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Hungarian Contradictions

  • Attila Pók (a1)


It is always a risky venture to comment on an article that focuses on issues that lie outside one's own immediate research—risky because one is not familiar with most of the primary sources and with many of the controversies among the specialists in the field. On the other hand, as the gynecologist is just as much a doctor as an ophthalmologist or a surgeon, and they all aim at curing their patients of disease, historians specializing in various fields also belong to the same guild. A perspective from a certain distance can be especially useful if two historians ask closely related questions about the social, intellectual, and political history of a region they both belong to, but make attempts at the answers using differing materials from different epochs.



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1 This terminology was first used by Oscar, Jászi in The Dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy (Chicago, 1929).

2 George, Bárány, “Political Culture in the Lands of the Former Habsburg Empire: Authoritarian and Parliamentary Traditions,” Austrian History Yearbook 24, part 1 (1998): 195248.

3 Karol B., Janowski, “Kultura politiczna” [Political culture], in Wprowadzeniedo nauki o państwie i polityce [Introduction to the state and political science], ed. Bogumil, Szmulik and Marek, Zmigrodzki (Lublin, 2002); cited in Janusz, Zarnowsaki, “Considerations on the Political Culture of Central Europe in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Specific Features of Epochs and Regions,” in Political Culture in Central Europe, ed. Magdalena, Hulas and Jaroslaw, Pánek, vol. 2 (Warsaw, 2005), 12.

4 Waltraud, Heindl, Gehorsame Rebellen. Bürokratie und Beamte in Österreich 1780–1848 (Vienna, 1991).

5 Waltraud, Heindl, “Bureaucracy, Officials and the State in the Austrian Monarchy: Stages of Change since the Eighteenth Century,” Austrian History Yearbook 37 (2006): 39.

6 See, for example, the works of László, Péter, especially his book-like chapter in Die Habsburgemonarchie 1848–1918, vol. 7, Verfassung und Parlamentarismus, part 1, ed. Helmut, Rumpler and Peter, Urbanitsch (Vienna, 2000), 239540.

7 See, for example, the most original work by Béla, Sarlós, Közigazgatds és hatalompolitika a dualizmus rendszerében [Public administration and power politics in the system of dualism] (Budapest, 1976).

8 Bárány gives a clear definition of the group of centralists of the 1840s: ‘This small but important group, which included Baron Joseph Eötvös, his brother-in-law August Trefort, the legal scholar Ladislas Szalay, and others[,] was to challenge more consistently than Szechenyi the political monopoly of the nobility in the counties and in the Diet with the purpose of setting up a government responsible to a truly representative parliament.’ George, Bárány, Stephen Széchenyi and the Awakening of Hungarian Nationalism, 1791–1841 (Princeton, 1968), 267–68. See also László, Deme, ‘Pre-1848 Hungarian Nationalism Revisited: Ethnic and Authoritarian or Political and Progressive?East European Quarterly 27, no. 2 (1992): 141–69; and Iván Zoltán, Dénes, ‘The Value Systems of Liberals and Conservatives in Hungary, 1830–1848,’ Historical Journal 36, no. 4 (1993): 825–50.

9 Gábor, Gyáni, György, KövéV, AND Tibor, Valuch, Social History of Hungary from the Reform Age until the End of the Twentieth Century (New York, 2003), 267.

10 Istvdn, Bibó, ‘A magyar közigazgatásról’ [On Hungarian public administration] (written in 1947), in Bibó, Válogatott tanuládnyok. Második kötet, 1945–1949. Magvetö [Selected studies. Second volume] (Budapest, 1986), 477–78.

11 See, for example, the works by Éva, Somogyi, especially Kormányzati rendszer a dualista Habsburg Monarchiában [Governmental system in the dual Habsburg monarchy] (Budapest, 1996). Her succinct summary of these problems can be found in Somogyi, , ‘Az Osztrák-Magyar Monarchia közös kormánya’ [The joint government of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy], Histéria 5–6 (1994): 2628; and Somogyi, , ‘A Habsburg Birodalom és a magyar kiegyezés’ [The Habsburg Empire and the Hungarian compromise], Histéria 4 (2003): 1419.

12 The complexity of post-1867 Hungarian nationalism is well explained by Andrés, Gerö in his book Képzelt történelem [Imagined history] (Budapest, 2004). He argues that ‘during the Reform Age (1825–1848) national and liberal values could be well combined, but after 1867 a redefinition of Hungarian nationalism did not come about. The opposition articulated the national interest, the governmental side represented liberalism in a conservative context. Nationalism was built on fiction and lacked political support but successfully imposed its issues on politics. It was, however, not in a position to implement its most important aspiration, i.e. complete Hungarian sovereignty.’ Ibid., 141.

Hungarian Contradictions

  • Attila Pók (a1)


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