VERITAS Research Institute for History and Archives

01 October 2015

On Thursday, October 1st, 2015, at 5 PM at the Remembrance Point Museum in Hódmezővásárhely, Géza Jeszenszky, university professor and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, will review Eszter Zsófia Tóth’s and János Sáringer’s respective books on Prime Minister József Antall. Dr. Tóth and Dr. Sáringer are both Senior Research Fellows of the Post-1945 Era Research Team at the VERITAS Research Institute for History.

Eszter Zsófia Tóth: József Antall’s Road to the Prime Ministership (1932-1989), uses heretofore unpublished documents to chronicle József Antall’s life path. Standing out among these is the following: Even twenty-two years after his death, it is little known that the prime minister was the custodian of his father’s spiritual heritage, József Antall Sr., the WWII-era humanitarian, Minister of Reconstruction and member of parliament. The chapters on the prime minister’s participation in the 1956 Revolution, his suffering during the course of the reprisals and how he was capable of making life bearable under the dictatorship are all interesting. His professional solace and fulfillment working at the Semmelweis Museum, Library and Archives of the History of Medicine also make for interesting reading. The volume ends with the System Changeover, when József Antall – after years of preparation – stepped into the political arena. The value of the compilation is further enhanced by the use of archival (both personal and state) materials, written correspondences, and period photographs that have never before been published.

János Sáringer: Writings about the Antall Administration’s Foreign Policy and Diplomacy I (May 1990 – December 1990) begins its story with József Antall forming his administration at the end of May 1990, which placed Hungarian foreign policy on a new path. Still to this day, these foreign policy objectives are significant: the reestablishing of Hungarian sovereignty, the nullification of the Warsaw Pact and Comecon, the proposal to withdraw all Soviet troops from Hungarian territory and treaty-based good relations with neighboring countries. Similarly, his attempts at Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as the improvement of the circumstances of those Hungarian minority populations living in the bordering countries and respect for their collective rights. In addition to the European Counsel and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), regional and sub-regional cooperation took on increased importance for the leadership of Hungarian foreign policy. The concepts of human rights and collective human rights, closely related to minority issues, took on an emphasized role within Hungarian diplomacy. Budapest's international network expanded dramatically, which the leadership of Hungarian foreign policy and diplomacy actively took advantage of. Moving down the list of explicit foreign policy priorities, already in 1990 the Antall administration had achieved important results.

The volumes will be available through the VERITAS Books Series.


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