At 7 PM on February 15th, 2016, at the Hungarian Historical Institute of Vienna (Collegium Hungaricum, 1020 Wien, Hollandstr. 4.), Gábor Ujváry, Subject Team Leader of the Horthy Era Research Team at the VERITAS Research Institute for History, will make a presentation titled Hungarian Ministers of Culture during the Interwar Period about the evolution of Hungarian cultural policy during that time, specifically touching upon the endeavors of Kuno Klebelsberg and Bálint Hóman.
“Today the Hungarian homeland is primarily protected not by the sword, but rather by culture, which once again could elevate the nation to greatness.” – Count Kuno Klebelsberg in 1922, at the beginning of his ministership.
Hungarian society during WWI and in the postwar revolutionary period went through a crisis of values, brought on primarily as a result of the Trianon Peace Treaty. In terms of culture, it seemed as if the nation had suffered permanent injuries: schools rich in tradition, public collections and national treasures were suddenly cut off, on the other side of newly drawn borders. Recognizing that there was an imperative to rebuild that which had been lost, the era’s two most influential Ministers of Religion and Education, Kuno Klebelsberg (1922-1932) and Bálint Hóman (1932-1942) counterbalanced cultural austerity with social compassion. Their various policy prescriptions, from revamping the educational system, to supporting intellectually gifted students, to subsidizing both academic research projects and international relationships are all worthy of emulation even today. Today historians consider Klebelsberg to be a constructive conservative statesman. The legacy of Bálint Hóman, the Minister of Culture during most of the 1930’s, on the other hand, has engendered passionate and quite public debates. Do his few undeniable errors in judgment overshadow his deeds and initiatives? How did Hóman approach his great predecessor’s heritage? These are the questions to which Gábor Ujváry, an expert in the field, will provide answers at the Hungarian Historical Institute’s event.