Hungary’s Road to Revolution:
In the Golden Age of Hungarian history, the seeds for tragedy are already planted.
- Large and severely divided nobility. Nobility makes up about 4-5% of the
population (fairly large in Europe at that point in time)
- They had the right not pay taxes but it didn’t really matter because many
were poor (landless nobles)
- A small number of nobles were very rich and they controlled most of the
area. (They came up with the name ‘the Hungarian nation’ as a name for
themselves- which in turn acted like a class distinction)
- It was a feudal type of nobility that viewed itself as owning the land, there
was no real Hungarian culture, it was only the Hungarian language that did
- The absolutist state could not be established in Hungary, like it was in the
rest of Europe because of this class who did not pay taxes. Since no taxes
equaled no military.
- The rest of Europe was bringing feudalism to an end, whilst Hungary was
tightening the process, which resulted in periodic rebellions.
- These rebellions could be stopped by the most brutal means, so as to set an
example for others: Brutal suppression further weakened Hungary by
turning the peasants against their owners.
State was unable to get the resources to build their army.
- Hungarian Society was built in a way that 1 group had rights whilst others
- When the Turks attacked, the nobility were preoccupied fighting amongst
themselves in parliament over the issue of taxes.
- The southern part of it became occupied by the Turks and this reduced the
Hungarian population by about 50% that stayed that way until WWI.
Tax base for the army was so important because most of the army at this time was
made up of paid mercenaries.
- Ottoman occupation of Southern Hungary lasted until the 17 Century. This
loss of Hungary is seen as national trauma.
- 1863: Ottomans are stopped at Vienna and are pushed back at – end of the
attempts of an Islamic takeover by Turkey.
- Hungarian lands are incorporated into the Germanic centered Habsburg
- Habsburg Empire now has to deal with a country with nobility that doesn't
want to pay taxes and is induthrially behind.
- Towards the end of the 18 century, the main language used in the Habsburg
Empire was Latin – shows the medieval structure of it.
- Maria Theresa & Joseph tired to modernize society: wanted to make German
the main language. This attempt at modernization made the nobles turn
against the Habsburg Empire.
Liberal nationalism arose out of the failed attempt to construct a Habsburg royal
absolutism on Hungarian soil. - This occurs in the same era where absolute monarchy is about to collapse in
- 1789: End of absolutism in France. The French scared the monarchs
- They had to modernize or they could face revolution or be killed.
- Wars after the French Revolution fused the notion of freedom equality and