VERITAS Research Institute for History and Archives

11 February 2016

In Királyhelmec (Kráľovský Chlmec, SK) on February 11th, 2016, a new series of historical lectures called The History of Our Times (1867-1994) kicked off with Professor András Gergely of the VERITAS Research Institute for History discussing the Compromise of 1867.

István Pásztor, President of the Association of Zsuzsanna Lorántffy for the Development of the Bodrog-Tisza Region, the benefactor and host of the lecture series, opened the event by welcoming Gergely and the public to the Bodrogköz Hungarian Community Center in Királyhelmec.

András Gergely pointed out in his lecture, “The Compromise provided the legal framework for coexistence between Hungary and the Habsburg Empire, which was founded in 1526, and would last for another fifty years (after the Compromise). The Compromise itself was a creation of the political power struggles of the 1860’s. The specific legal resolution, however, traced its origin back one hundred fifty years, to the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, and the historical experience of earlier coexistence provided useful lessons. There was another tradition as well: with its 1707 and 1849 dethronements, the idea of the emergence of an independent Hungary, which served the historical argument against compromise.”    

The professor continued, “For a long time there was a serious cost-benefit analysis associated with a potential compromise. Questions remained about how much independence there would be, how much sovereignty would have to be given up, what powers would remain with the emperor etc. Today we look at it differently: Was the system capable of positive change? Would it have been able to transform into a modern democracy, as was the trend in the 20th century? Setting aside the uncertainty pertaining to questions of nationality and public policy, the answer is still no. The Compromise’s achievement was to extend the life of the Habsburg Empire by another half century, whose disintegration took Greater Hungary with it.”

Thus we may state that the audience witnessed a fact-rich and engaging lecture, with Professor Gergely sharing many very interesting facts about the Compromise and providing the audience with such background information as which is not available from “everyday” sources.  

The next lecturer in the History of Our Times (1867-1994) series will be Ádám Schwarczwölder, whose presentation is titled “The Hungary of the Dual Monarchy and Europe”. It will take place at the Bodrogköz Hungarian Community Center at 5 PM on February 25th, 2016.