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Wed, 04 Sep 2013 02:52:59 EDT by admin, 59124 views
University of Debrecen
History paper by Mazsu, János (all papers)
Right Way or Dead End: What Kind of Turning Point is the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867?
The Compromise of 1867 is one of the most controversial events in the dualist period, an event that has provoked extremely conflicting value-judgments in Hungarian historiography, and, more broadly, in Hungarian historical public opinion. The Compromise has been discussed in books, articles and historical essays to fill a whole library and has been the topic of a wealth of conferences and workshop discussions. Both as a cause of and background to the "good old peace-time days" or the "dungeon of peoples", the dualist monarchy is still alive and intensely debated in every-day historical public thinking.
Paging through a library of literature, the historian is, first, surprised and envious: why is there so great interest extending way beyond both the strict and broad confines of the profession? He is, then, somewhat perplexed, for on his first inquiry, it becomes clear what elicited and still elicits the unusual interest is only in a very small part the spectacular ceremony of crowning Franz-Jozef King of Hungary who had, de facto, ruled for two decades; or the operation of the political-constitutional system created by the compromise; or the success or failure of economic modernization extending up to World War I. Behind the symbolic meanings of the Compromise beyond its own significance there looms a whole series of basic issues of modern Hungarian history: Were there (are there) any alternatives in Hungarian social development or do regional factors, backwardness carried on since medieval times demarcate a compulsory pathway? Had there been and when any chance for western-like and democratic development, for catching up with Western Europe, or for a break-out of the peripheric state of backwardness? Had there been a reconcilable and balanced solution to the questions of national self-determination and the regional and/or European integration and which answer was realistic or unrealistic and when? As a consequence of the aforesaid, was there (is there?) a room for maneuver resulting in a real change of course and what is the responsibility of the Hungarian political elite and its leading personalities?
The complicated inter-relatedness of the Compromise and its close links to the fundamental modern-age issues of Hungarian historical development explain the intense professional as well as the broader public interest in it. The repeatedly erupting debates about the assessment of the Compromise indicate, as it were, when the answer to be given to the fundamental questions became current concern time and again in Hungarian political life. On the whole, this is how the evaluation of the Compromise became part of the national historical mythology and the assessors of the Compromise most often offered a straightforward or oblique clarification of their own value system and their self-definition by taking positions in relation to modern-age Hungarian social development until today.
Brief Professional Bio:
János Mazsu is Professor of Social and Economic History at Debrecen University, Debrecen, Hungary. He is an expert in Social and Intellectual History, recent researches on HGIS in urban history. He is awarded with Széchenyi Professor Scholarship, served as Ránki György Chair (Indiana University). Selected publications: "The Social History of the Hungarian Intelligentsia, 1825–1914". Atlantic Research and Publications, Boulder. Atlantic Studies on Society in Change 89. New York, Columbia University Press, 1997. 292.p. G. Szabó-Módi-Mazsu. "Debrecen, a cívis város" (Debrecen, the civis city. Hungarian, English, German). Budapest, 2003. 320.p. "A jó polgár" (The good citizen) with Setényi János. Debrecen, 1996. "Iparosodás és modernizáció" (Industrializations and modernization) ed. and co-author, Debrecen, 1991. "Tanulmányok a magyar értelmiség társadalomtörténetéhez". Gondolat. Budapest, 2012. 229.p.