The Origin of the Hungarians

Géza Radich


This short summary of Hungarian history, especially the origin and early history of Hungarians, departs from the officially held position suggesting that Hungarians belong in the Finno-Ugric family of people, which is being taught in schools and which can be found in Encyclopedias. However, if one looks a little deeper and examines the works of scholars specializing in this particular part of history, one finds a great deal of discrepancy and uncertainty. The hypothesis that the Hungarians are related to the Finno-Ugric people is based strictly upon linguistic similarities and is not supported by written or archaeological finds. Note the following quotations from two leading Hungarian scholars offering excellent examples of the shaky ground on which this science really stands:

Dr. Ferenc Glatz, currently (year 2001) president of the Hungarian Academy of Science, in his book entitled: A magyarok krónikája (Chronicle of the Hungarians, Officia Nova 1996.) writes: "Of the ancestors of Hungarians to 600 A. D., we can only speak in the realm of possibilities, based upon research in language history, archaeology and geographical flora."
Dr. István Fodor, was the director of the
Hungarian National Museum in the early 1990's, states in his book entitled: Verecke híres útján… (Through the pass of Verecke… /North-Eastern Carpathian Mountains./ Gondolat könyvkiadó, 1975): "The millennium of our early history followed by the year 500 B. C. at this point almost completely blank spot on the map of our early history. We have no written sources to rely upon, or any archaeological finds that could be connected to ancient Hungarians without any doubt."

So, if scholars of the highest standing can only offer hypotheses regarding the origin and early history of the Hungarians, wouldn't it be reasonable to investigate other possibilities? Racially the Finno-Ugric language group is just about as diverse as humanly possible. The small tribes living east of the Ural Mountain are Mongoloids, the Finns are of Northern European stock, and the Hungarians are typical, Central-Europeans. Research in the 1940's indicated that among King Árpád's people, those that conquered the Carpathian Basin eleven hundred years ago in 895 A.D., the Finno-Ugric stock totaled just 12.5%. That accounted for only a small percentage of the total population of the Carpathian Basin. Therefore, other possibilities seem to have more to offer regarding the origin of the Hungarians and their language. Let's investigate those, along with a short recap of the official version of events.  Before we begin and as a reminder, Hungarians call themselves Magyar – a name which appears often in the text.

Let us start with the results of the latest genetic research. Between 1984 and 1989 the Hungarian and German Academies of Science jointly conducted a genetic research project that resulted in the following findings:

"We have evaluated the deletion of the so called inter-genetic 9-bp, of which the presence or absence is a determining factor in establishing racial relationships. The Asiatic origin of 9-bp is completely missing from the Hungarian population. We have found the Asiatic M haplo-group in the Finns, the Ezras and the Lapps, but we did not find it in a single Hungarian individual tested." (The three-page summary of this study appeared in the weekly publication of Élet és Tudomány/Life and Science in an article by Dr. Judit Béres, entitled: „Népességünk Genetikai Rokonsága/Genetic Relations of our Population”, September 21, 2001).

Thus, the latest scientific research refutes the claim that Hungarians are genetically related to the Finn-Ugric peoples. This should call for the revision of origin of the Hungarians.

Based on archaeological evidence, we can safely say that humans have inhabited the Carpathian Basin for the last several hundred thousand years. Fragments of a human skull were found in 1963 at Vértesszőlős (Northwestern Hungary). Radiocarbon dating suggests that this early man lived about 300 thousand years ago. The remains and tools of the Neanderthals, and of course the Cro-Magnons, have also been found in the Carpathian Basin. (According to science, modern humans are the direct descendants of the Cro-Magnons.) About 40,000 years ago, (in North-Central Hungary) a culture evolved that excelled to the highest levels of its time; the people of this culture are famous for their fine stone tools and arrowheads. True works of art, such fine tools dating from this period, have not been found anywhere else in the world. In a Bükk Mountain cave, archaeologists also found a three-holed whistle made of bone; incredibly, five notes can be played on it. It has been established that humans have inhabited caves throughout the Carpathian Basin for many thousands of years; artifacts of early man have even been found near a warm water spring dating back to the Ice Age. Although the Carpathian Basin was tundra during the last Ice Age, it was capable of supporting some population.

After the warm-up began some 12,000 years ago, large numbers of people came from the south. It seems the original homeland of these early settlers was Anatolia, today's Turkey. Professor Grover S. Krantz, anthropologist at Washington State University, studied the origin of the European languages and publishing his findings in the book entitled: Geographical Development of European Languages (Peter Lang, 1988). Professor Krantz set up certain guidelines, which he used diligently in his analysis, applying them uniformly to all European languages. He structured and based these guidelines on human behaviors and life-sustaining requirements such as climate, the length of the growing season, and the quality of land for herding or agriculture, etc. In regard to the Hungarian language, he came to the following conclusion. On page 11 he writes:

"It is usually stated that the Uralic Magyars moved into Hungary from an eastern source in the 9th Century A.D. I find instead that all the other Uralic speakers expanded out of Hungary in the opposite direction, and at a much earlier date."

Furthermore, on page 72 we find the following observation:

"Given these objections the actual Uralic-speaking distributions would allow only one alternative explanation - that the family originated in Hungary and spread out in the opposite direction. This poses no serious problem if the time for this origin and dispersion is put at the earliest Neolithic. If this is true it means that Hungarian (Magyar) is actually the oldest in-place language in all of Europe."

Krantz believes that the ancient shepherds of the Great Hungarian Plains spoke the Proto-Hungarian tongue. Closer examination of this question suggests that the early settlers from the south, shepherds and farmers alike, spoke the same language.

The Neolithic cultures had begun to evolve in Hungary approximately eight thousand years ago. About seven thousand five hundred years ago a distinct culture was flourishing in the lower region, between the river Danube and the river Tisza, the lower region east of the Tisza, and in Transylvania (belonging to Romania today). It is known as the Körös culture (Exhibit 1). People of this culture lived in small tent-like or vertical wall houses. In Transylvania they used stone to build houses with a fireplace at the center. Besides hunting and gathering, these people provided for themselves by practicing agriculture and by domesticating animals. The artifacts of this culture show a close resemblance to the Mesopotamian culture. In 1963 at Alsótatárlaka (Transylvania) on the river Maros, three clay tablets (Exhibit 2) were found with pictographs on them. According to radiocarbon dating these tablets are close to seven thousand (7,000) years old - though some archaeologists are still debating this - suggesting that the cradle of writing may have been the Carpathian Basin. The oldest Sumerian tablets are about 5,500 years old. It is an accepted fact that the Mesopotamian Sumerian culture developed into the oldest, most highly-developed culture, with their pictographs evolving into an intricate cuneiform writing.

Early scholars in the middle of the nineteenth century, while deciphering the Sumerian writings, recognized that the Sumerians spoke an agglutinative language similar to Hungarian; hundreds of Sumerian words still exist in the Hungarian language today. The French scholar, Francois Lenormant, spent some time in Hungary in order to achieve a a better understanding of the Hungarian language. Some believe the English scholar, A. H. Sayce did the same, because Hungarian proved to be a useful tool in deciphering the ancient Sumerian language. In the field of  deciphering the Sumerian cuneiforms, each of the two pioneers, the Englishman, Henry C. Rawlinson and the Frenchman, Jules Oppert, had Hungarian co-workers, Jácint Rónay and Flórián Mátyás respectively. So, even today, some believe that the Hungarian and the Sumerian languages are closely related, others believe that they are one and the same.

The Körös culture was followed by the Culture of the Great-Plain (Alföldi vonaldíszes edények műveltsége) about a thousand years later. Artifacts of this culture also closely resemble the Sumerian artifacts. One of the widely known symbols from this period is the triangle, which appears on many sacred artifacts, especially on the little idols (Exhibit 3) representing the goddess of fertility. The triangle is also used to "write" or to represent the woman in the pictographs. From the Culture of the Great Plain, there is a striking symbol that resembles the capital M in the Latin alphabet. This symbol first appeared about 5,500 years ago in the Carpathian Basin, disappearing around three hundred years later.  At about the same time, it also appeared in the Mesopotamian Uruk culture, suggesting that there may have been some contact between the people of these two regions. What is interesting about this mark is that no-one knows the meaning of it. What follows is some speculative suggestion as to what this symbol may mean and represent.

The symbol resembles the capital M; thousands of years later it evolved into the capital M of the Latin alphabet suggesting that it represented someone or something very important. 5,500 years ago the most significant driving force in social development was the fertility culture that embodied the struggle for life - for one's own and for mankind's very existence. It would be logical to look for an explanation within that circle of thought and ideas. Mater in Latin, Mutter in German, Mother in English and nagy-mama (grand-mother) in the Hungarian language seem to indicate that the symbol in question represents motherhood: mother goddess in the fertility culture. So it seems, that it has a similar meaning to that of the triangle, which is internationally accepted. Question: Why didn't scholars recognize this obvious possibility? Could it be that there is another meaning behind that ancient symbol?

The Neolithic collection of the Damjanich János Museum of Szolnok (Hungary) includes an exhibit containing the neck of a large clay jar (Exhibit 4) that had been used to store grain some 5,500 years ago. On this piece of pottery, the capital M symbol is engraved in such a way that it is also a part of the triangle. The V angle of the M forms the bottom lines of the triangle and, enclosed by the decorative top line above, the two engraved, triangle-shaped eyes, a horizontal mouth and nose shaped out of clay. Now, if the two symbols represent the same thing, why did they use them in combination? Is it possible that there is another logical explanation to this question? What could be the significance behind the meaning of the capital M like symbol? It is a fact that this ancient symbol resembles not only the capital M of the Latin alphabet, but also looks very much like a letter M in the Hungarian runic writing. Hungarians call themselves Magyar, a word also starting with the m sound. Could it be possible that behind this ancient symbol M, we should look for the name Magyar? In this case, if we use the meaning Magyar (Hungarian) for the capital M, and the meaning Istennő or Nagyasszony (goddess) for the triangle, the combined reading would be Magyarok Istennője or Magyarok Nagyasszonya (Goddess of the Hungarians). It is interesting to note that those dot-like engravings falling out of the triangle are like seeds falling out of the hand of the farmer while sowing his fields. It can be stated with near certainty that the owner of the clay jar was asking for the blessing of the goddess for a good harvest.

The Egyptian idol (Exhibit 5) also symbolizes the goddess of fertility. It is about 5,500 years old and is made from the mud of the river Nile. This statue, shaped like a seed, shows a figure raising its arms with closed fingers suggesting that this goddess is saying something. There must be a message behind that striking position of the arms. It is well-known that the Egyptians in the hieroglyphics used animals, human body parts, tools - and so on - as symbols to relay messages. The head of this statue is an eagle head. The eagle represents the letter A. In the book: Reading Egyptian Art by Richard H. Wilkinson we will find that the meaning of the arm is ka, i.e. kar, plural karok (arms) in Hungarian. A hand with closed fingers could have several meanings, among them khefa which means grasp, or amem meaning seize. In the Hungarian language grasp = markol. If the Egyptologists would learn Hungarian, like some Sumerologists did in the 19th. century, perhaps it would help them to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs, more accurately reading the symbol in question: marok, makol instead of khefa. This may seem farfetched, but if we take a closer look at the Fragmentary Bull Palette from the Predynastic Period of Egypt, one can see that the five hands "grasping" a rope, as Wilkinson explains, is markol in Hungarian. After having some clue to the meaning of the recognizable signs on the idol, a possible reading could be attempted. However, keep in mind that in interpreting the ancient pictographs and symbols, occasionally only part of the word (a syllable) should be used for proper reading. The eagle head is A=the, the hand with closed fingers is ma-rkol=grasp, the raised arms are karok and the statue itself is goddess, in Hungarian Istennő or Nagyasszony. It reads: A makarok (Magyarok) Istennője, or A Magyarok Nagyasszonya, i.e., The Goddess of the Hungarians. This is exactly the same reading as on the clay pottery of Szolnok discussed previously. Both artifacts are 5,500 years old. Some scholars believe that the people who established the Egyptian culture came from a river called Netra. It is possible that some small creek or spring exists by this name (one not listed) however, the only river listed in the World Atlas similar to this name is Nyitra in the Carpathian Basin. Could it be - if the readings of these two artifacts are correct, which is by no means certain -, that the people of the Carpathian Basin already called themselves Magyar 5,500 years ago and spoke an early form of the Hungarian tongue? One thing that can be stated for certain is this: if we combine the meanings of the signs and symbols, we find perfect Hungarian sentences.

In addition to the previously discussed hypothesis, there is the third idol from Anatolia (modern day Turkey), which is equally striking. Numbers of these mother goddesses (Exhibit 6) have been found at the Çatal Hüyük archaeological site. The archaeologist James Mellaart interprets the figurine: "woman giving birth". In Hungarian: szülő asszony. Surely, enough of a child's head is seen between the legs of the woman. Mellaart failed to note the arches on the knees and on the belly of the woman. The meaning of the triple mountain-like symbol in pictographic writing is 'field' or 'land'. In Hungarian: föld. Therefore, if the two words szülő and föld are combined, it results in the following reading: szülőföld, which is the precise Hungarian expression for motherland. In addition, on the side of the idol, photographed from an angle, the capital M like symbol can also be seen.  Just because the leopard's sagging belly and the front and rear legs create the M like shape, this may not be intentional. However, because the three arches were engraved intentionally, and the leopard's belly is not a perfect reverse arch, it has a break or an angle in it that can only be intentional, and so is the symbol of the capital M. Thus, the reading: Magyarok szülőföldje (Motherland of Hungarians) cannot be ruled out.

Back in 1928, the British archaeologist Gordon Childe wrote in his book: The Danube in Prehistory that in the great triangle (Mesopotamia, the island of Crete, and the Carpathian Basin), a similar culture existed in the Neolithic.  A similar culture does not mean that these people spoke the same tongue, but, based on what the previously deciphered artifacts suggest, this cannot be ruled out of the realm of possibilities.

At the time of the culture of the Great Plain, a separate society flourished west of the river Danube: the Culture of Dunántúl (Dunántúli vonaldíszes edények műveltsége). Artifacts from this culture have been found in Central Europe as far west as the River Rhine. These artifacts do not bear a striking resemblance to those of Mesopotamia like the ones from east of the Danube River. Nevertheless, they unmistakably bear the signs and meanings of the fertility culture. This society built huge houses out of timber, cultivated land, and domesticated animals. Later on, as time passed, the original three cultures in the Carpathian Basin became more colorful and distinct as localized characteristics began to appear on many artifacts. Around four thousand (4,000) years ago, large numbers of immigrants arrived from the south. They were the people of the Pécel culture. It seems that their massive numbers were the final and determining factor in establishing the Hungarian tongue in the Carpathian Basin. The population of the Carpathian Basin became dense enough with these arrivals that future conquerors and immigrants, though perhaps leaving their mark on the already dominant language, could not completely change it. It is reasonable to conclude that this language was Hungarian or, shall we say, a prototype of it. This theory is supported by ancient geographic and place names also found throughout the Carpathian Basin.

From the plain of the east (Ukraine), around 900 B.C., the Cimmerians invaded the Carpathian Basin. The Scythians followed them in 500 B.C. Although the Scythians dominated the Carpathian Basin for over 500 years, their settlers heavily populated only Transylvania and the area surrounding Mount Mátra.  Some Hungarians believe that they are of Scythian origin and this obviously has some merit. Five hundred years could not have passed without some mingling with the indigenous population. For example, the headdress of the maidens living around Mount Mátra is very similar in style to the headdress of the Scythian Queen (Exhibit 7). The Celts, the Sarmatians, and then the Huns followed the Scythians. Some Hungarians trace their ancestry back to these great conquerors, to the people of King Attila. This is true in part only, because the early settlers are also part of the equation. The Carpathian Basin was under the control of the Huns for about seventy years, but only the last twenty or so years (433-453 A.D.) saw Attila setting up his headquarters on the Great Hungarian Plain. After the demise of the Hun Empire, some of the Huns returned to their previous homeland north of the Black Sea. It is possible that they are the ancestors of Árpád's people, and of course, they thought of themselves as the descendants of the Huns, and rightly so.

The Huns were followed by the "early" Avars in 568 A.D., and under the leadership of Baján kagán, they have established an empire from the Western Alps, the River Elb to the Caspian Sea. These early Avars were heterogeneous in their ethnic composition. Some of them were the descendant of the Jouan Jouan from the Xinjiang province of today's northwest China. Based on Chinese chronicles, the Jouna Jounas spoke the Turkish and Mongolian languages. Others belonged to a Northern Iranian stock of people, and may have been the descendant of the Parthians, mixed with small numbers of Huns. The second wave of Avars appeared around 670 A.D. Some believe, because of their great number, that they were the first large body of people in the Carpathian Basin speaking the Hungarian language. However, the ethnic makeup of these peoples just as diverse, as are the first wave of the Avars. It is very unlikely that to establish the Hungarian language could be contributed to them.

Many scholars have noted the uniqueness of the Hungarian language. It may take a while yet to unravel some of the mysteries that surround it, so in the meantime we would like to offer you the following: The English philologist, Sir John Bowring (1792-1872), spoke many languages - Hungarian being one of them. He translated many Hungarian poems into English and in 1830 he published a literary chrestomathy. In its Foreword he wrote:

"The Magyar language stands afar off and alone. The study of other tongues will be found of exceedingly little use toward its right understanding. It is molded in a form essentially its own, and its construction and composition may be safely referred to an epoch when most of the living tongues of Europe either had no existence, or no influence on the Hungarian region."

Cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti of Italy, the director of the Library of the Vatican, like Bowring, spoke many languages, among them Hungarian. In 1836 he stated the following to the Czech poet, Augustine Frankl: "The Hungarians do not even know what cultural treasure their language possesses." The good Cardinal made this statement, because some Hungarian noble men visited Rome and he looked them up, so he could chat with them in Hungarian. Mezzofanti quickly discovered that this gentleman spoke perfect Latin, but very little Hungarian.



The Sword of God


In the Schatzkammer section of the Art Museum of Vienna, among many swords on display, there is one that is thought to be Attila's. Actually it is a saber. If one were to make a careful and close examination of the workmanship and the decorative motifs, there is no doubt that one would come to a conclusion; that saber is the typical and unmistakable works of a Hungarian goldsmith from the IX-X. century A.D. On the handle there are three rings, which are decorated with precious stones. It is very obvious that this saber was not made for use in battle, or for everyday use of any kind. The handle covered by gold plate shows no wear or tear whatsoever. Someone may have worn it on special occasions, or used it at sacred ceremonies. The mother of King Salamon (1063-1074) gave it to Prince Otto Nordheim, which indicates that this saber was in the possession of the Hungarian kings who inherited it from the earlier rulers.

Horsemen of the plains dominated the vast area from the Carpathians to the Altai Mountains and beyond for millennia. Their culture and civilization were different from those of the western peoples, and throughout the centuries they fought many wars. The people of the West became somewhat soft, because of their sheltered life, while the people of the plains remained rough and at one with nature. They were the greatest warriors the world has ever known. Bravery was instilled in them from childhood on, and was implanted in the depths of their soul. They lived by the sword and they died by the sword. It is no wonder that to them the sword (saber) was a sacred object, which they revered and that they were empowered by it.

The Sword of God had a magic power. It was either inherited or especially made for great rulers such as Attila or Álmos. According to some sources, the Scythians used iron from a meteor to make the Sword of God. After the blacksmith made it, they put it on the top of a mound, standing it up like a lightning rod and waited for the lightning to strike it. If this happened, it was the will of God, which gave the sword a magical power. This power from the sword was transferred to its owner and was given to him by God, so he ruled by the will of God.

The saber of Vienna is most likely one of the Swords of God, probably the only one in the Western World that has never been buried in the ground.

The Composite Bow


Hunters and warriors used the bow for thousands of years. One of the most effective, the most feared, and deadliest was the composite bow that was developed by the horsemen of Central-Asia in the first millennium B.C. The Scythians, the Huns, the Avars and the Magyars, just to mention a few, were masters in the making and handling of this weapon. In comparison, the composite bow was smaller and more powerful than other bows, therefore, more practical in hunting or shooting from horseback. It was able to shoot an arrow about half a mile's distance, was capable of piercing some light body armor, and was lethal at about 300-400 yards. (Western bows had only about half the range.) The warriors of the East were masters in handling these bows and they shot their arrows with great accuracy from their galloping horses. Even in a retreat (real or tactical), the stirrup enabled them to turn facing backwards on their horses, allowing for the very effective use of these weapons. Some A skilled horseman in Hungary demonstrated very convincingly that this could be done without the stirrup.

The composite bows were made of wood, horn, sinew, and some fish-glue, and because the type of glue they used, this weapon could be used only in dry weather. It took a great deal of skill and a number of years to make just one. In order to use these weapons effectively, one was trained from childhood to develop the necessary skill and muscle.



The Hungarian Dogs


The most famous and internationally known Hungarian dogs are the Komondor, Kuvasz, Puli, and the Vizsla. The Vizsla is a hunting dog with about five hundred years of documented history and is well known to American hunters. The other three are excellent, if not the best guard dogs there are. Their origin has not been satisfactorily determined, however, the names of these dogs have been found on Sumerian clay tablets: Ku-Assa for Kuvasz, Kumundur for Komondor and Puli for Puli. Furthermore, the Sumerian word for dog is kudda; in Hungarian it is kutya - suggesting that these three dogs may have come with the ancient settlers out of Anatolia into the Carpathian Basin. They are probably the oldest domesticated dogs going back to about eight thousand years. These dogs are easily trained, most discipline comes naturally to them.

The Conquest of King Árpád


In 1996 Hungarians throughout the world celebrated the anniversary of the  establishment of their homeland in the Carpathian Basin in A.D. 896. However, this date is incorrect due to the fact that this conquest took place in 895. (The celebration of the millennium was postponed a year due to the fact that Budapest's first subway was under construction. It was completed in 1896.) It has been extensively debated in the past one hundred fifty years, not only just what exactly took place before, during and after the conquest, but who Árpád's people really were: what their origin was, what language they spoke, whom they found in the Carpathian Basin and how many tribes or nations took part in this bold undertaking and so forth. The following may shed some light on some of these questions.

(The author is aware of the discrepancies forwarded by the German historian, Heribert Illig regarding medieval history of Europe. Should Illig's proposition prove to be true, than the dates in this study should be adjusted accordingly, and in that case, Árpád's people may have conquered the Carpathian Basin 300 years earlier.)

It seems that the year 895 or 896 is arbitrary because the conquest of the Carpathian Basin was not an exclusive and singular military undertaking. According to some researchers, it was a process - perhaps beginning in 892, but no later than 895, extending their rule over western Hungary (Pannonia, today's Dunántúl).  The year 899 marks the end of their conquest. Thus, the year 895 seems the most realistic. In 894, Emperor Leo of Byzantine established an alliance with King Árpád (or perhaps his father Álmos, who had already been in alliance with Arnulf the Frankish emperor since 892) against the Bulgarians. Byzantine ships carried some of Árpád's troops on the lower Danube to the battlefield. The decisive battle was fought outside of the southern Carpathian Mountains, along the Danube River, with heavy losses on both sides. It is not known whether Emperor Leo was aware of Árpád's real intentions or not, but he made peace with the Bulgarians while the fighting went on. After the Bulgarians were defeated, Árpád's people began to move into the Carpathian Basin, settling their families and livestock in the area.

Unfortunately, the origin of Árpád's people has never been satisfactorily resolved. Therefore, here is what is considered the most likely scenario: The Khazar writings contain some mention of Árpád's people; the implication is that around 820 A.D, Ügek (Árpád's grandfather) and his people were under their rule. This is probably true to a certain extent because some of the nations/tribes, but not all of them, were under Khazar rule. Indications are that the federation was composed of two major ethnic groups of people; each may have spoken a different tongue. The Sabir nations Megyer, Tarján, Jenő and the partial Gyarmat were believed to have spoken Hungarian. The two Onugor nations, Kér and Keszi, and the partial Kök-Türk Kürt nation spoke Turkish, and most likely did the Nyék nation to, which had close ties with the Sabir nations (these nations in the second group may have been under Khazar rule). It is not clear whether Álmos or Árpád married the daughter of the leader of the Nyék nation, but it slowly pulled away from the Khazar empire sometime after the marriage.  If the Onugor nations were under Khazar rule, they have no doubt pulled away by the time of the Vérszerződés (Covenant of Blood, Exhibit 7) which took place between 888-891 A.D. The taking of this oath indicated that they were getting ready for the conquest of the Carpathian Basin .

The Vérszerződés was an oath; two or more parties swear an oath in blood to each other, for instance, that their friendship will never be broken or merging into one nation. In the case of Árpád's people, the oath was taken by the leaders of eight nations consisting of perhaps two major languages or ethnic groups. This alliance was formed with the intention of conquering the Carpathian Basin. This took place at a time when Árpád's father, Álmos, was still ruler, indicating that the massive undertaking was planned in advance. They agreed to the following:

As long as they and their descendants were alive, they would elect a leader from the descendants of Álmos.

They would all share equally in the land and goods they acquired.

The leaders, having elected Álmos to be their king, made the decision of their own free will. Furthermore, neither they themselves nor their descendants should ever be excluded from the central ruling council and other leadership positions in the country.

If anyone among their descendants were to become unfaithful to the king, or conspire against him and his relatives, the blood of the guilty should flow like theirs did in the oath they took to king Álmos.

If anyone among King Álmos' and the other leaders' descendants were to violate the agreements which they sealed with their oath, they should be cursed forever.

It seems like this agreement was done in the name of Democracy.

Herodotus, the Greek historian in the fifth century B.C. was probably the eyewitness to an oath-taking much like the Vérszerződés, for he describes one such event in great detail in his work on the Scythians. He wrote the following: "...a large earthen bowl is filled with wine, and the parties to the oath, wounding themselves slightly with a knife or an awl, drop some of their blood into the wine; then they plunge into the mixture a scimitar, some arrows, a battle-axe, and a javelin, all the while repeating prayers; lastly, the two contracting parties drink each a drought from the bowl, as do also the chief men among their followers."

The flag (Exhibit 8) from the XI century displays four red and four white stripes, suggesting the original eight horka (head of the nations) had made an alliance with one another. These nations are represented by the eight stripes on the right side ( left side facing it) of the Hungarian Coat of Arms (Exhibit 10). Some researchers believe that the number of nations which took part in the conquest may have been as many as ten. If so, they must have joined later, after the oath-taking and were not full-fledged participants in the undertaking.

The Sabir nations lived next to the Khazar Empire, just north of the Azov Sea. The first mention of them was in 839, when their troops appeared in the lower Danube region. This was around the time of Árpád's birth and, within a couple of decades, in 862, the young prince would lead the first military venture into Pannonia. From this point onward, Árpád's people became a factor in European politics and history.

According to some historians, Árpád's people were forced out of their homeland, north of the Black Sea, by the advancing Patzinaks and lost a great number of their families and livestock. This cannot be substantiated; furthermore, the string of successful military ventures beginning in the year 899 convincingly refutes this theory.

Once they established firm control over the newly acquired territory, Árpád's people held the first national convention and divided the land between themselves, according to their contract agreed upon in the Vérszerződés. The Onugor tribes chose to settle on the borders of the newly conquered homeland and were in close contact with their new neighbors. These neighbors called the newcomers Ungar or Hungar, relating them to the Huns.  This is most likely where our Hungarian name comes from.

The size of the total population of the new alliance is still debated. In the past, it was believed to have been between 200,000 and 500,000 people. Some put the figure much higher than this. Based on recent research, their number most likely did not reach two hundred thousand. There is a reason for the reevaluation. As the Hungarian archaeologists excavated more and more cemeteries from the 9-11th centuries, they realized that the numbers of the indigenous common people (the farmers erroneously thought to be Slavs) were far greater than they ever imagined. A scholar in 1959 came to the realization that, if these people were Slavic speakers, the language of Árpád would have dissolved into their language and the people of Hungary would not be speaking Hungarian today. The problem was, and still is, that the artifacts of these common people cannot be traced back to southern Ukraine where Árpád's people had come from (Exhibit 11).

Professor Gyula László, a noted archaeologist, came up with a new theory. He presented the possibility that, perhaps the second wave of Avars - who had moved into the Carpathian Basin around 670 - were the first Hungarian speaking people. The problem, here again, was that the artifacts of the Avars and the indigenous people in question were dissimilar; they were not of the same stock biologically or culturally and the indigenous people vastly outnumbered the combined population of the Avars and Árpád's people. Furthermore, according to Chinese sources, the early Avars spoke mainly the Turkish language, although they may also have had some Mongolian speaking tribes. Some scholars believe that Árpád's people also spoke Turkish. No doubt this has some truth to it as we see it. The question is then: who spoke Hungarian? The three and a half nations of the Sabír people could not have been the language giver to all of the people of the Carpathian Basin, even if they had spoken Hungarian. The presence of the indigenous common people, the ancient settlers with their overwhelming numbers, suggests that they were speaking the Hungarian language. The language, or the languages of the Avars and Árpád's people, made their mark on the Hungarian language, but they could not ultimately change it.

Based on archaeological evidence, it can be stated that in the 10th century A.D. there were three major groups of people in the Carpathian Basin: Árpád's people, the Avars and the common people or ancient settlers. Modern Hungarians are, therefore, the composite of these three major groups of people.

The culture, the clothing, the structure of society, and the battle tactics of Árpád's people were typically Hun in origin, similar to the Turkish (Exhibit 9) at the time of the conquest. They were great warriors and magnificent organizers. They have created a powerful nation, which for six hundred years played a major role in European politics and history. Whether they spoke Hungarian or not, whether the name Magyar could be attributed to them or not, their accomplishment stands tall like a flag on the battlefield and their memory is written in gold in Hungarian history. In 1996 all Hungarians bowed their heads in respect and pride to the people of King Árpád! The time has come for the revision of Hungarian history, especially in regard to the origin of the Hungarians.

In 955 A.D. the German Emperor's ( Otto I.) son and son-in-law (Ludolf and Conrad the Red) revolted against the Emperor, inviting the Hungarians to help. The Hungarians accepted the invitation. By the time they reached Augsburg (Germany), unknowns to the Hungarians, Ludolf and Conrad had made peace with Otto. The combined German forces turned against the Hungarian forces and gained the upper hand. After the Hungarians agreed to lay down their arms, they were massacred, some were buried alive. The leader of the Hungarian campaign was Bulcsú, one of the greatest leaders and military tacticians of the X century. He lost his life in the Augsburg battle. This defeat marked the shift in Hungarian foreign policy toward the West. From this point onward, western military ventures ended; they continued eastward towards Byzantine up until 970. Contrary to the belief still held by many, looting and pillaging were not the major objectives of these Hungarian military campaigns. They were politically motivated and 94% of them were carried out in alliance with some inviting party.

In 972, Géza became the Hungarian King. At this time, there were some ideological conflicts within the Christian Church. This conflict led to the break up of the Church in 1054 into the eastern orthodox Byzantine, and the western faction's Roman Catholic Church. Géza became the supporter of the politically and western oriented Roman Catholic Church. He sent for western priests to enter Hungary, and most likely, his children were educated by one of them. In order to establish a firm western alliance, Géza's son István (Saint Stephen) married Gizella in 995, the sister of the Bavarian prince Henrich, who later became the German emperor Henrich II.
Géza died in 997, and István inherited the Hungarian throne. He continued his father's westward-leaning policy with great enthusiasm and determination. István brought German Knights into the country, to whom he appropriated a great deal of lands, riches and special privileges. His policy to exclude and intimidate the old power structure from leadership, in violation of the Vérszerződés, led to his heavy reliance on these Knights for protection. When pope Sylvester II. ordered the confiscation and destruction of the objects written in the traditional Hungarian runic writings, forbidding its use, the old power structure of leaders took exception to that. It was an attack on the Hungarian culture, and was the beginning of the conflict between the old and new. Koppány of Dunántúl in 999, Gyula of
Transylvania in1002, and Ajtony of southern Hungary in 1003, took up arms not to defend the old way of life, but to defend the culture. These revolts were put down by István with the help of the foreign Knights. These revolts have been characterized as "anti-Christian", which is total nonsense. On the contrary, by this time the Hungarian nobility was Christian, and they were very tolerant of religious differences.

Hungarian Runic Writing


Ancient forms of writing began with numerical and seasonal notations, than came the pictographs. These symbols in Mesopotamia evolved into cuneiform writing, and in Egypt developed into the high art of hieroglyphics. The runic writing taught to came later and was believed to be the descendant of these two ancient forms of writing. A Hungarian researcher, Csaba Varga believes that the runic writhing actually goes back some 30,000 years, and developed on it's own. After all, it is highly unlikely, that simpler form of writing like runic, would evolve into a more intricate form of writing such as the cuneiforms or the hieroglyphics. So, the reexamination or perhaps the revision of present day knowledge, regarding the origin of writhing, should be in order.

Many people used runes, among them Hungarians. Some historians believe that the Hungarian runes are of Khazar-Turkish origin. Comparative studies, however, suggest otherwise. The Hungarian runic characters show a 28.6% resemblance to the Turkish, while showing a 43.4% resemblance to the Etruscan and 50.0% to the Phoenician. Many Hungarian runic letters show close resemblance to some of the Egyptian hieroglyphics also.

There are 34 letters in the Hungarian runes, one for each basic sound in the Hungarian language. In order to shorten the writing, these letters have been used in the manner of ligature (combining of multiple letters). Some two hundred years ago the runes were still in use in Transylvania.

The numbers of runic writings that remand from the early Christian era are few and far between. The reason for this is twofold. For one, they used wood for to (write) on, and as we know wood is highly perishable. The second is that in the year 999 or 1000 Pope Sylvester II. ordered the "pagan" writing of the Hungarians to be destroyed. (The Viking runic writing suffered the same fate.) This has provoked a revolt against the Roman Catholic Church, which is characterized as anti Christian "pagan" uprising. It would be far more accurate to say that the two culture - the Christian and the Hungarian - collided head-on. The nobility at this time were all Christians, and they would not lead a revolt against the Church for religious reason.

The Holy (Saint) Crown of Hungary


Like most objects from the ancient past - treasures or archaeological -, the Hungarian Holy Crown is surrounded by intriguing mysteries, and this is true in respect to its material history and its idealized concept of governing.  First, however, let's recap the official version of this Crown's unique history.

According to the official version, the top cross section of the Holy Crown was given to István (Stephen, declared "Saint" in 1083), the first Christian king of Hungary in the year 1000 A.D. by Pope Sylvester II. The bottom band (hoop, rim) of the Crown was a present from the Byzantine Emperor, Michael Ducas to another Hungarian king, Géza I. who ruled Hungary between 1074-1077. Eventually someone combined the two sections into one single crown.

Nearing the end of the II. World War, the guards of the Crown, fleeing from the advancing Soviet Armies, brought it to Austria and buried it. At the end of the war they turned the Crown over to the American occupation forces. In 1978 the Holy Crown was returned to Hungary. In the early 1980s, some engineers and goldsmiths were given permission to make a close examination of the Crown. These examinations brought about many new discoveries and surprising results.

First the group of engineers and the group of goldsmiths independently from each other came to the same conclusion that there is no difference between the top cross section and the bottom band as far as workmanship, material or any other aspect of it. The whole crown was made in one workshop at the same time.

The second astonishing discovery was, based on the comparison of workmanship and material of other jewelry and similar objects, that the crown was made around the late 300's or the early 400's A.D., east of the Back Sea and south of the Caucasian Mountain divide (Today's Georgia). It is not determined for whom the crown was made, or how it had arrived in Hungary. Some suggest it may have been made for a Hun king - among others -, and after the demise of the Hun Empire it wound up in the hands of the advancing Avars from the East. They conquered the Carpathian Basin around 560 A.D. Charlemagne had conquered the Avars of western Hungary in 795-96 and some believe that the crown fell into his hands. According to legend, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne with it on Christmas day in the year 800. The Emperor ordered his subjects to bury him with this crown.  This came to pass in 814.

In the year 1000 A.D., upon the insistence of Pope Sylvester II., the German Emperor Otto III. was ordered to open Charlemagne's tomb and recover the crown. The Pope promised it to the Polish king Boleslo. The Hungarians must have known something about this crown; they probably demanded that the crown should be returned to them. So, Pope Sylvester in his dream received a message from God, to give this Holy Crown to the Hungarian King for his services to the Catholic Church and for his good deeds to God. Hungary was a powerful country at this time, and if the Hungarians declared that the crown belonged to them, then it was their crown.  On Christmas day in 1000 A.D., Saint István (Stephen) was crowned with the same crown that Charlemagne was crowned with two hundred years earlier.

This story seems pretty farfetched and unbelievable, but a German Canon informed a Hungarian priest, István Szigeti about it. And whatever it's worth there is a painting by Fredrich Kaulbach of the coronation of Charlemagne, ordered by the Bavarian governor, Maximilian II in 1850. The crown in the Pope's hands shows a very close resemblance to the Hungarian Holy Crown. Could it be mere coincidence? Or did influential people in the West know something about it and perhaps still do? However, if the results of the German historian, Heribert Illig's research is correct, then Charlemagne may have never existed. And in that case this story has no basis to it at all.

The history of the idealized concept by this Crown is no less amazing or singular than the material one. Originally there were 4 martyr saints, 4 archangels, 8 apostles, God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary, altogether 19 enamel pictures on the crown. Four of the original ones are missing, two archangels, Apostle Bartholomew and the Virgin Mary.

God's picture is on the top, under the tilted cross; on the front is the image of Jesus, and across from it on the back was a picture of Virgin Mary. At the top of Mary's frame were a tulip, which represented the Holy Spirit.  (This tulip was broken off by the wife of King Szapolyai, when she turned the Crown over to King Ferginand in 1541.) With the pictures positioned in this manner, Christianity's basic doctrine the Holy Trinity manifests itself in the display. On Jesus' side are the military saints (Demeter and George) and the archangels like Michael, carrying out judgment of God. At Mary's side are the medical saints (Kozma and Damian) and the archangels, like Gabriel, bringing good news. The Apostles are: Peter, Andrew, John, Jacob, Thomas, Paul and Philip. Interestingly enough there are some ancient, so called "pagan" symbols like the sun and the moon, that can also be found on the crown.

Gábor Pap, a Hungarian researcher believes that the construction of Holy Crown was designed on the religious teaching of Persian prophet Manes. However, the origin of this philosophy could be traced back to the Scythians, according to Pap, which would also explain the so-called pagan symbols on the Holy Crown.

Recently Zsolt Mesterházy, another Hungarian researcher, recognized a parallel between an Etruscan wall painting and Jesus' picture on the Holy Crown. On the Etruscan painting, there is a male (god) figure holding an object between his thumb and his ring finger, and seemingly offering it to the female (goddess) figure in front of him. The object itself could be a ring, a pearl, or a seed of some sort. The meaning of it, in all likelihood has some connection to the ancient fertility culture, which was a guiding force of the social order in early civilizations. A pearl can seen between the same fingers of Jesus on the Hungarian Crown. This probably symbolizes eternal life. The Eastern Orthodox Church has many icons with a similar hand position, but none of them has a pearl between the fingers. So it seems that this is an additional proof that the Hungarian Holy Crown was made at the time and place, when Christianity and the ancient cultures came into contact with each other.

There are only assumptions about just when and why the Hungarian Crown became known as Holy, or in Hungarian: Szent. Even more intriguing is the question of when and why it was personified, and ruled like a living person? One must understand that in the Hungarian Kingdom everything belonged to the Holy Crown, which possessed all the powers and the king merely enforced the Crown's laws. This was a highly idealistic form of governing. In the middle of the thirteenth century, King Béla IV (1235-1270), in one of his letters called the Crown Holy, and separated the king's power from the Crown's. Some suggest that this crown was made for Jesus, to crown him at the time of His resurrection as King of the World, and that is where its holiness came from. It is amazing that such a thought could pop up in anyone's mind. But, that's just it. Numerous unsolved mysteries surround the Hungarian Holy Crown.

Originally only the nobility by birth enjoyed the protection of the Crown. Later those who acquired titles for service of the country were also included. In 1848 all citizens of the Holy Crown were entitled to the same protections, and charged with the same responsibilities.



The Hungarian Kingdom


To be formally recognized as a Christian king, one had to ask to be crowned by the Pope or another king, whom one accepted as one’s superior.  Realizing this, in the year 1000 AD., instead of asking to be crowned by the German emperor, István asked Pope Sylvester II for a crown, according to the officially held version of history. On the 25th of December of that same year, István was crowned Hungary's Apostolic king. The Apostolic kings had special powers and privileges, such as the power to appoint bishops, regulate whether priest could marry on not, and so on. This power and privilege, bestowed upon Hungarian kings, signifies the power and the importance of the country in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church. After his coronation, István began to lay down the foundation of a strong Roman Catholic Church in his country. During his rule he established ten church districts - two of which were archdioceses.

The brother-in-law of István, Emperor Heinrich II, died in 1024. The good relationship between Hungary and the West came to an abrupt halt, leading to István being forced in 1031 to defend the western border against Konrad II. In a fierce battle at the River Rába south of Győr, the Hungarians, led by Prince Imre (declared Saint later) the son of István, defeated the Germans. Unfortunately, shortly after the victory, Imre was assassinated. István selected his half-nephew, Péter Orseolo to be his heir (Péter had lived in the King's Court since 1027). But the throne should have gone to Vászoly, István's cousin, thus a struggle for the throne began even before the King's death. In 1032, Vászoly was thrown in jail, his eyes put out while his sons were forced into exile. András and Levente escaped to Kiev, Béla to Poland. According to the Kálti Márk's Képes (Illustrated) Chronicle, Saint István actually helped Vászoly's sons to escape. The German Knight, Vencelin was a force behind all of this, he may even had a hand in the murder of Imre.

István died on August 15, 1038. Shortly after his death, he became a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church for his services to the Church. Péter followed him to the throne, but was chased out of the country in 1041. The dethroned King escaped to the German emperor, Heinrich III., who was pleased with the opportunity to come to his aid. In 1044, Heinrich defeated the Hungarian King, Aba Sámuel, and restored Péter to the Hungarian throne as his vassal. Thus, Géza's and István's westward oriented foreign policy came around in a vengeance. Because of internal strife, Hungary's enemies now succeeded in gaining the upper hand, something they could not have achieved on their own. Péter was dethroned for the second time in 1046 and Hungary refused to pay heavy taxes to the Emperor. Heinrich couldn't do a thing about it, demonstrating ever so clearly the economic and military might of Hungary at this time. The exiled princes - András, Levente and Béla - were called back and András was elected king. Yet, the situation did not stabilize completely because András continued to carry out the policies of Géza and István, which was detrimental to Hungarian culture. The strict laws and punishment of King László (declared "Saint" later) (1077-1095) finally ended all internal strife in the country. At this time, Croatia became a province of Hungary under László’s rule. The Croatian king had died and his wife, Ilona (László's sister) turned to her brother for help, so László took charge of Croatia.

László was followed to the throne by King Kálmán (1095-1116), the "Book Lover". He was probably the most learned king of his time. He decreed: "witches do not exist", and forbade witch hunts. He also relaxed cruel and unusual punishment for crimes that did not warrant it. Yet, Kálmán was a firm and wise ruler. He became the crowned King of Croatia and Dalmatia, the territory which later in that century was contested by Emperor Manuel of Byzantine. Manuel had no desire to confront Hungary, so he had another plan to achieve his goal. Since he had no heirs, he offered the Byzantine throne to Béla, the younger brother of King István III of Hungary. Béla did go to Byzantium to live in the Court of the emperor; however, a son was born to Manuel, leading to his revocation of his offer to Béla. Béla became King of Hungary and was looked upon with some suspicion because he had adopted some of the Byzantine thinking while away from home. Nevertheless, he kept Dalmatia under the Hungarian Crown during his rule.

Taxation and other excesses of government under the rule of King András II (1205-1235) created great dissatisfaction and the threat of revolution loomed. He donated large portions of land to his supporters. This further weakened the King financially and fueled more strife. In 1222, András issued the Bill of Rights, known as the Aranybulla (Golden Bull. Similar to the British Magna Carta (1215) document. Exhibit 11), in order to bring about calm and order. The Aranybulla, unfortunately did not solve the problems that existed, because András did not remove the government which was the cause of the dissatisfaction in the first place.

After the death of András, his son inherited the throne as King Béla IV (1235-1270). His aim was to create a stable and powerful government and bring about respect for the throne. In order to do this, he took back the lands that had been given away by his father, levied new taxes, and made friends with no-one. Obviously, dissatisfaction became rampant throughout the country. At this time, in 1241, news came that the Mongolian Armies of Batu Khan were approaching Hungary. A large number of Kuns along with their king, Kutten, escaping from the advancing Mongolian Armies, were given permission to settle in Hungary. Béla hoped that they would be of great help in the upcoming struggle. King Béla called the country to arms, but the enraged and uncooperative aristocracy either did not respond or came up with conditions. One of their demands was that the King turn over Kutten to the Mongols. Batu sent his envoys to Béla with the same demand. The King's enemies murdered the envoys, an unforgivable crime. They also murdered Kutten, resulting in his warriors turning on the Hungarians in revenge, and most of them fled the country. Béla suffered a crushing defeat from the Mongolians at Muhi (eastern Hungary) and barely escaped being captured. Thereafter, Béla's wife and the King's treasury fell into the hands of Prince Friedrich II of Austria. In order to regain the freedom of his wife, the treasury had to be forfeited, along with claims to three western counties while Friedrich joined the Mongols to loot and rampage. The Mongols were cruel and merciless, not surprisingly, avenging their murdered envoys. From Zagreb, the escaping King Béla turned to the Pope, the French king, and the German emperor for help; his requests were turned down. In the spring of 1442, the Mongols left Hungary and the King returned to begin the rebuilding of the country.

The last male in the direct heir of the Árpád Dynasty, King András III, died in 1301. The grandchild of the daughter of King István V, Robert Károly, was elected to the throne in 1308. Robert Károly was to became one of the greatest kings of Hungary. His wise economic and foreign policy made the country rich again and regained its old glory and respect. His son, Lajos "The Great" (1342-1382), inherited a rich and powerful country. Lajos was a peaceful and courageous man, but he did not have his father's leadership qualities. His restless and ego-driven mother was the force steering his decisions. They emptied the coffers of the treasury to wage war and bribed people to further their goals. Lajos expanded the borders of his kingdom to the furthest that would ever rich - this is why "The Great" was bestowed upon him - and in the process bankrupted the country yet again. In the meantime, Turkish armies were approaching from the south reaching the borders of the Hungarian Kingdom in 1373.

After the death of Lajos, Hungary fell into feudal anarchy. Rich and powerful members of the aristocracy quarreled amongst themselves and ruined the country. They elected weak kings in order that the kings serve them. Out of this chaos, the figure of the great military leader, János Hunyadi, emerged as the savior of the country. The decadent aristocracy did not dare to confront him, so in 1446 he was elected to be the Governor of Hungary, most of the king's authority was delegated to him. He resigned this post in 1452, so he could take firm control of the military. King László V appointed him to be General of the Armies and the caretaker of the King's treasury.

In June of 1456 the Turkish sultan, Mohammed II, marched his armies to capture Nándorfehérvár (today's Belgrade) on his way to conquer Europe. With a massive army of some 150,000 foot soldiers, 300 cannons, and 200 ships, the city was encircled. The defenders, under the leadership of Mihály Szilágyi (the brother-in-law of Hunyadi), numbered only around 6,000. With the help of some 12,000 men, János Hunyadi and John Capistrano, a Franciscan monk, broke through the encirclement and established contact with the defenders. More supplies and an additional 2,000 reinforcements were sent in. The Pope ordered prayers and church bells to ring at noon for victory. By this time Hunyadi's forces in and outside the city numbered about 25,000 strong. The Turks launched their final attack on the 21st of July. Hunyadi, Szilágyi and Capistrano were able to beat back the Turks and the next day they launched a counterattack and destroyed the Turkish forces. The ringing of the church bell at noon is still a reminder of this victory. With this victory, Europe was saved from Turkish invasion, although a plague broke out as a result of the decomposing bodies in the great summer heat. In three weeks, Hunyadi fell victim to the plague. Kings, leaders, and soldiers of Europe paid tribute to Hunyadi; even Muhammed II sent his condolences remarking, "The world has never seen such a man". About two months later, Capistrano also fell victim to the plague. He became a saint of the Roman Catholic Church; and in California, Capistrano Beach is named after him.

The enemies of the Hunyadis, under the leadership of Cillei and Garai, used this opportunity and captured Hunyadi's sons, László and Mátyás. They beheaded László and kept Mátyás in captivity. The weak King László V, fearing for his life, escaped to Vienna and then to Prague taking Mátyás with him as a hostage. The friends of the Hunyadis took great exception to this,  and Szilágyi paid 40,000 pieces of gold in ransom to gain his release.

Mátyás (Exhibit 12) was elected to the throne in 1458 and became one of Hungary's wisest, most powerful and most beloved rulers. Mátyás enacted laws which were evenhanded and just. There is a saying even today, "Mátyás the Just died, so did justice." There are numerous legends surrounding him. He set up a well-trained Black Army (a mercenary force whose uniforms were black) for the defense of the country. His campaign against the Turks was as successful as his father's had been. However, more than once, he had to buy peace from the Turks in order to defend the country from the West and keep the internal enemies in check. Mátyás was one of the most learned rulers of his time. His library was famous throughout Europe. He ran a splendid court, which was the envy of Europe and was visited by scholars and scientists from all over the continent. He died - probably assassinated - at the age of 50, in 1490. He was the last great and powerful King of Hungary. The anarchy among the aristocracy re-emerged, worsening the internal conditions to the point that in 1541 the Turks marched into Buda and took over the city without any resistance.

The explanation that the demise of the powerful Hungarian Kingdom had resulted from the defeat at the hands of the Turks in 1526 at Mohács is inaccurate. That battle took place on August 29, 1526, with King Lajos II losing his life also. The victorious Turkish troops wandered all over the country to loot and pillage. They stumbled into heavy local resistance and by the mid October had left the country; the Turks did not keep Hungary under occupation, like the soviet did in 1945.

It can be stated, unequivocally, that the demise of Hungary's greatness was caused by the decadence of the Hungarian aristocracy. In fairness, the point must be made that decadence is not unique to the Hungarian aristocracy. It is the result of material riches and feeble human character, demonstrable in the history of any nation or country. In the case of Hungary, it became disastrous because during this time of grave external danger no ironhanded leaders emerged (such as the Hunyadis had earlier) to save and protect the country. Hungary at that time had the economic and military power to stand up to the Turks - especially, if she had not had to defend herself from the West at the same time. Hungary has an important geographic location, dividing Europe into the western and eastern civilizations. Culturally, Hungary had broken away from the East half a millennium earlier, yet was never fully accepted by the West. In her struggle for survival, Hungary defended not only herself from eastern invasions, but also defended the West. The West watched this struggle indifferently, at times seizing the opportunity and launching an attack on her.

The following is an excellent case in point, an illustration as to what it takes to destroy a nation or a great power -- any nation or any great power. After the tragic battle at Mohács, on the 10th of November, a group of aristocrats gathered at Székesfehérvár and elected János Szapolyai (1526-1540) to the throne. The aristocrats opposing Szapolyai gathered at Pozsony on the 16th of December electing the Habsburg Prince Ferdinand (1526-1564) to be King. (This event laid the foundation of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, the Habsburgs keeping the Hungarian crown for the next 400 years.) The primary goal of these two kings for the next thirteen years was to gain the upper hand or, if possible, destroy the other. In this struggle, Szapolyai more than once acquired the help of the Turkish sultan, Suleiman II. Ferdinand, of course, received help from Austria and from the West. In 1538, they finally made peace. Szapolyai agreed that after his death Ferdinand should become the sole king. Just as had happened with Emperor Manuel many years earlier, a son was born to Szapolyai two weeks before his death and he ordered his followers to elect the baby to be the new king. Suleiman was made guardian of the Baby King. On August 29, 1541, on the very day of the 15th anniversary of Mohács, Suleiman marched into Buda under the pretense of protecting the interest of the Baby King, and stayed.

The advancing Turkish armies occupied the Great Plains and most of Dunántúl (western Hungary). Transylvania had purchased peace from the Sultan, thereby enabling it to keep its internal "independence". A narrow strip of western Hungary, along with the northern Carpathians, remained under Hungarian, that is, Habsburg rule. The following 150 years was to be an era of valiant struggle to free the country from Turkish occupation and Habsburg domination. We can take the heroines of Eger (Exhibit 13) or the defenders of Szigetvár as examples of this great effort. In1552, the women of Eger fought alongside their men against overwhelming odds. Some fought with swords in their hands, others threw rocks or dumped boiling water on the invaders. Their efforts led to an incredible victory over the besieging Turks.

Sadly, the heroes of Szigetvár weren't quite so lucky. In 1566, some 2,500 Hungarians and Croatians defended their city surrounded by some 90,000 Turks. In attack after attack they repelled the Turkish charges, inflicting heavy casualties upon them. Some 25,000 Turks died at Szigetvár, but because of their large numbers, they persisted in their attack on the city. With the number of defenders dwindling to about three hundred, their supplies having been used up, further resistance looked hopeless. The wives and daughters of the officers decided that they would rather die than fall into Turkish hands and dragged into slavery. They were killed by their husbands and fathers before the final counterattack. Count Miklós Zrinyi gathered his loyal troops and led the last brave and furious charge. All but three of them died heroes' deaths.

Though encircled, Transylvania enjoyed internal stability. History was made in 1568 when the Diet of Torda declared religious freedom, giving each individual the right to choose his or her own religion, further proving that Hungary was in the forefront of social development in Europe. At the very least, part of the country was able to exercise its domestic freedom. The Turks were forced out of Hungary in 1699; only five years later the anti-Hungarian policy carried out by the Habsburgs resulted in a War of Independence led by Count Ferenc Rákóczi II. After the Turks had been expelled, the Hungarians moved back to reclaim their former properties. The Habsburg armies chased them off and brought in foreign settlers in their place. This became the basis for the Treaty of Trianon in 1920. It would be unfair to say that the Habsburgs alone were responsible for the dismemberment of Hungary, because the Hungarian nobility had done more than its share in this regard. In Transylvania, they brought in large numbers of Rumanians for cheap labor. The grandfather of Rákóczi II, György Rákóczi, translated the Bible into Rumanian, so they could be educated and cultured, and of course the pay-off came in the first quarter of the XX. Century. It is ironic that after the War of Independence was put down in 1711, Rákóczi escaped to Turkey where he died and was buried. One of his military leaders, Count Miklós Bercsényi, went to France and organized the French cavalry into an effective fighting force. Out of this unit came Colonel Mihály Kováts (Exhibit 14), who did the same to the American cavalry. He died at Charleston in the American War of Independence in 1779, leading the cavalry charge against the British. Interestingly enough, another Hungarian cavalryman, Captain Károly Zágonyi, fought and led the first victorious battle on the Union side of the 1863 American Civil War.

The Turkish conquest and Habsburg domination could not have come at a worse time in Hungarian history. The Renaissance renewed and revitalized European cultural and spiritual life. Universities and colleges had been built throughout Europe, while Hungary in the 1400's spent her economic fortune on defense against the Turks. Afterward came 150 years of Turkish occupation resulting in one third of the country being ravaged and depopulated. As devastating as the Turkish occupation, the Habsburg domination, and the internal strife were, they weren't the only reasons that Hungary could not regain her independence. In the early or mid-1700's, a new social order was in the making. This new order became the guiding force in social life, sweeping away the old order first in France in 1789. In the old order, the guiding force was loyalty to the ruler. In the new social order, the nation was elevated to an idealistic high. In light of the new social ideal, the western nations rewrote their history books and this ideal became the dominant force guiding their society, relentlessly and mercilessly. It rolled over ethnic groups like a steamroller and, in the West, most minorities disappeared overnight. In Hungary, this new social design could have taken hold as a result of the sound economic and social policies of Count István Széchenyi, but the War for National Independence of 1848-49, led by Lajos Kossuth, was put down and with it all social and economic advancement went up in flames. Therefore, a true national identity never had the chance to take hold in the minds and hearts of Hungarians as a firm social guiding force. Hungary at the time of the birth of the new social order, was under foreign domination and still is to this day. As a result, Hungarians never had an opportunity to write their own history in the best interest of the nation. It is the written history that uplifts or destroys a nation. It is written history in which the information is accumulated that is necessary to build national self-respect and a sound future. If the written history is negative and demeaning, it will destroy the spirit of a nation. Any nation.

One of the major problems Europe faced in the early 19th century was the question of equal taxation. The aristocracy paid no taxes (or very little) and because of this, a heavy burden was placed on the people of the lower echelon and on serfs. It created an internal unrest - revolution was in the making. Western countries encountered similar situations. In early 1848, revolution broke out in Paris, Vienna shortly followed its lead. Hungary was also ready for a revolution. The aristocracy were certainly under great social pressure, but nonetheless, on the morning on March 15, 1848 the Hungarian aristocracy became the only upper class in history to give up its privileges of its own free will. With this step they averted revolution and allowed the country to turn its attention and resources to the War of Independence. The war was going well for the Hungarians, but when the Habsburgs were able to reach an agreement with the Russian czar in 1849, sending some 200 thousand fresh eastern troops to the battlefields, the outcome was determined. The war was lost and was followed by the terror of the Bach-regime from Vienna. Hundreds of military leader and politicians were jailed or executed.

In 1867, an agreement was signed between the Habsburgs and Hungary that was to return the country to internal independence. During and after the War of Independence, an oligarchy seized most of the economic wealth of the country, and from behind the scenes applied heavy pressure on the government, preventing it from solving the deep rooted national problems.

The First World War broke out in 1914 and it was blamed on Hungary. This was a malicious fabrication. One has to know that Hungary at this time was the part of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, and have had no foreign policy of her own. The Prime Minister, Count István Tisza was the only member of the Monarchy's government, and he was the only one to oppose declaring war on the Serbs after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand at Sarajevo. The war ended in 1918 in armistice, which was signed between Italy and the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy on the 3rd of November. Up to that day not a single enemy soldier set foot on Hungarian soil. However the French did not recognized the armistice just signed, and kept moving their army toward Hungary, encouraging the Czechs, the Romanians and the Serbs to do the same. Anti-Hungarian elements seized the government, which called upon the Hungarian troops to lay down their arms wherever they were. Most of the Hungarian army disbanded and the remaining ones were totally disorganized. Hungary was on the losing side and became occupied by enemy armies.

In 1920 the "Peace" Treaty of Trianon was forced upon Hungary. As a result historical Hungary was dismembered (Exhibit 15). (It destroyed the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the Habsburg Dynasty.) This was done in the "noble" cause of "self-determination". The newly drawn borders placed 3.5 million Hungarians under foreign rule overnight. Of that number, 1.5 million resided along the new borders. In these areas, the population was almost 100% Hungarian. There were 2 million Hungarians in the expanded Rumania, 1 million in the newly created Czechoslovakia and ˝ million in the also newly created Yugoslavia, amongst other nationalities. Therefore, Rumania and the newly created countries were just as diverse ethnically as Historic Hungary was. According to the "Peace" Treaty of Trianon the affected people should have decided by referendum which country they wanted to belong to. This was done in the case of Sopron, the westernmost city in modern-day Hungary. Originally, Sopron and its vicinity had been given to Austria, but the people voted to remain with Hungary. Because of this result, no other village or city was given the chance for self-determination. So much for the high-sounding principles and noble causes put forth by the "Peace" Treaty.

This catastrophe shocked the nation to the depths of her soul. A vibrant spiritual and cultural renewal began to grow out of the ashes. Hungary wanted to live again. In the late 1930's and the early 1940's, Hungary regained some of her lost territories. This Renaissance, however, didn't last long. It was buried by the Second World War. The war was followed by Soviet occupation and Communist dictatorship. In the second "Peace" Treaty of 1947, this time in Paris, Hungary lost the regained territories and three villages on the right bank of the Danube, because a Slovaks wanted a foothold by the city of Pozsony (Bratislava). The nation rose once more in 1956, but it was brutally suppressed. Some 200 thousand Hungarians escaped to the west, tens of thousands were deported to the Soviet Union, and thousands had been were jailed and executed in Hungary. The Communist government introduced free abortion and, as a result, the Hungarian population began to decline in the early 1980's.

It can be safely stated that Hungary, and the Hungarian people themselves, have never been in such grave danger in history as they are today. No matter how devastating the conditions of the past, the birth rate had never dropped under replacement rate; the people and the country survived. More than forty years of Communist rule extinguished the last glimmering flame of national self-respect. Twelve years after the demise of communism, one can witness some a awakening amongst the Hungarian youth.




Hungary was one of the most powerful countries of Europe for over six hundred years. Her downturn began with the Turkish invasion in 1541. Then through marriages, the Habsburg dynasty seized power. As a result Austria and Hungary became a dual Monarchy. Even so, Dalmatia, Slovenia, Croatia, Transylvania and Fiume (a city and port on the Adriatic Sea, now Rijeka) remained parts of the Hungarian Kingdom until the end of the First World War.

            Through the centuries, the Hungarian kings used many different coat of arms. In 1896, the use and the components of the coat of arms became regulated by law. The small coat of arms (exhibit ?) was used by government entities in Hungary, and it is in use today since 1990. In the right half (facing left) there are four red bars and four white bars. They represent the federation of eight nations, which conquered the Carpathian Basin in 895 A.D, preceded by the Covenant of Blood, Vérszövetség in Hungarian; the flag (exhibit ?) from the XI. century underscores this interpretation, which was the flag of this federation. The color red represents the hierarchy of government, and the white the nobility, which means they have shared the power to rule. In the left half (facing right), there are a cross, a crown and a green triple peaked mountain. This combination of symbols has two possible interpretations: 1. Apostolic Kingdom, in this case the cross represents apostolic power, because it was bestowed on the Hungarian kings, and the green triple mountain stands for country or kingdom. 2. God's Country. In this case, based on ancient pictographs, the cross symbolizes God and the triple mountain stands for country. All three components are ancient symbols used in pictographs like the cross in Egypt for example. The Holy Crown of Hungary is on the top of the Coat of Arms.

The large coat of arms (exhibit ?) represented the countries and territories of the Hungarian Kingdom, and it was used by the government ministries under which they functioned. Each of these countries and territories were represented as follows: (facing the coat of arms.) upper left, Dalmatia; lower left, Slovenia; upper right, Croatia; lower right, Transylvania; bottom, Fiume; in the center, Hungary and on the top it is the Hungarian Holy Crown.


1848: Revolution and The War of Independence


Jenő Katona, Jr.


The year of 1848 was a turning point in the political history of Europe in general and that of the Hungarian nation in particular. Revolution after revolution swept through the continent, upheaval beginning in Paris in February, continuing in Italy, then followed by revolution in Vienna in the month of March.

Lajos Kossuth (a key figure in the war of independence who spearheaded the movement toward reform), known to the Magyar people as "Kossuth apánk" (our father, Kossuth), delivered a speech to the Diet in Pozsony on the 3rd of March in which he proclaimed the following sweeping reforms in 12 points:

1.      Freedom of the press and abolition of censorship

2.      Appointment of a Hungarian Ministry

3.      An annual Diet elected by universal suffrage

4.      Equality of all in the eyes of the law

5.      Formation of a National Guard

6.      Taxation of the clergy and nobles

7.      Eliminate feudal rights

8.      Elected juries for criminal cases

9.      Creation of a National Bank

10.  Creation of a National Army

11.  Liberation of political prisoners

12.  Unification of Hungary and Transylvania


On March 15th, on the steps of the National Museum in Budapest, the young poet Sándor Petőfi recited his Nemzeti Dal (National Song) to a patriotic crowd of 10,000. The words echoed here, calling for the rebirth of the nation, were to become the overture to the revolution. With the approval of Emperor-King Ferdinand V. from Vienna, the Diet in Pozsony (Bratislava) put the revolutionary reforms into effect within 3 short weeks, thereby laying the foundation of a new Hungary as a result of a bloodless, peaceful, and lawful revolution.

For the people of the Carpathian Basin, this promising new and happier era that seemed to appear on the horizon was followed by a dark cloud in the form of a clique in the Emperor's Court, that had already begun its intrigues to undermine the reform work of the new Hungarian Ministry. Its main weapon was the idea of the age: nationalism, and as tools they used the nationalities. The fever of reform and equality that swept through the Carpathian Basin also aroused the various ethnic groups who were eager to carve out for themselves a piece of Hungary itself! Here I would like to make a significant note to the earlier thought, that it was never, ever the "thousand year long dream" of these "oppressed nationalities" to secede from Hungary, thereby dismembering a thousand year old Hungarian Kingdom. These nationalities had through the ages lived side-by-side with their Magyar brothers and had shared the fate of the country - in prosperity and famine, in peace and occupation.

The sinister plan of inciting the nationalities against Hungary worked. With the backing of the government of Vienna, armed Croatian, Serbian and Rumanian peasants went on a rampage in the mainly Magyar inhabited areas, looting, burning, and claiming thousands of innocent Hungarian lives. While the Slovaks generally supported the Magyars, following Vienna's call, that number dwindled to only a handful; the German and Ruthenian nationalities did not take up arms against their Hungarian brothers.
On September 11th, the Croats, with an army of 40,000 troops under Ban (viceroy) Jossio Jellaschich, crossed the Hungarian frontier and spearheaded an armed intrusion into Hungary, marching against Buda-Pest from the south. The Serbs under their nationalist leader Statimirovitch also invaded from the South, while the Wallachians (Rumanians) rebelled and created havoc in
Transylvania. The following months saw a well trained Imperial Austrian Army, helped by the nationalities' movements, defeat and outmaneuver any resistance by the honvéds (Hungarian Army) and the National Guard, who were still ill-equipped and lacked battle experience. It was here again that Lajos Kossuth came and saved the day. He became the heart and soul of the movement to accelerate the formation of the Honvéd Army and his oratorical magic inspired an unprecedented patriotic fever, which prompted students and teachers, factory workers and peasants by the tens of thousands to march under his banner and report for the defense of the country.

Following the first chaotic months of the War of Independence, Kossuth succeeded in creating a formidable Honvéd force. He appointed Josef Bem (a legendary exiled Polish general) as commander in chief of military operations in Transylvania. In a series of battles, Bem defeated the Imperial Army and the Wallachian insurgents, and drove the Austrian troops across the Carpathians and out of Transylvania. To the south, János Damjanich (A Serb by birth, but whose love for Hungary made him the most ardent defender of the country) defeated the Imperial Army's Cavalry troops in a surprise attack, forcing them to retreat back to the Hungarian frontier. With three powerful army corps (under generals Görgy Klapka, János Damjanich and Lajos Aulich), Arthur Görgey, who was to become one of the war’s greatest generals, gave the order to begin what is now known as the Magyar Spring Offensive. Kossuth fueled the fighting man's spirit with the famous "Kossuth Song" sung by the Honvéds as they marched into battle. Victory upon glorious victory followed with the dashing "Hungarian Hussar" cavalrymen serving as the cutting edge of the Magyar Army. The Magyar women also contributed to the war effort offering their gold and jewelry so that the Magyar soldiers could be provisioned with uniforms and guns.

On April 14th in the city of Debrecen, the Diet dethroned the Habsburg Dynasty and elected Kossuth as governing "President of Hungary". The country's newly won freedom was to be short-lived, however. The Emperor could not stand to be humiliated any longer, so he sent Czar Nicholas an urgent request for an armed intervention against Hungary. The Czar did not hesitate and in a few short weeks, the Russian attack began, coming from the north and the east with 200,000 troops following almost the same route the Mongols had used six centuries earlier. In June of 1849, a combined Austrian-Russian offensive threw 370,000 men and 1,200 guns against Hungary's 152,000 Honvéds with only 450 guns. The rest of the War of Independence was a hopeless fight, being fought by tens of thousands of patriotic, battle weary and freedom loving people against the tyranny and subjugation-driven beliefs of the Emperor and the Czar. Flashes of Magyar valor and unseen heroism were commonplace all over the battlefield.

In the end, with the number of wounded and dying quickly rising and to further spare his country and his troops from any more senseless bloodshed, Arthur Görgey announced his decision to surrender. On August 13th, his forces laid down their arms before the Russians at Világos. Many who could not believe and could not accept such a disastrous end to the war that they had so vigorously and valiantly fought, simply shot themselves in the head, while others with tears in their eyes looked on and followed. Others went into hiding, but were soon hunted down and made to stand trial for their part in the revolution. Still others sought refuge in foreign lands and continued to fight on with their brilliant speeches and patriotic writings, the most famous of these exiled leaders being Lajos Kossuth. Through his magnificent gift of oratory, he obtained an enormous sympathy for the Hungarian cause.

With the surrender at Világos, the age of dashing Hussar cavalrymen and glorious battles came to an end, but a more sinister and darker era was just looming over the horizon. The Viennese government unleashed the sadist General Haynau to exact retribution. His desire to wreak vengeance on the Magyars was best demonstrated on October 6, 1849 in the city of Arad, by the abominable act of executing 13 of the ablest generals of the Honvéd Army, some by firing squad but most by the hangman's rope. This served as a warning and preceded the mass of imprisonments and executions that followed.

To this day, historians still ponder the question: Could the Hungarians have prevailed as the victors of the War of Independence? According to the famous historian, István Nemeskürthy, militarily the Hungarian Army of 1849 was well equipped and drilled enough to secure itself a victory on the battlefield. The mere fact of mustering such an impressive army in such short notice (200,000 Honvéds) clearly showed the willingness and sacrifice the nation was ready to make for the defense of the country. In addition, the secret to the swift and sweeping successes on the battlefield lay in the hands of the brilliant and experienced military generals (Damjanich, Klapka, Görgey) and their knowledge of modern military tactics. The tactics used during the war were to be fully understood and imitated only well after the second half of the century. The Emperor knew very well that without some sort of outside military intervention, Austria would have to suspend its military campaign and suffer a humiliating defeat, thereby recognizing Hungary's independence. As we now know, the arrival of the well rested Russian troops with their heavy guns proved to be too much for any of the generals to handle. The further continuation of the war would have meant more bloodshed and destruction to a country that had already suffered enough. Today, the people of our nation are now beginning to understand General Görgey's controversial decision to surrender and not continue the inevitable bloodletting.


Hungary, 1956


László M. Mogyoróssy


Very few people can claim in their lifetime to have witnessed an extraordinary event that came close to alter the course of history. The 1956 Hungarian uprising for freedom was just such an event. Therefore, on the eve of every anniversary, the survivors of those glorious days feel obligated to recall that event and pay homage to the fallen friends and comrades whose supreme sacrifice made it possible for Hungary to free herself from Russian oppression thirty-four years later.

When the Soviet dictator, Stalin died in 1953, it was obvious to all of Russia that whoever came to take control of the vast Soviet empire would not follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and would not allow the Soviet Union to relinquish its leadership in the Eastern block. At the same time it was also obvious that changes had to be made within the Soviet Union as well as within the Eastern Block. Because of the tarnished image of the Communist Party, its leadership compelled to publicly confess its wrongdoing. They vowed to change its course and work for a better future. The stage was set and the events began to unfold rapidly.

On October 23rd, 1956, students organized a huge rally and demonstrated in front of the statue of General Bem (the hero of 1848) at the Polish Embassy, demanding reforms and democracy. They marched to the state radio building and demanded to be heard over the Budapest radio. After the police tried to disperse the crowd by force, the peaceful demonstration turned into a riot and martial law was declared. Soviet troops were called in. In the meantime, the Communist Party's central committee announced minor personnel changes in the Party's hierarchy: Imre Nagy replaced András Hegedüs as Premier, but Ernő Gerő remained First Secretary of the Party. Then, fighting broke out between the Soviet troops and the Hungarian people and spread to other cities such as Debrecen, Szolnok and Szeged. The Party's central committee was helpless and totally disorganized. As a result, Ernő Gerő was relieved of his position and replaced by János Kádár. More changes were promised: reorganization of the government and negotiation for withdrawal of Soviet troops, while the fighting went on. So, more and more changes were promised: martial law was declared unconstitutional and complete amnesty was promised to all participants if they laid down their arms. Nothing seemed to work. As a result the formation of a new government was announced. Non-communist Zoltán Tildy and Béla Kovács were appointed by Imre Nagy. Negotiations with Soviet troop commanders continued, now on the local level as well.

On October 28th, the government announced a cease-fire. An emergency committee was formed to assume temporary leadership of the Party. More promises were made. The most important of these included: withdrawal of Soviet troops, political and economic equality of relations between the Soviet Union and Hungary, revision of the economy, democratization, changes in government organization and personnel, dissolution of the secret police (ÁVO), protection of those taking part in the revolution, withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, Hungarian neutrality, and a call for free press, free election, speech, assembly, and worship. On October 29th, some of the Soviet troops began their withdrawal from Budapest to their bases outside of the city. At the same time, Premier Nagy announced abolition of the one-party system, a return to the political conditions prevailing after 1945, and negotiations for immediate withdrawal of all Soviet forces from Hungary. Cardinal Mindszenty was freed from house arrest. The Hungarian Air Force threatened to bomb Soviet tanks unless they left Budapest. Two days later the Independent Smallholders Party announced the formation of a new executive committee and resumed control of its former newspaper, Kis Újság. The Hungarian Social Democratic Party reorganized in Budapest, with Anna Kéthly as its president. The high command of the Hungarian Army also reorganized, with István Nagy becoming the new Chief of Staff. On October 31st, Premier Nagy announced Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, proclaiming Hungarian neutrality and asking the United Nations to place the Hungarian question on its agenda. Kádár openly criticized past leaders and policies of the Hungarian Communist Party, announcing the reorganization of the Party under the name of the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party. The next day the Hungarian government officially entered a protest to the Soviet Embassy regarding the re-entry of the Soviet troops onto Hungarian soil. In a second official note within two days, the United Nations was then notified of Soviet activities and was requested to appeal to the great powers of the world to recognize Hungarian neutrality.*

All was in vain, Soviet reinforcements and the movement of troops continued at an accelerated pace. Russian tanks surrounded uranium mines at Pécs. On November 4th, Premier Nagy announced a Soviet attack on Budapest, while heavy fighting erupted in Budapest, Győr, Sopron, Pécs, Csepel and Kőbánya. Russian forces took over most of the country: airfields, highway junctions, bridges, and railways. Repeated Free Radio broadcasts calling for Western help went unanswered. The heroic effort failed and Hungary was again an "unwilling satellite".

We, the survivors of that historic event, profess with the immortal words of John F. Kennedy that "October 23, 1956, is a day that will forever live in the annals of free men and free nations. It was a day of courage, conscience, and triumph. No other day since history began has shown more clearly man's unquenchable and eternal desire to be free, whatever the odds against success, whatever the sacrifice required".


* (One of the most famed Hungarian freedom fighter of 1956, Gergely Pongrátz in his book titled Corvin köz 1956, quotes from the Congressional Record (Volume106, Part 14, Eighty-sixth Congress, Second Session. 31 August, 1960. 18783-18790.) by Congressman Michael A. Feighan, regarding a telegram sent by the US State Department to the Yugoslav dictator Tito, on the 2nd of November, 1956, which states:

            "The Government of the United States does not look with favor upon governments unfriendly to the Soviet Union on the border of the Soviet Union.")