Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Friday, June 11, 2021

All About the Treaty of Trianon

         4 June 1920–Minister of Labor Auguste Bernard Leads the Hungarian Delegation at the Trianon Palace

The Treaty of Trianon was signed between the Allied Powers of World War I, and Hungary, which lost 72 percent of its territory within the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. The treaty was signed on 4 June 1920. The Treaty of Trianon stated clearly that “the Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Hungary accepts the responsibility of Hungary and her allies for causing the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Austria-Hungary and her allies.”

The treaty was so unpopular that the Hungarian government had difficulty in finding anyone willing to sign it until Minister Plenipotentiary Alfred Detrashe Lazas and Minister of Labor Auguste Bernard agreed to do the task of agreeing to the breakup. A contributor to the Guardian called it "the most disastrous event in the long history of the ancient kingdom of Hungary was completed this afternoon in the long hall of the Grand Trianon at Versailles when her two representatives put their signature at the foot of the treaty."

The Hungarian delegation at Trianon argued for the case of self-determination as proposed by Woodrow Wilson, but the Allies mainly ignored this plea for the use of plebiscites. The city of Sopron was given a plebiscite as to whether the city wanted to remain in Hungary, which the population voted for. . . The Treaty of Trianon also stated that those Hungarians who now lived outside of Hungary’s borders would lose their Hungarian nationality within one year of the treaty being signed in June 1920.

Hungarian Territory Lost Through the Treaty

The new Hungary was a landlocked state and had no direct access to the Mediterranean Sea with its many ports. This had a major impact on her weakened economy as any trade that required to be moved by sea had to pay tariffs simply to reach a dock to enable it to be shipped abroad. Hungary’s army was reduced to 35,000 men with no conscription, and as a land-locked nation she was not allowed a navy. An air force was also banned.

The Treaty of Trianon ensured that the new Hungary would have minimal growth in her economic clout. This was, in fact, a deliberate policy. All the treaties signed by the defeated nations had at their core a desire to ensure that none of the Central Powers could ever become a threat to European peace again. Ironically, the unemployment that impacted Hungary in the interwar years was a primary reason for her association with Nazi Germany.

The anger of the Hungarian people over the Treaty of Trianon–both from those living within the new state’s borders and those forced to live outside of them–was long lasting. Inside Hungary, government buildings kept the national flag lowered to show their grievance, and it was not until 1938 that the flags were flown at a third mast after the Munich Agreement returned southern Slovakia to Hungary–an area that included 550,000 Hungarians who made up 85 percent of the area’s population.

Sources: C. N. Trueman "The Treaty of Trianon" at the Learning Center, Wikipedia, and the American Hungarian Federation (Map)


  1. And was the world any safer or better for the Treaty?

  2. Good summary of a neglected treaty.

  3. I have previously read of this Trianon "side agreement" being foistered on the Austro Hungarians. The Trianon by the way was an addition to the Versailles Palace built for Marie Antoinette has a personal repose.

  4. Excellent and embrancing map.