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Karoli and Bethlen: Hungary - The Peace Conferences of 1919-23 and Their Aftermath
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Karoli and Bethlen: Hungary - The Peace Conferences of 1919-23 and Their Aftermath (Hardback)

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White aster flowers, on sale on the streets of Budapest on the eve of All Souls' Day, are made the symbol of a revolution which brings Mihaly Karolyi (1875-1955) to power at the head of a National Council. Karoly concludes an armistice which leaves large areas of Hungarian territory under occupation by French, Romanian and Serbian forces. Following the King-Emperor's abdication in November 1918, Hungary is declared an independent republic with Karolyi as its President. He sets about meeting Hungary's most pressing social need, for land reform. But Karolyi's liberal regime is soon beset by strong opposition from the right and from the left. The Allies seal Karolyi's fate by refusing to end the economic blockade of Hungary and by imposing, even in advance of a peace settlement (Hungary is denied an invitation until the Conference is virtually over), even harsher armistice terms. Karolyi flinches from opposing these measures by force. The small socialist element in his government of well-meaning aristocrats defects and forms an alliance with Hungary's fledgling Communist Party. Karolyi resigns and chooses exile. The Communists, led by Bela Kun, take power.

Kun raises a Red Army, which defeats a Czech invasion but fails to stem the Romanian advance, which enters Budapest in defiance of orders from Paris and engages in an orgy of pillage and destruction. The Peace Conference despatches a British diplomat, Sir George Clerk, to Budapest to broker a Romanian withdrawal. Clerk succeeds in forming a coalition government of right-wing parties, with token representation for the centre-left, which he recognises in the name of the Peace Conference and invites to send a delegation to Paris. It includes Counts Istvan Bethlen (1874-1946) and Pal Teleki, both future prime ministers. The delegation is presented on arrival, on 6 January 1920, with the draft peace treaty for Hungary which the expert committees of the Conference have produced and which the Council has approved without amendment. The Hungarians are appalled to find that the treaty will deprive their country of two-thirds of her territory and over half of her population. The injustice of the Treaty will drive Hungary into the arms of Nazi Germany, a fatal alliance which will doom Hungary's Jews to annihilation and Hungary to defeat and destruction in the Second World War.

BiographyBiography: generalBiography: historical, political & militaryHistory & PoliticsHistory: Chronological20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000History & PoliticsHistory: ChronologicalEarly history: c 500 to c 1450-1500History & PoliticsRegional & national historyEuropean history Publisher: Haus Publishing Publication Date: 14/03/2009 ISBN-13: 9781905791736  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Bryan Cartledge is a retired diplomat, who served in Sweden, the Soviet Union and Iran before being appointed, in 1977, to be Private Secretary (Overseas Affairs) to the British Prime Minister; he served both James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher in that capacity before taking up his first ambassadorial appointment as British Ambassador to Hungary, in 1980. His well-received history of Hungary, The Will to Survive, fulfils an aspiration which grew out of his deep interest in that country. Professor Alan Sharp is Provost of the Coleraine Campus at the University of Ulster. He joined the History Department at Ulster in 1971 and has been successively Professor of International Studies, a post in which he helped to set up degrees in International Studies and, later, International Politics and Head of the School of History and International Affairs. His major publications include The Versailles Settlement: Peacemaking in Paris, 1919 (1991) amongst others.

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