Viktor Orbán’s claims of historical antecedents

Those of you who follow the Hungarian-language media on the refugee crisis and the Hungarian government’s response to it are most likely familiar with Viktor Orbán’s historical allusions to the Ottoman danger Hungary faced between the fifteenth and the seventeenth centuries. All Hungarian schoolchildren learn about the Hungarians’ heroic struggle against the Turkish invaders by which they saved Christian Europe from Islam. It is widely believed, again based on high school textbooks, that in that struggle Hungary was left to bear the burden alone. As recent and not so recent historical research has revealed, however, the events of those centuries are much more complex than this simplistic interpretation would suggest. In fact, the struggle against the Turkish invaders was a joint international enterprise.

Viktor Orbán at one point called himself the János Hunyadi of our times and on another occasion a knight of a border fortress (végvár). Hunyadi was an outstanding military leader of Romanian-Hungarian background whose armies were made up of fighting men from many areas in the region, including Serbian, Wallachian, and Albanian principalities. Hunyadi received help from as far as Bohemia and some of the German principalities. As for the myth of lonely warriors at the border fortresses between the Turkish-occupied parts of country and Royal Hungary, as the unoccupied western and northern parts of the country were called, it has pretty well been discarded as the result of recent research.

Viktor Orbán is certainly no János Hunyadi (1406-1456), who as a son of the fifteenth century didn’t even look upon himself as a Hungarian. He was a nobleman who served at the pleasure of four Hungarian kings who hailed from Luxemburg, Austria, and Poland. His father was a Wallachian nobleman who, at the invitation of King Sigismund, moved to the Hungarian court. Most of his battles took place in Serbia, even Bulgaria, and his troops came from all over Central and Southeast Europe. He and others didn’t fight primarily for Christianity but against the Ottoman Empire, which was gobbling up territories frightfully close to the Kingdom of Hungary. Hunyadi’s name will, of course, be forever associated with the Battle of Belgrade (1456), which kept the Ottoman advance at bay for over fifty years.

From a historiographical point of view Orbán’s reference to the knights of the border fortresses is much more interesting because new research has shown that our understanding of those skirmishes has been all wrong. Let me summarize briefly what an average Hungarian learns in high school about these knights. Abandoned by the world for 150 years, these brave Hungarians single-handedly fought the Ottoman troops, who otherwise would have easily occupied Vienna. Because of their sacrifice, they saved Europe from the Ottomans and Islam. This is the view that Orbán cherishes. I don’t even blame him, because this is the generally accepted interpretation of the 150 years of Ottoman occupation of the large, central portion of Hungary.

The first misconception is about the immediate consequences of the Battle of Mohács (1526). The battle itself didn’t mean the occupation of most of the country, although we are prone to look at it this way. It took another twenty years for the Turks to occupy Buda (1541), Székesfehérvár, and Esztergom (1543), at which point Europe became alarmed. The Turks were about 200 km from Vienna.

Hungarian historiography until very recently claimed that Vienna left Hungary languishing, giving the country no aid, either material or military. However, recent research in the archives of Vienna and Bratislava, the capital of Hungary after Mohács, shows that large amounts of money were given not only by the Crown but also by individual provinces of the Habsburg Empire. A system had developed by which provinces closest to the border fortresses were responsible for financing them. So, Lower Austria was responsible for the defense of Győr, and the Croatian fortresses were the responsibilities of Carinthia and Steiermark. As Géza Pálffy, a young historian, says, “In the survival of Hungary in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Habsburgs had an essential historical role…. We are talking about a mutual dependence that served the interests of both Hungary and the Habsburgs. And we know that the stakes were high … the goal of the Turks was the occupation of the whole country.”

In the past, historians liked to portray Hungary as a “buffer state,” but nowadays experts of the period prefer the designation “bulwark.” As Pálffy explains, “I am part of a bulwark while a buffer zone is a territory outside of me.” For King Matthias (1458-1490) Bosnia was a buffer state. He occupied it and kept soldiers there, but he was not the ruler of Bosnia. “But Ferdinand was the legitimate king of Hungary, and therefore for him and his successors Hungary wasn’t a buffer state or a colony. It was part of their monarchy.”

Some people may ask how it is possible that historians only recently discovered the documents that prove that Hungary received heavy subsidies from the rest of the Habsburg lands between the 1540s and 1690. The answer is simple. Hungarian historians now have unlimited access to Austrian and Slovak archives, which are treasure troves of documents for that period.

Viktor Orbán’s current policies do not, contrary to his claims, resemble the country’s responses to the Ottoman advance. In fact, if anything, just the opposite is true. In both cases international cooperation ruled the day and served the interests of both Hungary and the rest of Central Europe.

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Deborah S. Rogers, PhD
Guest

I would like to take a minute to thank you and compliment you on the steady stream of important and useful essays. I have been following your blog since late August, and have greatly appreciated the information and insights. Thank you.

tappanch
Guest

Hungarian border fortresses in 1576:
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Guest

Wow. Thanks Éva for a most interesting read!

gdfxx
Guest

OT but maybe of interest. In today’s New York Times an article’s subject is a documentary movie abut the Hajj. Its creator is a gay Muslim man. Here is a quote from the article, describing one of the member states of the UN human rights commission:

“Despite Mr. Sharma’s notoriety as a gay filmmaker — the new film includes footage of his 2011 New York wedding to an atheist musician identified only as Dan — he traveled to Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is punishable by beatings, jail time and death.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/27/nyregion/parvez-sharma-a-sinner-in-mecca.html?ref=todayspaper

Moshe Akiva
Guest
A well written article. Not because it is historically true, but this is how certain people try to make a monkey out of their political opponents by mentioning half-truths, by exaggerations, by leaving out half (or even more than that) the story. There is absolutely nothing new about anything this nameless writer tells us. It was widely known in Hungary among even elementary school children, when I was attending school in Hungary, that the Hapsburg Empire helped Hungary once the Turkish Empire run over about 3/4 of its territories. Of course they helped, the Hungarian noblemen gave them the Hungarian crown, which made Hungary part of the Hapsburg Empire. This article wants to make us believe this is some sort of new discovery. Aside that issue I might add that the help the Hunyadi-s received from other Christian countries to fight against the Turks was negligible. They did that pretty much on their own. The common conception in Hungary that they were defending entire Europe is of course false, but it elevates the national pride. For one thing, the Turks attacked Europe on other fronts as well, and the other thing is that the indifference of other Christian countries’ leaders… Read more »
Guest

Habsburg (2x)

Nádas
Guest

Both spellings are considered correct.

Webber
Guest

G. Nagy – Nádas is right. Hapsburg is an accepted (if archaic) spelling in English. Weird, I know (it’s with a b in German, after all), but true.

Nádas
Guest

The ‘p’ version is probably the result of assimilation of the voiced consonant ‘b’ by the following voiceless ‘s’.

Just a guess.

Moshe Akiva
Guest

Check the English spelling. I know it is Habsburg in German and in Hungarian, too.

Actually, two spelling exist in English, but even this window in which I am typing right now underlines the word Habsburg as incorrect and accepts Hapsburg as correct.
Didn’t you notice that when you typed in Habsburg?

Tyrker
Guest

G. Nagy – English orthography is not nearly as strict as you may have thought. Particularly when it comes to the spelling of foreign names. Hapsburg and Habsburg are both correct, and Romania can also be written as Rumania or Roumania too.

Guest

Sorry, I never checked there is a Hapsburg spelling in English. I have nothing against that I am not a Habsburg and not even a Hapsburg.

My thinking just followed the logic that probably the most authentic spelling is the one the way descendants of the family spelled their names. Dr. Otto von Habsburg was the former president of the International Pan European Union http://www.paneuropa.org/ with his name still there as Dr. Otto von Habsburg. Maybe he just missed the The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage to know the correct spelling of his name.

gdfxx
Guest

Usually those who are named try to make the rules of how their names are spelled in English. For example the Chinese want the Hanyu Pinyin to be used for transcribing their names into English. In the case of Romania this is a little more complicated: the official policy is that in order to maintain the principle that the Romanian people have Roman origins, the only officially accepted English spelling is Romania. Than comes the complication that some of the people who used to be called Gypsies in the past are called Roma or Romany now. And not only to avoid confusion but also because there is a deep anti-Roma sentiment there (just as in Hungary), most Romanians are deeply insulted when someone confuses them with the Roma. Nothing is ever simple.

Guest

Perhaps a new era for Magyar historiography is dawning? Interesting that the Austrian and Slovak archives are now ‘open’ to Hungarian historians. It would appear historiography in Hungary prior to this event was done among a mushroom-like environment…..research done in the dank and dark of libraries and their documents only reporting on a specific view.

Mohacs indeed wasn’t one of the best days on the battlefield in Magyar history. It’s kind of difficult to turn it say into a Thermopylae where even in defeat a country still can point to heroic defiance against an outside threat. Suleiman saw to it decisively that he would not act the Xerxes in the early 16th.

Guest

Great article Éva. Thank you.

Kálmi
Guest

Orban is winning in the US too.

Democrats underestimate the commitment and sophistication of the media strategies of dictators, such as Orban or Putin. Creating confusion, raising doubts, showing another narrative is enough for Orban or Putin.

http://index.hu/kulfold/2015/09/28/uj_amerikai_szovivoje_szerint_orban_peldat_mutat_az_eu-nak_hogyan_kell_a_migransokkal_banni/

Webber
Guest

Kálmi – Orban is “winning in the US” ????
You’re either insane, or insanely misinformed. Start reading American papers. Try the two most influential ones – The New York Times and the Washington Post. Orban’s image has never been worse in the States.
Connie Mack, the person mentioned as “Orban’s defender” in that article you posted, is a paid lobbyist for the Hungarian government. Lots of governments have lobbyists. They all say nice things about the governments they represent. That’s what they are paid to do.
IS that significant? Of course not.
The author of the article, Panyi, has shown repeatedly that he doesn’t have a clue about what is happening outside Hungary.
But even Panyi seems to notice that Connie Mack’s arguments for Hungary aren’t in the least bit credible (“döbbenetes” is the word used in the article). Do you think American senators are buying it? I don’t.
Orban can pay off one or two, surely (there is corruption in the US, too) – but you can bet that the FBI is watching for that.

Webber
Guest

P.S. “too”? Where else, outside Hungary, is Orban “winning”? Could you inform me? Every foreign paper I open, left, right and center, throws an awful light on Orban (I don’t count the extreme right’s papers – they don’t win elections in the West, anyway).

Webber
Guest

PPS – Kálmi, if you were being sarcastic, then I apologize for what I wrote above. Panyi noticed, in the article you posted, that Orban’s lobbyist has had virtually no effect whatsoever on shaping American public opinion (unless you count 18 followers on Twitter an effect).

Buchbinder71
Guest

Orban regained his popularity in Hungary (given the current political offering) which he lost with the internet tax and the US-visa issues last year.

None of the then-loud would-be-politicians are still active, they are busy playing with their Iphone 6s and drinking craft beers in a some cool hipster pub. Orban’s “opposition” at MSZP and the Liberal Party praise him for his competence and political success.

Orban (or Putin, their hardline anti-refugee, anti-Islam, anti-liberal policy) is gaining traction all around Europe as Europe moves clearly to the right e.g. Austria most recently.

Granted Orban is disliked (hated) by the mainstream media and politicians, but what if the mainstream is in danger of going extinct? What if dislike or hatred don’t mean a thing in the greater scheme of things, in which uninterrupted flow of EU funds and real-politik (leaving Orban alone to rule his domain) are important?

Orban is as strong politically and rich as he ever been (and his mandate lasts at least until 2018), so why isn’t he winning?

Webber
Guest

Buchbinder71 –
I asked where is Orban “winning” OUTSIDE Hungary? I’ll ask it again, because you apparently didn’t get that. Where – OUTSIDE Hungary? Can you point to a place? (Bratislava? That’s one place, maybe – that won’t last long.)

spectator
Guest

“Orban is as strong politically and rich as he ever been (and his mandate lasts at least until 2018), so why isn’t he winning?

Would you, please, help me out here?

Just what exactly Orbán is winning?

He is popular – yes, all the brainwashed morons who don’t care about Hungary’s future praising their greatest thief and conman up to date – no objection here.

Rich – you have no idea! And he’s growing richer by the minute!
The reason I outlined in the previous sentence, otherwise…

His mandate will last at least another decade, or even more – if he is the one to chose.

But winning what?

Was there some competition what I’m unaware of?
He is into cards, but it shouldn’t be a topic here.

One thing I can think about…I got it: he takes the most money from among the forty thief who ruling the country!

Am I right?

Buchbinder71
Guest

@spectator:

C’mon, you know exactly why.

A politician always wins when he stays in power for yet another day because he is constantly being opposed and opponents are constantly trying to unseat him/her. (I mean at least in a normal democracy not in Hungary of course when “opposition” actually praises Orban.)

Orban is winning because after I don’t know how many years, at least 25 years, but almost 30 years, in the front line of politics he hasn’t even got a credible challenger yet.

He as is popular as he’s ever been, he is rich beyond belief and he isn’t about to leave.

He wanted to rule and that’s what he does. He had a dream and he accomplished it. So he is winning.

He is a winner and the leftists are losers. The problem with losers is that if you associate with them in any way you also become a loser (you contract the disease) and there’s nothing worse that can happen to a person than to become a weak loser in a world when strong, powerful and successful people are rewarded.

Webber
Guest

Buchbinder71 –
I remember when precisely that word, “loser,” was used for Viktor Orban from (roughly) 2002 to 2008, especially after Fidesz’s second humiliating election loss in 2006. Then I personally heard some Fidesz members calling Orban a loser – he had lost two consecutive elections, after all. In print, G. Schöpflin hinted at that when he wrote that some people in the party thought it was time for Orban to step aside (weasel words from Schöpflin – it wasn’t HE who thought so, just others).

Buchbinder71
Guest
Maybe so, but the word did not stick and that’s crucial. Once your image is that of a “loser” your political future is over. Orban made sure that his actions, his ruthless behavior, his political hyper-activity/activism (with all the demonstrations, events, political shows) counterbalanced his losing twice — and in fact from late 2006 he was the winner. Like it or not, he worked hard in opposition, not like the lazy and dumb and corrupt Leftists (who didn’t want to go negative on Rogán, one of the most corrupt politicians in a very competitive fidesznik lineup). After Öszöd and the burning down of the TV HQs (when it became apparent that Gyurcsany was a lame duck with the perennially wavering Socialists) everybody acted as though Orban was the prime minister in waiting (4 years before the next elections) and he called the shots from opposition. His supporters didn’t waver and he anyway lost with a few points. On the other hand the left was crushed in 2010 and then was rendered catatonic for 4 years so much so that it gave up 2014 without a campaign, even Jobbik was fighting harder in 2014. Orban is a professional criminal and a… Read more »
spectator
Guest

So, you ment “winner” while stating “winning”. God to know…
Thank you for clearing it up!

However, since there is no disagreement between us regarding the ‘elements’ of his mo for become “the winner”, it more or less clear too, that the fact that you are a criminal isn’t problem at all, as long as you are strong, rich and successful at it.
It seems particularly advantageous if at the same time you are the one who makes the law, who deciding what- or what not is lawful, even retroactively, if it serves your interest…
A winner, in short.

Unfortunately a Hungarian too.

Nádas
Guest

I can’t speak for Kálmi, but the end result of Orbán’s actions channeling the migrants around Hungary – if not the methods used to achieve them – are in fact greatly, if not so loudly, appreciated by numerous observers around Europe and even farther afield in North America, to say nothing of within Hungary itself.

And by now, the Croats too must be re-thinking their own handling of the crisis and wondering if Viktor wasn’t on to something.

Webber
Guest

Loudly appreciated almost exclusively by the extreme right. Don’t mistake that for popularity. Mainstream Western politicians are almost universal in their condemnation – and mainstream Western politicians are the ones who have been winning elections.

Nádas
Guest

Support for Orbán’s overall handling of the situation is said to run close to 90% in Hungary, although I can’t verify that. I would guess it is also overwhelmingly high in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Latvia. Whatever public opinion might be right now elsewhere in Europe, I suspect the number of people favoring harsh(er) measures to limit and discourage immigration will be growing as the months go by. Germany is already streamlining its “repatriation” process.

Webber
Guest

In the US and in Great Britain, Orban is almost universally despised. He is even sometimes cited as one of the reasons Britain should get out of the EU on the reasoning that if the EU can’t deal with Orban, the EU’s claim to represent certain values is a lie.
As for the rest of Europe – I have no idea, I only know how Western European press is portraying him in German and French (very negatively), and know that most people get their image of exotic, far away, irrelevant little Hungary from their press. I would be surprised if he enjoyed popularity in the German- and French-speaking countries.

Reality Check
Guest

Nadas – what channeling around Hungary?

“On Friday 8,159 unauthorized border crossings were registered in the country, on Saturday that number was 9,472, while on Sunday it dropped to 6.627, the data suggest. The majority of these were recorded on the Hungarian-Croatian border, while near the Serbian border, where Hungary has built a fence, only 636 unauthorized crossings were recorded.”

http://bbj.hu/politics/more-than-24000-refugees-enter-hungary-over-weekend_104760

Nádas
Guest

True, but it began with the closure of the Röszke crossing, sending the migrants into Croatia and on to Slovenia, which also closed its border. Maybe in the face of so much intense criticism, Orbán allowed them in near Pécs and just quietly sent them on to Austria.

Reality Check
Guest

What do you mean let them in? The Slovenian border is not fenced, so they can just cross.

Member

PR courtesy by the Hungarian taxpayers (including me)! At least the guy is working hard. Unfortunate for him it takes more than lip service to make North America like Orban, and buy into this.

Webber
Guest
There are two other aspects of traditional popular Hungarian historical discourse on the Ottoman period that are misleading (note: I mean history as taught in Hungarian schools and presented by the media. Many Hungarian historians have contributed very significantly to research on the period, and my remarks are not about their work). 1. the treatment of period before the Ottoman’s conquered most of Hungary as if the only significant part of that history were the battles in which the Hungarian Kingdom’s forces were present. There were, in fact, many battles in other lands, some quite significant. For instance, Serbs will mention the first battle of Kosovo in 1389, at which the Sultan (Murad) himself lost his life – surely a significant event. Do you have mention of this in popular Hungarian history as taught to children? Serbs and Bulgarians will also mention the Battle of Maritsa of 1371, which was a huge victory for the Ottoman forces. Greek historians will discuss many great battles won and lost, and of course the sieges of and eventual fall of Byzantium. Then there is the Seige of Vienna of 1529, which was won not by Hungarians, but by Austrians against the greatest Ottoman… Read more »
endre
Guest

Great points. Thanks.

Guest

@Webber:
Just a small correction:
It should be “siege” of Vienna, I think …

I remember reading somewhere that the French were in a kind of coalition with the Ottomans against the “Habsburger” (usually this is written in English as Hapsburg – don’t know why, but my spell checker also flags it – at least I have no auto correct which might turn this into hamburger … ) – is this true or just another myth like so many stories about our history in Europe?

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Indeed Wolfi, a two hundred years alliance between the Kingdom of France and the Ottoman Empire. Militarily, most joint operations were held during the Italian Wars (including Nice and Corsica, now part of France). But there’s a mention of a French artillery unit participating in the siege of Esztergom in 1543.

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

To which I must add that François I was initially allied to János Zápolya.

Webber
Guest

Wolfi – It is both “Battle of Vienna” and “Siege of Vienna” in English (the second is the title of a great history on the battle), and it can be both Habsburgs and Hapsburgs, in English (either one or the other – but both are accepted). Similarly, it is Rumania and Romania and even Roumania in English (as someone else pointed out above). It used to be Servia in English,then became Serbia.
More and more, people prefer Habsburgs and Romania, so I guess those odd old English spellings might eventually die out, as Servia did – but they will live on in old books on people’s shelves and in libraries.

Guest

Webber, sorry for that misunderstanding – you wrote twice “Seige” which obviously was a small mistake …

PS and OT:
Doesn’t your spell checker flag “seige” – mine (I’m using Firefox) does. Funnily enough it also flags Firefox …

István
Guest
Some Hungarians have been exposed to Polish King Sobieski’s role in the 2012 Polish National TV mini series bitwa pod Wiedniem if for no other reason. It actually focuses on the battle of Kahlenberg heights. The English title is interesting The Day of the Siege – September Eleven 1683 and the comparison to 9/11 was intentional. The film was so over the top glorifying the role of Sonieski that it took a beating in the reviews. I saw the film here in Chicago, in one sitting. I know several cousins of mine from Hungary have also seen the film because we discussed it over the Christmas holiday. One interesting aspect relating to all of this that Eva does not discuss in her essay is that Orban has a big advantage in relationship to the Islamic threat argument relative to Fidesz’s opponent Jobbik. Because for a European fascist, Vona is strangely pro-Islam. He once said: “Islam is the last hope of humanity in the darkness of globalism and liberalism.” So on a tactical level portraying himself as a defender of Christianity works well against the Jobbik for Orban. Jobbik MEP Krisztina Morvai a week ago Saturday in Bicske spoke to a… Read more »
Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

“One interesting aspect relating to all of this that Eva does not discuss in her essay is that Orban has a big advantage in relationship to the Islamic threat argument relative to Fidesz’s opponent Jobbik. ”

Indeed, István, indeed. I’ve seen reports of internal dissent within Jobbik about this, some people seeming eager to jump into the Western European far-right bandwagon — while Orbán has given clear signs he was happy enough with EPP hardliners.

Guest

Re: ‘Krisztina Morvai’s argument is ideologically overly complex and Orban has a more simple approach based on the ideological version of the history of the Ottoman invasion linked to the current emigration crisis’

You know it would appear to me both are ‘reading’ perhaps different history’s of the world and of local areas. Which history which develops their positions is true? Each is taking a version of the past that signals where their position is. You may be with it or not. If new interpretations of Hungary’s past are starting now, why wasn’t it done before? I of course don’t have the experience of being taught ‘history’ in Hungary or what history departments were like but I can’t help thinking it was a history constantly interpreting sources the same way to hold up positions. Thing is was that deliberate or say ‘unconscious’ since history-making is in the end always taking a position.

Guest

Re: ‘Connie Mack’

I’ve always known him as really ‘Cornelius McGillicuddy’. Past manager and player in Major League Baseball!

It’s lucky he’s paid by his government. If he was paid on how many here he can ‘convert’ to the VO way well he’d probably be only on a little Social Sec with some food stamps thrown in.

Webber
Guest

Rikard – The baseball player was a different Connie Mack. He died in 1956. I believe he was the current one’s great-grandfather, or maybe great-great-grandfather?

Guest

Re: ‘Webber ..player was a different Connie Mack..

Yeah when I originally saw the American name it immediately brought up associations with that one and this ‘uj’ Connie. Sometimes I think Hungary with its bumbling in international relations is hapless around here. People obviously are not getting out much…;-)…

And if I may I just saw Pres Obama’s speech. The theme of ‘working together’ to solve problems came through with the undercurrent that democracy is ‘frustrating’ and the swipe at despotic rule where jailing opponents can’t imprison ideas. Pretty soon we’ll see how far our antagonists will ‘work together’. Syria will surely be another ‘litmus test’.

Lumpy Lang
Guest

The aim of this post seems off base to me.

Orban’s campaign is to politically recast the refugee crisis as a new “threat” by militant, power-hungry islamists to subdue and occupy ‘Christian Hungary’… I am astonished at how much traction this view has gained among people who should know better. (As to vilifying the period of Ottoman rule itself – and glorifying the Habsburgs – it’s worth recalling that considerable Hungarian political and military forces were consistently engaged on both sides.)

What needs to be combatted here isn’t the (admittedly gross) patriotic falsification of history, but the present demonization of the refugees as ‘invaders’ and ‘enemies’.

petofi
Guest

Orban & Putin in Washington

I once knew a shady, mafioso type who liked underlings to accompany him wherever he went. Orban in Washington seems to smack of a Putin request..
Two main reasons:

a) he (Putin) can stand beside a person who may be more hated than himself in the US;

b) he needs to have dinner with someone, no?

tappanch
Guest

The Orban government wants to give away almost 10% of the agricultural land of Hungary to friends and family quickly, while people focus on the migrants/refugees, by the end of this year !

The price will be minimal (1.1*[“local” price]), and it will be paid by the state bank MFB (as a 20-year loan loan with 2.5% interest) . The EU support will pay for the loan + hefty profits to the new owners.

http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20150928_Csak_par_nap_es_kezdodhet_a_nagy_foldmuty

petofi
Guest

Thanks, Tappanch, for forcing us readers to ‘keep our eye on the ball’.

Istvan
Guest
Germany’s president Joachim Gauck has over the weekend warned that there are limits to how many refugees his country can absorb as it prepares for as many as 800,000 arrivals this year, showing growing concern even at the highest level over how to look after so many newcomers. Gauck was reported by Reuters as saying: “We want to help. We have a big heart. However, there is a limit to what we can do.” Reality bites and Merkel’s migrant stance has had a mixed domestic reception. In two separate polls, by Spiegel and ZDF, ranking individual politicians recently, Merkel was only fourth in line, behind Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Social Democrat), President Gauck , and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (Christian Democrat). The main problem for Merkel is the challenge to her base: most polls show the greatest resistance to allowing in large numbers of refugees among conservative voters. Merkel’s approval ratings have sunk the lowest in the east of Germany, where right-wing political sentiment is strongest. Overall, on average looking at multiple polls 48 percent of Germans were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the crisis, as against 41 percent who support Merkel’s response. Only 31 percent of respondents in… Read more »
Guest

Just thought to refresh a bit on Mohacs that great ‘disaster’ in Hungarian history. In hindsight, (always 20/20) if there indeed was a battle to be won it certainly looked to be Mohacs . But the Magyars didn’t come through. They failed. I don’t think we know what went on in the Magyar camp the night before but I think we could say they were ‘anxious’ of the coming day. The next unfortunately didn’t turn out like Agincourt as it did for the beleaguered English.

If we fast forward today I would say the commitment by the government to fight off ‘modernity’ as represented by the refugees looks to be very very attack minded. But if they fail can another ‘Mohacs’ event be in the the offing?

If the past is a guide, Hungary does not look to win ‘must-win’ competitions. Something always seem to go wrong. Their eagerness to engage quickly to get rid of the scourge with attitudes we’ve seen could be a prescription for another historic disaster if the country is not careful in its assessments. Sure as heck VO doesn’t want to put on the chain mail of Louis et al.

Istvan
Guest
The NY Times has an article today on the detention centers Germany has set up for the expulsion of likely failed asylum seekers http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/29/world/europe/germany-migrants-refugees.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top- news&WT.nav=top-news There were 10,000 expulsions from Germany between January and July of this year and the numbers are expected to grow dramatically. The Germans call them repatriation centers. Currently there are two in Bavaria and more on the way. This pretty much what I expected would happen, because people likely to be expelled are flight risks and require some form of detention prior to expulsion. No doubt more of these repatriation centers will have to be created to handle the flow. The Germans have also radically reduced the asylum denial process to a few hours from what had been taking months. A German federal draft law, expected to be passed in October, plans among other measures to add Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro to an official list of so-called safe countries — places to which migrants can be returned without fearing for their lives. (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia were included last year.) To reduce the number of rejected asylum seekers remaining in Germany illegally by leaving the repatriation centers, those who refuse to leave voluntarily are no… Read more »
TeamBritanniaHu
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Isn’t it also the case that the Turks were far more tolerant towards Reformed Christianity, both in allowing it to develop in the territories they controlled, and in their relations with Bethlen in Transylvania? After all, the Thirty Years’ War between the Hapsburgs and the Protestants of Central Europe had far more long-term effects on the German, Bohemian, Moravian and Transylvanian populations than the Turkish occupation had on central Hungary. Many protestant communities deliberately relocated across the Danube to escape Hapsburg autocracy. In effect, they were refugees from fellow Christians who found toleration under Turkish-Ottoman rule.

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