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History of Hungary - Historic Encyclopedia Entries



Meyer 1902-1909



Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1902-1909, Article : Ungarn (excerpts)
         After the death of Charles III. [= Emperor Karl / Charles VI., the third king of Hungary by that name] (October 20th 1740), according to the Pragmatic Sanction, which had been accepted by the Estates in 1722/1723, his daughter Maria Theresia succeeded to the throne (1740-1780), which she defended with the support of the Estates, which were willing to make sacrifices, against half of Europe. In gratitude, the Queen strove industriously to elevate culture and material progress. But as the Estates stubbornly held on to their privileges and did not want to agree to timely reforms (taxation of the nobility, improvement of the conditions of the serfs), after 1763 she no longer called for the diet to assemble, and implemented the reforms, as far as possible, by the way of decrees (urbarium, improvements in education under state supervision). Joseph II. (1780-1790) continued the reform policy in haste. In order not to be bound by the coronation oath, he did not have himself crowned, in consequence of which even his timely decrees were received with suspicion. As he did in Austria, also in Hungary he confiscated monasteries, granted the Protestants an Edict of Tolerance (which did not satisfy them), fought class differences, guild privileges, and he fought the autonomy of the Comitats which made difficult the planned establishment of a unitary combined monarchy. A new land tax law (which indirectly contributed to the insurrection of the Vlach peasants against their Hungarian landlords), by the introduction of German as the language of administration and by the hundredfold violation of the constitution he embittered the Comitat nobility to such an extent, that Baron Hompesch leading a deputation offered the Hungarian crown to the King of Prussia, and then to Karl Wilhelm of Weimar. Severely fallen ill during the unfortunate campaign against Turkey, Joseph II. in the face of the collapse of his system had to withdraw almost all his decrees. His brother Leopold II. (1790-1792) hurried to convoke the diet, to calm down the spirits, and to have himself crowned. But the Estates defended the threatened constitution with new guarantees. Franz I. (1792-1835), under the impact of the events of the French Revolution, but especially after Martinovich's Conspiracy had been uncovered, returned to an absolutist style of government, and convoked diets only in order to have taxes and soldiers approved. The Estates showed themselves willing to make sacrifices, as Napoleon's call on them to desert Franz I. had remained unanswered. Still, Metternich, from 1812 to 1825 did not convoke any diet, he arbitrarily collected increased taxes, drafted recruits and prepared for the annexation of the exhausted country into Austria.
Against expectations, Metternich, by the courageous action of several Comitats and by the revitalized patriotic literature, found himself forced to convoke the Hungarian diet. Thus Hungary entered the period of Reform Diets (1825-1848), which resulted in the country's resurrection and its transformation into a modern state. The Reform Party, first lead by Count Stefan Szechenyi, the founder of the Hungarian Academy, later by Deak, Kölcsei and finally by Ludwig Kossuth, not only had to deal with the resistance of the Viennese court, but also with the old conservative, reactionary elements in the House of Magnates, but despite these odds, gradually made progress. Already the Diet of Pressburg [in Hungarian : Pozsony, present-day Bratislava] from 1832 to 1836 the fate of the serfs was improved. Under Ferdinand V. (1835-1848) the Hungarian language was introduced in the higher levels of administration, later (in addition to Latin) as the language of legislation; in 1839-1840 the serfs were offered the opportunity to gain freedom; in 1843-1844 non-nobles were being admitted to offices (hitherto exclusively held by nobles); a domestic industry was supported. After a final attempt by Metternich to break the power of the opposition rooted in the Comitats by administrators had failed, and the two groups of the opposition, the Doctrinaries or Centralists (Eötvös, Lad, Szalay, Trefort) and the Comitat Autonomists (Kossuth) had agreed on the program drafted br Franz Deak on the eve of the elections, the Liberal opposition gained a great victory and Ferdinand V. opened the Diet in Pressburg on November 12th 1847 with a speech in Hungarian.

The Revolution of 1848/1849 and its Consequences
         News of the outbreak of the Paris February Revolution and of the March Events in Vienna induced the opposition to act more energetically. Their wishes aimed at the introduction of a new democratic-liberal constitution and the appointment of a Hungarian responsible cabinet (instead of the old court chambers). At the proposal of Kossuth a deputation of the diet on March 16th in Vienna handed an address to the king containing these demands, which were granted by Ferdinand V. Count Ludwig Batthyany was appointed prime minister, Deak, Kossuth, Szechenyi, Szemere and other Liberals were appointed members of the cabinet. The diet abolished serfdom with all feudal burdens (corvee), the clergy voluntarily gave up the tithe. Equality in front of the law, equal status of all Christian confessions, the union with Transylvania were declared, freedom of the press and trial by jury introduced, the transition of an Estate Diet in a popular representation composed by direct election decided. After the king, on April 11th at the end of the diet, had approved the basic laws of 1848, the cabinet which had moved to Pest took on the implementation of the latter, but soon had to deal with the hostile position of several non-Magyar nationalities, which hated the rigid Magyar unitary state. First the Croats, then the Romanians declared their secession from Hungary (see under Transylvania). The former rallied around General Jellachich, who on March 23rd had been appointed Ban. The newly elected Hungarian diet on July 11th approved to the cabinet a militia of 200,000 men (Honved) and 42 million Florin to suppress the Southern Slav desire of secession. But the court, encouraged by Radetzky's victories in Italy, refused to approve these decisions. When the diet, at the proposal of Kossuth, demanded energetic action against the Croat rebellion, the relocation of the Hungarian court to Pest and the relocation of all Hungarian regiments into Hungary, these demands on September 9th were rejected, and Jellachich, hitherto treated as a transgressor, was restored in his honours and offices. In response, Jellachich (on September 11th) with the Croat forces crossed the Hungarian border, in a proclamation declaring the establishment of a unitary Austrian state as his goal. The diet now appointed Archduke-Palatine Stephan supreme commander of the Hungarian army, and when he at the command of the Viennese court resigned his position, leadership of the defense was given to a committee under the presidency of Kossuth. Count Lambert, appointed supreme commander and royal commissioner of Hungary by the Emperor, was not recognized by the diet, and on September 28th murdered by the mob on the bridge connecting Ofen [Buda] and Pest. On September 29th near Velencze the first skirmish between Croat and Hungarian forces took place, in which Jellachich was defeated and pushed back toward Vienna. But already on October 3rd an Imperial manifesto dissolved the Hungarian diet, declared its decisions for null and void, and appointed Jellachich as the alter ego of the Emperor in Hungary. The Vienna October Rebellion postponed the Imperial measures against Hungary, but because the still untrained Honveds arrived too late to relieve Vienna, and as they on October 30th near Schwechat were forced to retreat, Vienna fell on October 31st to Windischgrätz, who began military operations against Hungary in mid December. On December 15th 1848 the Hungarian diet declared the abdication of Ferdinand V. as invalid and protested against the succession of Franz Joseph. Windischgrätz entered Pressburg on December 18th, Jellachich defeated Perczel near Moor on December 29th; only in Transylvania the Pole Bem fought successfully. The Hungarians had to evacuate Ofen-Pest on January 5th 1849; the diet and the committee for national defence established their seat in Debrecen. The cause of the rebels seemed lost. But the unmotivated hesitation of Windischgrätz provided Kossuth with time to increase the Honved force, and to rally them. Görgei, who despite of snow and ice had reached the mountain towns, and then Kaschau [Kosice], forced General Schlik, who had advanced from Galicia, to retreat, and restored communication between the Hungarian armies and with the government in Debreczin. Unfortunately, soon a dissent between Görgei and Kossuth appeared; Kossuth had appointed the incapable Pole Dembinski commander-in-chief. Dembinski on February 26th and 27th lost the Battle of Kapolna against Windischgrätz, who succeeded in merging his forces with those of Schlik. Again the inactivity of Windischgrätz permitted Kossuth to complete his preparations and to raise 112 infantry batallions and 6 hussar regiments. With the reorganized, strengthened army the new supreme commander, Görgei, in April 1849 took the offensive, and a number of glorious victories near Szolnok (March 5th), Isaszeg, Waitzen (April 9th) and Nagy-Sarlo (April 19th) over Windischgrätz, and after him being deprived of command, over Welden, and on April 26th he relieved Komorn. In consequence the Austrians evacuated Pest in disorder and withdrew to Pressburg. Also, Bem and Perczel expelled the Austrian troops from Transylnania and the Banat. This was the climax of the struggle for freedom.
Induced by these victories, and as a response to the Imperial manifesto of April 4th, which proclaimed the annexation of Hungary into the unitary Austrian monarchy, the Diet of Debreczin on April 14th at the proposal of Kossuth decided on the deposition of the Habsburg-Lorraine Dynasty and complete independence of the Hungarian state, with all its sidelands. This decision, which, together with the appointment of Kossuth as gubernator (Kormanyzo) was proclaimed to the nation on April 15th in a special manifesto, deprived Hungary of a legal basis and disturbed the previous unanimosity of the nation. Görgei resolutely disapproved of it, and neglected to make use of his victories. Instead, he returned from Komorn to Ofen and began to lay siege to the fortress, which, valiantly defended by Hentzi, was stormed on May 21st, after which government and diet returned from Debreczin to Pest. In the meantime, Emperor Franz Joseph in Warsaw had asked Czar Nicholas in Warsaw for aid and intervention. The Czar most willingly sent a force of 181,471 men to suppress Hungary. First Russian troops under Lüders entered Transylvania through the Rotenturmpass and conquered Hermannstadt. The main army under Paskewitsch, over 130,000 men strong, from Galicia crossed the Carpathians and occupied Kaschau. Also Austria strengthened its forces and placed in their command the recklessly harsh General Haynau. The entire regular force available against Hungary numbered 275,000 men with 600 cannon, against which the Hungarians only could put up 135,000 men. While Bem, in face of the superiority of the allies, had to retreat from Transylvania to the Banat, Jellachich defeated Perczel on June 7th and surrounded Peterwardein, Haynau stormed Raab on June 28th, Görgei stubbornly remained near Komorn, fought an indecisive battle there on July 2th and withdrew only on the 12th, after the government on July 9th had to evacuate Pest for the second time and had fled to Szegedin. On July 13th the Austrians under Haynau reentered Pest. Görgei's victory over the Russians at Waitzen (July 17th) was of no use, only in forced marches Görgei was able to escape the Russians toward the Tisza. In the meantime, Haynau moved on Szegedin and defeated Dembinski on August 5th near Szöreg, and Bem on August 9th near Temesvar, and so cut Hungary off a line of retreat to the south. Kossuth resigned on August 11th in Arad after having been asked to do so by Görgei, and he transferred the dictatorship to Görgei. Despairing of the possibility of extended resistance, the new dictatorship in agreement with the war council decided not to surrender to the hated Austrians, but to the Russians, and surrendered unconditionally with 22,000 men at Villagos to General Rüdiger. His example was followed by Damjanich in Arad on August 17th. and by others; only Komorn was valiantly defended by Klapka, until he was granted capitulation under honorable conditions on September 27th.
That the Hungarians preferred to surrender to the arrogant Czar instead of directly negotiating with the Austrian government, to which they were handed over unconditionally by Russia, was insulting to the Austrians. Among the leaders of the insurrection who had been taken prisoner (several, among them Kossuth, had succeeded in escaping to Turkey) only Görgei, on Russian intervention, was treated leniently; 13 Honved generals and majors, at the order of Haynau, on October 6th in Arad were partly short, partly hanged, Count Ludwig Batthyany and other prominent political leaders in Pest were sentenced to death by hanging, their estates were confiscated. The executions were followed by numerous sentences to several years of incanceration, to service in the Austrian army. The Hungarian constitution was declared forfeit, Hungary reduced to a mere crown land within the new unitary Austrian state, the sidelands Transylvania, Croatia and Slavonia and the Banat of Temesvar were separated from the Hungarian crown and elevated to separate crown lands. Haynau, who implemented martial law with bloody severity, was recalled only in July. After the Emperor had appointed Archduke Albrecht governor of Hungary in 1851, and after he personally visited the country in 1852, the martial law trials were terminated and a partial amnesty proclaimed. In the meantime, ordered by minister Bach a flood of German and Hungarian officials had streamt over Hungary, who were to integrate the country into a centralized unitary monarchy; the people called them "Bach's Hussars". In 1853 Austrian justice and administration was introduced by decree, a cadastre introduced, the roads were improved, the construction of railroads left to private companies. After the second tour of Hungary by the Emperor in 1857 the Hungarian language was partially admitted at court. But the nation, depressed and exhausted, at Deak's advice responded to the military police regiment by their much-practiced passive resistance, and insisted on their demand to reinstate the constitution.

Restoration of the Hungarian State
         The crisis of the monarchy after the Italian war of 1859 forced the government to make concessions; after Archduke Albrecht had been replaced by General Benedek, who had been born in Hungary, and after minister Bach had been dismissed on August 21st, the October Diploma of October 20th 1860 restored the outdated feudal constitution of Hungary, and the diet was convoked to discuss a new electoral law, which was to make possible a representation of all estates. The foreign officials had to leave, the Austrian laws partially were lifted, the Comitats returned in Hungarian hands. As price for reconciliation the Hungarians demanded the complete restoration of the old legal condition, including the laws of 1848, as well as a general amnesty. In February 1861, simultaneously with announcing a new constitution for the entire monarchy on February 26th, in accordance with the electoral law of 1848 the government convoked the diet; the latter was opened on April 6th. The Lower House split in two parties : the Address Party under Deak wanted to express the position of the nation in regard to the February Constitution in an address to the monarch, and thus enter the path of negotiations; the Resolution Party under Koloman Tisza wanted to declare the validity of the laws of 1848 by simple resolution. After lengthy debates on June 5th the Address Party prevailed, with 155 over 152 votes, but their address, which demanded a personal union with Austria, was rejected by the king. When the diet, in a second address, described the Pragmatic Sanction and the laws of 1848 as the sole acceptable basis, made the coronation of Franz Joseph dependent on the reunification of the sidelands with Hungary, rejected sending delegates to the Viennese Reichsrat, where only the Transylvanian Saxon and a few Romanian delegates had shown up, and protested against any decision by the Viennese Reichsrat, the Viennese government broke off negotiations. "We can wait" said Schmerling, hoping, that Hungary ultimately would submit to the February Constitution and would send delegates to the Reichstag. Until then, after the Reichstag had been dissolved on August 21st 1861 despite of protests, again government was done in absolutist style. But already in 1865 in Vienna the system of government called "Provisorium" was changed again; the failure of the Frankfurt Diet of Princes, the exodus of the Czechs from the Vienna Reichsrat (see Austria p.198f) had made Schmerling's position untenable. After another visit of the Emperor in Pest (June 6th 1865) the leaders of the Old Conservative Party, Count Anton Mailath and Baron Sennyey, were placed at the head of the Hungarian chancellery and stadholderate, and on December 14th 1865 the diet was opened by Franz Joseph I. in person in Hungarian language. The royal speech promised the restoration of the integrity of the Hungarian crown, recognized legal continuity and formal validity of the laws of 1848, but demanded the revision of the latter before their reintroduction. Deak, the moderate-liberal trustee of the nation, did not recognize this demand, but he did recognize the commonness of certain matters of Hungary and the Austrian lands, and showed himself willing, according to [Hungary's] capability to partake in the burdens arising from Austrian state debts. Thus he left the basis of a pure personal union, which resulted in renewed negotiations, which had not yet been brought to a conclusion, when the diet was closed on June 26th 1866 because of the war with Prussia.
After the unfortunate outcome of the war, the last act of which played out on Hungarian soil, near Blumenau (the adventurous attempt made by the Klapka Legion had failed), calming down the Hungarians seemed the most urgent necessity. The conservative-federalist cabinet Belcredi was dismissed, the new minister of foreign affairs, Beust, established an understanding with Deak on the conditions of the Ausgleich between Hungary and Austria on the basis of Dualism. The newly convened diet was announced on February 17th 1843 the reinstation of the constitution of the constitution of 1843, the installation of a responsible cabinet under the presidency of Count Julius Andrassy. Transylvania and the Banat immediately were reintegrated into Hungary, with Croatia an Ausgleich was foreseen, which came about on September 20th 1868. Hungary was recognized as an autonomous half of the Empire, which was connected with the other by certain common matyters, and for the time being a customs and trade alliance with Austria for 10 years was concluded. Of the recognized state debts and the common expenses for foreign policy, army and navy Hungary at that time took on only 30 %, but in the delegations had equal representation to that of Austria. With the pomp of earlier centuries, on June 8th 1867 in Budapest the coronation of the EmperorKing and the EmperorQueen, who had contributed much to the reconciliation having come about, was celebrated, as was the reconciliation of the Magyars with the dynasty. On December 21st 1867 the new basic state laws were given royal sanction. The returned exiles honestly accepted the new order of matters (only Kossuth and a few irreconcilables remained in exile); the people at every occasion displayed their loyalty, the diet, where the moderate Deak Party held a strong majority, in 1868 accepted the defense law; the Hungarian militia, as Honved Army under the command of Archduke Joseph, was organized independently.
Awareness of the victory achieved by prudence and stamina now drove the Magyars to peacefully coinclude the establishment of the nation state as fast as possible. The political emancipation of the Jews and a law on elementary education were passed. The nationality law of November 29th 1868 decided, that all inhabitants of Hungary formed a unitary, indivisible nation; the Hungarian language was to be official language. The material development of the country was to be secured by the construction of state-owned railroads and by loan guarantees for privately owned railroads, but by this measure the cabinet Lonyay, which in November 1871 had replaced the cabinet Andrassy, burdened the budget in such a way, that soon a concerning deficit in revenues (1874 : 31 million) was recorded, and new taxes had to be collected. The expected strong economic boom of the country initially turned out to be an illusion. Also the weak cabinets of the Deak Party, which took over government after Lonyay's resignation (in November 1872), Szlavy and Bitto, were unable to end the financial misery, and general discontent and disappointment during the severe illness of Deak caused the dissolution of the Deak Party, in the place of which as dominant party in the diet the so-called Liberal Party moved, formed by the merger of the Deak Party and the moderate part of the previous opposition.
The head of the new governing Liberal Party was Koloman Tisza, who already in March 1875 under Wenckheim served as minister of the interior, and since October 2nd as prime minister had become the soul of government. The deficit was considerably reduced by minister of finances Szell; then Tisza in negotiations with Austria on the renewal of the trade treaty achieved for Hungary a more favourable financial position by a raise in customs tariffs and a share in the National Bank. Still the situation of Hungary at the outbreak of the Oriental Crisis in 1875 seemed to be difficult. The Magyars vociferously expressed their sympathies with the Turks, the armed interference of Russia on the Balkan peninsula and the neutrality of the Viennese ministry of foreign affairs caused great concern. In this period, Tisza showed the prudence of a statesman. When the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, almost unanimously decided upon by the diet, resulted in unexpectedly high losses and costs, so that minister of finances Szell resigned (October 3rd) and disapproval of the unpopular undertaking in Hungary reached a climax, Tisza succeeded, by his resignation (which was not meant seriously) to calm the storm. After two months (in December) he and his entire cabinet were reapponited (only Count Julius Szapary instead of Szell), and from then on the skilled tactician and his faithful party remained in uncontested control of power. The costs of the occupation were approved, the defense law approved for another ten years. The cabinet was given a free hand by Vienna in the reckless centralisation and Magyarization of Hungary, in the suppression of the ancient privileges and the autonomy of the Transylvanian Saxons. Mandatory instruction in Hungarian language in the elementary schools, a reform of the House of Magnates in 1885 and the extension of the mandate of the delegates from 3 to 5 years followed.
Despite these good services by Tisza the mood of the opposition toward him, especially of those of the moderate opposition under Apponyi, because of the corruption he tolerated, had increased in sharpness; this was in connection with increased demands in military matters. In 1886 Tisza succeeded in passing the militia law, but the mood had become more passionate and became apparent, when a few officers lead by General Jansky laid down a wreath on the grave of the Imperial defender of the fortress of Ofen [Buda] in 1849, Hentzi. In June 1886 street demonstrations were held, the slogan of a separate Hungarian army was heard, the German language of command of the common army became the object of numerous attacks. When Tisza in 1888 presented a new defense law to the diet, especially Paragraph 25 was passionately attacked, which required the volunteers for one year to take their officers' exam in German language, while those who failed had to serve for two years. This harsh law increased the unpopularity of Tisza. In the fall of 1889 the opposition demanded a change of the home Heimat law of 1879 in favour of Kossuth, which according to the letter of the law because of his absence of more than 10 years was to loose his citizenship. This incident was used by Tisza to request his demission, which on March 13th 1890 was approved. The presidency in the cabinet now was taken by Count Julius Szapary, hitherto minister of agriculture.
The new cabinet generally continued the moderate policy of Tisza. By the regulation of the currency implemented by minister of finances Wekerle, by various trade treaties etc., trade and industry were promoted, state revenues increased. Of the planned nationalization of Comitat administration, only Paragraph 1 could be pushed through (which was lifted again in 1907). Unexpectedly, new conflicts emerged in the area of church policy. So-called wayside baptisms, the arbitraryness with which some Catholic clergymen baptized children from mixed marriage, without informing the priest of the other confession according to the law of 1868, caused minister of culture Csaky on February 26th 1890 to issue a decree against this procedure, which caused strong opposition among the Catholic clergy. In response minister of justice Szilagyi mentioned the prospect of civil marriage and deeply restricting church laws. Prime minister Szapory did not agree with these, and, as also the crown took a negative position, resigned. But his successor Wekerle was able, with the approval of the crown, to present law drafts to the diet in April 1893 on the introduction of a civil registry, mandatory civil marriage, freedom of religion, on the reception of Israelite religion, on the religion of children of mixed marriages with the unconditional right of parental decision. But only in April 1894 two laws were pushed through the diet; civil marriage at first was rejected by the House of Magnates, but after the resignation of Csaky (who was succeeded by B. Eötvös) it was accepted. On the other hand, the cabinet Wekerle-Szilagyi, by some clumsyness, and also by state mourning for L. Kossuth (although no member of the cabinet had participated in the burial ceremony), which was displeasing to the crown, had lost the confidence of the king, and in December 1894 was dismissed. Only in January 1895 did Baron Banffy, as comitat prefect hated by Saxons and Romanians, was able to form a cabinet (interior : Perczel, finances : Lukacs, education : Wlassics). At first the law on freedom of religion and that of the recognition of the Jewish religion was pushed through in the House of Magnates. But with this act the energy of the Liberal Party seemed exhausted. On the other hand, the cabinet Banffy entered a number of conflicts, so with the Viennese nuntius Agliardi, which resulted in the fall of the minister of foreign affairs, Count Kalnoky. At the end of 1898 the renewal of the trade political Ausgleich with Austria brought about a serious crisis. In the Austrian Reichsrat the Germans, pestered by Badeni, prevented any discussion of the Ausgleich drafts; in the Hungarian diet Banffy disposed over a pro-government party with 287 votes, created by pressure and bribery of a scale previously unheard of, but the decimated National Party and the Catholic People's Party had sworn revenge. When, after the Ischl Conferences, Banffy declared himself willing to present the Ausgleich laws even in the case, if they were not to be accepted in Austria by parliament, but implemented by a decree according to Paragraph 14, the opposition, because of the violation of article 1 in 1898 entered into an alliance against Banffy, refused him a budget and entered the path of obstruction. The resignation of Szilagyi as president of the House of Deputees and the exodus of Count Julius Andrassy and of the dissidents forced him to resign (February 17th 1899). His successor Koloman von Szell restored "rule of law, right and justice", and by the promise of clean elections, persuaded the opposition to end the obstruction. Also the Ausgleich with Austria was successfully concluded, the customs- and trade alliance was extended until 1903 respectively 1907. The dissidents and Saxons rejoined the government party, which merged with the National Party with Count Apponyi, and the elections of 1901 produced a great majority for the government. But the raise of the contingent of recruits by 15,000 men requested in October 1902 again resulted in the resurfacing of the latent dislike of the common army and of the German language of command. The opposition demanded in return the introduction of Hungarian as the language of military service, and of national flags, as it had been the custom under Maria Theresia. But as the ex-lex condition again was entered, Szell resigned on June 16th 1903. After Count Stefan Tisza failed in his attempt to form a government, because it was feared he would rule with an "iron hand", the crown for the time being dropped the recruitment draft and appointed Count Khuen-Hedervary, who just had made himself untenable as Ban of Croatia, prime minister. Soon involved into a corruption affair, he requested his demission on August 10th, which was not accepted. As the crown on repeated occasions, especially in the army order of Chlopy, declared that it would not permit the union of the common army and of its language of command to be questioned, and neither the concerning military rights of sovereignty, the cabinet Khuen at the first opportunity (September 29th) was voted down. Now Count Tisza on November 3rd again was charged with forming a cabinet, and this time he succeeded. Lukacs took on finances, Hieronymi trade, Herzeviczy education, Nyiri the militia. The cabinet was treated by the opposition (which was joined by the National Party) all the more in hostile manner, because Count Tisza theatened the use of force in pushing through necessities of state (budget, recruitment draft). When, in the stormy night session of November 18th, in agreement with Perczel, the president of the House of Deputees, in violation of the agenda, pushed through the Lex Daniel (for the purpose of overcoming the obstruction) and immediately after postponed the session of the diet, all parties, including the dissidents (Constitution Party) joined forces to bring about his fall. On the day of the reopening of the diet (December 13th) the trabant guard hired by Perczel was thrown out of session hall, the tribune of the president and the ministers' chairs were demolished. Tisza now suggested to the crown the dissolution of parliament and an appeal to the nation.
Although the law forbade the dissolution of the diet if no budget had been approved, on January 5th 1905 new elections were announced, which produced a severe defeat of the Liberal Party. But the 1848 Independence Party and the National Party of Apponyi together gained 168 mandates. Count Tisza, while the elections were still going on, requested his demission, but had to continue conducting the business of government. Now lengthy negotiations between the leaders of the allied opposition and the crown were held, without producing a result. Only on June 21st a new, non-parliamentary cabinet of bureaucrats was appointed, under the presidency of Fejervary (previously captain of the Trabant Life Guard); his colleagues (Kristoffy, Vörös, Lanyi) were recruited from the Liberal Party. Instead of a programme, Fejervary in parliament read a letter of the crown, with the content, that the refusal of the allied opposition to take over government on the basis of an acceptable programme, the crown had been forced,to form a cabinet from persons outside of the parties. It would be the task of the latter to restart negotiations; but the military demands of the opposition had to be excluded. At the same time the diet was postponed. Within one year, this procedure was repeated four times, although both the House of Deputees and the House of Magnates protested unanimously in the sharpest form in each case. The cabinet, which had to be reshjuffled repeatedly, soon turned out to be an absolutist one, which limited freedom of assembly and speech, which restricted or bribed the press, which wasted state revenues (as proven by final calculations), which pressured by the force of arms the municipalities and comitats applying passive resistance, which fired officials faithful to the laws, and deprived them of salary and pension, which in pamphlets addressed at the lower strata stirred these up against the propertied classes, and which spread the slogan of universal suffrage, hitherto uncouth, into the masses as an explosive. On February 19th 1906 the cabinet completely rid itself of the diet, which it had dissolved by Major General Nyiry acting on a royal letter. The House of Deputees hardly had sent back the letter unopened, which had been brought to the president of the house by two officers, and had protested against its dissolution in the ex-lex condition (a protest which was joined by the House of Magnates), when soldiers and police entered session hall, when Honved Major Fabritius in front of cleared benched read the order of dissolution and had the diet building cordonned off. But the nation continued passive resistance. Taxes could not be collected, recruits not be drafted; the cabinet had to take on a debt of 100 million Kronen. As the rule of law became insecure, as the sentences of courts contradicted, and the threat "misery and suffering would increasingly spread in the country and among the people" seemed to become reality, all hopes were directed toward the scheduling of new elections. According to article V:1848 new elections were to be held within three months after the dissolution of the last diet. Inspite of this, the cabinet suggested to the crown, because of the excitement of spirits not to schedule elections. Already the "manifesto" to the nation, dated April 10th 1906, was printed, which was to postpone new elections, when in the last moment another negotiation of Kossuth and Fejervary brought about a solution of the crisis. On April 8th the cabinet Fejervary was dismissed and the cabinet Wekerle appointed. Wekerle took on the presidency and finances, Count Andrassy the interior, Count Apponyi education, Kossuth trade, Daronyi agriculture, Polonyi justice, Count Aladar Zichy the portfolio a latere, Jekelfalussy the militia. The cabinet was composed of the leaders of the allied opposition as a transition cabinet for a period of two years, with a clearly described program. It had to oblige itself to approve state necessities based on the Ausgleich of 1867, to push through parliament the trade laws arbitrarily extended by previous cabinets, and to introduce universal suffrage; both sides were to give up their military demands. Despite of these restrictions, which forced the Independence Party (which held the majority and now was governing party) to temporarily disregard her principles, the new cabinet was passionately celebrated by the entire country as saviour, and the new elections scheduled immediately produced a giant majority for the coialition cabinet, while the hitherto all-powerful Liberal Party (Tisza) lost all of her mandates. As this time "free elections" were held, also the nationalities and the Socialists gained mandates. The new diet and the Hungarian delegation chosen by the latter approved all necessities of state. In quick succession in the winter session of 1906-1907 laws to support the domestic industry, an insurance for accidents at the workplace etc. were passed. Difficulties arose from personal animosities, which resulted in the demission of Polonyi (February 2nd 1907), and also the non-punishment which the crown had promised cabinet Fejervary. But when the extension of the trade Ausgleich with Austria, negotiated after many difficulties with the Austrian cabinet Beck, was presented to the diet in October 1907, the cabinet met determined resistance on the side of a part of the 48er Party and of the Croats. But the treaty was signed on December 30th.

source in German, posted by Zeno







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First posted on March 14th 2009

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