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Fri, 07 Sep 2012 10:51:53 EDT by admin, 123588 views
Montclair State University, New Jersey
History paper by Pastor, Peter (all papers)
The Pervasiveness of a Libel: Count Mihály Károlyi as the Traitor Responsible for the Peace Treaty of Trianon
On January 1, 2012, Hungary’s basic laws replaced the previous constitution. The text of the new
constitution was published by the government in a souvenir edition which includes facsimiles of commissioned contemporary paintings depicting scenes from Hungary’s thousand-year history. The painting entitled “Trianon” was done by Tibor Kiss an associate professor of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts. His painting depicts in the forefront one of the Allied leaders, the French Premier Georges Clemenceau, and Count Albert Apponyi, who was the head of the delegation that received the preliminary terms of the harsh treaty from the victors. From the mirror behind them are reflections of the three ghost responsible for Trianon. These, as the painter described it in an interview published in early February 2012, are “Charles IV, who appointed the practically half-idiot aristocrat, Mihály Károlyi as prime minister….[In turn] On March 20,1919, when the Vix Ultimatum arrived which drew the border of our country at the Tisza River, Károlyi’s first act was to name Béla Kun as his successor….” Kun on the painting holds a hand grenade between his fingers and the painter identifies Kun as the man “responsible for the collapse.” The description of the artist is falsified history where only the date of the Vix ultimatum is correct. The painting itself is not art, but crass propaganda which is now included in the fancy volume containing the basic laws of Hungary.
The painting and Kiss’s words demonstrate the fact that the vicious attacks on Károlyi, which started with the counterrevolutionary Horthy regime in 1920, that also confiscated the property of the “wealthiest Hungarian”—still continue almost one hundred years later. The removal of Károlyi’s statute from Kossuth Square by the Parliament, the renaming of Károlyi Mihály Street, and Kiss’s painting are the latest symbols, reminding the historian that one regime after the other used Károlyi--alive or dead--as a scapegoat to distract the Hungarian population from the real issues. This presentation will provide an overview of the scapegoating of Károlyi since 1920 to the present.
Brief Professional Bio:
Peter Pastor is professor of history at Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ. He received his BA from the City College of CUNY and his PhD from New York University. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of seven books. His most recent co-edited volume is Essays on World War I (2012). He is also the author of more than forty articles focusing on Hungarian-Russian relations, or on twentieth century Hungarian history. He is also the president of the Center for Hungarian Studies and Publications, Inc., a non-profit corporation specializing on publishing the works of Hungarian historians in English. He is a frequent visitor to Hungary and is on the faculty of the Doctoral Program in History of Eszterházy Károly College in Eger, Hungary, as an invited foreign instructor. In 2003 he received the Commander’s Cross of the Hungarian Republic (a Magyar Köztársasági Érdemrend Középkeresztje) for exceptional contributions to the furthering of Hungarian-American cultural ties.