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In Search of “That Semi-Mythical Waif: Hungarian Liberalism”: The Culture of Political Radicalism in 1918–1919

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 February 2009

Mary Gluck
Associate Professor, Department of History, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912.


In contemporary discussions of the new, post-Communist regimes of Eastern Europe, Hungary is often given pride of place as the most “liberalized” society in the region. Although this perception is based on undeniable political and economic facts, it is also nourished by long-established historical traditions and myths. During the revolutions of 1848–49, Hungarians were also hailed by European opinion as the champions of liberty and heroic resistance to oppression. Over half a century later, in the wake of the political and military collapse of the Habsburg monarchy, Hungary once again staged a series of dramatic revolutions which earned it the reputation of being part of a political avant-garde. And in 1956, Hungarians yet again assumed the mantle of political idealism and revolutionary self-sacrifice in the face of foreign despotism.

Copyright © Center for Austrian Studies, University of Minnesota 1991

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