THE HOMELAND RECLAIMED
HUNGARY UNDER FOREIGN OCCUPATION
Historians are rarely unbiased and often distort or ignore facts to represent their own interests. In the preface of this book, I wrote that a people's knowledge of their nation's history is important in helping them to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Knowing their history, they can draw strength from the heroic deeds of their ancestors, strength they might need in difficult times. It is also important that other nations know the correct facts about the history of a particular nation. This knowledge is vital in the making of political decisions.
The official history of a nation is that which the nation teaches its youth. Sadly, for centuries, the Hungarian official history, which has been taught to Hungarians and to the rest of the world, has been greatly distorted. Hungarians have been taught that the history of the Hungarian nation began at the time of King István I., in A.D. 1000, when King István became a Christian. In fact, the greatness of Hungary actually began its slow decline at that time. King (Saint) István's "accomplishments" were contrary to the interests of the Hungarian people. In order to fulfill his plan to convert Hungarians to Western Christianity, István had to break all connections with the ancient religion. He had to abandon the traditional religious views of Álmos and Árpád and he had to bolster the new religion by giving positions to Germans, Slavs and Italians. Already, at that time, the Magyars were excluded from every position of importance. The religious and secular leadership fell into the hands of foreigners. Because the Hungarian leaders were foreigners, the Hungarian people became secondary citizens in their own country and their leaders did not trust them. These foreigners, who called themselves Magyars, became those "Magyars" who held themselves out to be examples to the Hungarians. The true Magyars, in this hopeless situation, began to enter reckless wars, squandering their own blood.
For centuries, Hungary has been dominated and oppressed by other nations whose historians wrote the history of Hungary in their own interests. Hungarians, who have never been taught otherwise, accept the many false statements as historical truths. This has a devastating effect on their national consciousness. Other nations tolerate these falsifications when the actions of the oppressors appear to be justified.
This work was not inspired by a thirst for revenge but rather by a desire to write the truth in self-defense. From time immemorial, the ancestors of the present-day Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin have had to defend themselves repeatedly against neighbors who wanted to overcome and subdue them. In the last two millennia, they have been threatened by Tartars, Turks and Germanic peoples in particular, especially since the Hapsburg dynasty came into power in Austria. The struggle in modern times began in the time of King Béla IV of Hungary (1235-1270). Friederich Babenberg, Prince of Austria, and a few bribed Hungarian aristocrats made arrangements so that the Cumanians (Kuns), who were related to the Magyars and who could have provided the greatest help to King Béla IV against the Tartars, were not permitted to enter Hungarian territory because they were not Christian and in this way Béla IV was left to fight the Tartars on his own. After the loss of the Battle of Mohi to the Tartars, the fleeing Hungarian king, Béla IV, took refuge with Friedrich Babenberg in Austria. Friedrich confiscated all the Hungarian treasures which Béla brought with him and annexed three Hungarian counties. He took from Béla ten Hungarian castles which he strengthened and fortified and historians commend him as Defender of the West against the Tartars. However, his reason for fortifying the castles was not to prevent their loss to the Tartars, but to prevent the Hungarians from reclaiming them. Friedrich offered to help Béla fight the Tartars on condition that the entire country of Hungary come under his power if the Tartars were defeated. He told King Béla that if he refused this condition, he would give him to the Tartars. Béla was forced to accept but he managed to escape with a small army and he returned to attack Friedrich who died during the battle.
Soon after that, the Hapsburg dynasty came into power in Austria. Lajos Kossuth (the leader of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution against the Hapsburgs), said: "In an unfortunate hour the Hapsburgs stole into the country (Hungary); they were not called, and from that time on, the flood of suffering fell upon us." For the next four centuries, the Hungarian people waged an almost continuous freedom fight against the Hapsburgs.
Many legends speak of the origins of the Hapsburgs. In the Semigotha, the book in which every Jewish family of note is mentioned, it is written that the tombstones of the ancestors of the Hapsburgs can be found in a Jewish cemetery of Roman times. The Germans believe that the Hapsburg family originated from the tribe of the Allemanni. According to contemporary writings, they were rapacious and adaptable. Their life-goal was to have a large family. The first of the Hapsburgs to be mentioned in recorded history was Guntran who lived in the tenth century. His grandson, Werner, became Bishop of Strasburg, and built the castle called the Hapsburg Castle, in 1027. In the thirteenth century, the seven German Electors could not agree upon whom, among their number, they should elect as Emperor. They finally agreed to elect Rudolf Hapsburg, a person whom they could easily influence. Before his election, Rudolf made many promises, which he did not keep when he became Emperor. Pope Gregory X declared him to be an oath-breaker but before he could take any action against him, Pope Gregory died suddenly. Rudolf Hapsburg soon became very popular among his people because he made a great effort to restrain the power of the robbing knights. The electors were very surprised when their "puppet" turned out to be a strong-willed tyrant who did everything for the benefit of his family. Rudolf immediately married off six of his daughters into European royal families and his sons too.
All of a sudden, Europe was woven like a web into the Hapsburg family. When Elizabeth of Burgundy inherited the Duchy of Burgundy at age fourteen, Rudolf Hapsburg was sixty-six years old, but because he had no more sons to give in marriage, he married the child himself. The Hungarians had a well-known saying: "While other nations make war to expand their territories, the Austrians make marriages." It seemed as if Rudolf had a plan to subdue all of Europe to the Hapsburgs.
The most powerful of the Electoral Princes was the Bohemian king, Ottokar, who would not accept Rudolf as Emperor because he wanted to be Emperor himself. Ottokar convinced all the Electoral Princes (Bavaria, Cologne, Meissen, Brandenburg and Silesia) to unite against Rudolf Hapsburg and attack him. Emperor Rudolf tried in panic to get some help to defend himself against the princes led by Ottokar. He turned to the young Hungarian king, László IV (László Kun)(1272-1290), who made a decision, which had a devastating effect on Hungarian history, causing the Hapsburgs to become more powerful. With 20,000 soldiers, he aided Emperor Rudolf and on August 26, 1278, at the field of Morva, he defeated the rebels. Ottokar, with a last effort, together with his bodyguards, threw himself into the battle and was killed. Austria, which up until that time, had been in the hands of Ottokar and the Bohemians, finally came under the power of the Hapsburgs.
Zsigmond of Luxembourg was crowned King of Hungary in 1387 and Holy Roman Emperor in 1433. His daughter, Elizabeth, married Albrecht Hapsburg. When Zsigmond died, the Hungarian aristocracy elected Albrecht Hapsburg as King of Hungary with the condition that he reside in Hungary at Buda and that he accept no other foreign titles. He did not keep his promise but became King of the Bohemians and German Emperor. While he was in Buda, the German population in that city grew and caused a revolt. A year and a half after he became king, during a campaign against the Turks, Albrecht Hapsburg died of malaria. After his death, the Hungarian Diet of 1440 elected the Polish King, Wladislas of Jagiello, King of Hungary (1440-1444). The Diet pressured Albrecht's widow, Elizabeth, to marry Wladislas but she refused and fled, seeking the protection of the German Emperor, Friedrich. In order to obtain power over Hungary, Friedrich persuaded Elizabeth to steal the Hungarian crown from Visegrád. He crowned his newborn son, King László V of Hungary. Friedrich died suddenly and the Infant-King remained with Friedrich's brother. János Hunyadi freed him and brought him back to Hungary as King László V (1440-1457). In 1490, the younger son of János Hunyadi, Mátyás, who had become King in 1458, turned against Austria and conquered Vienna but a few days after his victory he was poisoned and died.
Wladislas II of Hungary (1490-1516) did not have a strong army and Maximilian Hapsburg, on November 7, 1491, at the Peace Treaty of Pozsony, (now Bratislava) took away from him all the territory that had been conquered by Mátyás Hunyadi and also the city of Köszeg. Maximilian retained as one of his titles, King of Hungary. In this Peace Treaty it was stipulated that, if Wladislas II should die without an heir, the Hungarian throne would go to Maximilian. As a result of the intermarriages, the power of the Hapsburgs in Europe reached its peak. They ruled almost all the countries of Europe except for France and even the French lost a war against them and the King of France, François I, became a prisoner of the Hapsburgs. Only in an alliance with the Turks, could the French avoid Hapsburg occupation.
King Lajos II of Hungary (1516-1526) married Maria Hapsburg and with her the Hapsburg influence overflowed into Hungary. Lajos II was unable to rule the country in Hungarian interests. Influenced by the Hapsburgs, he allowed a war between the Hungarians and the Turks, which it was obvious that the Hungarians would lose. The Hapsburgs had much to gain by Hungary's loss. The Turks had the best trained, best equipped, and largest army in the world. In numbers it was six or seven times larger than the Hungarian army. At that time, the Hungarians could easily have made peace with the Turks, but this would have caused the fall of the Hapsburgs, so they did not allow it to take place. Meanwhile, in Hungary, the Hapsburgs instigated dissent and promised their support to the minorities in their resistance to the Hungarian government. The minorities who supported the Hapsburg interests were rewarded with gifts of Hungarian lands confiscated from Hungarians who were declared to be rebels and traitors. The Hapsburg plan was to weaken the Hungarians and take away their will to survive. They could then annex Hungary to Austria, making it property of the Hapsburg family, which could be inherited.
Suleiman, the Turkish Sultan, clearly assessed the situation. The Hungarians were just waiting for the right moment to rid themselves of the foreign king. The Turks made an alliance with the French against the Hapsburgs. By crossing through Hungary, the Sultan intended to attack the Emperor. He sent a friendly letter to King Lajos II of Hungary, which was in effect a peace-offer. He asked him for a contribution of money, not a tribute, and asked permission to cross Croatia, which at that time was part of Hungary, so that he could march to Vienna. The Hungarian aristocracy, influenced by the Hapsburgs, declared that the contribution requested by the Sultan was a shameful tax and advised the King to refuse the Sultan's request. The Hungarians captured the envoy of the Sultan and imprisoned him. According to some sources, they killed him. The Hungarian King's decision to deny the Sultan's request meant that the Hungarians finally severed their blood relationship with the Turks and threw themselves into the hands of the West or rather the Hapsburgs. This resulted in the loss of independence for the Hungarians and, in the long run, their near extinction.
In 1521, the Sultan came with a large army to take revenge for the offense. Suleiman notes in his diary: "I did not come to kill King Lajos and conquer his country. I came only to revenge the insult he had given me." He conquered Buda in 1529 so that it would not fall into Hapsburg hands but only in 1541 did he settle there. Suleiman easily conquered the castles in the southern part of Hungary in an unexpected attack but continued to emphasize that he came as a friend, asking for permission to cross Croatia. Benedek Bargthosi-Balogh suggests that, in order to prove that his intentions were friendly, Suleiman took his armies home. There was no other reason for his retreat since there was no trouble in his country and there was no threat that Turkey would be attacked from outside. The National Assembly of 1521 passed a law that the aristocrats give half of their income towards the defense of the country. Some of the aristocrats were very upset at the imposition of this tax and Maria Hapsburg and her ministers encouraged their dissatisfaction. Very little of the money collected from this tax was actually used for defense.
In 1526, the Sultan again attacked Hungary with a powerful army whose final victory was at the Battle of Mohács. For centuries, historians, acting in the interests of the Hapsburgs, have taught a distorted version of this battle. Even the death of the Hungarian King was prearranged. In the spring of 1526, the Turkish army arrived in Hungary with 200,000 men and 300 cannons. The Hungarian army received conflicting orders. János Szapolyai, the ruler of Transylvania, and Frangepan, the ruler of Croatia, received the command to move their armies to Transdanubia. On the way, they received a new order to go to the lower Danube. The result was that both arrived at Mohács after the battle was over. The King's army had no help. The Polish King did not send the help he had promised. Ferdinand Hapsburg, the brother of the Queen, did not send a single man. Instead of the planned 84,000 men, the King started the battle with 28,000 men. In this battle, in an hour and a hall 24,000 Hungarians lost their lives.
The Hapsburgs blamed the Hungarians for the loss of the Battle of Mohács, stating that the inside struggles among the Hungarians caused their defeat. This version has always been taught in Hungarian schools. The Hapsburgs obviously did not mention that their policy was to divide and conquer. They made Hungarians believe that Hungary was the bastion of the West and the bastion of the Christians against the pagan Turks. This was simply untrue. Many of the European countries were friendly toward the Turks. At the League of Cognac in 1526, King Francois I of France, King Henry VIII of England, the Pope, and the cities of Florence and Venice all signed an alliance with the Turks against the Hapsburg world power. If the Hapsburgs had not at that time possessed the Hungarian crown, the Turks simply would not have attacked Hungary. Because this war was not a Crusade of the Christians, the Europeans did not come to the aid of the Hungarians who were fighting on the side of the Hapsburgs. According to the writings of Suleiman, he gave up the attempt to convert Hungary to Mohammedanism. The Battle of Mohács was a good occasion for the Hapsburgs to remove the Hungarian King and obtain the throne for themselves.
There are several conflicting accounts of the death of King Lajos II. The one which was accepted by the Hapsburgs and by Hungarian historians was the report written in 1784 by Karl Gottlieb von Windisch, published in Pozsony. This source stated that the King drowned at Csele Creek as he fled from the battle. This is simply not true. The King's chaplain, György Szerémy, was an eye-witness to the King's death but the original of his account of the death of Lajos II was lost. The copy that is in the Viennese archives was published in the seventeenth century and is full of inaccurate statements. However in another of his writings, the "Szerémy Chronicles", on page 133, György Szerémy wrote that the King's side was pierced by a Bohemian sword: "... reperimus quod cum gladio bohemico transfixus erat ...". It appears that the King was killed by his bodyguard, the Bohemian, Ulrich Czetritz. A further proof of Ulrich Czetritz's guilt appears in the Hungarian Archives. Dr. András Zakar writes that, in the writings of the Parish Priest of Dunaszekcső, it was reported that Ulrich Czetritz, who was brought into Hungary by the Queen, Maria Hapsburg, to be one of the King's bodyguards, killed King Lajos II and later carried the King's body to Csele Creek.
King Lajos II was assassinated after the Battle of Mohács in order that the Hapsburgs might attain their goal of obtaining the Hungarian crown. Since Lajos II was young and was likely to have an heir to his throne, it was a necessary and easy task for one of the knights of foreign origin in his court, his bodyguard, Ulrich Czetritz, to kill the King in Hapsburg interests. The goal was simple. If the King were to survive the battle, then at the right moment Czetritz would have to assassinate him. Every source states that, after the battle, the King was alive and fleeing with his men but which way? He had no army at Buda. He had to flee towards the army of János Szapolyai which was located on the land between the Duna and the Tisza. It was obvious to the Hapsburgs what the King intended to do. To stop the King in his attempt to join Szapolyai's army, Czetritz, with his mercenaries, attacked the King and his men at the ford at Mohács.
While the King was involved in fighting the Turks at Mohács, the Queen was preparing to leave Csepel for Austria. She moved all her valuables, had all her silver melted down into silver coins, eight carriages full, put them all onto three barges on the Danube and left for Vienna. Czetritz met her in Neszmely, and gave her the King's ring to show that he had completed his task. A few days later the Queen ordered his death, probably to silence him about the circumstances of the King's murder. Why did Maria Hapsburg flee from Csepel and how did Czetritz know to meet her at Neszmely, if it had not been prearranged? The Queen fled to her brother, Ferdinand Hapsburg, in Vienna and Ferdinand, with the silver coins that the Queen had brought with her, recruited an army of mercenaries and occupied Pozsony. His army
was able to defeat János Szapolyai who had been elected King of Hungary by the National Assembly after the death of Lajos II.
By promising and giving estates to Hungarians, Slavs, Saxons and Croatians who had been loyal to Szapolyai, Ferdinand Hapsburg won them to his side and persuaded them to elect him King of Hungary at Székesfehérvár. The Hapsburg supporters committed robbery and murders and incited the minorities to rebel against the Hungarians. The present anti-Hungarian feeling originated from this time. The country lost its independence and life became unbearable. The Hungarian population and territory decreased. Now there were two kings of Hungary, János Szapolyai and Ferdinand Hapsburg and the country was divided into three parts, the western part ruled by Ferdinand, the eastern part (Transylvania) ruled by Szapolyai and the middle part ruled by the Turks. Both the Hapsburgs and the Turks were intent upon expanding their territories. Hungary was located between the two empires and was alternately allied with each of them, suffering enormous damage in the struggle between the two for world power.
János Szapolyai finally decided to make an alliance with the Turks. When he learned about this alliance, Ferdinand whipped up anti-Szapolyai propaganda in Europe. The rest of Europe forgot their former friendship with the Turks and were united in condemning the Hungarian King's Turkish alliance. János Szapolyai, with the help of the Turks, defeated Ferdinand's army at Sárospatak and advanced to Buda. Ferdinand was unable to send sufficient support to Buda, which fell to the Turks. The Sultan advanced along the Danube toward Vienna. One by one, he conquered the castles that were in his way. He entered Visegrád, where he captured the Hungarian crown, then he laid siege to Vienna but the winter, which had set in early, combined with the concentrated power of Ferdinand in Vienna, were too much for him and he was forced to order his army to retreat.
Suleiman had restored the power to János Szapolyai but, as the Turks retreated, they destroyed everything in their path. The most widespread destruction was committed on the territories formerly under the power of Ferdinand. The populace on those territories went over to Szapolyai's side. In 1529, the larger part of Hungary was under the rule of Szapolyai. The Turkish-Hungarian alliance was too strong for Ferdinand so he formulated a plan to obtain Hungary without using military force. He sent envoys to Suleiman begging him to accept him, Ferdinand, as his son and promised that in return he would give Hungary to Suleiman. Ferdinand's expectation was that Suleiman, as his "father" would later return Hungary to him as a gift. Ferdinand sent Suleiman 7000 gold pieces and the key to the castle of Esztergom. The Sultan accepted Ferdinand's homage and promised to defend him from outside enemies. He gave all the Hungarian territories under his rule to Ferdinand and told him to settle with Szapolyai however he could.
As we can see, the Hapsburgs did everything in their power to obtain Hungary. Once Ferdinand had obtained the Hungarian crown, he broke the alliance with the Turks. The Sultan, in his anger, again crossed Hungary, on his way to attack Austria. That was just what the Hapsburgs wanted. The only way they could subdue Hungary was to weaken the country first.
Szapolyai and Ferdinand came to an agreement. They divided Hungary between them. The larger part went to Szapolyai, but he paid a big price for it. The agreement stipulated that, in exchange for Ferdinand's protection, if Szapolyai died without an heir, the entire country would go to Ferdinand. This agreement was made in secret at Nagyvárad. The Sultan came to hear of it and he again prepared to attack Hungary. Ferdinand did not intend to honor the agreement and, when the Turks were again on the move to attack Hungary, he did not help Szapolyai. On the contrary, he incited inside struggles in Transylvania against the King. Szapolyai was able to prevent the Turkish attack by sending a large tribute in treasures to the Sultan. Since Ferdinand had broken the agreement made at Nagyvárad, Szapolyai married the daughter of Zsigmond of Poland who gave him an heir, János Zsigmond. Szapolyai was ill when he went to Transylvania to put down a revolt in 1540, which was incited by Ferdinand, and he died on the way. In his will, he named György Martinuzzi, a monk of the Pauline order, to take care of his son and bring him up, and he asked the Sultan to protect the crown of Hungary.
When Ferdinand learned of the King's death, he immediately attacked Hungary in order to occupy it. The Sultan, as Defender of Hungary, returned to Hungary with a large army to stop Ferdinand. Hungary again paid the price. Even more of the country was destroyed during the seven years of continuous fighting. The end result was that part of Hungary came under Turkish rule for 150 years and part came under Hapsburg rule for 400 years. During that time there was a continuous genocidal campaign, caused mainly by the Hapsburgs. The Turks continuously advocated that they were not fighting against the Hungarians, but for them. Their treatment of the Hungarians attests to this. If the populace under Turkish rule paid their taxes, they were left alone. Suleiman confiscated the territory that was under Hapsburg rule and that of the Hungarian aristocrats in alliance with Ferdinand and distributed these territories among the Turks. Ferdinand's General Roggendorff tried to free Buda from the Turks but he was unsuccessful. Ferdinand neglected to pay his battered army of mercenaries who retaliated by killing Hungarians to take their due. After this, Ferdinand sent another peace offer to the Sultan but his envoys were imprisoned. The Sultan intended to keep Hungary together and to give it to Szapolyai's son, János Zsigmond, whom he accepted as his own son.
Benedek Baráthosi-Balogh writes that there is no question that Hungary was occupied by the Turks but it remained Hungary under Turkish rule. The small nations that were occupied by the Turks for centuries were able to retain their language and their identity and were able to multiply. The Hungarian people, who were related to the Turks, were treated more fairly than other nations unrelated to the Turks, which were occupied by them. The Sultan never emphasized that he came to free those nations as he did when referring to Hungary and he always corresponded in the Hungarian language, even with the Hapsburgs. The Hapsburgs, on the other hand, treated Hungary as an annexed territory, which they inherited as part of Austria. They resettled foreigners among the Hungarians and in this way created a multi-national state. Their intention was to subdue the Hungarians and keep them under their rule.
György Martinuzzi was the only person at that time who tried to reunify Hungary. Ferdinand demanded the whole country for himself, but the Sultan emphasized that he wanted to keep Hungary intact for young János Zsigmond. In 1541, Suleiman traveled to Buda and requested that the infant King János be brought to his camp to visit him. His request was granted and, during this visit, the few soldiers who had accompanied Suleiman wandered one by one into the castle and, when there were enough of them inside the castle, they closed the gates and captured the castle without any bloodshed. Then Suleiman announced that he would hold the castle until the infant-King grew to maturity. In that way the castle could not be taken by the Hapsburgs.
The capital of the part of Hungary ruled by the Hapsburgs was Pozsony (now called Bratislava). The capital of the section ruled by the Turks was Buda. Gyulafehérvár in Transylvania (presently Alba Iulia in Rumania), was the capital of the part belonging to the Hungarians. Transylvania, which the Rumanians received at Trianon in 1920, because it was supposedly Rumanian territory, was for four hundred years the only part that belonged to the Hungarians.
While János Zsigmond was a child, György Martinuzzi ruled in his name. The Hapsburgs again tried unsuccessfully to take Buda from the occupying Turks. Transdanubia was almost completely depopulated after the struggle between the Hapsburgs and the Turks and the ensuing devastation. The Sultan returned for the sixth time, crossing Hungary with a large army, to support Martinuzzi against the Hapsburgs. Martinuzzi declared Transylvania independent from the Turks and from Hungary, which was ruled by Emperor Ferdinand. This was only temporary. The National Assembly of 1542 unified the Szekels, the Saxons and the Hungarians who were living in Transylvania and modernized the system of taxation, enabling Martinuzzi to maintain an army of 6000 men.
After the Hapsburgs had defeated the armies of the French and German Protestants, Martinuzzi found it useful to make peace with Ferdinand. The result of this approach toward the Hapsburgs was that one of the daughters of Ferdinand was offered in marriage to the young King, János Zsigmond. The French and the Turks opposed Martinuzzi's move toward peace with the Hapsburgs. Martinuzzi allowed the Hungarian crown and Transylvania to go to Ferdinand. Ferdinand made him governor of Hungary and Transylvania and gave him the title of Cardinal. Martinuzzi misled the Turks, blaming Petrovich, who was another guardian of János Zsigmond, for handing Hungary over to the Hapsburgs. He also helped Ferdinand to obtain more castles in Transylvania. With the acquisition of these castles, the whole of Transylvania came under the rule of Ferdinand who sent 7000 soldiers to defend Transylvania from the Turks.
The Sultan tried to convince the aristocrats to restore János Zsigmond to the Monarchy. Ferdinand came to the conclusion that he could not hold back the Turks, so he paid a tribute of 30,000 pieces of gold to the Sultan in exchange for the promise of eight years of peace. At the Peace Treaty in 1562, Ferdinand had to accept the independence of Transylvania but at the same time he had attained his goal. The repeated attacks of the Turks had weakened Hungary but not Austria. Hungary had been weakened and was almost ready for the Hapsburg conquest.
In 1564, Emperor Ferdinand died. During his lifetime, he began the systematic genocide of the Hungarians, which was continued throughout the centuries by his successors. The Hapsburgs used all kinds of possible terrors to accomplish the destruction of Hungary but there has always been a heroic Hungarian leader who has encouraged the Hungarians to resist the complete conquest. The Hapsburgs had come to the conclusion that the most effective method they could use to keep the Hungarians under their yoke was to bring minorities into the country. Therefore they settled large numbers of foreign national groups into Hungary. The settlement politics of this time in Hungary resembled the American politics of settlement with one big difference. In America, all the immigrants accepted the language of the majority, English, and became American whereas in Hungary, because of the Hungarian policy of tolerance, the foreign settlers kept their own language and customs. In many places they received more privileges than the Hungarian populace. Following their policy of “divide and conquer”, the Hapsburgs supported the minorities, instigating dissatisfaction and causing them to become enemies of the state. Eventually, they took over Hungarian territory.
The Reformation in Hungary spread as rapidly as it did in the rest of Europe. The reason for its rapid movement in Europe was that Catholicism was superficial and there was widespread corruption in the Church. In Hungary, the rapid spread of Protestantism was aided by the use of the vernacular to reach the populace. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church supported the Hapsburgs so Protestantism was attractive to the majority of the Hungarian people who were intent upon throwing off the yoke of their oppressors. The two religions were so different that the Catholic priests who were on the Hapsburg side, together with their congregations, developed a great antagonism for the Protestant Hungarians and Szekels. This precluded the success of any efforts at unification. Moreover, the Catholics and Protestants became such enemies that the Hapsburgs were able to use their enmity to divide Hungary.
Protestantism was the uniting factor that, far away from the Hapsburgs and their Catholic influence, enabled the Transylvanians to save the Hungarian language and the Hungarian future. From the Hungarian point of view it was a stroke of luck that Transylvania became independent at that time, because, in this way, the people retained their Hungarian language, culture and social structure and thereby their Hungarian patriotism. In this way they preserved it for the suppressed mother country, which at that time was ruled partly by the Turks and partly by the Hapsburgs. In the Peace Treaty of Trianon (1920), as we have already mentioned, this land of Transylvania was falsely claimed by the Rumanians as their land of origin.
Now let us take a look at the laws that the Hapsburgs introduced into Hungary. They chose Pozsony (Bratislava) to be the capital of Hungary instead of Buda, because Pozsony was close to Vienna. In so doing, they justified Hungary's dependence as an annexed territory that was governed from Vienna. They abolished the Royal Hungarian Court and raised the German language to the status of official language in Hungary. Since the Hungarians no longer had a Royal House, Vienna took over the government of the country and Hungary ceased to exist in the eyes of foreign governments. There was no longer a Hungarian foreign policy. The Hapsburg family politics took the place of Hungarian National politics. The Hapsburgs had achieved their goal of annexing Hungary to Austria. Already in 1529, they had created two houses in the National Assembly. In the lower house were the lesser aristocrats and in the upper house were the higher aristocrats and the Church hierarchy. By bribing the members of this upper house, the Hapsburgs received the desired majority when they needed it. They rescinded the law of 1351, which declared that all aristocrats were equal and assigned the representatives of the cities to the lower house. The Hungarian National Assembly demanded that Ferdinand reestablish the Hungarian Royal Court, that he keep the laws of the country and that he remove all foreign guards from the castles because those guards did not intend to defend them. Moreover the maintenance of foreign soldiers in the castles was an invitation to the Turks to attack the Hapsburgs in Hungary.
Since the Hapsburgs neglected to pay their mercenaries, the troops overran villages and estates and took whatever they needed by force. They did not go away until they were paid. Often a troop stayed in one place for a year until the people paid them the wages that were due to them. Young Hungarian men were taken away for military labor by the Hapsburgs and in many cases they never returned. The women and girls were raped. When the mercenaries left, they burned everything behind them and murdered the populace. The cowardly foreign captains of the castles ran away or surrendered to the Turks. At the same time, they regarded the unarmed Hungarian populace as enemies. The Germans, who should have helped the Hungarians against the Turks, caused much more devastation than the Turks.
The constant Hapsburg aggression and the attacks of Maximilian Hapsburg, Ferdinand's son, against János Zsigmond, King of Hungary, caused the 72 year-old Suleiman to attempt the plan he had had for many years, to conquer Vienna. Therefore, in 1567, with 90,000 men and 220 cannons, he crossed Hungary again on his way to attack Maximilian. Miklós Zrinyi, Commander of the castle of Szigetvár, saved Vienna from attack. He held off the Turkish attack for 30 days but his castle eventually fell to the Turks. Suleiman died before he could march on Vienna. Panic broke out among the Turks and they turned back and gave up their plan to take Vienna.
After Suleiman's death, the Turkish world power started to decline. Maximilian needed money to fight the Turks so, at the Assembly of the Empire at Augsburg, he asked the German aristocrats for money and soldiers. They promised to give him his request on one condition, that he annex Hungary to Germany not Austria. He promised to do so, although he had no intention of keeping his promise. The German soldiers, who came to aid Maximilian, turned and fled when they realized that the Turks had advanced. On their retreat, they devastated Transdanubia again. During this Turkish attack, Szököli, leader of the Turks, rounded up 80,000 Hungarians and took them into slavery. The Hungarian army units were placed under German command. In this way their movement was restricted. In case of attack, the Germans always sent the Hungarian units to the front line. The Germans confiscated the Hungarian mines and thereby took away all the precious metals from Hungary causing economic distress. The mercenary commanders gathered up the Hungarian women, girls and children and sold them to Turkish merchants. Maximilian would not allow the Hungarians to elect a Viceroy (nádor) because the viceroy always tried to ease the sufferings of the Hungarians. Maximilian never learned the Hungarian language and the misery he caused eventually led to a freedom fight, the freedom fight of István Bocskay.
The foreign judges, who sentenced the Hungarian aristocrats to be decapitated and their estates confiscated because they were rebellious, also confiscated Protestant churches. They chased the Protestant ministers out of Transylvania and imposed many indescribable cruelties on the desperate people. Maximilian passed a law that the Protestant religion had to be suppressed and the Catholic faith was to be propagated. He announced that every Hungarian was to be killed in Transylvania and Hungary because this land was originally German.
Zsigmond Báthory, who was at this time ruler of Transylvania, (1586-1598) and who was a tyrant, gave the throne to his brother Endre in 1598. The people hated the Báthorys so much that they supported the Wallachian leader, Mihály, against Endre Báthory. They did not know, at that time, that Mihály was secretly trying to unify Moldova, Wallachia and Transylvania into a Wallachian independent state which later, at the Berlin Conference of 1878, on the suggestion of Count Gyula Andrássy, the foreign-minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, received the name Rumania. Mihály began a large scale devastation in the interest of the Wallachians. The estates of the Hungarian aristocrats were confiscated and given to Wallachians. This was the first noticeable achievement in the history of Wallachia. The present Rumanian historians mention Mihály as the founder of Great Rumania. When the Emperor found out what Mihály wanted to achieve, he ordered his capture and execution. He appointed György Basta ruler of Transylvania in A.D. 1600 and Basta continued the destruction which Mihály had begun. His men imposed taxes, destroyed, robbed, and killed. Because he did not pay his mercenaries, they were allowed to run through the country, killing and looting. Finally the people of Transylvania, the Szekels, because they could not bear any more, captured Basta and imprisoned him but he was soon released. After he became free, he again continued along his former path of action. The Szekels did not know how to stop him so they called back Zsigmond Báthory. He was unchanged and continued to persecute the Protestant Szekels and Hungarians. In A.D.1603, Moses Székely, a new leader in Transylvania, made an alliance with the Turks and the Tartars to try to get rid of Zsigmond Báthory. György Basta made an alliance with Radul, the Wallachian leader. They fought a battle in which Moses Székely died. Basta regained his power with the Hapsburg approval.
Szekels and Hungarians in Transylvania, suffering under the reign of terror of György Basta, (1600-1604) found in István Bocskay a level-headed commander who, with his fast actions, was successful in everything that he attempted. The Hungarians owe him an everlasting debt for his achievements for he was able to save the people. His first action was a glorious victory against the Turkish Pasha Sinan. In 1604, he urged the nation to unite to overthrow György Basta and fight for freedom of religion and the reinstatement of the Hungarian constitution. The National Assembly called by Bocskay at Szerencs, announced religious freedom and elected him King of Hungary, and Prince of Transylvania, Moldova and Wallachia. The Turks tried to convince Bocskay to accept the crown and become King of Hungary, but he modestly refused it and lost the chance to reunify Hungary.
The Peace Treaty of Vienna, in 1606, promised on paper freedom of religion, the restoration of the election of the Viceroy of Hungary and the deportation of the Catholics who had been settled into Transylvania. None of this ever took place. The new law stipulated that Hungary should be ruled by a Hungarian constitution. In the same year, Bocskay made a Peace Treaty with the Turks. The Turks acknowledged that the Hungarian aristocrats should not have to pay a tribute to them but absolute peace did not exist even though the Peace Treaty lasted for eight years. During that time the Turks broke into the border states 188 times, burned up 76 villages and took 3,200 Hungarian prisoners. The situation was worse on the Austrian border. In his last National Assembly before his death, Bocskay called the nation to unite. He did not die a natural death. He was poisoned.
Archduke Mátyás of Hungary and Emperor Rudolf came into conflict because, after the death of Bocskay, Rudolf nullified the laws that he had accepted at the Peace Treaty of Vienna in 1606. The Hungarian aristocrats elected Archduke Mátyás ruler of Hungary in 1608. They formed an army of 15,000 men and moved into the territory of Moravia. Rudolf was unable to oppose then so they forced him to give up the Hungarian, Moravian and Bohemian crowns. On January 12, 1612, Emperor Rudolf died. He left an enormous treasure, from the treasures that he had collected from the Hungarian aristocrats whose lands he had confiscated, a total of 17 million gold pieces.
In Hungary, the war against the Turks had changed somewhat in that it was isolated around the castles. The one hundred and fifty years of Turkish rule in Hungary caused a great depopulation. During that time, although there were no large campaigns, the attacks on the castles were constant. At the same time, the minorities in Hungary were exempt from military duty. They were able to increase their population while the Hungarian populace was declining. Intermarriage between the Turks and the Hungarians was uncommon because of the great divergence in their religious views. The custom of the harem was not attractive to the Hungarian women. The Turks were more uncultured than the Hungarians so the Turkish influence on the Hungarian culture was inconsiderable.
Since 1548, the Hungarian serfs had been paying half as much in taxes to the Turks as they paid to the Hapsburgs. Because the Hungarian serfs had regained their free movement in 1530, they were able during this time period to move throughout the country and people were migrating from the part ruled by the Hapsburgs to the part ruled by the Turks. Therefore the law of free movement was rescinded in the Hapsburg territories. At this time the construction of new castles increased. While these castles were under Hungarian command, they gave security to the people, but as the guard changed to German mercenaries, the security was lost. The majority of the castles fell into Hapsburg hands because the aristocrats could not pay their taxes and could not absorb the cost of defense. The Hapsburgs recruited mercenaries from the lowest level of society in Europe whom they placed in the castles to defend them. Only their cruelty was greater than their cowardice. These mercenaries did not become defenders of the Hungarian nation but actually became a curse on the nation. They did not care about the Hungarians. During a cease-fire, they broke out of the castles and attacked the Turks in Turkish territory and then they fled, thereby instigating further Turkish attacks on the Hungarians. In 1593, the Hungarian National Assembly had intended to establish an army with a cavalry of 6000 and an infantry of 3000 to defend the nation but the Hapsburgs who were afraid of an increase of Hungarian power would not allow this to take place.
During that time, the Hungarians demonstrated a tremendous patriotism that can be attributed to Protestantism. Catholicism, with the Latin language, remained distant from the people, while Protestantism, using the Hungarian language, was able to become close to the soul of the people who thereby developed a national feeling and unity. Protestantism did more for the advancement and maintenance of the Hungarian national literature than all the Roman Catholic priests and the Royal laws had done up to that point. This is why the Hungarian language became the literary language. The Bible and the Psalms were all translated into Hungarian. The Catholics later on wrote their vehement attacks on the Protestants in the Hungarian language. With the Hapsburg support, the outstanding eloquent Catholic orators made the Protestant influence retreat. As a result of this competition between the Catholics and the Protestants, the Hungarian language flourished. Both religions established schools and the state could have become one of the most educated nations in Europe, if the Hapsburgs had not encouraged the antagonism between the two religions. The Hungarians had always been tolerant of other religions and nationalities in their country, but the Pope was bent on the annihilation of the Protestants.
Under Emperor Matthias II, the freedom fights were beginning to erupt in Hungary, spreading from Transylvania, where Gábor Bethlen was the Prince. (1613-1629) Bethlen continued Bocskay's policies, allying himself with the Turks. His first action was to free the prisoners held by Gábor Báthory, whom he succeeded as Prince of Transylvania. He rebuilt the ruined castles and reestablished freedom of religion, skillfully avoiding every inside and outside disturbance. He increased the wealth of the state of Transylvania and organized a regular army. Matthias II had no choice but to acknowledge the power of Transylvania under Bethlen. In a short time, Bethlen created such prosperity and power in Transylvania that it became one of the richest and strongest countries of Europe at that time.
In 1614, Emperor Matthias II sent a delegate to Bethlen but they could not come to an agreement because the Emperor was just stalling for time so that he could recruit a new army and forcefully take Transylvania. Because Matthias II had no son, he asked the Hungarians to accept his adopted son, Ferdinand, as King of Hungary in 1618. The Hungarian aristocrats, in the text of the coronation oath, which the King had to make, included that Ferdinand swear to correct the injustices done to Hungary by the Hapsburgs and rule by the laws of the Hungarian Constitution. He was to reestablish the position of Viceroy, which was to be held by a Hungarian, enforce the terms of the Peace Treaty of Vienna of 1606, give back the Hungarian mines to Hungary and Transylvania and promise not to persecute the Protestants. However, these were all empty promises.
Transylvania saw its "Golden age" under Gábor Bethlen (1613-1629). Bethlen's goal, just as Bocskay's, was to make Transylvania a prosperous, powerful country, able to withstand both the Turks and the Germans. He was able to attain that goal by means of an alliance with the Turks.
Gábor Bethlen was the first and last Hungarian politician of that time to negotiate with other states as an equal. He did not look for patronage but rather an equal alliance. He aided the Bohemians against Emperor Ferdinand and the Poles. He declared that he did not intend to become King of Hungary. The Hungarian aristocrats gave him their support. The National Assembly of Pozsony appointed Bethlen to be ruler of Hungary and Moravia. Bethlen notified Ferdinand that he was fighting for the freedom of Hungary, Moravia and Bohemia and not for the Hungarian crown. In 1619, the Thirty Years War broke out in which Bethlen took part. He assessed the situation and was strong enough to prevent the Hapsburgs from re-annexing Hungary to Austria.
The Hapsburgs saw in Bethlen a heretic and a rebel so all his efforts to make peace were in vain. Therefore, he made an alliance with the Swedish king, AdoIf Gustav, the German Protestants and Russia. This alliance opposed both the Hapsburgs and the Turks and caused Ferdinand to fear the possibility of the reemergence of a strong Hungarian nation. A Moravian doctor, employed by Ferdinand, treated Bethlen for a mysterious illness, and Bethlen died weeks later in 1629, at the age of 48.
At the time that Bethlen took over the leadership of Transylvania, the country was exploited and tormented but, in a short time, he built it up into one of the strongest nations of Europe. He reinstated the Hungarian constitution, skillfully avoiding the Hapsburg attempts to annex Hungary to Austria. He did this without any cruelty, using strength and cunning. Transylvania became one of the most cultured nations in Europe at that time. He donated one thousand gold pieces to the translation of the Káldy Bible. The Bethlen College, which he founded, was the most famous in Transylvania. György Rákóczi I. (1630-1648) succeeded Bethlen as Prince of Transylvania. Emperor Ferdinand III. did not acknowledge Rákóczi as Prince and sent Count Miklós Eszterházy to attack him but Rákóczi defeated him. AdoIf Gustav, the Swedish king, asked Rákóczi to continue Bethlen's policy but Rákóczi was unable to do so because he died at the Battle of Lutz in 1648.
Already during the Assembly of Vienna of 1620, there had been negotiations regarding the Hapsburgs' methods of ruling the Hungarians. Eggenberg, the second-in-command behind General Wallenstein, had advised Ferdinand II. that the Hungarians rebelled against the Hapsburgs because Ferdinand did not honor the Hungarian Constitution and the Hungarian customs. He told him that if he were to do so, the Hungarians would be most loyal to him, that the Hungarian military strength could not be denied, that the Hungarians were a heroic people, brave and warlike, and a considerable adversary. The Spanish ambassador disagreed and advised the Emperor to appoint governors of Hungary who would mercilessly suppress the Hungarians. If the Hungarians were to complain to the Emperor, he should plead ignorance of the situation and their complaints would be ignored. They would then conspire against the Emperor and look for a foreign alliance. As soon as that became known, it would give the Emperor the opportunity to confiscate the estates and treasures of the Hungarian leaders and render them harmless. It would then be easy to subdue the leaderless people and annihilate the Hungarians. The Spanish ambassador promised that the King of Spain would send 40,000 soldiers to help the Emperor, if he followed his advice. The Emperor accepted the advice of the Spanish ambassador and all the people present at the Assembly signed the document that contained this advice. They would have fulfilled that plan if the Thirty Years War had not at that time required the attention of the Hapsburgs.
After the death of György Rákóczi I in 1648, György Rákóczi II. became Prince of Transylvania (1648-1660). He caused the rapid decline of Transylvania because he set unreasonably high goals for himself. Besides fighting the Hapsburgs and the Turks, he wanted to become the King of Poland. He led an unsuccessful campaign to Poland and was taken prisoner by the Tartars together with his entire army. At the same time, the Turks overran Transylvania and took 100,000 prisoners as they devastated the country. The reason that the Turks came to Transylvania was that they too wanted to conquer Poland and the route to Poland was through Transylvania. After he was freed from Poland, György Rákóczi II. made an alliance with Emperor Leopold against the Turks but, when the Turks again attacked Transylvania, Leopold did not send any troops to aid him and the Turks again took 100,000 Hungarian prisoners to be slaves. At the Battle of Gyula, Ráikóczi received a fatal injury. The fratricide due to religious differences and the Turkish destruction in Transylvania were unceasing. As a result, the cultural level and the military power of the country declined. The Hapsburgs allowed Transylvania to be lost so that they could conquer and subdue the weakened people. Miklós Zrinyi, a famous Hungarian patriot, urged the Hapsburgs and the Hungarians to unite against the Turks but for twenty years the Hapsburgs ignored the plea.
Neither Emperor Matthias II. nor Emperor Ferdinand III. was able to accomplish the annexation of Hungary to Austria, as was outlined in the agreement, which was signed in 1620 at the Assembly of Vienna, because they were thwarted by the strength of Gábor Bethlen. However, Emperor Leopold was eventually successful. In 1663, the Turks broke into Hungary for the third time, and took another 100,000 prisoners. Emperor Leopold turned to the German aristocrats for help but he did not receive the help they promised. The Turks advanced to Olmutz. General Montecuccoli did not defend the city and the Turks were able to take it. The Turks conquered Nyitra, Léva, Érsekújvár, and almost took Pozsony. In the spring, Sultan Koprili decided to attack again and intended to cross the River Rába into Austrian territory. This time Montecuccoli was able to prevent him by taking 4000 hussars from Zrinyi's army and all the infantry and with the aid of the French and German cavalry, he defeated the Turks on August I, 1664.
Once again, here was an opportunity to expel the Turks from Hungarian territory but Zrinyi's plan was not accepted by Montecuccoli. Instead, in Leopold's name, Montecuccoli signed a Peace Treaty with The Turks at Vasvár in 1664, a treaty that was supposed to last for 20 years. According to the treaty, Emperor Leopold accepted Apafy as Prince of Transylvania (1662-1690). He gave several cities and castles to the Turks, blew up the castle at Székelyhíd and never let the Hungarian people know the conditions of the Treaty. This Peace Treaty of Vasvár was the betrayal of Hungary. As a result of the 30 Years War, the European military tactics had progressed to a much higher level than those of the Turks, which had remained on the same level as they were at the beginning of the war. It would have been an easy task to chase the Turks out of the Hungarian territory but the Hapsburgs did not do that because they saw that Hungary was still quite strong and they needed to weaken the country even further in order to subdue it. They estimated that in 20 years they would have enough time to weaken Hungary and also to conquer the Turks. They did not publish the conditions of the treaty because they knew that the Hungarian nation would not stand for the Emperor's betrayal of the country. They also knew that the Hungarian patriots, once they discovered that the Hapsburgs had sold out Hungary, would rebel and would have to ask the help of the Turks or the Germans. Then Leopold would accuse the Hungarian patriots of rebellion, would be able to get rid of the Hungarian leaders and the leaderless people would be easy to conquer, according to the plan which was signed in 1620 in Vienna.
After the signing of the Peace Treaty of Vasvár in 1664, Emperor Leopold left his foreign mercenaries in Hungary and again started more cruel persecution of the Protestants. The tyrannical Emperor had correctly predicted the outcome of his actions and he attained his goal. In the government, even the party that was on the Hapsburg side and the Catholic aristocracy, influenced by the Hapsburgs, were tired of the oppression and, under the leadership of Ferenc Wesselenyi, they decided to try to restore the Hungarian freedom and Constitution. Among the aristocrats, the Hapsburgs feared Miklos Zrinyi the most because in him they saw another István Bocskay or Gábor Bethlen. Therefore they employed a ruse that had been used several times before in German history to "remove" a person who was in the way. It is reported that Zrinyi died while hunting a wild boar. This was not the first time that a wild boar had killed a prominent Hungarian who was important for the Hungarians and whose disappearance would have profited the Germans. The son of King István I, Prince Imre (also a saint) was killed by a wild boar just three days before his coronation.
Zrinyi's death forced the Hungarian patriots to decide to act. They addressed Emperor Leopold one more time urging him to honor the Hungarian Constitution. If he were unwilling to do so then, according the right of the Golden Bull of 1222, para. 31, they should act to overthrow him. Their plan was, with Turkish intervention, to enlist the aid of Louis XIV. of France and, with the intervention of the Pope, the aid of the Polish king. With all these allies they would attack Emperor Leopold and take the Hungarian crown from him. They would crown the son of Louis XIV. King of Hungary. Although in the eyes of the Hapsburgs this was a conspiracy, and in the Hungarian history books it is also called a conspiracy, it really was not one because the Golden Bull gives the nation the right to overthrow the King if he does not rule according to the Constitution. Viceroy Wesselenyi was the leader of this group, which planned to take the Hungarian crown from the Emperor for the benefit of the Hungarian nation. Unfortunately, Wesselenyi died suddenly and the group of patriots was left without a leader. Their intentions became known publicly because a Turkish interpreter disclosed their plan. All the patriots were decapitated and their estates confiscated.
Hungarian refugees fled to the Turks for aid against the Hapsburgs and the Turks attacked but the Hapsburg generals defeated them. This Hapsburg victory against the Turks in 1675, encouraged the Emperor to increase the severity of the persecution of the Hungarians in Transylvania and in Hungary. Once again, he abolished the position of Viceroy and began mass executions of Hungarians.
On the suggestion of Duke Lobkovitz and General Montecuccoli, Emperor Leopold decided to annex Hungary to Austria. This announcement was published and as a result Hungarians, Protestant and Catholic alike, were persecuted and imprisoned or killed and their estates confiscated. In Löcse, a new Martial Law Court was established and three hundred families were sentenced to death. The taxes which were imposed on the Hungarians were collected by whatever means were possible, using torture if necessary. That situation was somewhat less severe when Lobkovitz lost favor with Leopold and was replaced but the reprieve was only temporary. In 1675, three hundred and thirty-six Protestant ministers were imprisoned and their belongings confiscated. They were told that, if they converted to Catholicism or left the country, they would have their freedom and their belongings returned. Those who did not accept these offers, were handcuffed and had to walk to Naples, Italy, where they were sold as galley slaves. Some who survived this ordeal were freed by the Dutch Admiral Ruyter. Benedek Baráthosi-Balogh writes that the situation in Hungary was worse only after the Tartar devastation. It looked as if the Hungarians would be annihilated.
At this time, a few Hungarian patriots decided it would be better to die with sword in hand than to wait for the executioner to kill the last Hungarian. In a few days' time, 15,000 patriotic Hungarians, called "Kuruc", gathered together and defeated the German army at Enyicke, Eperjes and Kassa (now Kosice in Slovakia). Emperor Leopold retaliated by capturing 22 Hungarian "Kuruc" soldiers whom he impaled and 42 whom he ordered to be decapitated.
It became clear to the Hungarian people that the Hapsburgs were a greater menace than the Turks. An army of 20,000 men gathered under the leadership of Imre Thököly. Louis XIV. of France sent a delegate to Thököly encouraging resistance against the Hapsburgs and promising help. Thököly won many battles against Leopold's generals in a short time. There was a real danger of war between the Hapsburgs and the French so Leopold was forced to give in to the demands of Thököly. In 1681, he ordered a National Assembly which he opened. He invited Thököly to that Assembly but Thököly only sent a proclamation in which he demanded adherence to the Hungarian Constitution, freedom of religion, the enforcement of the Treaty of Vienna and the reinstatement of the right to elect the viceroy. Leopold conceded but the Hungarian aristocracy was not satisfied and demanded more. While the National Assembly was taking place, Thököly, with his army of 20,000, started to move towards the place where the Assembly was held and at the same time, the French defeated the army of Leopold at Strasbourg. Thökö1y recruited more soldiers with the motto: "For God and Freedom". With the help of Apafy, the Prince of Transylvania, he conquered northern Hungary (now Slovakia). Thirteen Hungarian counties elected Thökö1y as Prince of Hungary and the Turks announced that he was King, but he did not accept the crown, only the title of Prince of Hungary.
Leopold promised large territories to the Turks if they would give up their support of Thököly, but the Turks did not accept the offer. Instead, the Sultan attacked Leopold with an army of 200,000, encircling Vienna. The Emperor fled to Linz. Franz of Lotharingia, with 40,000 German soldiers, was afraid to attack the Turks. Pope Innocent XI. convinced the Polish king, János Sobieski, to help the Emperor. With 100,000 men and heavy cannon-fire, he surprised the Turks and they fled in panic. Sobieski engaged the Turks in a second battle and, after defeating them again, he went home to Poland. With these two victories, he saved the Hapsburgs and crushed the Hungarian freedom fights. It is interesting to note that when the security of Vienna was at stake, Europe came into action, but at the fall of Buda, nobody moved.
On January 12, 1684, Leopold promised to pardon all those who came to Pozsony on February 24, and swore allegiance to him. The representatives of twelve Hungarian counties appeared on that date. Thököly tried to influence these representatives to his side but many of them went onto the side of the Emperor. At the same time, Thököly called an Assembly at Eperjes, where he advocated continuing the war against the Hapsburgs. At Várad, the Turkish Pasha captured Thököly, threw him in irons and took him to Buda. With this action, he wanted to please Leopold. Therefore the Kuruc army, without a leader, was dispersed and the soldiers joined the Hapsburg army, which had intended to free Buda from the Turks.
At that time the German mercenaries took the opportunity to reconquer the castles of northern Hungary. The only castle that they could not take was the Castle of Munkács which was defended by the wife of Thököly, Ilona Zrinyi, who had defended the castle for three full years against the German attacks. On September 2, 1686, after 150 years of Turkish occupation, with the aid of the Hapsburgs, the Castle of Buda was finally freed from the Turks.
After the "liberation" of Buda, General Karaffa, the Hapsburg general, had a scaffold constructed under his windows and enjoyed watching the tortures unfold. His order was: "Everyone who speaks Hungarian and who is taller than a yard must be cut into pieces." Colonel Wallisch, President of the Court of Law with Power over Life and Death (the Blood Council), resigned because he could not stand the sights on the scaffold.
The Hungarian populace was very much diminished after these long wars but because of the "liberation" by the Hapsburgs in 1686, it was almost completely annihilated. A large part of the country became desolate and in the empty places the Hapsburgs settled all kinds of European adventurers, but mainly Germans. The Hapsburg goal was to weaken the Protestant German power and strengthen the power of the Hapsburgs in Hungary. The Germans at that time were starting to overcome the bloodshed of the Thirty Years War and become stronger. By settling Germans in Hungary, the Hapsburgs succeeded in weakening Germany again. The Hapsburgs knew that foreign settlements into Hungary would change the social composition and the vitality of the Hungarian people. In order to further their intentions of destroying the Hungarian people, they ordered that twice a year, all the criminals, and those suffering from syphilis and other venereal diseases, including prostitutes be brought by boat on the Danube from the territories of Germany and Austria. Emperor Leopold decorated Karaffa with the title of Field-Marshall and the title of Knight of the Golden Fleece because he did such outstanding work in carrying out his cruel orders. In 1697, the Emperor passed a law which declared that anyone who killed a Hungarian "rebel" would be rewarded with the gift of half of the estate of that "rebel". As a result many foreigners became "Hungarian" aristocrats. There were at least 87 well known foreigners among the aristocrats in the government of Hungary.
Leopold accepted General Kolonics' plan to administer the territories taken from the Turks. He proposed to apply the same rules as were in effect in Austrian territories. He intended to annex Hungary to Austria officially and he asked the Hungarian aristocracy's approval of his plan. When they did not accept, Leopold retaliated by passing a law which decreed that, in order to reclaim their estates on the territory which he had taken back from the Turks, the Hungarians had to prove on paper that that land was their property. If they did not have the papers to show their ownership, the land was confiscated. Those who had ownership papers had to pay a heavy "contribution" to get their land back. If they did not have the money, the land was confiscated and given to foreigners. The territory of Kunság was sold for half a million gold pieces to a German Order of Knights.
At that time, Eugene Szavoyai became the Commander in Chief of the Hapsburg army. He attacked the Turks who were retreating from Hungary, defeated them and confiscated all their cannons. So the Sultan was forced to make the Peace Treaty of Karlowitz with the Hapsburgs. In this Peace Treaty, all the countries which had had any connection with the Turks were mentioned except for Hungary. According to the Hapsburgs, Hungary did not exist as an independent nation. The first point of the Peace Treaty specified that Transylvania and Hungary were Hapsburg territories except for the territory of Bánság. The castle of Békés, which was in Turkish hands, did not surrender for eight years. The Austrian generals could not take the castle and they blamed their failure to do so on the Hungarian people who, they said, were supporting the Turks. In retaliation, Leopold simply scattered the populace of 62 Hungarian villages most of whom died.
Emperor Leopold sold more than half of these Hungarian territories, which he had taken back from the Turks, to Germans and Austrians and he instituted a new tax on the people to raise money for the military. The enormous amount of money that he gathered was invested in the Wars of Spanish Succession.
In 1703, the extortion of the Hungarian nation had increased so much that it resulted in another uprising. Ferenc Rákóczi II. and Miklós Bercsényi, together with the French court, found the situation ripe to shake the German and Hapsburg yoke from the Magyar people. The cause looked easier because Emperor Leopold had withdrawn 15,000 of his soldiers from Hungary and sent them to fight the Wars of Spanish Succession. Tamás Esze, the Kuruc lieutenant, with a batallion of 200 men, joined Ferenc Rákóczi II. who had just returned from Poland. In a few days that little group had grown to a remarkable force, with the aid of Polish units. They were able to free Transylvania and several Hungarian cities from the Hapsburgs. In a short time, the entire territory of Transdanubia was in the hands of the Kuruc. Peace negotiations were begun with Emperor Leopold. Ferenc Rákóczi II. sent a proclamation to every European court in which he named all the unlawful acts which Leopold had continuously committed for decades against the Hungarian people. Rákóczi said that, to shake off the Hapsburg yoke and free the Hungarian people, he would sacrifice all his treasures and even his life. He was not prompted by a desire to rule or by a desire for revenge but he hoped that God would help the Hungarian people in their struggle.
The army of the Emperor, with Heister as leader, defeated the Bavarian and French armies so the Hapsburg army transferred soldiers, broke into Transdanubia, and continued their indescribable cruelties. They massacred the populace of the cities and whipped naked women, and children. In 1705, in desperation, the Hungarians gathered another 50,000 soldiers for the army of Rákóczi. This army forced Leopold to another round of negotiations but they could not agree and during the negotiations, Leopold died. Emperor Joseph Hapsburg I. agreed to consider their demands but, when Miklós Bercsényi and the Hungarian confederated aristocracy presented their 23 points, Joseph only partially conceded. He refused to allow Transylvania to participate in the National Assembly at Nagyszombat and also demanded complete homage from Hungary.
The Transylvanian aristocracy elected Ferenc Rákóczi II. Prince of Transylvania in 1705. The Hungarian aristocracy had already elected him Prince of Hungary. At the National Assembly at Ónód, the aristocrats almost unanimously supported Rákóczi's proposal to revolt against the Hapsburg oppressors. They received the encouragement of the French King Louis XIV. to break away from Austria and at once declared independence and refused to accept Emperor Joseph Hapsburg as King of Hungary. They declared Hungarian individuals in high positions, who were reluctant to join the Hungarian dissidents, to be the enemies of the Hungarian nation, stripped them of their rank and confiscated all their possessions.
The Hungarian Viceroy Eszterházy did not acknowledge this declaration of independence from the Hapsburgs and he sent a proclamation to all the European rulers in which he acknowledged Emperor Joseph I. as the legitimate King of Hungary. At the same time, Joseph I. was recruiting a new army. His Field Marshall, Heister, wrote in a letter in 1706, that the only way to obtain peace would be to annihilate the Hungarians. Peace negotiations between Rákóczi and the Emperor were fruitless because Joseph I. was victorious in the War of Spanish Succession. He knew that he could transfer his army from Spain and put down the Hungarian revolution. Therefore at the National Assembly of March 15, 1709, he declared that, if the male side of the House of Hapsburg should die out, a female Hapsburg could inherit the Hungarian throne.
In 1710, Ferenc Rákóczi II. made such an easily accepted peace offering to the Hapsburgs that England, Holland and Prussia supported his proposals and promised help but Joseph I. did not want to hear of peace because he had won over the Hungarian Catholic Church to his side. The allies did not keep their promise of help and a great sense of dejection came over the Kuruc army. Many of the soldiers accepted the Emperor's peace proposals, which were delivered by Pálffy, the commander-in-chief of the Emperor's army. Rákóczi negotiated with Pálffy who suggested that they both ask mercy of the Emperor and accept the inevitable. Rákóczi himself wrote and asked mercy for his soldiers but the Hungarian and Transylvanian aristocracy disapproved of his action. Therefore he departed to Poland to seek some help.
In Rákóczi's absence, Sándor Károlyi betrayed him and made a Peace Treaty with the Emperor in 1711. He sold out the Hungarians for 50,000 forints. Because he did not find this enough payment for his betrayal, he asked for some of the confiscated Rákóczi territories and received the land. So that he could live in security on that land, he had to employ Germans to protect him. ( It is interesting to note that, in 1919, a descendant of Sándor Károlyi, Mihály Károlyi, also betrayed Hungary by allowing Communism to take hold in Hungary.)
After the failure of the Rákóczi freedom fight, the Hungarian nation's independence was no longer recognized. The nation was saved from extinction only by the tenacity of the Hungarian people. At that time, in spite of the many settlements of foreigners in Hungary, the Hungarian nation remained Hungarian because they were able to absorb the many minorities and give them the feeling that they were Hungarians. To be Hungarian at that time was something to be proud of. The memory of Atilla, the King of the Huns, was still revered. But when Transylvania fell into the hands of the Hapsburgs, the many sufferings the Hungarians had endured forced them to migrate out of Transylvania and Hungary. The neighboring countries absorbed the Hungarian refugees.
Rákóczi was the richest aristocrat of this era. He did not need to fight for Hungarian freedom. He did not have to jeopardize his enormous estate, but he could not bear the sight of the suffering and destruction of his own people. If he had given up all he had fought for and had gone over to the Hapsburg side, he could have kept all his estates but he did not accept the mercy of the Emperor. He preferred to lose everything and go into exile. He was unable to betray his people. The freedom fight of Rákóczi failed but the Hungarian people gained an everlasting inspiration to be loyal to their ideas and to be brave, to develop character, perseverance and virtue, qualities which have strengthened the Hungarians throughout the centuries.
The Hungarians, now exhausted, had restored peace with the Emperor and now needed to rebuild their country after centuries of warfare and devastation. The Hungarian parliament, under the influence of the Austrians, accepted the stationing of foreign troops in Hungary and Hungary was virtually held captive. The government of the country was in foreign hands; the army was under the command of Vienna and the financial affairs of Hungary were directed by the Austrians. Emperor Charles Hapsburg proceeded to fill the territories depopulated by the devastations of the Turks with German immigrants, loyal to him, granting them immunity from taxation and giving them houses and livestock. He also admitted waves of immigrants from the two Vlach (Rumanian) provinces and the northern Balkans who settled in the Great Hungarian Plain.
The Hungarian peasants were heavily taxed to maintain the foreign armies and finance the benefits enjoyed by the alien immigrants. Very little of the money raised by taxes was used for the development of the country. Charles used Hungarian money to pay back the Austrian debts. Hungary became merely a colony of the Hapsburg Empire.
At the time of her accession as Empress in 1740, at the age of twenty-three, Maria Theresa became involved in a struggle to keep her throne. The War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748) broke out and the Empire was in danger of breaking up. The young Maria-Theresa appealed to the Hungarians for help and, with this aid of 100,000 Hungarian soldiers, Maria-Theresa's throne was saved. Throughout her reign, Maria-Theresa showed concern for her subjects. She reformed the poor laws in Hungary and in 1769, she founded the faculty of medicine at the University of Nagyszombat. She also reformed the entire educational system in Hungary. In spite of her benevolence toward the Hungarians, Maria-Theresa was first of all a Hapsburg and an absolute monarch. She therefore strengthened the central organization of her empire and Hungary remained a colony of Austria. The Hungarians could never forget that they were in fact captives.
Another area of concern for the Hungarians was Maria-Theresa's continuation of her father's policy of settling foreigners in Hungary. She encouraged the shepherds from the Balkans (Vlachs) to settle in Transylvania and the eastern fringes of the Great Hungarian Plain. Their increasing numbers created problems for the country which culminated in the Rumanian claim to Transylvania in the twentieth century.
Under Maria-Theresa, the Hungarians experienced a period of forty years of comparative peace. Maria Theresa was benevolent toward them but her son, Joseph II., who succeeded her in 1780, was more severe. His aim was to create a single Austrian monarchy out of his numerous provinces. In 1784, he introduced German as the official language in Hungary and made knowledge of the German language a condition for appointment to public offices and admission to secondary schools. In this way most Hungarians were disqualified from participating in the affairs of the country and from receiving higher education.
In 1787, Joseph became involved in a war with the Turks and forced the Hungarian soldiers to fight for the Empire. He imposed heavy taxes on Hungary to pay for the war. The Hungarians became restless and began to prepare for another revolt. In 1790 Joseph died, leaving Hungary in chaos. The Hungarians who had remained subservient to Maria Theresa, could take no more of Joseph's despotic rule and they now began to demand more freedom.
Leopold II., the younger brother of Joseph II., inherited an empire in a state of collapse. The Hungarian nobility demanded more participation in their Constitution and the Hungarian regiments in the army demanded Hungarian officers and the introduction of Hungarian as their official language. Leopold allowed the Hungarian parliament to meet at Buda for the first time since the time of János Szapolyai (1540). The opening speeches were in Hungarian and one of the first laws passed required members of the nobility to wear the Hungarian national costume. There were demands for radical constitutional reforms - the setting up of a Hungarian senate for the government of Hungary, a separate Hungarian army, independence in foreign affairs and finance and the union of Transylvania with Hungary.
Leopold's tactic was to ignore the demands and set the minorities in the country against each other and against the Hungarians, but eventually he had to concede to some of the demands of the Hungarians. In March 1791 they compromised with a declaration that Hungary was a free and independent state within the Empire. The legislative power was given to the King and parliament jointly and the king (Leopold) was to call parliament together every three years. Leopold also enabled Hungarians to participate in foreign affairs.
In 1792, Leopold's eldest son, Francis I., succeeded him. Francis, like Joseph II., was determined to maintain royal absolutism. He did not trust the Hungarians and, on the advice of his anti-Hungarian ministers, he introduced the methods of a police-state. All new ideas were regarded with suspicion but in spite of this there was a revival of Hungarian language and literature. Count Ferenc Széchenyi established a National Museum in 1807 and founded the Ludovika Academy for the training of Hungarian officers in 1808.
Hungary was not involved in the Napoleonic Wars but in 1809, Napoleon reached Vienna and called on Hungarians to regain their national independence and elect a Hungarian king. The Hungarian nobility, however, did not take up the challenge but continued to support the Emperor. Because of the war, the Austrian state debt grew out of proportion and the Monarchy went officially bankrupt in 1811. The Hungarians became more and more reluctant to support the unsuccessful wars and continue to send financial aid to the Emperor and they demanded reforms. Francis dissolved the Hungarian parliament in 1812 and did not reconvene it for thirteen years, relying on police state methods to keep the country under control.
By the time the Hungarian parliament assembled in 1825, there had been a national awakening. Nationalistic poets like Miklos Vörösmarty gave the Hungarians a new sense of pride in their past. The nobles demanded and end to censorship, complete freedom of the press and the introduction of Hungarian as the official language of Hungary. Count István Széchenyi proposed the foundation of a Hungarian Academy of Science and the proposal was accepted. In 1832, he proposed the erection of a bridge linking Buda and Pest and, during the next few years, he took part in many economic and industrial projects.
In the parliament of 1832-1836, the supporters of the reform movement organized themselves into a party. Ferenc Kölcsey, Ferenc Deák and Lajos Kossuth worked for the liberal reforms. Kossuth published strong liberal parliamentary reports which were widely read and influenced public opinion. In 1835, Francis I. died and was succeeded by his son Ferdinand V., who was mentally disabled. A council of state ruled in his name, which decided to force the reformists in Hungary into submission. They persecuted Kossuth and other liberal writers, sentencing them to prison. This political persecution caused much distress among Hungarians, but the parliament of 1839/40 made some legislative reforms. Kossuth was released from prison and founded a daily newspaper in Pest. He was an outstanding writer and orator and became the leader of liberalism in Hungary. His aim was not only to effect social reform but also to restore the independence of Hungary, lost after the Battle of Mohács in 1526.
In 1843, when Parliament reconvened, it was obvious that Hungary was trying to break away from Austria. Hungarian was now the official language of Parliament, the Supreme Court and the schools. There was a spread of nationalism in Hungary, among Hungarians and also the national minorities living in Hungary. In 1845, the bridge linking Buda and Pest was finally completed and made possible the union of the two cities as the capital of Hungary.
In 1847, the Hungarian parliament assembled again with two parties, liberal and Conservatives. Kossuth assumed leadership of the liberals. There were long discussions about political reforms. In February and March 1848, revolutions broke out in France and Vienna and on March 15, 1848, the young intellectuals and students of Pest revolted against the Austrian oppression. The Hungarian parliament passed laws for the freedom of the press, freedom of speech, the union of Hungary with Transylvania and the setting up of a national army. The country had achieved national independence from Austria without bloodshed.
The Austrians, determined to preserve their dominance over the Hungarians agitated the minorities to rise up against Hungary and demand separate territories. The Emperor intended to revoke all the reforms passed by the Hungarian parliament. On October 3, the Emperor declared martial law in Hungary. Kossuth traveled from town to town calling the Hungarians to arms and a huge volunteer army was raised in a very short time. They fought the Austrians with courage and enthusiasm and caused the imperial army heavy losses. In 1849, the Hungarian Commander, Artur Görgey again went on the attack and scored a number of victories forcing the Austrians out of Hungary. On April 14, the Hungarian parliament declared the independence of Hungary and elected Kossuth as Regent. The Emperor Franz Joseph now sought the help of the Russians. The Czar Nicholas I., obliged by sending an army of 200,000 men. The Austrian army of 170,000 men attacked from the west. Although the Hungarian army of 150,000 men fought heroically against the two Emperors, they were outnumbered and they were forced to surrender. The revolution had failed.
After the Austrians had successfully crushed the Hungarian uprising, they again ruled Hungary with police-state methods. German again became the official language of the public administration and higher education, and Hungary again became a province of the Hapsburg Empire, financially exploited and politically oppressed. Kossuth sought refuge in Turkey and later in the United States. He continued to keep in contact with the people of Hungary and had a strong influence on public opinion. Under the political oppression, there was always the possibility of rebellion and the Austrian Emperor, Franz-Joseph, finally decided he would compromise with the Hungarians. In February, 1867, he confirmed most of the reforms of 1848, accepting the proposal of joint ministries for Austria and Hungary. Hungary and Austria were to function independently of one another but the Emperor would be King of Hungary. Thus the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was formed. This arrangement was not acceptable to all Hungarians and a period of unrest followed. The Independence Party continued to demand a separate Hungarian Army and Hungarian National Bank but these demands continued to be refused. The national minorities were restless and, over a period of thirty years, the relationship with Austria caused much discontent among the Hungarians. In 1914, Serbian agents murdered the Austrian Archduke Franz-Ferdinand and the Austrians retaliated causing the outbreak of the First World War. Hungary, bound to Austria in the Dual Monarchy was an unwilling participant in the War and forced to fight on the side of Germany. In 1919, the Communist Party came into power in Hungary and a reign of terror followed. In the Treaty of Trianon, 1920, Hungary was punished for its participation in the war, by having almost three quarters of its territory and two thirds of its population taken away. Anthony Endrey states: "The historic Hungarian state, which comprised the entire Carpathian Basin and formed a perfect geographic and economic unit, was dismembered into six artificial parts ....
“Nearly three and a half million Magyars, often living in compact blocs in areas contiguous with the new frontiers, were torn away from Hungary and placed under foreign rule in the newly created states of Czechoslovakia and Jugoslavia and the formerly much smaller Rumania." This was done without a plebiscite, ignoring Woodrow Wilson's declaration that every nation has a right to self-determination.
"Little Hungary" under the Regent, Admiral Horthy, tried to recover from the War. The economy made good progress until 1929 when the Great Depression reached Hungary. The Regent appointed Gyula Gömbös as premier in 1932. Gömbös pulled Hungary out of the Depression and when he died in 1936, the country was well on the road to economic recovery.
When World War II broke out in 1939, Hungary declared its neutrality. Count PáI Teleki, who was appointed to be Premier of Hungary in that same year, made every effort to keep Hungary out of the war. In spite of his efforts, in 1942, Hungary was forced to fight on the side of Germany. Hungary was under German occupation. In 1944, Soviet forces invaded Hungary and Hungary became the battleground for the Germans and the Soviets. Finally the Hungarians were forced to surrender to the Soviet army.
The Communist Party came into power in Soviet-occupied Hungary and the country was effectively again a police-state. The political oppression and the economic exploitation by the Soviets continued and the people of Hungary lived under a reign of terror. Finally, on October 23, 1956, the Hungarians could take no more and revolution broke out. The Communist Party collapsed and the Russian occupation forces were driven from Budapest. The government asked for the protection of the United Nations. The United Nations, preoccupied with the Suez Canal crisis, did not respond. The United States considered this an internal affair of the Soviet Union and did not intervene, so the Red Army was able to invade Hungary again on November 4, 1956 and, after a struggle that lasted several weeks, the freedom fighters were subdued.
With the Communists back in control under János Kádár, 2000 young Hungarian freedom-fighters, many of them teenagers, were hanged and over 20,000 people imprisoned including many intellectuals and prominent writers. After five years of severe repression, the discontent was still simmering and the Soviets wanted to avoid another uprising. They decided to lessen the political oppression and give the people a little more freedom. The economic situation improved and Hungary was presented to the world as a place in which "socialism" was successful. The Communist rule was firmly established and with the new freedoms and an improved standard of living, the people were less likely to revolt. However, there was still no freedom of the press or freedom of speech. The Communists continued in power until very recently. With the collapse of Communism in 1990, the Communist government of Hungary was replaced by the Hungarian Democratic Forum, with József Antall as Prime Minister. Free elections took place in 1994 but, because the patriotic "Christian Democratic" parties did not have the same financial support and media coverage as the Communist party, they did not muster up the number of votes they needed and the Communist party returned to power under the name of the Hungarian Socialist Party, led by Gyula Horn.
Under the Communist regime, the true history of Hungary was not taught in the schools. Students in Hungary were taught that their ancestors were the nomadic, barbaric Magyars who descended from the primitive Finno-Ugric tribes who lived in northern Siberia. In fact this is the version that is taught in schools outside of Hungary and which is found in the Encyclopedia today. Until 1848, the Hungarians proudly acknowledged the Huns and Avars as their ancestors. After the Revolution of 1848, the Hapsburgs wished to keep the Hungarians under their yoke so they propagated the Finno-Ugric hypothesis. Obviously people without pride in their origin, whose nationalistic feelings have been suppressed would be less likely to revolt against the Empire. The Soviets adopted the same line of reasoning and the censorship, which began under the Hapsburgs, was continued under the Communists.
Count István Széchenyi, when he founded the Hungarian Academy of Science in 1825 for the preservation of Hungarian national heritage and research, had no idea that this same Academy would work against the interests of the Hungarians. After the Hungarians rose up against the Hapsburgs in 1848, the Hapsburgs appointed Austrians to the professorships in the Hungarian Academy and made it impossible for anyone to research along lines which did not agree with their rigid, pre-fabricated Finno-Ugric hypothesis of the origins of the Magyars. For more than a century, every attempt at research into the ancient history has met with mockery or was silenced with authority.
Colonel Henry Rawlinson was the first to discover the link between the Sumerians and the Hungarians. When he discovered the Behistun inscriptions on a cliff in Iran in 1853, he copied them at the risk of his life and began to decipher them. His assistant was a Hungarian, Jácint Rónai, a Benedictine father who, with the help of the "Magyar" language, led Colonel Rawlinson to his decipherment. On this basis, Colonel Rawlinson declared that the cuneiform was written in a "Scythian" language.
Colonel Rawlinson and his team of scholars decided that they needed to turn to the Hungarian Academy of Science in Budapest, in the hope that the Academy would take over the exciting task of deciphering the cuneiform writing. But Colonel Rawlinson and his colleagues did not realize the seriousness of the political situation in Hungary in 1853. At the time of their approach to the Hungarian Academy of Science, Hungary was under the oppressive political, social and cultural control of Austria. Under such circumstances, it was not possible for the Hungarian scholars to work freely and objectively for the identification of the cuneiform writings. Moreover, any such attempt met with the unsympathetic and suspicious response of the authorities.
Other foreign scholars began to study the Hungarian-Sumerian connection. Jules Oppert in 1869, A.H. Sayce in 1870 and François Lenormant in 1874, all published their research in their own countries. The Austrian-appointed professors of the Hungarian Academy of Science, who did not even speak Hungarian, flatly rejected the statements of Lenormant, Oppert and Sayce, that the cuneiform writing was in a Turanian language. Joseph Budenz,who did not speak Hungarian, yet who was appointed Professor of Hungarian Linguistic Science, stated:
"The cuneiform writing is not an Ural-Altaic idiom. It is possibly an agglutinative, even a Turanian language, but we firmly reject the Turanian label as unjustified and unscientific, if it includes the Finno-Ugrian, Samoyed and Turkish languages."
There was no chair at the Academy of Science for the research and teaching of any theory of ancient origins other than the Finno-Ugric theory and no money to support the research of any other theory. If the Hungarian people had realized that their ancestry was so ancient, the Hapsburgs and, more recently the Soviets, could not have kept them under their control. From time to time there were historians who tried to research the ancient history but they were mocked and their work suppressed. The methods of the Hapsburgs, which oppressed the Hungarian spirit and scientific freedom, were well-known in Europe, so Jules Oppert, in 1869, named the cuneiform writing "SUME-ER" and stated that the Hungarian language is related to it. He proved this statement with examples from grammatical and lexical material.
A.H. Sayce also accepted Oppert's conclusions and traveled to Budapest to learn Hungarian.
Only after World War I., did the Hungarian scholars begin to study the relationship between the Hungarian and Sumerian languages. Unfortunately, even in present day Hungary, conditions are not fully open to the research into the ancient origins. Some well-documented books have been written but they received no support from the Academy of Science and had to be published privately. The Finno-Ugric department attacked their authenticity.
Another reason for the predominance of the Finno-Ugric theory over such a long period of time is that it was impossible for professors of this hypothesis to change their opinions and espouse a different theory. By so doing, they would lose their positions. Until the Academy of Science allows open research into Hungarian ancient history and linguistic studies, there is no possibility for a fundamental change, even if the new theory were to be supported by indisputable proofs. We will not receive a true picture of the history of the Magyars until the research of the ancient populace of the Carpathian Basin is completed.
 Baráthosi-Balogh, Benedek: A Magyarírtó Hapsburgok, Buenos Aires, 1976, p.35
 Ibid. p.35
 Zakar, András: Elhallgatott fejezetek a Magyar történelembő1, Switzerland, 1976, p.18
 Kunszabó, Ferenc: És ég az Oltár, Budapest, 1984, p. 84.
 Endrey, Anthony: Hungarian History, Part III, Melbourne, 1981, p. 93
 Rawlinson, H.C.: Resumé d'une communication de l'Asiatic Society, London, 1853, p.228; Badiny-Jós, Ferenc: The Sumerian Wonder, Buenos Aires, 1974, p. 15
 Lenormant, François: Les Principes de Comparaison de l'Accadien et des langues touraniennes. Réponse d’une critique. Paris, 1876. (Revue de Philologie et d'Ethnographie, T. II. p.98); Badiny: Op.Cit. p.16
 Oppert, Jules: Comptes rendues de la Société française de numismatique et d'archéologique, Paris, 1869, T.I. pp.73-76; Badiny: Op. Cit. p. 17
 Sayce: A.H.: On an Akkadian Seal. Journal of Philology, 1871, Vol. III.