Hungarian Foreign Policy between the World Wars

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Friday, March 5th, 2021

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Miklós Zeidler (b. 1967), historian, studied History (M.A. at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, 1994) and International Relations (M.Sc. at Budapest University of Economics, 1994). In 1998, he joined the Department of Modern and Contemporary History of Hungary at the Eötvös Loránd University. After his Ph.D. (2001) and his habilitation (2011) he was promoted to associate professor in 2014. In the same year he joined the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as a part-time senior researcher. Meanwile, he was a guest lecturer at the College of Hospitality Managament (Budapest), the Budapest University of Economics and the University of Theatre and Film Arts (Budapest). He specializes in inter-war international relations and 19th and 20th century sport history of Hungary. He did archival research in Geneva, London, Madrid, Oxford, Paris and Rome and gave lectures in several countries including the United Kingdom and the United States of America. He published a great number of studies and books, including Ideas on Territorial Revision in Hungary 1920–1945 (2007).

His paper provides an overview of Hungarian foreign policy between the World Wars. Defeated in the Great War and subsequently partitioned yet regaining its full independence, Hungary started a revisionist foreign policy aiming to upset the Peace Treaty of Trianon and recover at least some but preferably or all of her lost territories. Seeking wide-ranging political partnership during the 1920s – including her former enemies France, the British Empire and the US as well – Hungary began to narrow down her scope of potential allies to the Axis Powers in the 1930s. With some initial hopes towards the League Nations to protect the Hungarian national minorities in the neighbouring states and to raise the question of treaty revision, the Hungarian government finally followed the example of Germany and Italy and left the Geneva-based organization in 1939. After the Axis-assisted restoration of about half of her lost territories between 1938 and 1941, Hungary reluctantly entered World War II, and was defeated again in 1945 by the Allied and Associated Powers. The huge loss of life and material as well as of the temporarily regained territories combined with the subsequent Soviet occupation and political influence left Hungary in an arguably worse situation than she had been after the Great War.


Olga Kesarchuk


Miklós Zeidler
The Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Robert Austin
Associate Director, CERES

Main Sponsor

Hungarian Studies Program


Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

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