The minority question in Hungarian-Romanian diplomatic relations during the premiership of István Bethlen

Funding: OTKA  
Duration: September 1, 2014 - March 31, 2018 (42 months)

Beyond driving Hungary’s foreign policy toward a modern nationalism—a quest for expression beyond the legitimation of the state—the Trianon Treaty shock also raised questions about Hungarian minorities living abroad, particularly in Romania, where large portions of it settled. The foreign policy relations between Hungary and Romania have been researched, but the lack of historical understanding of how they impacted on these minorities between 1920 and 1940 inspired Réka Marchut to start the project “The minority question in Hungarian-Romanian diplomatic relations during the premiership of István Bethlen”. She wanted to find out how Hungarian foreign policy influenced Romania’s policies toward Hungarians living there.

The project innovates by filling a major historiographical gap: Hungarian and Romanian research haven’t used each other's studies and sources to map out the issue in the inter-war period, which shadowed the past. For example, one knows that Italy played a key role to influence Hungarian-Romanian relations, but no one knew how much the Weimar Republic in Germany impacted on this relationship.

The question demanded extensive archival research. It involved analyzing sources from Germany, Romania, and Hungary, particularly Journals of the Houses of Representatives. She also investigated documents from the Hungarian National Archives and other institutions. The goal was to analyze the networks of relationships between foreign services of both countries. This resulted in a manuscript of compiled sources, journal articles, and conference presentations in Hungary and abroad. Marchut's findings had the societal impact of balancing opinions of history and politics by offering a glimpse of how Hungary and Romania could moderate rooted conflicts—between both states and their respective foreign minorities. 

Principal investigator (PI):

Réka Marchut

Research Fellow  
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