We live in an age when politicians are using historical analogies almost daily. The people of Facebook also refer daily to the period before and after World War II. This happens not only because of the similarities, but also because government policy and history education is often relativizing history in a shameless way. They only want to remember the good days, and forget everything shameless.
Let me start with an example. Before the 2018 elections, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was speaking in front of a crowd of about 50.000 followers, at March 15, during a national holiday, remembering the 1848 revolution, on a so called Peace Procession.
He declared, that we Hungarians, we love freedom, so we “sent home the Turkish Sultan with his Janissaries, the Habsburg Emperor with his labancas ( a pejorative word for Austrians loyal to Emperor,) and the Soviets with their comrades.”
This is an old trick, as even the pharaohs already knew that the vulnerable people love to be promised protection while being glorified. Viktor Orbán’s historical analogies, on the other hand, are false in all three cases, and we must not go past them.
The Turks were driven out by Prince Eugene of Savoy, in the battle of Zenta at 1697, after they defeated the uprising in Hegyalja organized by the Kurucs, (Hungarian freedom fighters, not willing to pay tax to the Austrian emperor) and two years later Emperor Lipot concluded the peace of Karlóca with Mustafa II., according to which the Hungarian and Croatian territories came under Habsburg rule. It must be, and obviously a coincidence, that Orbán had forgotten why is there a monumental equestrian statue of Eugene Savoy in the most impressive square of the Buda Castle, overlooking the Danube, less than one hundred meters from his office.
The second statement of Orban, that the Hungarians had fired the Austrian Labancs, is also nonsense. As Hungary lost the First World War, together with the Austrians and the victory of the great powers resulted not only in the dethronement of the Habsburg House, but in the Treaty of Trianon. (Treaty of Paris.) The fragmentation of historical Hungary can hardly be described as a success over the Austrian Empire. It was also a fact that the national separatist aspirations of the countries around today’s Hungary were largely fueled by the nationalities. Hungary lost more than two third of its territory, so that fact be explained as a victory?
The Soviets and their comrades were also not expelled by the Hungarians, but by the strongest actors in the world. At Malta, Bush and Gorbachev agreed and signed on December 3, 1990, concluding the Yalta world order. At that time, as a continuation of the Helsinki process and various arms reduction negotiations, they agreed to release the Soviet Union’s Eastern European allies, and as a result, Soviet troops withdrew not only from Hungary but from all the former Eastern European socialist countries
Orbán also said that George Soros (Jewish American businessman) is trying to build a new empire over us, and after the election they will take a revenge. Since then, their satisfaction is already visible, mostly against the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and universities. Even Erdoğan may envy these steps. He also has an excellent relationship with his followers, who attacked the protesters after the Taksim Square protests and the true followers rushed into a party office. They were the ones who wanted deaths for the “coupists” in groups of thousands. The crowd, as if programmed, chanted, “If you say let’s hit, we’ll hit, if you say let’s kill, we’ll kill!” A logical answer could be that the angry cries of the god-given people should not be taken seriously. But in a civilized country, (A Member country of the EU.) is it accepted to put the pictures of George Soros on giant posters, saying we will protect you from Soros, and the other devil, called Brussels? So it should come as no surprise that her government servants, with some course historians, even relativize the Holocaust? After all this, one cannot be surprised, when Szilárd Demeter ministerial commissioner declares ,that George Soros, the “liberal Führer” is the one who would lock Christians in a gas chamber. And this was not the first such manifestation of Demeter. A few months earlier, he likened Angela Merkel’s statement calling for the rule of law in Hungary and Poland to the “Blitzkrieg” of World War II.
After all this, it doesn’t even sound special when Tamás Deutsch, head of the presently governing Fidesz delegation to the European Parliament, likened remarks on the leader of the European People’s Party, Manfred Weber? His argument was, that Weber is of the Gestapo and ÁVÓ. (The intimidating Hungarian State Secret Police organisation from the beginning of the ’950-es.) Can any of you imagine what these people say and think about communists, especially when they are of Jewish origin?
O, I don’t want to forget about Peter Hoppál, a remarkable gentleman, a parliamentarian, who represent our country also at the Council of Europe, he tries to call the opposition Communist and Nazi at the same time. He uses an old Pavlovian reflex: as it is believed and it is necessary to successfully attack opposition parties. It is believed that scum, filth, and slander can lead to leading results.
Péter Hoppál, for example, recently compared the agreement on the cooperation of opposition parties, to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
These wonderful men wanted to place a statue in Freedom Square, where the Soviet heroes` monument and the American embassy are located. The statue was completed but they could not inaugurated because the protesting crowd prevented it several times. The crowd consisted mostly of those who still remember. The statue would have symbolized that Hungary is innocent, evil Germans are and were responsible for everything. They are only forgetting that, some peoples, victims of the Holocaust are still alive. They don’t want to remember, that in Hungary, the Hungarian parliament, ahead of the Jewish laws in Germany, passed laws to discriminate and deprive Jews of their properties, taking away their rights. Thus, they also forget that rural Jewry was collected in 56 days, ahead of German requests. The rest, we know, we will not forget what happened. We know about the transports, and we will not forget more than half a million fellow citizens. They know it also, but they are deliberately trying to forget about it. They are the ones who deliberately blur the sins of the past, pointing out to the Communists that they are the real culprits.
Thus, one should not be surprised about the at anti-migrantism, the discrimination against religious, and sexual minorities, and one should not be surprised at how many people who have previously said that politics is not for them, peoples with low status, they were the ones saying; it’s up to you gentlemen, ergo, we don’t go to the polls. But they did.
Remark: The above speech was delivered at the WSF Webinar on The Holocaust, Global Relations and rewriting of History on 27 January 2021