History, Hungary, Trianon, Versailles, World War II, WWII, World War I, Peace Treaties


This thesis proposes to link certain consistent themes in the historiography of interwar and wartime Hungary. Hungary's inability to successfully resolve its minority problems led to the nation's dismemberment at Trianon in 1920 after World War I. This fostered a national Hungarian reaction against the Trianon settlement called the revisionist movement. This revisionist "Trianon syndrome" totally dominated Hungarian politics in the interwar period. As Hungary sought allies against the hated peace settlements of the Great War, Hungarian politics irrevocably tied the nation to the policies of Nazi Germany, and Hungary became nefariously assessed as "Hitler's last ally," which initially stained the nation's reputation after World War II. Although some historians have blamed the interwar Hungarian government for the calamity that followed Hungary's associations with Nazi Germany, this thesis proposes that there was little variation between what could have happened and what actually became the nation's fate in World War II. A new interpretation therefore becomes evident: the injustices of Trianon, Hungary's geopolitical position in the heart of Europe, and the nation's unfortunate orientation between the policies of Nazi Germany and Bolshevik Russia predestined the nation to its fate in World War II. There was no other choice for Hungarian policy in World War II but the Axis alliance. The historian of East Central Europe faces a formidable challenge in that the national histories of this region are often contradictory. Hungarian historiography is directly countered by the historical theories and propositions of its Czech, Serb, and Rumanian enemies. By historiographical analysis of the histories of Hungary, its enemies among the Successor States, and neutral sources, this thesis will demonstrate that many contemporary historians tend to support the primary theses of Hungarian historiography. Many of the arguments of the Hungarian interwar government are now generally supported by objective historians, while the historiographical suppositions of the Successor States at the Paris Peace Conference have become increasingly reduced to misinformation, falsification, exaggeration, and propaganda. The ignorance of the minority problems and ethnic history of East Central Europe led to an unjust settlement in 1919 and 1920, and by grossly favoring the victors over the vanquished, the Paris Peace Treaties greatly increased the probability of a second and even more terrible World War.


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Pauley, Bruce


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Sciences



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Masters Thesis (Open Access)

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