VERITAS Research Institute and Archives

During the Interwar Era, the top American leftwing daily did not spill much ink on the problems of the Treaty of Trianon, referring to it in a total of 26 articles. Moreover, in the earlier articles, the daily tended to refer to the Treaty of Trianon as the “Hungarian Treaty”. On the day of the signing of the Treaty of Trianon, The New York Times published not only a straightforward news report, but also the Hungarian peace delegation’s statement as provided to the Associated Press news agency. The newspaper seemed to approach Hungary’s tragic loss of huge amounts of her territory with a hint of empathy. Perhaps the positive coverage was an attempt by the daily to highlight the tensions, with respect to the peace plans, between the European victors and the United States.       

Most of the daily’s articles about Hungary did not focus on the Treaty of Trianon per say, but rather Count Albert Apponyi, who appeared in 65 articles in the pages of The New York Times during the Interwar Era. As a result of the Count’s connection to the events of 1919-1920, the issue of the Treaty of Trianon was touched upon indirectly in several articles. Perhaps Apponyi’s special status was no accident as he had already visited the United States earlier (in 1911), was well versed in the English language and North American culture and enjoyed a network of connections that got him invited to several American universities for speaking engagements in 1923. In early 1920, the Count had already expressed his disappointment in the failure of American foreign policy related to the European peace process. In an article appearing in the February 3rd, 1920, edition of the Times, the doyen of the Hungarian political elite said that United States had suffered a moral defeat when her own allies had completely disregarded the 14 points of Wilsonian diplomacy at the Paris Peace Conference. Apponyi added, “If I were an American, I might or might not have entered the war; but, once entering it, I should have felt it my right and duty to make a proper peace.”

In a lecture at New York University in 1923, the Count voiced his support for the peaceful revision of the Treaty of Trianon, arguing that the Paris peace treaties had not achieved their primary objective:  Ending the war by resolving the geographical, economic and ethnic problems burdening Europe. The treaties, in truth, had had the opposite effect, further exacerbating rifts between countries.

In 1928, apropos of the signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Times committed a few throwaway sentences to the subject of the Treaty of Trianon, assessing that the political leaders of Hungary were keen on signing the pact simply because they viewed it as a possible means of favorable revision of the Treaty of Trianon. In an article that appeared in the October 10th, 1928, edition, the Times conveyed the State Department’s position: Either the political leaders of Hungary sign the agreement and commit themselves to unconditionally rejecting war as a means of resolving international conflicts or they do not sign the document.

In 1929, John MacCormac, the Times’ correspondent in Budapest, stated that Hungary had sacrificed the monarchy and democracy in the interests of revision. The neighboring countries of Czechoslovakia, Austria and Romania, according to the American journalist, were much more democratic than Hungary.

In summary: In none of its articles did the leftwing newspaper come out in support of a revision of the Treaty of Trianon.

by János Rácz