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Hungarian History-Lecture 2.

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Jeffrey Kopstein

Lecture 2 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 so. - 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 did not. - 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 Empire. - 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 France. - 1789: End of absolutism in France. The French scared the monarchs throughout E. - They had to modernize or they could face revolution or be killed. - Wars after the French Revolution fused the notion of freedom equality and fraternity. - People
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