determined to defend and as far as possible extend the influence it had already attained in determining the Monarchy's destiny.

Count Gyula Andrássy, who replaced the discredited Count Beust as foreign minister on 14 November 1871, was soon presented with an opportunity for just this. In a detailed memorandum of May 1871, Beust himself had argued for a change of direction in Austro-Hungarian foreign policy. His main points were that Austria should restore its good relationship with the Prussian-dominated German Empire -- something Bismarck also desired -- and expand its influence in the Balkans which would require the cooperation of Russia. The first meeting of the Emperors Francis Joseph and William I in Salzburg in August 1871 had produced considerable agreement on foreign policy, for it was in the interests of Prussian-dominated Germany to divert Austro-Hungary's greatpower ambitions to the Balkans, given the Ottoman Empire's inexorable decline and the intensification of Russia's policy in the East under its foreign minister, Gorčakov. Andrássy, who was keen to bring about an alliance between Vienna and Berlin had somewhat different priorities from his predecessor, Beust. As far as he was concerned, combating the 'threat of pan-Slavism', thus limiting Russia's sphere of influence, was a top priority. Since the founding of the Slav Welfare Society in Moscow in 1858, the second Slav Congress of 1867 and the publication of Danilevskij's famous book,'Russia and Europe', in 1869, (which proclaimed the goals of a Russian-led pan-Slav federation and the acquisition of Constantinople), fears of Russian and Russian-backed Slav nationalism had grown out of all proportion in Austria-Hungary. Because of Berlin's friendly relations with St Petersburg, Austria-Hungary could not rely on Bismarck's support for an anti-Russian shift in foreign policy. Andrássy could never quite depend on the Emperor's unreserved support during his time in the Vienna foreign ministry. Against his better judgement he had to go along with a policy which, after the meeting in September 1872 between Francis Joseph, the German Emperor William I and Tsar Alexander II, eventually led to the Three Emperors' League in the following year. By this agreement the signatories undertook to consult each other in the event of an attack by another power. Russia and Austria-Hungary pledged themselves to guarantee the maintenance of the status quo in the Balkans. They acknowledged a mutual obligation not to intervene in conflicts in the Balkans and undertook to hold prior discussions in an emergency. This consultative agreement did not clash with the Monarchy's other foreign policy aims, namely the maintenance of its traditional friendship with Britain and the preservation of Turkish supremacy over the Slav nations of the Balkans.

As a direct result of the Emperor Francis Joseph's tour of Dalmatia, revolts against oppressive Turkish rule broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the summer of 1875 and spread to Bulgaria in the spring of 1876. The Great Powers had no wish to see an escalation the conflict and the risings were brutally crushed by the Turks. Their appeal to the Sultan and the insurgents to reach a negotiated settlement, contained in the Berlin Memorandum of 13 May 1876, had no effect. However, the cruel pacification measures carried out by the Turks after an internal political power struggle outraged the whole of European public opinion against them and encouraged the small independent states of Serbia and Montenegro to declare war with Russia's backing on 2 July. Andrássy had up until now maintained a policy of benevolent neutrality towards the Turks since he feared that a successful rebellion would lead to the emergence of a major Slav state and the expansion of Russian influence as far as the Bosphorus and the Aegean. Tsar Alexander II subsequently visited Emperor Francis Joseph at Schloss Reichstadt in Bohemia on 8 July 1876 to propose the break-up of the Ottoman Empire and a division of the Balkans by which Austria would acquire Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Hungarian fear, expressed by Andrássy, concerning the incorporation of more Slav-populated regions and the danger of Slav predominance in the Monarchy, was something Francis Joseph refused to consider.

Since the Serbs could not resist pressure from the Turks for very long, Russia felt obliged to intervene directly in the Balkan conflict in the autumn of 1876. In a secret agreement it was firmly agreed in Budapest on 15 January 1877 and again on 18 March that Austria-Hungary should be compensated for maintaining neutrality in the Russo-Turkish war by the acquisition of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in return for which it would agree to Russia's annexation of Bessarabia and certain Armenian territories. In keeping with the reservation that no major pan-Slav state should be allowed to emerge, both parties agreed to guarantee Serbian, Rumanian, Bulgarian and Albanian independence. During the fighting between the Russians and the Turks, which broke out on 24 April 1877, the Sultan was able to hold out against the Tsarist troops only until late autumn. The preliminary Treaty of Adrianople on 31 January and the Treaty of San Stefano on 3 March 1878 placed the seal on Turkey's complete defeat. Thereafter, Russia no longer felt bound by the secret Budapest agreement and acquired for itself not only substantial territorial gains in the Caucasus region, but also an impressive power base in the Balkans in the form of an enlarged Bulgaria stretching to the Aegean coast and under Russian control, as well as an expanded Serbia and Montenegro. Austria- Hungary was expected to go empty-handed since Bosnia and Herzegovina were to be given autonomous status, though still within the Ottoman Empire.

This arrangement, which completely disregarded AustroHungarian interests, caused Andrássy to call on 28 January 1878 for a congress of the guarantor powers of the 1856 Paris Peace Conference to be held in order to examine the Russo-Turkish peace terms. Both the Emperor and the army rejected his recommendation of military action against Russia. But in collaboration with Great Britain Austria-Hungary managed to achieve the summoning of the Berlin Congress (from 13 June to 13 July 1878) at which Russia, despite Bismarck's loyal support, was forced to make significant concessions in the peace settlement. For AustriaHungary, the sanctioning of the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was important, as was the separation of Eastern Rumelia and Macedonia from Bulgaria, which Russian troops were allowed to occupy for nine months. Austria was permitted to garrison troops in the Sanjak of Novibazar which separated Serbia from Montenegro. Thus, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which had steadily lost territories since 1859, had become a Balkan power. It was able to exert economic and military pressure on Serbia and Montenegro and had also found itself moving forward towards the Aegean at Salonika.

Despite the fact that the Habsburg monarchy had maintained its great-power status, there was little sign of enthusiasm in Hungary at the unlimited occupation of the two South Slav provinces. After reservations had already been expressed concerning Andrássy's apparently pro-Russian policy, passionate nationwide protests took place against the occupation once the decisions taken in Berlin became known. The weakening of Turkey and the increase in the proportion of the Monarchy's Slav population caused considerable anxiety. Andrássy was just as anxious as Bismarck to build further on the goodwill which had emerged between Vienna and Berlin during the Balkan crisis and Congress of Berlin. The resentment felt in St Petersburg at Bismarck's 'honest broker' role, which found expression in a letter of complaint from Alexander II to William I (the 'box on the ear' letter) in August 1879, prepared the way for the signing of the Dual Alliance on 7 October 1879. This was a defensive pact directed against potential Russian aggression. In the event of an attack by a third power the contracting parties were obliged merely to maintain a position of benevolent neutrality. The secret neutrality agreement, finally signed in 1881 and due to run for three years between the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Russia (The Three Emperors' League) obliged the other two members of the alliance to maintain a benevolent neutrality in the event of an attack on a member by a fourth power. Italy's joining of the Dual Alliance in 1882 secured for AustriaHungary Italian neutrality in the event of a Russian attack and even committed the contracting parties to provide armed support in the event of a combined attack by two or more powers.

This policy of alliances, which stabilised Austria-Hungary's influence in the Balkans and guaranteed a maximum degree of safety against external enemies, was initiated by Andrássy. He was unable to implement it personally, however, since the Emperor Francis Joseph had already dismissed him on 10 October 1879 after a long period of speculation about his imminent, albeit temporary, resignation. It remained to his successors to build upon the Monarchy's great-power status through a series of bilateral treaties with neighbouring Balkan states. On 28 June 1881, Serbia signed a treaty agreeing to orientate its foreign policy in line with AustriaHungary's interests and promised to take action to prevent any anti-Habsburg agitation in its territories. On 30 October 1883, Austria-Hungary, the German Empire and Rumania formed a defensive alliance. Relations with Bulgaria, which was ruled after 1887 by the former Honvéd officer. Ferdinand of Saxe-CoburgKoháry, also began to improve after the crisis of 1886-87 again conjured up the danger of military confrontation with Russia. Hungary profited as much as the rest of the Monarchy from this period of stable foreign relations and expanding influence in the Balkans. But with the growth of Magyar nationalism the Habsburg state's foreign policy, focussed as it was on the German Empire, remained unpopular in Hungary and was always fiercely criticised when protective tariffs hampered or blocked the export of Hungarian agricultural produce and industrial manufacturers. Anti-Russian sentiments which remained latent since 1849 were further stirred up by the Slav nationalist movement supported by St Petersburg. After shifts in the alliance system became apparent after 1892 these grew into an unconcealed fear of Russia and 'Austro-Slavism' which was often conjured up by the press.






The effects of internal conflict on Hungary's relationship to the Empire

The resignation of prime minister Kálmán Tisza in March 1890 marked the beginning of a period of instability in internal politics which saw the collapse of the Liberal Party. It was a period characterised by frequent changes of government, the intensification of political, social and national conflicts and the growing tension between the two halves of the Empire. Only after the election of Count István Tisza to President of the Chamber of Deputies (Lower House) on 22 May 1912 and his second appointment as prime minister in July 1913 did the opportunity for long-term consolidation present itself, although this came to nothing as a result of the outbreak of the First World War. The Hungarian politicians and political parties failed to take adequate account of the dynamic socio-economic changes taking place in Hungarian society. They failed to recognise the significance of the country's modern economic development, underestimated the explosive force of nationalism and thoughtlessly provoked the dangerous growth of division between Austria and Hungary, thus inexcusably ignoring the possible effects of this on coexistence within the crisis-ridden Dual Monarchy. By the eve of the First World War and during the subsequent conflict it was too late to undertake the necessary changes and basic reforms.

The government of Count Gyula Szápáry, which held office from 13 March 1890 to 17 November 1892, scarcely differed from Tisza's cabinet in terms of its personnel. The energetic finance minister, Wekerle, devoted his energies primarily to consolidating the state finances and introducing a currency reform by which the silver forint was replaced by the gold crown. The first social policy measures, such as the prohibition of Sunday working and the introduction of compulsory sickness insurance did not, however, bring Hungarian politics any nearer to a solution of the 'labour question' which was causing mounting concern. The completion of waterway regulation improvements at the Iron Gate on the Danube led to a rise in unemployment in the following years and a dramatic increase in emigration.

After prime minister Szápáry had encountered stiff opposition to his attempt to overcome the 'irregularities' in church politics in the autumn of 1892, Dr Sándor Wekerle became the first representative of the middle class to take over as head of government. After he had succeeded in having the law on compulsory civil marriages and the state keeping of public records passed by parliament (see p 45 ), he had to hand over the premiership to Baron Deszö Bánffy on 14 January 1895, despite his undisputed qualities, as the express wish of the Emperor. His successor had a reputation as a capable administrator who had made a name for himself in the senior levels of the county administration in Rumanian-inhabited areas of Transylvania as an obdurate defender of Magyar supremacy and a 'devourer of Socialists'. As head of government he continued to suppress the Socialist movement and the national minorities with a strong hand and a provocative chauvinism, especially since the latter were now increasingly self-confident in putting forward their demands for autonomy. The organisation of the Millenium Celebrations, held amid a frenzy of nationalism in 1896 to celebrate 1,000 years of Magyar settlement in Hungary, was solely intended to demonstrate Hungary's historical greatness and, under the aegis of a narrow-minded Magyar nationalism, to show Hungary's growing importance within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy -- especially in the period pending renegotiation of the decennial economic Compromise. During the festivities in May and June the Empress Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary, became the centre of attention. The nation expressed its thanks with a Te Deum at which the Hungarian Primate declared that 'her tender maternal hand had woven the golden band by which the Magyar nation and its dearly beloved king are inextricably bound to one another'.

Scarcely had the euphoric speeches at the Millenium Celebrations died away when internal political disagreements raised emotions as acutely as ever. Lajos Kossuth had died in exile in Turin on 20 March 1894. After his spectacular funeral, which was accompanied by nationalist demonstrations, the nationalist opposition which had degenerated into squabbling factions over the years but was still popular among sections of the middle nobility and gentry, well-to-do peasantry and petty bourgeoisie received fresh impetus. Although he possessed none of his great father's charisma and insight, the Independence Party found a new leader in his son, Ferenc Kossuth, who had returned home from abroad after having been pardoned. The Catholic People's Party, founded on 28 January 1895 to represent the interests of political Catholicism, also participated in the coming parliamentary elections with strong backing from the clergy. As a result of the usual electoral abuses the Liberal Party emerged in a stronger position with 60.1 per cent of the vote and 287 seats, but had to face a united parliamentary opposition which was determined to bring down the unpopular Bánffy.

The immediate cause of renewed internal political conflict was the successfully concluded 1896 Compromise negotiations, at which for the first time the Hungarian delegation wrested significant economic concessions. The coining of the malicious epithet 'Judaeo-Magyars' by the new Mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger, so mortally offended the Hungarian Liberals that the Austrians were forced to compromise in order to conciliate them. Against the background of prevailing parliamentary anarchism in Austria, the central government, led by the Polish landowner, Count Kazimierz Badeni, believed it could win the Vienna parliament's agreement to the accord reached with Budapest only if it could win the support of the Czechs by passing legislation guaranteeing generous treatment for the Czech language in public affairs. Badeni was defeated by the opposition of the German-Austrian parties. His successor, Gautsch, was defeated by Czech obstructionist tactics. The rapid succession of governments in Vienna failed to win acceptance of the new economic Compromise. Thus, in 1898 a provisional arrangement was agreed to and approved by the Emperor. The terms of the Compromise, which had been valid until 1896, were extended until the end of 1903. If by then the requisite parliamentary majority for its passage was not forthcoming, the terms of the 1887 economic Compromise were to remain in force until one or other of the parties repudiated it. This so-called 'Ischl clause', which was seen in Hungary as a limitation on the country's constitutional rights, gave rise to a heated debate set in motion by the Independence Party which caused uproar in parliament and resulted in the adoption of obstructionist tactics. Public opinion was greatly impressed by the opposition's stance. The government was accused of 'party absolutism' and the opposition called increasingly for the replacement of the unpopular Bánffy. When the magnate faction, led by Count Gyula Andrássy Jnr., left the government camp Bánffy had to ask the Emperor to accept his resignation on 26 February 1899.

Fernec Deák's son-in-law, Kálmán Széll, who came from a respectable old landowning family and was president of a major bank, now emerged as the saviour of the hour. His formula, that Hungary should voluntarily prolong the old economic arrangements until 1903 'in the legal framework of the autonomous customs area', went some way towards pacifying the opposition. By enticing the thirty-two 'dissidents' grouped around the younger Andrássy back into the Liberal Party, and since the Moderate Opposition, led by count Apponyi, also joined the government camp, he could rely on a firm parliamentary majority of 320 deputies. The price he had to pay for holding this majority together was to make far-reaching concessions to the large landowners. When Széll negotiated new Compromise terms with the Austrian government under Koerber at the end of 1902 full account was taken of the interest of the agrarian élite in securing the imposition of high tariffs on agricultural imports. Although the Hungarians could not avoid conceding an increase of 3 per cent in their share of the common expenditure quota, and this encountered stiff opposition, the Magyars nevertheless felt flattered that theireconomic development was making visible progress and was reflected in the Monarchy's common budget. But this agreement, too, never received legislative sanction.

The country's relative calm, achieved as a result of Széll's skilful handling of the rival factions within the government party, quickly evaporated when a draft law to reorganise the army was laid before parliament in January 1903. Although the need to increase the troop strength of both the common army and the Honvéd, and thus Hungary's financial quota, by 25 per cent was not challenged, the opposition, in return for their agreement, demanded the introduction of Hungarian as the language of command, Hungarian insignia and a reduction in the length of compulsory service. By obstructing the bill, the opposition attempted to heighten its attacks on the common nature of the army. The criticism of the army, which was concealed behind the opposition's demands, proved equally popular with both the nobility and the workers. Since Széll could not bring himself to come down heavily on his political opponents he was dismissed in disgrace by the Emperor on 27 June 1903.

He was replaced as prime minister by the former governor of Croatia, Count Károly Khuen-Héderváry, to whom the Emperor Francis Joseph eagerly gave his support on 16 September 1903 when he issued a general army order from the manoeuvres in Chlopy, Galicia. In this order, which took the Magyars by surprise, he stressed that the army should remain 'as it is', a common and This cooperation between the opposition parties, which Tisza had brought about against his will, led to a visible hardening of positions. After the clamour in parliament had reached its climax on 13 December with substantial damage to the chamber of deputies, and the political conflict had spilled over to the population at large, Tisza was forced to dissolve parliament and call new elections. The Coalition, supported by all the various opposition groups, was agreed on only one point: to end Tisza's 'rule by force'. The masses, who were excluded from the democratic process by the franchise system, shared this view. Since the civil service also joined the new constellation of forces, the traditional methods of electoral rigging did not benefit the government camp in the usual manner. The Liberal Party suffered a serious reverse in the election held in January 1905, winning only 37.9 per cent of the vote and 159 seats. The Independence Party managed to win 33.3 per cent of the vote and 165 seats in its own right. In all, 254 Coalition deputies were returned. An era which had lasted 30 years thus came to an inglorious end. The opinion spread, even among the defeated Liberals, that it was time to take more account of the political structures created by Hungary's new socio-economic conditions, together with the appearance of new political forces and methods.

Believing that the events of the 1905 Russian Revolution would be more likely to induce the Emperor to satisfy Magyar aspirations for a fully fledged nation state, the triumphant Coalition offered a radical programme which demanded considerable autonomy for the Hungarian army. However, Francis Joseph brusquely rejected the idea of any concessions. After all, he saw 'his army' as the only intact and firm instrument capable of holding together his disintegrating empire. Since he wished to entrust Andrássy Jnr. with the formation of a new cabinet only on condition that the latter forgo any reorganisation of the army, the Coalition refused to participate in the government. Only when, in the wake of the 1905 Russian Revolution, a wave of strikes by agricultural and factory workers made the need for a government capable of handling the situation increasingly obvious and the Coalition continued to refuse acceptance of the Emperor's conditions, did Francis Joseph entrust a loyal and trustworthy general, Baron Géza Fejérváry, a Honvéd minister of close on 20 years standing, with the formation of a caretaker government. The Coalition responded by proclaiming a state of 'national resistance', calling upon the counties and municipal authorities to boycott taxes and recruitment levées, and voted in parliament against any proposals by a 'puppet government'. The government crisis was not overcome, but instead escalated into a crisis of the entire system. Since Tisza and his Liberal supporters withdrew from the fray, Fejérváry could rely only on the confidence of the monarch, the army and the loyal civil service. The Coalition, mainly through its defence programme and desire for more Hungarian independence, but otherwise incapable of firm action on account of internal conflicts and jealousies, soon exhausted itself with its ill-defined policy of blocking tactics.

The interior minister, József Kristóffy, found a way of breaking the impasse by proposing the introduction of universal suffrage to secure the support of the lower social classes. When the leaders of the Coalition, summoned to a 'five minute audience' in the Hofburg, refused Francis Joseph's final demand to abandon their destructive policies and grandiose aims, the Emperor approved a draft bill proposing universal suffrage and reappointed Fejérvary, who had meantime resigned, to the post of prime minister. In response, the Coalition's leadership committee tried with varying degrees of success to mobilise opposition to the 'absolutist government' in the counties. However, when the demonstrations by advocates of electoral reform spread and the government blocked funds to the hostile county administrations and refused to pay the salaries of their officials who had been suspended, the opposition was forced to give in. The Honvéd general, Sándor von Nyiri, whom the Emperor had appointed 'Royal Commissioner', ordered the military to clear the parliament building on 19 February 1906 and thereupon dissolved the parliament. The Coalition's leadership committee suspended its sittings in March. Since, to the disappointment of the nationalist opposition, the urban masses remained passive, the will to resist rapidly diminished. Resigning for a second time on 8 April 1906, Fejérváry cleared the way for the formation of a new government in which the Coalition participated through the mediation of Ferenc Kossuth out of a sense of 'a higher patriotism'. In return for the Coalition forsaking its defence programme the monarchy withdrew its electoral reform proposal, feared equally by the Old Liberals and Coalition deputies alike. The way was now left open for the opposition politicians to participate in the new government. Under the premiership of Sándor Wekerle, who supported the 'Compromise', Andrássy joined the Coalition government as interior minister, Kossuth as minister for trade and Apponyi as minister for education. Thus, the government crisis which had lasted more than a year was resolved by an arrangement in the interest of the all-important class of magnates and large-scale landowners. It had been achieved without having to concede any fundamental social and political reforms to the majority of the population and without having produced a clear solution to the problem of Hungary's status within the Monarchy.

The new government's policies took special account of the wishes of the large-scale landowning class and at the same time attempted to support the country's banks and entrepreneurs with a law of 1907 designed to encourage industrial growth. It also attempted to contain the workers' discontent by introducing several social policy measures. Since the Liberal Party had collapsed and been dissolved by Istvan Tisza on 11 April, the government had no serious opponent to face during the May 1906 elections. The Independence Party captured 59.9 per cent of the vote, giving it 253 seats. The Slav and Rumanian parliamentary deputies joined together to form the Club of National Minority Deputies. Previously they had never won more than ten seats. Now, for the first time they had been able to win twenty six, while the Agrarian Socialists were represented for the first time by two members. In the 1907 negotiations on the decennial economic Compromise terms the Hungarian delegation succeeded only in winning several concessions over the wording of the agreement. The 'Customs Union' was now called a 'Treaty' and the 'common tariff' now an 'autonomous tariff. But the delegation had to pay for these conciliatory gestures with a further 2 per cent increase in its share of the common expenditure quota, which was now raised to 36.4 per cent. Disappointment that none of the nationalist aims had been realised caused several leading members of the Independence Party to turn their back on the party and reveal details of the secret terms agreed between the crown and the Coalition in 1906. The nationalists were compensated only by the 1907 Education Act, introduced by the minister of education, Count Albert Apponyi. This ordered the use of Hungarian as the language of instruction in the elementary schools of the national minorities and allowed a further intensification of the government's magyarisation policy. An increasingly apparent national chauvinism also put an end to the short-lived cooperation with the 'New Course' of the Croats under their leaders, Supilo and Trumbić, who, especially after the Bosnian crisis of 1908, sought to achieve national self-determination by restructuring the Dual Monarchy on a trialist basis or within the. framework of a unitary South Slav state. In 1909, already, there were noticeable signs of a break-up in the government camp, set in motion and accelerated by the agreement on the Austro-Hungarian Bank which was due to run out the end of 1910. The nationalist wing of the Independence Party insisted instead on the creation of an independent Hungarian Bank licensed to issue its own banknotes and, since the government and the other Coalition parties dragged their feet on this demand, 115 deputies led by Gyula Justh broke away from the party on 11 November 1909. Details of Ferenc Kossuth's shady financial dealings published in the Vienna Christian-Social newspaper, the Reichspost, further undermined the government's already tarnished image, with the result that Wekerle had to hand over the premiership to the Old Liberal, Count Károly Khuen-Hedérváry, on 17 January 1910. The latter, who had already failed once as prime minister in 1903, could rely on the former Liberals who had reorganised themselves on 19 February 1910 under the name of the Party of National Work ( Nemzeti Munkapárt) led by Ivstán Tisza who had now returned to politics. The main support for the Party of National Work came from the landowners and influential haute bourgeoisie, who saw holding on to the principles of the Compromise as the only way of overcoming the increasingly threatening internal and external political tensions which they perceived. In June 1910 the electorate, which still numbered fewer than a million voters out of a population of 20.9 million, showed its disillusionment with the Coalition and gave the new government party 47 per cent of the vote and 258 seats. This gave it a comfortable two-thirds majority which was achieved mainly at the expense of the Independence Party factions which suffered heavy losses: the Justh wing taking 15.8 per cent of the vote and forty one seats, the Kossuth wing 14.3 per cent of the vote and fifty-four seats. The period of consolidation in internal politics was, however, already over by the spring of 1911, since the disintegrating opposition which was once more united on account of a draft army bill, made necessary by the worsening international situation, now no longer demanded merely constitutional concessions but also proposed anti-militarist measures alongside electoral reform. Since Khuen-Hedérváry again refused to crush the growing number of demonstrations by force, Francis Joseph appointed László Lukács, Hungary's second middle-class politician to become prime minister, to head the government on 22 April 1912.

The most influential politician in the years that followed was, however, Count István Tisza, who had himself elected President of the Chamber of Deputies on 22 May 1912. Unimpressed by an abortive attempt on his life, he sent in the army against the demonstrating masses and protesting deputies outside the parliament building on 'Bloody Thursday'. The votes of the government party were sufficient to pass not only the new army bill, but a draft bill giving the government emergency powers in the event of war and new conscription proposals. The opposition which boycotted the parliament, of whom Gyula Justh, leader of the group which had split from the Independence Party in 1909, and Count Mihály Károlyi enjoyed the greatest esteem, used the new electoral reform bill submitted by the government at the end of 1912 to stir the population to action again. The new legislation contained only cosmetic changes and made no real concessions. When a corruption scandal resulted in Lukács' resignation, Tisza, who had won such considerable respect in Vienna as a result of his energetic stand against the opposition was entrusted by the Emperor with the formation of a new government for a second time on 10 June 1913, despite the serious objections of the heir apparent, Archduke Francis Ferdinand. Tisza's main objective was to conciliate his opponents by making limited concessions. By this means he hoped to a great extent to win over not only the Catholic People's Party but the nationalist Old Conservative faction of magnates around Apponyi and protestant church leaders as much as the Catholic clergy, big liberal capitalists and the antisemitic gentry. The continued pursuit of a narrow-minded and militant nationalities policy ensured that his attempts to win over the national minorities remained unsuccessful and the urban and rural proletariat, increasingly self-confident and convinced of its political importance, also refused to be drawn into his nationalist and reactionary united front.



The organisation and struggles of the labour movement

Despite the gradual progress of industrialisation the Hungarian labour movement largely stagnated in the 1880s. Although the absence of social welfare rights, long hours of work and the denial of legal rights for employees had produced unrest, this had been easily crushed. Thus a Congress of the relatively small General Workers' Party of Hungary met in 1889 to discuss the causes of their ineffectiveness to date and decided upon a programme of reorganisation which, with the active help of fellow Austrian Socialists, led, after over a year's preparations, to the founding of the Hungarian Social Democratic Party (Magyarországi Szociáldemokrata Párt) on 7-8 December 1890. Modelling its programme on the Hainfeld programme of the Austrian Social Democratic Party, the new workers' party announced in its 'declaration of principle' its affiliation to the Second International and its aims of liberating the working class, abolishing private property and transferring the means of production to public ownership. The party also aimed at the complete democratisation of political life through the introduction of universal suffrage and the extension of basic bourgeois-democratic rights to the proletariat, while also demanding a solution to Hungary's pressing social problems and a reform of work safety regulations. Following the first big demonstration of 60,000 workers of 1 May 1890, the years that followed saw the growth of trade unions and modern workers' associations throughout the entire country. The unscrupulous deployment of the army, gendarmerie and police to combat unrest and workers' strikes, the inadequate labour protection laws and a labour surplus helped produce a situation in which, in 1912 for example, the Social Democratic Party could claim only about 4,000 workers in Budapest, whereas almost 32,000 employees belonged to Social Democratic trade unions. The party's tendency to undergo splits and defections paralysed the young party for two years. The party congress of 1894, chaired by Ignác Silberberg, which was intended to unite the party failed to overcome the problem. The SDP's professed aim of abolishing private landed property won little support from the small and dwarf-holding peasantry or workers who had originally belonged to the peasant class. They were much more interested in dividing up the great estates among the peasants. When, in the summer 1897, strikes broke out among seasonal workers employed to gather in the harvest and the more moderate wing of the party refused to support the demands of the day-labourers, the disagreements which had been smouldering since 1895 on which policy to adopt towards rural problems, broke out anew and caused the former rural labourer, István Várkonyi, to found the Independent Socialist Party of Hungary (Magyarországi Független Szocialista Párt) in Cegléd.

Peasant Socialist ideas had already appealed earlier to the oppressed rural day-labourers, who faced a constant struggle for survival. Their discontent had been expressed in the spring of 1891 in the Tisza and Maros basin when they had demanded higher wages and improved working conditions. Várkonyi's call to nationalise landed property of more than 50 hectares and divide it up into small-holdings of 3 hectares fulfilled the expectations of the poor peasantry and rural proletariat. The sharp rise in the membership of the new party and the land reform movement started in 1898 made the government resort to coercive measures. Várkonyi was arrested and the Social Democratic Party banned from holding congresses. The government's measures of parcelling out auctioned estates, resettling uncultivated land and guaranteeing loans to farmers were inadequate to ameliorate the distress effectively or create social and political calm. The passage of the so-called 'Slave Law' (Law II of 1898), which laid down the duties of day-labourers, also allowed draconian measures to be taken against strikers and the gendarmerie to be used against workers withholding their labour or changing their place of employment. But this measure failed to suppress the widespread discontent and the workers' readiness to organise and cooperate in their fight against social injustice, although the hard struggle of the workers and the rural poor was indeed curtailed by the state's increasing use of coercion.

While conflicts between Hungary and Vienna increased and the internal power struggles within the government party and the opposition, and between the Magyars and the national minorities, became more acute, social tensions spread to the bourgeoisie, since those sections of the gentry, forced into earning a living, had to defend their superior economic, social and cultural position against the newly advancing and only recently assimilated urban bourgeoisie. The potential for conflict also increased among the lower classes in the population. An economic recession, which caused problems particularly in mining, heavy industry and the construction industry, resulted in demonstrations by the unemployed, strikes and campaigns for higher wages after 1901. By 1903 more than 40,000 workers were organised into twelve branch unions. The Reorganised Social Democratic Party (Újjászervezett Szociáldemokrata Párt), founded in 1900 by the journalist, Vilmos Mezöfi, defended the special interests of the rural workers and poorer peasants, while the Social Democratic Party, in its new programme of April 1903, written with the assistance of Karl Kautsky and borrowing from the 1891 Erfurt programme of the German Social Democrats, continued to pay little attention to rural problems, but on the other hand demanded all the more determinedly the guarantee of 'self-government' and 'equality' for the national minorities and the introduction of universal suffrage.

When István Tisza's government broke up the first national railway strike in April 1904, which had paralysed traffic across the entire country for a week, by using military units to apply relentless force, calm was apparently restored but the situation remained tense. In the wake of the revolutionary events in Russia new unrest and strikes in the pursuit of political and social demands flared up throughout the country in the spring of 1905. The strike by almost 30,000 metal workers in Budapest between the end of May and the beginning of July won considerable attention and was accompanied by a rising of 25,000 rural labourers and day-labourers demanding higher wages, improved conditions of work and more humane treatment. Only the extensive use of the military and the gendarmerie, a massive wave of arrests and the compulsory conscription of many strikers restored temporary calm to the situation. The Fejérváry government's surprising offer to the Social Democratic Party to introduce electoral reform proposals in return for the support of organised labour did not meet, however, with the unanimous agreement of the SDP's 1905 party congress. Despite this, the campaign for universal suffrage developed into mass movement, as part of which an estimated 100,000 demonstrators besieged the parliament building on 15 September. The increasingly frequent bloody clashes with the military, the imposition of a state of siege in numerous counties and the understanding reached in April 1906 between the monarch and the internal Hungarian opposition, now united in the Coalition, discredited the movement for electoral reform. The proposed law to introduce universal, equal, direct and secret suffrage was withdrawn by the Crown out of consideration for the traditional ruling élites who were again ready to cooperate more closely with Vienna and whose power base would have certainly been reduced had democratic elections taken place.

Even after this disappointment, the rural proletariat, whose interests were now represented by the new Agrarian Workers' Association founded at the beginning of 1906, followed the urban workers in refusing to resign itself to the situation. The social policy measures announced by Wekerle's second government, such as the extension of a state-supervised and centrally administered sickness fund and the introduction of compulsory accident insurance helped reduce tensions at a time when the economy was entering a boom period. Railway workers, who now had to prove they could speak Hungarian, had to pay for wage increases by renouncing the right to strike and forgoing membership of Socialist organisations. The so-called 'whipping-bench law', which served the interest of the landowners, gave rural workers a greater degree of legal security and protection against exploitation, but at the same time sanctioned the use of disciplinary measures, including corporal punishment, by the landowner assisted by gendarmerie. Selective state subsidies helped large-scale industry, especially the textiles industry, and led to the creation of new jobs. High agricultural tariffs resulted in a high degree of mechanisation and the introduction of intensive cultivation methods in agriculture, although this did not lead to any improvements in social and political injustice.

The landowning peasantry had also created political organisations to represent its interests. The starting point here was Count Sándor Károlyi's Landlords' Federation and the credit and consumer cooperatives it established. Employing an anti-capitalist and barely concealed antisemitic and anti-Socialist propaganda, this organisation's objectives were cheap loans and state subsidies for debtor farmers and, above all, even higher protective tariffs. The Independent Socialist Peasants' Party of Hungary (Magyarországi Független Szocialista Parasztszövetség), founded by wealthy peasants and the parliamentary deputy. András Áchim, on 25 March 1906, was the first genuinely political organisation to combine the call for universal suffrage with demands for land reform, progressive taxation, an autonomous Hungarian customs area and welfare protection for agricultural labourers and smallholders. Its campaign, supported by The Peasant Journal ( Paraszt Úsjág), to reduce the size of holdings to at most 1,000 hold (= 575 hectares), made Áchim numerous enemies. Following his murder by the sons of a landowner in May 1911 his party rapidly disintegrated.

More successful in the long term was the attempt by the wealthy peasant, István Nagyatádi Szabó (i.e. Szabó from Nagyatád), who led the split from the Independence Party on 21 November 1909 which resulted in the founding of the Independence and '48ers Landlords' Party (48-as és Függetlenségi Országos Gazdapárt). The new party's democratic programme demanded universal suffrage and the abolition of inherited feudal privileges. This moderate peasant opposition, whose short name was the Smallholders' Party, rose to national political significance only after 1918-19.

The Social Democratic party, however, viewed peasant attempts to organise politically and demands for land reform as a regressive tendency. It also could not clearly decide whether it should support Hungarian demands for a nation state or a federal structure for the Monarchy and autonomy for Hungary's national minorities. Thus it, too, failed to become a rallying point for a united opposition movement and could not prevent regular defections by members unhappy with parts of its programme. An example of this was the group led by Ervin Szabó and Gyula Alpári which broke away in April 1910. The SDP received a certain amount of ideological support from bourgeois radicals gathered around Oszkár Jászi, the editor of the sociological periodical, Huszadik Század (Twentieth Century), mainly in Budapest. Its members aimed their scholarly criticism at abuses in public life, which they hoped could be overcome by a greater measure of political democracy, the abolition of the vast landed estates and the granting of extensive linguistic and cultural autonomy to the national minorities. Their unsparing analysis of Hungary's social and political conditions was taken up by the Galileo Circle, an organisation of university students, and the Hungarian Society of Free Thinkers, which admittedly had only limited contact with the organised labour movement and none at all with the peasantry or the national minorities. Only six weeks before the outbreak of war on 6 June 1914, Oszkár Jászi united these groups in the Bourgeois-Radical National Party (Országos Polgári Radikális Párt). Their demands focussed on the extension of political freedoms, especially a more democratic franchise, administration and legal system, together with the implementation of a radical land reform, the creation of an autonomous customs area and state control of education. From the middle of 1915 the new party supported the pacifist movement and called for the founding of a federation of states for the whole of Europe, a kind of forerunner of the League of Nations, aimed at maintaining peace.

The demonstrations organised by the Social Democrats, in which, for example on 10 October 1907, 200,000 participants again protested against the withholding of universal suffrage and in 1908 protested against the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, had little effect on the direction taken in social policy by the rapid succession of coalition governments. On 23 May 1912 political disagreements reached their culmination once more during another 'Bloody Thursday' when the cause of electoral reform and opposition to a proposed new defence bill again led to street fighting. The electoral reform, eventually passed in 1913 (Law XIV of 1913) was intended to increase the number of registered electors on the basis of the tax census and schooling qualifications and to some extent allow secret ballots -- but the Hungarian ruling élites were still a long way from recognising universal and secret suffrage. Even after a later electoral law (Law XVII of 1918) which was never in fact implemented, the workers, small peasants and rural poor were still excluded de facto from political participation. The growing crises in the Balkans and the increasingly discernible threat of war appeared to justify the widely held opinion of the ruling classes, that in view of the unrest it might cause, it was preferable to delay the introduction of greater democracy and social and political reforms for the time being.




Nationalities policy and foreign policy

As a direct result of the intensification of the government's magyarisation policy with its growing pressure to assimilate and the increasing intolerance in national affairs during the 1890s, Hungary's national minorities felt obliged to cooperate more closely in trying to win the support of both the Emperor and their co-nationals living outside the Monarchy's borders. Most of their leaders subscribed to the ideal of a 'Greater Austria' aimed at abolishing Hungary's special status within the Monarchy and transforming the Dual Monarchy into a federation of free peoples or restructuring it as a Triple Monarchy. The Magyars viewed the supporters of a 'Greater Austria' and its advocate, the heir apparent, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, as the most dangerous enemies of a Hungarian nation state. Ignoring the many criticisms and warnings provoked by their narrow-minded nationalities policy they were generally agreed, whatever their differences, to resist stubbornly any limitation of their special status. The most insoluble problem appeared to be that posed by the South Slavs, since their aspirations posed both internal and external political problems affecting the domestic affairs of both halves of the Empire, as well as 'common affairs', in an inextricably linked complex of issues excessively difficult to disentangle.

However, it was in Transylvania that unrest first appeared. The Rumanian National Committee had listed its grievances concerning national and economic discrimination in a Memorandum sent to the Emperor in 1892. When Francis Joseph I rejected the complaints as constitutionally invalid, the Memorandum was published abroad in several languages and the government used this action as a pretext to have its authors sentenced to several years' imprisonment in the infamous 'Memorandum trial' in Koloszsvár (Cluj). The Rumanian National Party was banned and the National Committee dissolved in 1895. Since the activities of the political and cultural organisations of the other national minorities were also curtailed, their representatives adopted a common programme at a congress in August 1895, which demanded national autonomy within Hungary. The then prime minister, Bánffy, rejected the demand as 'federalistic hotch-potch'. Despite warnings from those who pleaded for reconciliation and a more realistic approach, he embarked upon a programme of magyarisation, carried out mainly through cultural associations and promoted by the impressive but highly chauvinistic Millenium Celebrations of 1896. The vociferous agitation of the nationalities opposition, together with inadequate employment and earning opportunities, especially in those parts of the country inhabited by minorities, made many Hungarians choose the more convenient option of assimilation. Many more people, however, sought to escape from the social misery and harassment by emigrating overseas.

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The South Slav problem became the focus of interest after the change of ruling dynasty in Serbia in 1903 when the pro-Austrian Obrenović family was ousted by a military coup. The increasingly voiced demand for a union of the South Slav peoples of the Balkans under Serbian leadership and the strong appeal this programme had for the Croats and Serbs within Hungary gave the government in Budapest cause for concern, especially since national passions had already been considerably aroused by Hungary's internal political conflicts. In 1903, Russia had reaffirmed its role as guarantor of the status quo in the Balkans and, following its defeat in the Far East against Japan, was again showing a much greater interest in the fate of its Slav cousins. Russia attempted to forge an alliance with Britain and France which was bound to restrict the Dual Monarchy's good relations with Great Britain. Since Italy also was trying to detach itself from the Triple Alliance, the Habsburg Monarchy had to rely increasingly on its friendly alliance with the German Empire. Although this alliance was not particularly popular in Hungary, the German Emperor, William II, pledged his fraternal loyalty ('Nibelungentreue') on several occasions. However, the surge of nationalist feeling among Austria's Slavs made it appear doubtful whether the decaying multi-national Habsburg Empire with all its social and political conflicts could prove at all determined enough or capable of defending itself.

After the rifts between Vienna and Budapest had been temporarily repaired in the spring of 1906, a tariff war broke out against Serbia in the following summer. The 'pig-war', as it became known, not only led to the banning of Serbian pig imports into the Monarchy, which had been causing problems for the large-scale agrarians; economic pressure was to be applied in order to force Serbia back to its earlier position of dependence on Austria-Hungary. When this policy failed to achieve its objective, the military leadership suggested a preventive war against Serbia. On account of the incalculable risks involved and the fact that territorial expansion in the Balkans would endanger the dualist system, this idea found no advocates in Hungary. The half-way solution, which was eventually agreed upon after the success of the Young Turks' revolution, i.e. the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, conjured up the threat of war which lasted until March 1909 and caused Russia to step up its Balkans ambitions. Despite the Hungarian government's many reservations against annexation and worries about resulting foreign policy complications, it remained committed to pursuing a hard, imprudent policy towards the minorities.

The Ápponyi government's Education Law of 1907, which further restricted the use of native languages in instruction in the lower classes of the national minorities' few remaining elementary schools, was especially significant in sparking off protests. By sentencing political activists from the national minorities on charges of 'incitement' or illegal canvassing, the Magyar authorities merely created martyrs and succeeded in tarnishing the image of the Monarchy abroad because of the widespread storm of protest against the oppression of Hungary's non-Magyar peoples. When, for example, the Slovak village priest, Andrej Hlinka, sentenced to two years' imprisonment in 1907, wished to consecrate a new church in his local parish of Černová, despite his suspension from office, the gendarmerie's intervention resulted in the loss of fifteen lives. This 'massacre' prompted the British historian, Seton-Watson, to criticise Hungary's nationalities policy in a widely read book. While the few nationally conscious Slovaks, influenced by Tomaš Masaryk and grouped around the periodical Hlas (the Voice) ( Vavro Šrobár, Milan Hodžaet al), hoped for support from their culturally, socially and economically more advanced Czech neighbours, some leaders of the Rumanian minority, such as Aurel Vlad and Octavian Goga, began to support the Kingdom of Rumania's unification efforts. The propaganda for South Slav unification increasingly gained support from the Croats, especially when the governor, Banus Eduard Cuvaj, appointed political commissar by the government, suspended the Croatian constitution during 1912 and 1913 in order to defeat the policy of blocking magyarisatiton measures in the administration, state enterprises and schools. Even when the heir apparent, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, promised the nationalities certain federative concessions and the abolition of Hungary's special status within the Empire on assuming the throne, most of the minorities' politicians, who now advocated the ideal of separate nation states, were no longer prepared to give their unreserved support to a programme aimed at restoring the centralist unity of the Empire.

The Balkan Wars of 1912-13 highlighted the fact that the efforts of the Balkan Slavs to carve up Turkey's European territories among themselves also affected the interests of the Great Powers. The questions of the Straits, forced by Russia, Serbian expansion in the Second Balkan War, which was noted with concern in Austria-Hungary, and the increasingly popular Rumanian demand for union with Transylvania, indicated the new areas of conflict which would inevitably conjure up threats to Hungary maintaining its territorial possessions intact. The sense of relief and hope that this danger was once more averted after the signing of the Peace of Bucharest ( 10 August 1913) did not last long. The belief that a certain weariness had entered into the conflict of the national minorities as a result of the government's constantly oppressive measures also proved deceptive. While the vast majority of non-Hungarians remained steadfastly loyal to the dynasty and were also prepared to take up arms in defence of Hungary and the Monarchy, they were no longer prepared to accept national, political, economic, social and cultural discrimination. In view of the spread of ambitious radical nationalism to Hungary's neighbours and Russian-backed neo-Slavism, the unsolved nationalities problem contained more explosive power for Hungary and the Monarchy than all the other political and social contradictions Which beset the Habsburg patrimony.




On 28 June 1914, the heir apparent to the throne of Austria, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and his consort, the Countess Sophie Chotek, were assassinated in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo by the Serbian student, Gavrilo Princip, a member of the pan-Slav 'Black Hand Society'. The event led almost inevitably to the outbreak of the First World War which imposed the greatest sacrifices on Hungary and led to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The Austro-Hungarian plan for a military showdown with Serbia to be followed by Balkan expansion, often considered since 1906, was much more seriously discussed from the summer of 1913 onwards with Vienna relying on its German ally and hoping to persuade Bulgaria and Rumania to join its side. However, in the crisis of early June 1914 the Hungarian prime minister, Count István Tisza, expressed reservations. Realising the danger of an escalation of the conflict and the uncertainty of the relative strengths of the two sides which would be involved, he sought to avoid even a localised Balkan War. However, on 12 July 1914, he bowed to the decision to attack and agreed to the ultimatum sent to the Belgrade government on condition that the Monarchy would not annex a defeated Serbia.

When, in the early days of August 1914, the planned punitive military action against Serbia escalated into a world war there was an outpouring of national passions in Hungary as elsewhere. The possibility of evening the score with 'Russian barbarism' for the disgrace of 1849 caused an outburst of enthusiasm, even from the Social Democratic Party. The political parties, the churches and the people were firmly united. Despite its many different national groups, languages, religions and cultures, the common army generally displayed a high level of morale and a remarkable ability to resist the enemy. The efforts of the national minorities to participate in public affairs and gain a share of political power receded. Amongst them propaganda in favour of secession into separate nation-states met with little response and was taken up only by emigrants living in the Allied countries or by small groups of radical nationalists living in exile. Even the failure to achieve a rapid victory against Serbia and the major defensive battles on the Galician front which proved so costly in human life could not dampen the Hungarian population's enthusiasm for war and its willingness to make sacrifices. The surrender of the fortress at Przemysl on 23 March 1915 and the heavy fighting for the Carpathian passes soon threatened Hungarian territory directly. Relief came only with the Central Powers' successful joint breakthrough in the Gorlice and Tarnow areas. Italy's entry into the war on the side of the Entente on 23 May 1915 was seen as a betrayal of its former allies and led to an increased willingness to fight the war not only on the part of the Germans and Magyars, but the Croats and Slovenes, who inevitably felt threatened by Italian designs on the eastern Adriatic. The number of desertions from the army remained few, although after 1915, Czech and, for a time in 1916, Ruthenian units, influenced by enemy propaganda, laid down their arms without putting up any significant resistance. The unfortunate tone of Germany's propaganda, that the world war was a 'decisive struggle between Germandom and Slavdom', together with an outbreak of spy fever, increasingly poisoned the civilian population's relationship with the military authorities in the Monarchy's Slav-populated districts.


Source:    Westemanns Atlas zur Weltgeschichte, Berlin, 1953

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After Turkey and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers Serbia was successfully occupied in the autumn of 1915 and Montenegro captured early in 1916. When, on 27 August 1916, Rumania felt that conditions were favourable for its troops to invade Transylvania the Central Powers were able to repulse the enemy quickly and occupy almost the entire country. But the temporarily rejected Rumanian demand for the annexation of Transylvania, the campaign for an independent Czecho-Slovakian republic, disseminated among the western Allies especially by Professor Tomaš Garrigue Masaryk, the leader of the small Czech Realist Party, and his highly gifted colleague Edvard Beneš, and the campaign led by the South Slav politicians, TrumbiČ and Supilo, to create a united kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, was bound to threaten Hungary's territorial integrity in the event of an Allied victory. The distress experienced by the hard-hit civilian population in the third year of the war as a result of currency depreciation and food shortages, together with the growing realisation of the war's futility, gave rise to growing discontent and caused the cooperation born of patriotic unity to fall apart. Following the Social Democratic Party's lead, other opposition groups also expressed doubts about the military leadership, questioned the government's attempts to justify the high cost in human life and complained of the disruption to Hungary's economic life. On 9 July 1916, a new breakaway Independence Party came into existence, led by Count Mihály Károlyi, which demanded basic internal political reforms and a peace without annexations.

On 21 November 1916, the 86-year-old Emperor Francis Joseph died. With his departure, public life lost a personality who had ruled for 68 years, had been an important focus of emotional loyalty for the Monarchy's various nations and had been identified with the multi-national state. His successor Charles I ( King Charles IV of Hungary) tried to accommodate the desire for peace among the Monarchy's peoples by instigating fresh initiatives and replacing unpopular politicians in order to bring about a change of direction in internal politics. The principle of 'peace without victory', proclaimed by America's President Wilson in January 1917, and the outbreak of revolution in Petrograd in March 1917 showed clearly that war-weariness and the desire for peace had spread among all the belligerent nations. The Emperor Charles' peace initiatives of 1917 were not only intended to save the Monarchy from collapse as a result of military defeat, but to help liberate Austria-Hungary from the oppressive dominance of its ally, Germany. Since the Russian army was in the process of complete dissolution, a consolidation of the military situation on the Eastern Front at least proved possible in the summer of 1917. The Brest-Litovsk peace negotiations which began in December following the success of the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution ( 7 November 1917), and which were concluded as a result of German military pressure on 3 March 1918, brought no essential relief to Hungary. Since the many prisoners of war who subsequently returned from Russia were, however, in many cases infected by revolutionary ideas, their notions of an inevitable radical transformation of the state and society quickly combined with the dissatisfaction of a population worn down by hunger to produce a potentially dangerous revolutionary situation. True, the military's takeover of the most important sectors of the economy had tried to stem these currents, but the internal political situation had already grown more tense during the course of 1917.

After large numbers of Hungarian workers demonstrated on 1 May 1917 and trade union membership exceeded 200,000 for the first time, the Emperor Charles felt obliged, on 5 June, to dismiss the premier, Count István Tisza, who stubbornly held to the established system. After an interlude lasting only until the 18 August, during which Count Moric Esterházy headed the government, the Emperor entrusted experienced Sándor Wekerle for a third time with the formation of a government. An immediate electoral reform law did little to dampen the revolutionary atmosphere which expressed itself in mass labour demonstrations and the formation of new left-wing groups like the Revolutionary Socialists. The Vienna munition workers' strike, which broke out in mid-January 1918, also spilled over into Hungary. It took three days to force the half a million or more participants back to work and the government tried to restore order by the use of repressive measures, a ban on left-wing publications and associations, the creation of special armed squads to maintain internal order and the arrest of the 'ringleaders'. Following the lead given by the sailors of the fleet at anchor in Cattaro, Hungarian army units also mutinied on 20 May 1918 in Pécs and were disarmed only after heavy fighting. A wave of strikes subsequently paralysed production with greater frequency and for longer periods of time. The deployment of the army on 20 June 1918 led to a general strike, lasting nine days, which was finally ended, not by the government's declaration of martial law, but by the mediation of the Social Democratic Party.

Now the discontent also spread to the national minorities which had remained loyal and supportive of the state up to the end of 1917. The slogan of their political representatives in exile, 'détruisez l'Autriche-Hongrie!', won increasing support at home. The Croats were the first to demand constitutional autonomy for the South Slavs. The representatives of the other nationalities demanded at first that the Monarchy be restructured on a federal basis. President Wilson's Fourteen Points, which cautiously aimed at granting the peoples of Austria-Hungary 'autonomous development', met with enthusiastic approval, especially after the treaty signed in May 1918 in Spa between William II and Charles I had revealed the threat of a Central European Customs Union (Mitteleuropa) dominated by the German Empire. Also, the subsequent increasingly willingness of the Entente Powers to give their active support to the political ideals of the nationalities' politicians encouraged hopes on the home front that the increasingly obvious military defeat of the Central Powers would eventually lead to the separate nationalities' gaining their independence and autonomous government. New nation states on the western model appeared to be a better guarantee of political stability in eastern Central Europe than the rotten Habsburg Empire which had become so subservient to German imperialism. The breakthrough was achieved in the summer of 1918 with the Allies' decision to recognise the Czechoslovak National Council in Paris as a belligerent ally. The territorial aspirations of the South Slav and Rumanian National Committees were also approved, a move which sealed the fate of not only the Habsburg Monarchy but Hungary as well.

All that remained for the Emperor Charles and the governments of Austria and Hungary to do in the autumn of 1918 was to end the war and dissolve the existing state. The revolutionary overthrow of the Dual Monarchy by the proletariat was successfully prevented -not least by its disintegration into western-style democratic nation states. When Bulgaria's surrender in September 1918 signalled the impending military defeat, the Emperor Charles tried to bring about an immediate cessation of hostilities. In his People's Manifesto of 16 October 1918 he did not, however, yet infringe upon the territorial integrity of the 'territories of the Holy Crown of Hungary'. On the same day the Hungarian government for its part proposed transforming the Dual Monarchy into a purely personal union, but continued to resist the demands of the nationalities, the social and political demands of the population and the need for outright democratisation which was called for mainly by the forces gathered around Count Károlyi. In the belated realisation that the war was lost Wekerle tendered his government's resignation on 23 October 1918. The Hungarian National Council, formed under Károlyi's leadership on 25 October, in which his own party, the Social Democrats, and the radicals participated, was ready to assume political responsibility on the basis of his twelve-point programme, largely conceived by Oszkár Jászi. Expecting that the principles set out in Wilson's Fourteen Points would not only not endanger ' Hungary's territorial integrity' but 'place it on the safest foundation' the National Council was prepared to respect the right of self-determination for 'the Kingdom of Hungary's nationalities'. Its other aims were the achievement of independence from Austria, the immediate conclusion of a separate peace and the introduction of universal suffrage and a land reform.

There was now no preventing the collapse of the Dual Monarchy and the break-up of Hungary at this late stage. On 27 October, the Rumanians in the Bukovina announced their secession from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and were followed by the Czechs on 28 October, the Croats on 29 October, and the Slovaks and Galician Ukrainians on 30 October. Meanwhile in Budapest, more and more people demonstrated for Count Mihály Károlyi's appointment as prime minister and for the implementation of his programme. When, on the 28 October, the police fired on demonstrators at the Chain Bridge, their brutal action signalled the start of the bourgeois-democratic 'Chrysanthemum revolution'. Urged on by the old ruling élite, King Charles IV appointed Count János Hadik prime minister and Count Andrássy Jnr. common foreign minister, but this short-lived government no longer had an effective power base since the soldiers were also expressing their solidarity with the National Council's demands. During the night of 31 October Territorial Army (Honvéd) units which had already sworn allegiance to the National Council occupied public buildings, the post office, the telephone and telegraph exchanges and the railway stations. In view of the general revolutionary mood and the realities of power Hadik's government resigned. On 31 October 1918, the King ntrusted Károlyi with the formation of a new government which included members of the new prime minister's Independence and '48er Party, bourgeois-radicals and Social Democrats who still swore an oath of allegiance to Charles IV. The government announced as its main priorities the proclamation of independence of the 'territories of the Holy Crown of St Stephen', the introduction of equal and secret suffrage, constitutionally guaranteed democratic rights, social welfare measures and the implementation of the long overdue land reform. Appeals to maintain law and order, surrender weapons and stop the looting and spontaneous occupation of the great estates and factories were accompanied by the creation of citizen militias. Democratisation was to be implemented gradually over a period of time within the framework of existing laws. The murder by soldiers of Count István Tisza, seen as an advocate of the war and one of the politicians who bore the main guilt for Hungary's confused situation, underlined the need for this approach.

The signing of the armistice in Padua on 3 November 1918 marked the end of the First World War for Austria-Hungary. Since, however, the allied Balkan armies of the western Allies took no notice of this agreement, their advance placed Hungary in an extremely difficult situation. After the Emperor Charles I had renounced taking 'any part in the affairs of government' on 11 November and the Republic of Austria had been proclaimed on the following day, the Károlyi government also released itself from its oath of allegiance to the Crown and proclaimed Hungary a republic on 16 November 1918, thus finally sealing the collapse of the Habsburg Empire. However much the military defeat of the Central Powers in the First World War had contributed to this development, the break-up of the Monarchy resulted primarily from a failure to act in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres, together with an unwillingness to implement long-overdue democratic social reforms and allow the unrestricted development of its nationalities. The traditional Magyar ruling élites, the magnates, landowning nobility, liberal haute bourgeoisie and upper clergy, all shared some of the responsibility for this development as a result of the policies pursued since 1867. Failing to recognise the full importance of socio-economic problems and nationality aspirations which had emerged during the period, they had found no satisfactory solution of these problems. Their policies, shaped by an increasingly narrow-minded national chauvinism, had not only cheated the country's non-Magyar peoples, but undermined the relationship of trust between the two main nations which upheld the Habsburg Monarchy. The negligence and mistakes of the reign of Francis Joseph, which was soon to assume an almost mystic significance, were to have a decisive and painful influence on Hungary's future history as an independent state.