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HIS3891H1S: Hungarian History. Lecture 1

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Jeffrey Kopstein

Lecture 1 - After 1989, Hungary has been one of the most stable countries the Soviet bloc. - Transition out of communism was difficult and brought about feelings of nostalgia for the old order – theme is common in many regimes, as the power systems changed. - Present day Hungary seems to be moving in an il-liberal direction: Majority voting leaning towards one direction Disproportionate representation. Allows the party to change the Constitution without any opposition. Mechanism for protecting individual rights seems to be more ruined. Say their Constitution is set up to protect ethnic Hungarians: does it mean just those living in Hungary, or does it include Hungarians all over the world? Anchors that led Hungary to want to be more involved and participatory in the west are loosening - Cultural attitudes in Hungary also make it more illiberal. - There wasn’t a totally clean break from the communist past because the communists and non-communists discussed how to set up elections only after. - Division in Hungary today started 200 years ago. Major Themes - Hungary as a small, distinct nation. Its language is not Indo-European. It is an independent unit of the Holy Roman Empire, under the crown of St. Stephen. - Question of the sustainability of Hungary’s culture and language has always been present because it has been deeply influenced by the larger politically and culturally influential countries around it. - Cycle of institutional imitation, followed by institution corruption. Nazi occupation, Soviet occupation, but these governments (along with the presently liberal government in power) never functioned exactly the same as the government it was originally modeled after. - Military conquest in Hungary has played a parti
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