Hungary

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Posted by pompos 04/19/2009 @ 12:16

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Venus Williams reacts during her third-round loss to Agnes Szavay of Hungary at the French Open on Friday. Williams, ranked No. 3 in the world, loses in the third round in Paris for the third consecutive year. She doesn't pose much of an obstacle to...
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Hungary extradites Russian mother - BBC News
A Russian woman, Irina Belenkaya, who is accused of abducting her three-year-old daughter Elise, has been extradited to France from Hungary. The girl, whose father is French, has been the subject of a bitter custody battle since 2007....
Hungary 2010 deficit may overshoot target -c.bank - Forbes
BUDAPEST, May 27 (Reuters) - Hungary's budget deficit could overshoot the target next year and come in at 4.5 percent of gross domestic product unless the government implements planned further measures, the central bank said on Wednesday....
Polish economy grows in 1Q, outshining neighbors - Forbes
"Poland's economy crucially hinges upon demand from abroad, and especially from Western Europe - the dependency is surely less strong than in the case of the Czech Republic or Hungary, but it is nonetheless existent," he said in a research note....
Facebook reunites mother with long-lost son - Times Online
A woman whose three-year-old son was abducted and taken to live in Hungary has been reunited with him 27 years later after finding his name on Facebook. Avril Grube last saw Gavin when his father took him on a pre-arranged trip to Blackpool Zoo....
Hungary lifts 6-w bill auction HUF 10 bn over heavy demand - portfolio.hu
Hungary's Government Debt Management Agency (ÁKK) has received HUF 161.3 bn worth of bids on HUF 40 bn 6-week liquidity discount T-bill auction on Friday. Seeing the 4.0x bid/cover ratio, the issuer decided to sell HUF 10 bn more of the instrument than...

Hungary

Coat of arms of Hungary

Hungary /ˈhʌŋɡəri/ (help·info) (Hungarian: Magyarország; IPA: ; listen (help·info)), officially in English the Republic of Hungary (Magyar Köztársaság listen (help·info), literally Hungarian Republic), is a landlocked country in the Carpathian Basin of Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Its capital is Budapest. Hungary is a member of OECD, NATO, EU, Visegrád Group and is a Schengen state. The official language is Hungarian, which is part of the Finno-Ugric family. It is one of the four official languages of the European Union that is not of Indo-European origin.

Following a Celtic (after c. 450 BCE) and a Roman (9 BCE – c. 5th century) period, the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late Ninth Century by the Magyar chieftain Árpád, whose great grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne with a crown sent from Rome in 1000. The Kingdom of Hungary existed with interruptions for 946 years, and at various points was regarded as one of the cultural centers of the Western world (Stephen I, Béla IV, Louis I, Matthias I, Lajos Kossuth). A significant power until the 1910s, Hungary lost over two-thirds of its territory (along with 3.3 million ethnic Hungarians) due to the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, the terms of which have been considered harsh, even humiliating by Hungarians. The kingdom was succeeded by a Communist era (1947–1989) during which Hungary gained widespread international attention regarding the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal move of opening its border with Austria in 1989, thus accelerating the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. The present form of government is parliamentary republic (since 1989). Today, Hungary is a high-income economy, and a regional leader regarding certain markers.

Hungary is seen by about 31 million visitors per year. In the past decade, it was listed as the 10th most economically dynamic area and one of the 15 most popular tourist destinations in the world, with a capital regarded as "one of the most beautiful urban landscapes in the world". The country is home to the second largest thermal lake in the world (Lake Hévíz), the largest lake in Central Europe (Lake Balaton), and the largest natural grassland in Europe (Hortobágy).

After the Western Roman Empire collapsed under the stress of the migration of Germanic tribes and Carpian pressure, the Migration Period continued bringing many invaders to Europe. Among the first to arrive were the Huns, who built up a powerful empire under Attila. Attila the Hun was erroneously regarded as an ancestral ruler of the Hungarians, opinion rejected today by majority of scholars. It is believed that the origin of the name "Hungary" does not come from the Central Asian nomadic invaders called the Huns, but rather originated from 7th century, when Magyar tribes were part of a Bulgar alliance called On-Ogour, which in Bulgar Turkic meant "(the) Ten Arrows". After Hunnish rule faded, the Germanic Ostrogoths then the Lombards came to Pannonia, and the Gepids had a presence in the eastern part of the Carpathian Basin for about 100 years. In the 560s the Avars founded the Avar Khaganate, a state which maintained supremacy in the region for more than two centuries and had the military power to launch attacks against all its neighbours. The Avar Khaganate was weakened by constant wars and outside pressure. The Avars' 250 year rule ended when the Khaganate was conquered by the Franks under Charlemagne in the West and the Bulgarians under Krum in the East. Neither of these two nor others were able to create a lasting state in the region until the freshly unified Hungarians led by Árpád settled in the Carpathian Basin starting in 895.

Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe. It was settled in 896, before France and Germany became separate entities, and before the unification of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Medieval Hungary controlled more territory than medieval France, and the population of medieval Hungary was the third largest of any country in Europe. Árpád was the Magyar leader whom sources name as the single leader who unified the Magyar tribes via the Covenant of Blood (Hungarian: Vérszerződés) forged one nation, thereafter known as the Hungarian nation and led the new nation to the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century. After the Carpathian Basin was secured from the Bulgarians and Moravians, the threat from the western christian nations still persisted. In order to prevent a united force to be mounted against them, the Hungarians quickly engaged in preemptive warfare, that lead them as far as the Iberian Peninsula. The Hungarian tactics of warfare, which relied heavily on light horsemen with mastery of the reflex bow, was something not seen since the days of Attila, and had just as a devastating effect. Finally, in 955, at the Battle of Lechfeld, the Hungarians suffered a significant defeat at the hands of a united German and Bohemian force, equipped with the then revolutionary heavy knight. Taking the events into carefull consideration, the ruling prince (fejedelem) Géza of the Árpád dynasty, who was the ruler of only some of the united territory, but the nominal overlord of all seven Magyar tribes, intended to integrate Hungary into Christian Western Europe, rebuilding the state according to the Western political and social model. He established a dynasty by naming his son Vajk (the later King Stephen I of Hungary) as his successor. This was contrary to the then-dominant tradition of the succession of the eldest surviving member of the ruling family.

Hungary was established as a Catholic Apostolic Kingdom under Saint Stephen I. Applying to Pope Sylvester II, Stephen received the insignia of royalty (including the still existent Holy Crown of Hungary) from the papacy. He was crowned in December 1000 AD in the capital, Esztergom. Papacy confers on him the right to have the cross carried before him, with full administrative authority over bishoprics and churches. He was the son of Géza and thus a descendant of Árpád. By 1006, Stephen had solidified his power, eliminating all rivals who either wanted to follow the old pagan traditions or wanted an alliance with the Eastern Christian Byzantine Empire. Then he started sweeping reforms to convert Hungary into a western feudal state, complete with forced Christianisation. Stephen established a network of 10 episcopal and 2 archiepiscopal sees,and ordered the buildup of monasteries churches and cathedrals. In the earliest times Hungarian language was written in a runic-like script. The country switched to the Latin alphabet under Stephen. From 1000 to 1844, Latin was the official language of the country. He followed the Frankish administrative model: The whole of this land was divided into counties (megyék), each under a royal official called an ispán count (Latin: comes)—later főispán (Latin: supremus comes). This official represented the king’s authority, administered its population, and collected the taxes that formed the national revenue. Each ispán maintained at his fortified headquarters (castrum or vár) an armed force of freemen.

What emerged was a strong kingdom that withstood attacks from German kings and Emperors, and nomadic tribes following the Hungarians from the East, integrating some of the latter into the population (along with Germans invited to Transylvania and the northern part of the kingdom, especially after the Battle of Mohi), and conquering Croatia in 1091.

Saint Ladislaus I (c. 1040 – 29 July 1095), King of Hungary (1077-1095). Before his ascension to the throne, he was the main advisor of his brother, Géza I of Hungary, who was fighting against their cousin, King Solomon of Hungary. When his brother died, his followers proclaimed Ladislaus king according to the Hungarian tradition that gave precedence to the eldest member of the royal family to the deceased king's sons. He also could expand his rule over Croatia. After his canonisation, Ladislaus became the model of the chivalrous king in Hungary.

King Coloman the "Book-lover" (King: 1095–1116): One of his most famous laws was half a millennium ahead of its time: De strigis vero quae non sunt, nulla amplius quaestio fiat (As for the matter of witches, no such things exist, therefore no further investigations or trials are to be held).

Béla III (King: 1172–1192): was the most powerful and wealthiest member of the dynasty, Béla disposed of annual equivalent of 23,000 kg of pure silver. It exceeded those of the French king (estimated at some 17,000 kilograms) and was double the receipts of the English Crown. He rolled back the Byzantine potency in Balkan region.

Andrew II of Hungary (King: 1205–1235): In 1211, he granted the Burzenland (Transylvania) to the Teutonic Knights. In 1225, Andrew II expelled the Teutonic Knights from Transylvania, hence Teutonic Order had to transfer to the Baltic sea. In 1224, Andrew issued the Diploma Andreanum which unified and ensured the special privileges of the Transylvanian Saxons. It's considered the first Autonomy law in the world. He led the Fifth Crusade to the Holy Land in 1217. He set up the largest royal army in the history of crusades (20,000 knights and 12,000 castle-garrisons). The Golden Bull of 1222 was the first constitution in Continental Europe. It limited the king's power. The golden Bull—the Hungarian equivalent of England’s Magna Carta—to which every Hungarian king thereafter had to swear. Its purpose was twofold: to reaffirm the rights of the smaller nobles of the old and new classes of royal servants (servientes regis) against both the crown and the magnates and to defend those of the whole nation against the crown by restricting the powers of the latter in certain fields and legalizing refusal to obey its unlawful/unconstitutional commands (the "ius resistendi"). The lesser nobles also began to present Andrew with grievances, a practice that evolved into the institution of the parliament, or Diet. The most important legal-ideology was the Doctrine of the Holy Crown.

In 1241–1242, this kingdom received a major blow in the form of the Mongol Invasion: after the defeat of the Hungarian army in the Battle of Mohi, Béla IV of Hungary fled, and historians estimate that up to half of Hungary's two million population at that time were victims of the Mongol invasion.. This dramatic reduction in population lead to the invitation of settlers, largely from Germany, in the ensuing destruction (Tatárjárás).

During the Russian campaign, the Mongols drove some 200,000 Cumans, a nomadic tribe of pagan Kipchaks, west of the Carpathian Mountains. There, the Cumans appealed to King Béla IV of Hungary for protection. The Iranian Jassic people came to the Hungary together with the Cumans after they were defeated by the Mongols. During the centuries they were fully assimilated to the Hungarian population, their language disappeared, but they preserved their identity and their regional autonomy until 1876.

Only strongly fortified cities and abbeys could withstand the assault. As a consequence, after the Mongols retreated, King Béla IV. ordered the construction of hundreds of stone castles and fortifications, meant to be defense against a possible second Mongol invasion. Mongols returned to Hungary in 1286, but the new built stone-castle systems and new tactics (using higher ratio of heavy knights) stopped them. The invading Mongol force was defeated near Pest by the royal army of Ladislaus IV of Hungary. These castles proved to be very important later in the long struggle with the Ottoman Empire in the following centuries (from the late 14th century onwards), but their cost indebted the King to the major feudal landlords again, so the royal power reclaimed by Béla IV after his father Andrew II weakened it (leading to the Golden Bull of 1222) was lost again.

Árpád's direct descendants in the male line ruled the country until 1301. During the reigns of the Kings after the Árpád dynasty, the Kingdom of Hungary reached its greatest extent, yet royal power was weakened as the major landlords (the Barons) greatly increased their influence. The most powerful landlords started to use royal prerogatives (coinage ,customs, declaration of wars against foreign monarchs). After the destructive period of interregnum (1301–1308), the first Angevin king, Charles I of Hungary (King: 1308–1342) -a descendant of the Árpád dynasty on the female line- successfully restored the royal power, who defeated oligarch rivals, the so called "little kings". His new fiscal, customs and monetary policies proved successful under his reign. One of the primary sources of his power was the wealth derived from the gold mines of east and northern Hungary. Eventually production reached the remarkable figure of 3,000 lb. of gold annually - one third of the total production of the world as then known, and five times as much as that of any other European state. Charles also sealed an alliance with the Polish king Casimir III.

The second Hungarian king in the Angevin line, Louis I the Great (King: 1342–1382) extended his rule over territories to the Adriatic Sea, and occupied the Kingdom of Naples several times. Under his reign lived the most famous epic hero of Hungarian literature and warfare, the king's Champion: Nicolas Toldi. Louis had become popular in Poland due to his campaign against the Tatars and pagan Lithuanians. Two successful wars (1357–1358, 1378–1381) against Venice annexed Dalmatia and Ragusa and more territories at Adriatic Sea. Venice also had to raise the Angevin flag on St. Mark's Square on holy days. Louis I established a university in Pécs in 1367 (by papal accordance). The Ottoman Turks confronted the country ever more often. In 1366 and 1377, Louis led successful champaigns against the Ottomans (Batlle at Nicapoli in 1366), therefore Balkanian states became his vassals. From 1370, the death of Casimir III of Poland, he was also king of Poland. Until his death, he retained his strong potency in political life of Italian Peninsula.

King Louis died without a male successor, and the country was stabilized only after years of anarchy when Sigismund (king: 1387–1437) a prince from the Luxembourg line succeeded to the throne by marrying Louis's daughter, Queen Mary. It was not for entirely selfless reasons that one of the leagues of barons helped him to power: Sigismund had to pay for the support of the lords by transferring a sizeable part of the royal properties. (For some years, the baron's council governed the country in the name of the Holy Crown , the king was impirsoned for a short time ) The restoration of the authority of the central administration took decades of work. In 1404 Sigismund introduced the Placetum Regium. According to this decree, Papal bulls and messages could not be pronounced in Hungary without the consent of the king. Sigismund congregated Council of Constance (1414–1418) to abolish the Papal Schism of Catholic church, which was solved by the election of a new pope. In 1433 he even became Holy Roman Emperor. During his long reign Royal castle of Buda became probably the largest Gothic palace of the late Middle Ages. The first Hungarian Bible translation completed in 1439, but Hungarian Bible was illegal in its age. Hungary was the first non-Italian country, where the renaissance appeared in Europe.

In 1446, the parliament elected the great general János Hunyadi as governor (1446–1453) and then as regent (1453–1456) of the kingdom. Hunyadi was a successful crusader against the Ottoman Turks, one of his greatest victories being the Siege of Belgrade in 1456. Hunyadi defended the city against the onslaught of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. During the siege, Pope Callixtus III ordered the bells of every church to be rung every day at noon, as a call for believers to pray for the defenders of the city. However, in many countries (like England and Spanish kingdoms), news of the victory arrived before the order, and the ringing of the church bells at noon thus transformed into a commemoration of the victory. The Popes didn't withdraw the order, and Catholic (and the older Protestant) churches still ring the noon bell in the Christian world to this day.

The last strong king was the Renaissance king Matthias Corvinus (king 1458–1490). Matthias was the son of John Hunyadi. András Hess set up a printing press in Buda in 1472.

This was the first time in the medieval Hungarian kingdom that a member of the nobility, without dynastic ancestry and relationship, mounted the royal throne. A true Renaissance prince, a successful military leader and administrator, an outstanding linguist, a learned astrologer, and an enlightened patron of the arts and learning. Although Matyas regularly convened the Diet and expanded the lesser nobles' powers in the counties, he exercised absolute rule over Hungary by means of huge secular bureaucracy. Matthias set out to build a great empire, expanding southward and northwest, while he also implemented internal reforms. The serfs, common people considered Matthias a just ruler because he protected them from excessive demands and other abuses by the magnates. Like his father, Matthias desired to strengthen the Kingdom of Hungary to the point where it became the foremost regional power and overlord, strong enough to push back the Ottomans; toward that end he deemed necessary the conquering of large parts of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1479, under the leadership of Pál Kinizsi, the Hungarian army destroyed the Ottoman and Wallachian troops at the Battle of Breadfield. Army of Hungary, almost all times destroyed the enemies when Matthias was the king. His mercenary standing army called the Black Army of Hungary (Hungarian: Fekete Sereg) was an unusually big army in its age, it accomplished a series of victories also capturing parts of Austria, Vienna (1485) and parts of Bohemia. The king died without a legal successor. His library, the Bibliotheca Corviniana, was Europe's greatest collection of historical chronicles, philosophic and scientific works in the 15th century, and second only in size to the Vatican Library which mainly contained religious material. His renaissance library is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The magnates, who did not want another heavy-handed king, procured the accession of Vladislaus II, king of Bohemia (Ulászló II in Hungarian history), precisely because of his notorious weakness: he was known as King Dobže, or Dobzse (meaning “Good” or, loosely, “OK”), from his habit of accepting with that word every paper laid before him. Under his reign the central power began to experience severe financial difficulties, largely due to the enlargement of feudal lands at his expense.

In 1514, the weakened King Vladislaus II faced a major peasant rebellion led by György Dózsa, which was ruthlessly crushed by the nobles, led by János Szapolyai. The resulting degradation of order paved the way for Ottoman preeminence. In 1521, the strongest Hungarian fortress in the South, Nándorfehérvár (modern Belgrade) fell to the Turks, and in 1526, the Hungarian army was crushed at the Battle of Mohács. The leader of the Hungarian army, Pál Tomori also died in the battle. The early appearance of protestantism further worsened the relations in the anarchical country.

Through the centuries the Kingdom of Hungary kept its old "constitution", which granted special "freedoms" or rights to the nobility and groups like the Saxons or the Jassic people, and to free royal towns such as Buda, Kassa (Košice), Pozsony (Bratislava), Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca).

After some 150 years of wars with the Hungarians and other states, the Ottomans conquered parts of Hungary, and continued their expansion until 1556. The Ottomans gained a decisive victory over the Hungarian army at the Battle of Mohács in 1526. The next decades were characterised by political chaos; the divided Hungarian nobility elected two kings simultaneously, 'Szapolyai János' (1526–1540) and Ferdinand Habsburg (1527–1540), whose feud for the throne further weakened the kingdom. With the conquest of Buda in 1541 by the Turks, Hungary was divided into three parts. Even with a decisive 1552 victory over the Ottomans at the Siege of Eger, which raised the hopes of the Hungarians, the country remained divided until the end of the 17th century. The heroes live more in a famous poet, what was wrote by Sebestyén Tinódi Lantos called: Summáját írom Eger várának, I am writing history of Eger's castle". The north-western part (see map) termed as Royal Hungary was annexed by the Habsburgs who ruled as Kings of Hungary. The eastern part of the kingdom (Partium and Transylvania), in turn, became independent as the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom (became the Principality of Transylvaniain 1571), under Ottoman suzerainty. The remaining central area (mostly present-day Hungary), including the capital of Buda was known as the Ottoman Hungary. A large part of the area became devastated by permanent warfare. Most smaller settlements disappeared. The Turks were indifferent to the Christian religion of their subjects and the Habsburg counter-reformation measures could not reach this area.

Pozsony (Bratislava) became the new capital (1536–1784), coronation town (1563–1830) and seat of the Diet (1536–1848) of Hungary. Nagyszombat(Trnava) in turn, became the religious center in 1541.

In 1558 the Diet of Turda declared free practice of both the Catholic and Lutheran religions, but prohibited Calvinism. Ten years later, in 1568, the Diet extended this freedom, declaring four religions as accepted (recepta) religions.

Hungary entered the Thirty Years' War, Royal (Habsburg) Hungary joined the catholic side, until Transylvania joined the Protestant side.

In 1686, two years after the unsuccessful siege of Buda, a renewed European campaign was started to enter the Hungarian capital. This time, the Holy League's army was twice a large, containing over 74,000 men, including German, Croat, Dutch, Hungarian, English, Spanish, Czech, Italian, French, Burgundian, Danish and Swedish soldiers, along with other Europeans as volunteers, artilleryman, and officers, the Christian forces reconquered Buda, and in the next few years, all of the former Hungarian lands, except areas near Timişoara (Temesvár), were taken from the Turks. In the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz these territorial changes were officially recognized, and in 1718 the entire Kingdom of Hungary was removed from Ottoman rule.

There were a series of anti-Habsburg (i.e. anti-Austrian) and anti-Catholic (requiring equal rights and freedom for all Christian religions) uprisings between 1604 and 1711, which – with the exception of the last one – took place in Royal Hungary. The uprisings were usually organized from Transylvania. The last one was an uprising led by 'II. Rákóczi Ferenc', who after the dethronement of the Habsburgs in 1707 at the Diet of Ónód took power as the "Ruling Prince" of Hungary. The Hungarian Kuruc army lost the main battles at Battle of Trencsén however there were also success actions, for example when Ádám Balogh almost captured the Austrian Emperor with Kuruc troops. When Austrians defeated the uprising in 1711, Rákóczi was in Poland. He later fled to France, finally Turkey, and lived to the end of his life (1735) in nearby Rodosto. Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny who was son of Miklós Bercsényi immigrated to France and created the first French hussar regiment. Afterwards, to make further armed resistance impossible, the Austrians blew up some castles (most of the castles on the border between the now-reclaimed territories occupied earlier by the Ottomans and Royal Hungary), and allowed peasants to use the stones from most of the others as building material (the végvárs among them). In this century lived one of the most famous Hungarian hussar named Michael de Kovats who created the modern US cavalry in the American Revolutionary War. He has statue now in Charleston.

In the 1820s, a Reform Period began by various new laws enacted by the Parliament of Hungary. Nevertheless, progress was slow, because the nobles who had the most seats insisted on retaining their privileges such as exemption from taxation. The main achievements were mostly of national character (e.g. introduction of Hungarian as the official language of the country, instead of the former Latin).

Count István Széchenyi,the most prominent statesmen of the country recognized the urgent need of modernization and their message got through. The Hungarian Parliament was reconvened in 1825 to handle financial needs. A liberal party emerged in the Diet. The party focused on providing for the peasantry in mostly symbolic ways because of their inability to understand the needs of the laborers. Louis Kossuth emerged as leader of the lower gentry in the Parliament. A remarkable upswing started as the nation concentrated its forces on the inevitable modernization, even though the reactionary Habsburgs were obstructing all important liberal reforms.

On March 15, 1848 mass demonstrations in Pest and Buda enabled Hungarian reformists to push through a list of 12 demands. Faced with revolution both at home and in Vienna, Austria first had to accept Hungarian demands. Later, under governor and president Lajos Kossuth and the first Prime minister, Lajos Batthyány, the House of Habsburg was dethroned and the form of government was changed to create the first Republic of Hungary. After the Austrian revolution was suppressed,emperor Franz Joseph replaced his epileptic uncle Ferdinand I as Emperor. The Habsburg Ruler and his advisors skillfully manipulated the Croatian, Serbian and Romanian peasantry, led by priests and officers firmly loyal to the Habsburgs, and induced them to rebel against the Hungarian government. The Hungarians were supported by the vast majority of the Slovak, German and Rusyn nationalities and by all the Jews of the kingdom, as well as by a large number of Polish, Austrian and Italian volunteers. Some members of the nationalities gained coveted positions within the Hungarian Army, like General János Damjanich, an ethnic Serb who became a Hungarian national hero through his command of the 3rd Hungarian Army Corps. Initially, the Hungarian forces (Honvédség) defeated Austrian armies. To counter the successes of the Hungarian revolutionary army, Franz Joseph asked for help from the "Gendarme of Europe," Czar Nicholas I, whose Russian armies invaded Hungary. The huge army of the Russian Empire and the Austrian forces proved too powerful for the Hungarian army, and General Artúr Görgey surrendered in August 1849. Julius Freiherr von Haynau, the leader of the Austrian army, then became governor of Hungary for a few months and on October 6, ordered the execution of 13 leaders of the Hungarian army as well as Prime Minister Batthyány. Lajos Kossuth escaped into exile.

Following the war of 1848–1849, the whole country was in "passive resistance". Archduke Albrecht von Habsburg was appointed military governor of Hungary, and this time was remembered for Germanization and oppression pursued with the help of Czech officers.

Due to external and internal problems, reforms seemed inevitable to secure the integrity of the Habsburg Empire. Major military defeats, like the Battle of Königgrätz (1866), forced the Emperor to concede internal reforms. To appease Hungarian separatism, the Emperor made a deal with Hungary, negotiated by Ferenc Deák, called the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, by which the dual Monarchy of Austria–Hungary came into existence. The two realms were governed separately by two parliaments, with a common monarch and common external and military policies. Economically, the empire was a customs union. The first prime minister of Hungary after the Compromise was Count Gyula Andrássy. The old Hungarian Constitution was restored, and Franz Joseph was crowned as King of Hungary.

The era witnessed an impressive economic development. The formerly backward Hungarian economy became relatively modern and industrialized by the turn of the century, although agriculture remained dominant. In 1873, the old capital Buda and Óbuda(Ancient Buda) were officially merged with the third city, Pest, thus creating the new metropolis of Budapest. The dynamic Pest grew into the country's administrative, political, economic, trade and cultural hub. Technological change accelerated industrialization and urbanization. The GNP per capita grew roughly 1.45% per year from 1870 to 1913. That level of growth compared very favorably to that of other European nations such as Britain (1.00%), France (1.06%), and Germany (1.51%). The key symbols of industrialization were (at the time) the famous Ganz concern, and Tungsram works. Many of the state institutions and the modern administrative system of Hungary were established during this period.

Austria–Hungary drafted 9 million (fighting forces: 7,8 million) soldiers in World War I (4 million from Kingdom of Hungary). The prime minister, István Tisza tried to avoid the breaking out and escalating of a war in Europe, but his diplomatic attempts remained unsuccessful. In the conflict Austria–Hungary was fighting on the side of Germany, Bulgaria and Turkey. The Central Powers conquered Serbia; then, with great difficulty, they were able to stop and repel the attacks of the Russian Empire. Romania proclaimed war. The Central Powers conquered Southern Romania and the Romanian capital Bucharest. On the Italian front, the Austro-Hungarian army could not make significant progress against Italy after January 1918. By that period, the economic situation had deteriorated (strikes in factories were organized by leftist and pacifist movements), and uprisings in the army had become commonplace. French Entente troops landed in Greece. In October 1918, the personal union with Austria was dissolved.

On October 31, 1918, smoldering unrest burst into revolution in Budapest, and roving soldiers assassinated István Tisza. Due to pressure King Charles IV of Hungary appointed the lefist liberal Mihály Károlyi, a pro-Entente liberal to the post of prime minister. After suing for a separate peace, the new government dissolved the parliament, pronounced Hungary an independent republic with Károlyi as provisional president, and proclaimed universal suffrage and freedom of the press and assembly. The government launched preparations for land reform and promised elections, but neither goal was carried out. On November 13, 1918, Charles IV surrendered his powers as King of Hungary; however, he did not abdicate, a technicality that made a return to the throne possible.

In 1918, by a notion of Wilson's pacifism, Károlyi ordered the full disarmament of Hungarian Army. Hungary remained without national defense in the darkest hour of its history. Sorrounding countries started to arm. The First Republic was proclaimed in November 16, 1918, with Károlyi being named as president. The Károlyi government pronounced illegal all armed associations and proposals which wanted to defend the integrity of the country.

The Károlyi government's measures failed to stem popular discontent, especially when the Entente powers began distributing slices of Hungary's traditional territory to Romania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. The new government hoped for maintaining Hungary's territorial integrity on abandoning Austria and Germany and securing a separate peace. The Entente, however, chose to consider Hungary a partner in the defeated Dual Monarchy and demanded surrender of more land. On March 19, 1919, the French head of the Entente mission in Budapest handed Károlyi a note delineating final postwar boundaries, which were unacceptable to all Hungarians. Károlyi resigned and turned power over to a coalition of Social Democrats and communists, who promised that Soviet Russia would help Hungary restore its original borders. Despite the majority held by Social Democrats the communists under Béla Kun seized control.

On March 1919 the Communist Party of Hungary, led by Béla Kun, came to power and proclaimed the Hungarian Soviet Republic. The Hungarian Red Army ousted Czech troops from the north and planned to march against the Romanian army in the east. In terms of domestic policy, the Communist government nationalized industrial and commercial enterprises, socialized housing, transport, banking, medicine, cultural institutions, and all landholdings of more than 400,000 square metres. In the aftermath of a coup attempt, the government took a series of actions called the Red Terror, murdering several hundred people, which alienated much of the population. In the face of domestic backlash and an advancing Romanian force, Béla Kun and most of his comrades fled to Austria, while Budapest was occupied on August 6.

The Conservative Royalists counter-revolutionaries – the "Whites", assumed power, led by István Bethlen, a Transylvanian aristocrat, and Miklós Horthy, the former commander in chief of the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Starting in Western Hungary and spreading throughout the country: many Communists and other leftists were tortured and executed without trial. Radical Whites launched pogroms against the Jews, displayed as the cause of all the difficulties of Hungary. The leaving Romanian army pillaged the country: livestock, machinery and agricultural products were carried to Romania in hundreds of freight cars.

Hungary's signing of the Treaty of Trianon on June 4, 1920, ratified the country's dismemberment. The territorial provisions of the treaty required Hungary to surrender more than two-thirds of its pre-war lands. Nearly one-third of the 10 million ethnic Hungarians found themselves outside the diminished homeland. The country's ethnic composition was left almost homogeneous. New international borders separated Hungary's industrial base from its sources of raw materials and its former markets for agricultural and industrial products.

István Bethlen, appointed prime minister by Horthy, restored order to the country by giving the radical counterrevolutionaries payoffs and government jobs in exchange for ceasing their campaign of terror against Jews and leftists.

The revision of the Treaty of Trianon rose to the top of Hungary's political agenda and the strategy employed by Bethlen consisted by strengthening the economy and building relations with stronger nations. Revision of the treaty had such a broad backing in Hungary that Bethlen used it, at least in part, to deflect criticism of his economic, social, and political policies.

The Great Depression induced a drop in the standard of living and the political mood of the country shifted further toward the right. The government passed the First Jewish Law in 1938, establishing a quote system to limit Jewish involvement in the Hungarian economy.

As Hungary drifted further to the right, Prime Minister Béla Imrédy proposed that the government be reorganized along totalitarian lines and drafted a harsher Second Jewish Law, which greatly restricted Jewish involvement in the economy, culture, and society and, significantly, defined Jews by race instead of religion. This definition altered the status of those who had formerly converted from Judaism to Christianity.

After being awarded by the Germans and Italians part of southern Czechoslovakia and Subcarpathia in the First Vienna Award of 1938, and then northern Transylvania in the Second Vienna Award of 1940, in 1941 Hungary participated in their first military maneuvers on the side of the Axis. Thus, Hungarian army was part of the invasion of Yugoslavia gaining some more territory and joining the Axis powers in the process (showing his disagreement, prime minister Pál Teleki committed suicide). On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union under Operation Barbarossa. Hungary joined the German effort and declared war on the Soviet Union on June 26, and entered World War II on the side of the Axis. In late 1941, the Hungarian troops on the Eastern Front experienced success at the Battle of Uman. By 1943, after the Hungarian Second Army suffered extremely heavy losses at the river Don, the Hungarian government sought to negotiate a surrender with the Allies. On March 19, 1944, as a result of this duplicity, German troops occupied Hungary in what was known as Operation Margarethe. On October 15, 1944, Horthy made a token effort to disengage Hungary from the war. This time the Germans launched Operation Panzerfaust and Horthy was replaced by a puppet government under the pro-German Prime Minister Ferenc Szálasi. Szálasi and the Arrow Cross Party remained loyal to the Germans until the end of the war. In late 1944, Hungarian troops on the Eastern Front again experienced success at the Battle of Debrecen. But this was followed immediately by the Soviet invasion of Hungary and the Battle of Budapest. During the German occupation in May-June 1944, nearly 440,000 Jews, were deported mostly to Auschwitz. The war left Hungary devastated destroying over 60% of the economy and causing huge loss of life. On February 13, 1945, the Hungarian capital city surrendered unconditionally. On May 8, 1945, World War II in Europe officially ended.

Rákosi had difficulty managing the economy and the people of Hungary saw living standards fall. His government became increasingly unpopular, and when Joseph Stalin died in 1953, Mátyás Rákosi was replaced as prime minister by Imre Nagy. However, he retained his position as general secretary of the Hungarian Workers Party and over the next three years the two men became involved in a bitter struggle for power.

As Hungary's new leader, Imre Nagy removed state control of the mass media and encouraged public discussion on political and economic reform. This included a promise to increase the production and distribution of consumer goods. Nagy also released anti-communists from prison and talked about holding free elections and withdrawing Hungary from the Warsaw Pact. Nagy was removed by Soviets. Rákosi did manage to secure the appointment of his close friend, Ernő Gerő, as his successor.

The rule of the Rákosi government was nearly unbearable for Hungary's war-torn citizens. This led to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Hungary's temporary withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact. The Soviets retaliated massively with military force, sending in over 150,000 troops and 2,500 tanks. Nearly a quarter of a million people left the country during the brief time that the borders were open in 1956.

Once he was in power, János Kádár led an attack against revolutionaries. 21,600 mavericks (democrats, liberals, reformist communists alike) were imprisoned, 13,000 interned, and 400 killed. From the 1960s through the late 1980s, Hungary was often satirically referred to as "the happiest barrack" within the Eastern bloc. As a result of the relatively high standard of living, and more relaxed travel restrictions than that of other Eastern Bloc countries, Hungary was generally considered one of the better countries in which to live in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. (See also Goulash Communism for a discussion of the Hungarian variety of socialism.) This was under the autocratic rule of its controversial communist leader, János Kádár. It was the so called Kádár era (1956–1988). The last Soviet soldier left the country in 1991 thus ending Soviet military presence in Hungary. With the Soviet Union gone the transition to a market economy began.

In June 1987 Károly Grósz took over as premier. In January 1988 all restrictions were lifted on foreign travel. In March demonstrations for democracy and civil rights brought 15,000 onto the streets. In May, after Kádár's forced retirement, Grósz was named party secretary general. Under Grósz, Hungary began moving towards full democracy, change accelerated under the impetus of other party reformers such as Imre Pozsgay and Rezső Nyers. Also in June 1988, 30,000 demonstrated against Romania's communist Regime plans to demolish Transylvanian villages.

In February, 1989 the Communist Party's Central Committee, responding to 'public dissatisfaction', announced it would permit a multi-party system in Hungary and hold free elections. In March, for the first time in decades, the government declared the anniversary of the 1848 Revolution a national holiday. Opposition demonstrations filled the streets of Budapest with more than 75,000 marchers. Grósz met Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow, who condoned Hungary's moves toward a multi-party system and promised that the USSR would not interfere in Hungary's internal affairs. In May, Hungary began taking down its barbed wire fence along the Austrian border – the first tear in the Iron Curtain. June brought the reburial of Prime Minister Nagy, executed after the 1956 Revolution, drawing a crowd of 250,000 at the Heroes' Square. The last speaker, 26-year-old Viktor Orbán publicly called for Soviet troops to leave Hungary. In July U.S. President George Bush visited Hungary. In September Foreign Minister Gyula Horn announced that East German refugees in Hungary would not be repatriated but would instead be allowed to go to the West. The resulting exodus shook East Germany and hastened the fall of the Berlin Wall. On October 23, Mátyás Szűrös declared Hungary a republic.

At a party congress in October 1989 the Communists agreed to give up their monopoly on power, paving the way for free elections in March 1990. The party's name was changed from the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party to simply the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) and a new programme advocating social democracy and a free-market economy was adopted. This was not enough to shake off the stigma of four decades of autocratic rule, however, and the 1990 election was won by the centre-right Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF), which advocated a gradual transition towards capitalism. The liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), which had called for much faster change, came second and the Socialist Party trailed far behind. As Gorbachev looked on, Hungary changed political systems with scarcely a murmur and the last Soviet troops left Hungary in June 1991.

In coalition with two smaller parties, the MDF provided Hungary with sound government during its hard transition to a full market economy. József Antall, the first democratically-elected prime minister of Hungary, died in December 1993 and was replaced by the Interior Minister Péter Boross.

The economic changes of the early 1990s resulted in declining living standards for most people in Hungary. In 1991 most state subsidies were removed, leading to a severe recession exacerbated by the fiscal austerity necessary to reduce inflation and stimulate investment. This made life difficult for many Hungarians, and in the May 1994 elections the Hungarian Socialist Party led by former Communists won an absolute majority in parliament. This in no way implied a return to the past, and party leader Gyula Horn was quick to point out that it was his party that had initiated the whole reform process in the first place (as foreign minister in 1989 Horn played a key role in opening Hungary's border with Austria). All three main political parties advocate economic liberalisation and closer ties with the West. In March 1996, Horn was re-elected as Socialist Party leader and confirmed that he would push ahead with the party's economic stabilisation programme.

In 1997 in a national referendum 85% voted in favour of Hungary joining the NATO. A year later the European Union began negotiations with Hungary on full membership. In 1999 Hungary joined NATO. Hungary voted in favour of joining the EU, and joined in 2004.

As of 2007, 13 native Hungarians had received a Nobel prize, more than Japan, China, India, Australia or Spain.. A further eight scientists of Hungarian origin on both sides but born abroad had received the prize.

Hungary is famous for its excellent mathematics education which has trained numerous outstanding scientists. Famous Hungarian mathematicians include János (John) Bolyai (Bolyai János), designer of modern geometry ( non-Euclidean (or "absolute") geometry ) in 1831. Paul Erdős (Erdős Pál), famed for publishing in over forty languages and whose Erdős numbers are still tracked; ; and John von Neumann (Neumann János),Quantum Theory, a pioneer of digital computing. Many Hungarian Jewish scientists, including Erdős, von Neumann, Leo Szilard (Szilárd Leó), Edward Teller (Teller Ede), and Eugene Wigner (Wigner Jenő), fled rising anti-Semitism in Europe and made their most famous contributions in the United States.

Hungarian inventions include the noiseless match (János Irinyi), Rubik's cube (Ernő Rubik), the first electric motor(1827) and first electrical generator (Ányos Jedlik), Ottó Bláthy, Miksa Déri and Károly Zipernowsky invented the transformer in 1885. Ottó Bláthy invented the Turbogenerator and Wattmeter, Telephone exchange (Tivadar Puskás), Ford Model T and production line (therefore he is the inventor of industrial mass production) (József Galamb), Tungsten filament lamp (Sándor Just), krypton electric bulb (Imre Bródy), Electronic Television and camrera-tube and the transmitting and receiving system (1926) and Plasma TV (1936) (Kálmán Tihanyi), , mathematical tools to study fluid flow and mathematical background of supersonic flight and inventor of swept-back wings "father of Supersonic Flight" (Theodore Kármán), early ramjet propulsion (Albert Fonó), Turboprop jet-engine by (György Jendrassik). Several other inventions were made by Hungarians who fled the country prior to World War II, including the nuclear chain reaction and nuclear reactor as well as the first Particle accelerator (all by Leo Szilard), holography (Dennis Gabor), the ballpoint pen (László Bíró), the hydrogen bomb (Edward Teller (Teller Ede), and the BASIC programming language (John Kemeny, with Thomas E. Kurtz).

The President of the Republic, elected by the Parliament every five years, has a largely ceremonial role, for example choosing the dates of elections, and ratifying laws.

The Prime Minister is elected by Parliament and can only be removed by a constructive vote of no confidence. The prime minister selects Cabinet ministers and has the exclusive right to dismiss them. Each Cabinet nominee appears before one or more parliamentary committees in open hearings and must be formally approved by the President.

A unicameral, 386-member National Assembly (the Országgyűlés) is the highest organ of state authority and initiates and approves legislation sponsored by the Prime Minister. National Parliamentary elections are held every four years; the next are due to be held in 2010.

An 11-member Constitutional Court has power to challenge legislation on grounds of unconstitutionality.

Administratively, Hungary is divided into 19 counties. In addition, the capital city (főváros), Budapest, is independent of any county government. The counties and the capital are the 20 NUTS third-level units of Hungary.

The counties are further subdivided into 173 subregions (kistérségek), and Budapest is its own subregion. Since 1996, the counties and City of Budapest have been grouped into 7 regions for statistical and development purposes. These seven regions constitute NUTS' second-level units of Hungary.

There are also 23 towns with county rights (singular megyei jogú város), sometimes known as "urban counties" in English (although there is no such term in Hungarian). The local authorities of these towns have extended powers, but these towns belong to the territory of the respective county instead of being independent territorial units.

Hungary held its first multi-party elections in 1990, following four decades of Communist rule, and has succeeded in transforming its centrally planned economy into a market economy. Both foreign ownership of and foreign investment in Hungarian firms are widespread. The governing coalition, comprising the Hungarian Socialist Party and the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats, prevailed in the April 2006 general election. Hungary needs to reduce government spending and further reform its economy in order to meet the 2012–2013 target date for accession to the euro zone.

Hungary has continued to demonstrate economic growth as one of the newest member countries of the European Union (since 2004). The private sector accounts for over 80% of GDP. Hungary gets nearly one third of all foreign direct investment flowing into Central Europe, with cumulative foreign direct investment totaling more than US$185 billion since 1989. It enjoys strong trade, fiscal, monetary, investment, business, and labor freedoms. The top income tax rate is fairly high, but corporate taxes are low. Inflation is low, it was on the rise in the past few years, but it is now starting to regulate. Investment in Hungary is easy, although it is subject to government licensing in security-sensitive areas. Foreign capital enjoys virtually the same protections and privileges as domestic capital. The rule of law is strong, a professional judiciary protects property rights, and the level of corruption is low.

Total government spending is high. Many state-owned enterprises have not been privatized. Business licensing is a problem, as regulations are not applied consistently. According to the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, Hungary's economy was 67.2 percent "free" in 2008, which makes it the world's 43rd-freest economy. Its overall score is 1 percent lower than last year, partially reflecting new methodological detail. Hungary is ranked 25th out of 41 countries in the European region, and its overall score is slightly lower than the regional average. Economic reform measures such as health care reform, tax reform, and local government financing are being addressed by the present government.

Slightly more than one half of Hungary's landscape consists of flat to rolling plains of the Pannonian Basin: the most important plain regions include the Little Hungarian Plain in the west, and the Great Hungarian Plain in the southeast. The highest elevation above sea level on the latter is only 183 metres.

Transdanubia is a primarily hilly region with a terrain varied by low mountains. These include the very eastern stretch of the Alps, Alpokalja, in the west of the country, the Transdanubian Medium Mountains, in the central region of Transdanubia, and the Mecsek Mountains and Villány Mountains in the south. The highest point of the area is the Írott-kő in the Alps, at 882 metres.

The highest mountains of the country are located in the Carpathians: these lie in the northern parts, in a wide band along the Slovakian border (highest point: the Kékes at 1,014 m (3327 ft)).

Hungary is divided in two by its main waterway, the Danube (Duna); other large rivers include the Tisza and Dráva, while Transdanubia contains Lake Balaton, a major body of water. The largest thermal lake in the world, Lake Hévíz (Hévíz Spa), is located in Hungary. The second largest lake in the Pannonian Basin is the artificial Lake Tisza (Tisza-tó).

Phytogeographically, Hungary belongs to the Central European province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF, the territory of Hungary belongs to the ecoregion of Pannonian mixed forests.

Hungary has a Continental climate, with hot summers with low overall humidity levels but frequent rainshowers and frigid to cold snowy winters. Average annual temperature is 9.7 °C (49.5 °F). Temperature extremes are about 42 °C (110 °F) in the summer and −29 °C (−20 °F) in the winter. Average temperature in the summer is 27 to 35 °C (81 to 95 °F), and in the winter it is 0 to −15 °C (32 to 5 °F). The average yearly rainfall is approximately 600 millimeters (24 in). A small, southern region of the country near Pécs enjoys a reputation for a Mediterranean climate, but in reality it is only slightly warmer than the rest of the country and still receives snow during the winter.

The Military of Hungary, or "Hungarian Armed Forces" currently has two branches, the "Hungarian Ground Force" and the "Hungarian Air Force." The Hungarian Ground Force (or Army) is known as the "Corps of Homeland Defenders" (Honvédség). This term was originally used to refer to the revolutionary army established by Lajos Kossuth and the National Defence Committee of the Revolutionary Hungarian Diet in September 1848 during the Hungarian Revolution.The term Honvédség is the name of the military of Hungary since 1848 referring to its purpose (véd in Honvéd) of defending the country. The Hungarian Army is called Magyar Honvédség. The rank equal to a Private is a Honvéd. The Hungarian Air Force is the air force branch of the Hungarian Army.

Black Army of Hungary: The Black Army (Black Legion or Host) - named after their black armor panoply - is in historigraphy the common name given to the excellent quality of diverse and polyglot military forces serving under the reign of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. It is recognized as the first standing continental European fighting force not under conscription and with regular pay since the Roman Empire. Hungary's Black Army traditionally encompasses the years from 1458 to 1490.

Hussar: A type of irregular light horsemen was already well established by the 15th century in medieval Hungary.Hussar refers to a number of types of light cavalry created in Hungary in the 15th century and used throughout Europe and even in America since the 18th century. Some modern military units retain the title 'hussar' for reasons of tradition.

For 95% of the population, the mother language is Hungarian, a Finno-Ugric language distantly related to Finnish and Estonian. The largest minority groups are are the Roma (2.1%) and the Germans (1.2%). Other groups include: Slovaks (0.4%), Croats and Bunjevcis(0.2%), Romanians (0.1%), Ukrainians (0.1%), and Serbs (0.1%). Roma make up as much as 10% of the population in Hungary (unofficial estimation). For historical reasons (see Treaty of Trianon), significant Hungarian minority populations can be found in the surrounding countries, most of them in Romania (in Transylvania), Slovakia, Serbia (in Vojvodina). Sizable minorities live also in Ukraine (in Transcarpathia), Croatia (mainly Slavonia) and Austria (in Burgenland). Slovenia is also host to a number of ethnic Hungarians, and Hungarian language has an official status in parts of the Prekmurje region.

The largest wave of German-speaking immigrants into Hungary occurred after the Treaty of Karlowitz. Between 1700 and 1750, German-speaking settlers immigrated to the regions of Pannonia, Banat, and Bačka, which had been depopulated by the Ottoman wars. Prior to World War II, approximately 1.5 million Danube Swabians lived in Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia. In 2001, 62,105 people declared to be German in Hungary.

The majority of Hungarian people became Christian in the 10th century. Hungary's first king, Saint Stephen I, took up Western Christianity, although his mother, Sarolt, was baptized in the eastern rite. Hungary remained predominantly Catholic until the 16th century, when the Reformation took place and, as a result, first Lutheranism, then soon afterwards Calvinism became the religion of almost the entire population. In the second half of the 16th century, however, Jesuits led a successful campaign of counterreformation among the Hungarians. The Jesuits founded educational institutions, including Péter Pázmány, the oldest university that still exists in Hungary, but organized so-called missions too in order to promote popular piety. By the 17th century, Hungary had once again become predominantly Catholic. Some of the eastern parts of the country, however, especially around Debrecen ("the Calvinist Rome"), still have significant Protestant communities. Orthodox Christianity in Hungary has been the religion mainly of some national minorities in the country, notably, Romanians, Rusyns and Ukrainians, Serbs.

Hungary has been the home of a sizable Armenian community as well. They still worship according to the Armenian Rite, but they have reunited with the Catholic Church (Armenian Catholics) under the primacy of the Pope. According to the same pattern, a significant number of Orthodox Christians became re-united with the rest of the Catholic world (Greek Catholics).

Faith Church, one of Europe's largest pentecostal churches is also located in Hungary. Faith Church accepts the results and spiritual, moral values of both early Christianity and the Reformation, as well as other revival movements serving the progress of the Christian faith. Based on the 1% tax designation to churches, Faith Church is the fourth most supported church in Hungary. The weekly Sunday service of the Church is regularly broadcasted in live television.

Hungary has historically been home to a significant Jewish community, especially since the 19th century when many Jews, persecuted in Russia, found refuge in the Kingdom of Hungary. The largest synagogue in Europe is located in Budapest. In the Revolution of 1848 the Jews supported the Hungarians against the Austrians, and more than 20 000 Jewish fought for Hungary, in World War I Jews were among the greatest soldiers of the country. The census of January 1941 found that 6.2% of the population, i.e. 846,000 people, were considered Jewish according to the racial laws of that time. From this number, 725,000 were Jewish by religion. Some Hungarian Jews were able to escape the Holocaust during World War II, although many were either deported to concentration camps or simply executed by the Hungarian Arrow Cross fascists.

Hungary is home to the largest synagogue in Europe (Great Synagogue), the largest medicinal bath in Europe (Széchenyi Medicinal Bath), the third largest church in Europe (Esztergom Basilica), the second largest territorial abbey in the world (Pannonhalma Archabbey), the second largest Baroque castle in the world (Gödöllő), and the largest Early Christian Necropolis outside Italy (Pécs).

The music of Hungary consists mainly of traditional Hungarian folk music and music by prominent composers such as Liszt, Dohnányi, Bartók, Kodály, and Rózsa. Hungarian traditional music tends to have a strong dactylic rhythm, as the language is invariably stressed on the first syllable of each word. Hungary also has a number of internationally renowned composers of contemporary classical music, György Ligeti, György Kurtág, Péter Eötvös and Zoltán Jeney among them.

Hungary has made many contributions to the fields of folk, popular and classical music. Hungarian folk music is a prominent part of the national identity and continues to play a major part in Hungarian music. Hungarian folk music has been influential in neighboring areas such as Romania, Slovakia, southern Poland and especially in southern Slovakia and the Romanian region of Transylvania, both home to significant numbers of Hungarians.

Broughton claims that Hungary's "infectious sound has been surprisingly influential on neighbouring countries (thanks perhaps to the common Austro-Hungarian history) and it's not uncommon to hear Hungarian-sounding tunes in Romania, Slovakia and southern Poland".</ref> It is also strong in the Szabolcs-Szatmár area and in the southwest part of Transdanubia, near the border with Croatia. The Busójárás carnival in Mohács is a major Hungarian folk music event, formerly featuring the long-established and well-regarded Bogyiszló orchestra.

Hungarian classical music has long been an "experiment, made from Hungarian antedecents and on Hungarian soil, to create a conscious musical culture musical world of the folk song". Although the Hungarian upper class has long had cultural and political connections with the rest of Europe, leading to an influx of European musical ideas, the rural peasants maintained their own traditions such that by the end of the 19th century Hungarian composers could draw on rural peasant music to (re)create a Hungarian classical style. For example, Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, two of Hungary's most famous composers, are known for using folk themes in their music. Bartók collected folk songs from across Eastern Europe, including Romania and Slovakia, whilst Kodály was more interested in creating a distinctively Hungarian musical style.

During the era of Communist rule in Hungary (1944–1989) a Song Committee scoured and censored popular music for traces of subversion and ideological impurity. Since then, however, the Hungarian music industry has begun to recover, producing successful performers in the fields of jazz such as trumpeter Rudolf Tomsits, pianist-composer Károly Binder and, in a modernized form of Hungarian folk, Ferenc Sebő and Márta Sebestyén. The three giants of Hungarian rock, Illés, Metró and Omega, remain very popular, especially Omega, which has followings in Germany and beyond as well as in Hungary. Older veteran underground bands such as Beatrice from the 1980s also remain popular.

In the earliest times Hungarian language was written in a runic-like script (although it was not used for literature purposes in the modern interpretation). The country switched to the Latin alphabet after being Christianized under the reign of Stephen I of Hungary (1000–1038). There are no existing documents from the pre-11th century era. The oldest written record in Hungarian is a fragment in the founding document of the Abbey of Tihany (1055) which contains several Hungarian terms, among them the words feheruuaru rea meneh hodu utu rea, "up the military road to Fehérvár" The rest of the document was written in Latin. The oldest complete text is the Funeral Sermon and Prayer (Halotti beszéd és könyörgés) (1192–1195), a translation of a Latin sermon. The oldest poem is the Old Hungarian Laments of Mary (Ómagyar Mária-siralom), also a (not very strict) translation from Latin, from the 13th century. It is also the oldest surviving Finno-Ugric poem. Among the first chronicles about Hungarian history were Gesta Hungarorum ("Deeds of the Hungarians") by the unknown author usually called Anonymus, and Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum ("Deeds of the Huns and the Hungarians") by Simon Kézai. Both are in Latin. These chronicles mix history with legends, so historically they are not always authentic. Another chronicle is the Képes krónika (Illustrated Chronicle), which was written for Louis the Great.

Renaissance literature flourished under the reign of King Matthias (1458–1490). Janus Pannonius, although wrote in Latin, counts as one of the most important persons in Hungarian literature, being the only significant Hungarian Humanist poet of the period. The first printing house was also founded during Matthias' reign, by András Hess, in Buda. The first book printed in Hungary was the Chronica Hungarorum. Matthias Corvinus's library, the Bibliotheca Corviniana, was among Europe's greatest collections of secular historical chronicles and philosophic and scientific works in the fifteenth century. In 1489, Bartolomeo della Fonte of Florence wrote that Lorenzo de Medici founded his own Greek-Latin library encouraged by the example of the Hungarian king. Corvinus's library is part of UNESCO World Heritage. Other important figures of Hungarian Renaissance: Bálint Balassi (poet) , Sebestyén Tinódi Lantos (poet).

The Hungarian enlightenment was delayed about fifty years compared to the Western European enlightenment. The new thoughts arrived to Hungary across Vienna. The first enlightened writers were Maria Theresia's bodyguards (György Bessenyei, János Batsányi and so on). The greatest poets of the time were Mihály Csokonai Vitéz and Dániel Berzsenyi. The greatest figure of the language reform was Ferenc Kazinczy. The Hungarian language became feasible for scientific explanations from this time, and furthermore many new words were coined for describing new inventions.

Hungarian literature has recently gained some renown outside the borders of Hungary (mostly through translations into German, French and English). Some modern Hungarian authors have become increasingly popular in Germany and Italy especially Sándor Márai, Péter Esterházy, Péter Nádas and Imre Kertész. The latter is a contemporary Jewish writer who survived the Holocaust and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002. The older classics of Hungarian literature and Hungarian poetry have remained almost totally unknown outside Hungary. János Arany, a famous nineteenth century Hungarian poet is still much loved in Hungary (especially his collection of Ballads), among several other "true classics" like Sándor Petőfi, the poet of the Revolution of 1848, Endre Ady, Mihály Babits, Dezső Kosztolányi, Attila József and János Pilinszky. Other well-known Hungarian authors are Ferenc Móra, Géza Gárdonyi, Zsigmond Móricz, Gyula Illyés, Albert Wass and Magda Szabó.

The Hungarian cuisine is a prominent feature of the Hungarian culture, just as much like the art of hospitality. Traditional dishes such as the world famous Goulash (gulyás stew or gulyásleves soup). Dishes are often flavoured with paprika (ground red peppers), a Hungarian innovation. Thick, heavy Hungarian sour cream called tejföl is often used to soften the dishes flavour. The famous Hungarian hot river fish soup called Fisherman's soup or halászlé is usually a rich mixture of several kinds of poached fish. Other dishes are Chicken Paprikash, Foie gras made of goose liver, pörkölt stew, vadas, (game stew with vegetable gravy and dumplings), trout with almonds and salty and sweet dumplings, like túrós csusza, (dumplings with fresh quark cheese and thick sour cream). Desserts include the iconic Dobos Cake, Strudels (rétes), filled with apple, cherry, poppy seed or cheese, Gundel pancake, plum dumplings (szilvás gombóc), somlói dumplings, dessert soups like chilled Sour cherry soup and sweet chestnut puree, gesztenyepüré (cooked chestnuts mashed with sugar and rum and split into crumbs, topped with whipped cream). Perec and kifli are widly popular pastries.

The csárda is the most distinctive type of Hungarian inn, an old-style tavern offering traditional cuisine and beverages. Borozó usually denotes a cozy old-fashioned wine tavern, pince is a beer or wine cellar and a söröző is a pub offering draught beer and sometimes meals. The bisztró is an inexpensive restaurant often with self-service. The büfé is the cheapest place, although one may have to eat standing at a counter. Pastries, cakes and coffee are served at the confectionery called cukrászda, while an eszpresszó is a cafeteria.

Pálinka: is a fruit brandy, distilled from fruit grown in the orchards situated on the Great Hungarian Plain. It is a spirit native to Hungary and comes in a variety of flavours including apricot (barack) and cherry (cseresznye). However plum (szilva) is considered the best of all.

Beer: Beer goes well with many traditional Hungarian dishes. The five main Hungarian breweries are: Borsodi, Soproni, Arany Ászok, Kõbányai, and Dreher.

Wine: As Hugh Johnson says in The History of Wine, the territory of Hungary is ideal for wine-making. Since the fall of communism there has been a renaissance of Hungarian wine-making. The choice of good wine is widening from year to year. The country can be divided to six wine regions: North-Transdanubia, Lake Balaton, South-Pannónia, Duna-region or Alföld, Upper-Hungary and Tokaj-Hegyalja. Hungarian wine regions offer a great variety of style: the main products of the country are elegant and full-bodied dry whites with good acidity, although complex sweet whites (Tokaj), elegant (Eger) and full-bodied robust reds (Villány and Szekszárd). The main varieties are: Olaszrizling, Hárslevelű, Furmint, Pinot gris or Szürkebarát, Chardonnay (whites), Kékfrankos (or Blaufrankisch in German), Kadarka, Portugieser, Zweigelt, Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc and Merlot. The most famous wines from Hungary are Tokaji Aszú and Egri Bikavér.

Tokaji: Tokaji, meaning "of Tokaj", or "from Tokaj" in Hungarian, is used to label wines from the wine region of Tokaj-Hegyalja in Hungary. Tokaji wine has received accolades from numerous great writers and composers including Beethoven, Liszt, Schubert and Goethe; Joseph Haydn's favorite wine was a Tokaji. Louis XV and Frederick the Great tried to outdo one another in the excellence of the vintages they stocked when they treated guests like Voltaire to some Tokaji. Napoleon III, the last Emperor of the French, ordered 30–40 barrels of Tokaji for the Court every year. Gustav III, King of Sweden, never had any other wine to drink. In Russia, customers included Peter the Great and Empress Elizabeth of Russia.

Zwack Unicum: For over 150 years, a blend of 40 Hungarian herbs has been used to create the liqueur Unicum. Unicum is a bitter, dark-coloured liqueur that can be drunk as an apéritif or after a meal, thus helping the digestion. The recipe is held secret by the Zwack family.

Hungary is a land of thermal water. A passion for spa culture and Hungarian history have been connected from the very beginning. It has been shown that Hungarian spa culture is multicultural. The basis of this claim is architecture: Hungarian spas feature Roman, Greek, Turkish, and northern country architectural elements. Due to an advantageous geographical location thermal water can be found with good quality and in great quantities on over 80% of Hungary's territory. The Romans heralded the first age of spa in Hungary, the remains of their bath complexes are still to be seen in Óbuda, to this day. The spa culture was revived during the Turkish Invasion who used the thermal springs of Buda for the construction of a number of bathhouses, some of which are still functioning (Király Baths, Rudas Baths). In the 19th century the advancement in deep drilling and medical science provided the springboard for a further leap in bathing culture. Grand spas such as Gellért Baths, Lukács Baths, Margaret Island, and Széchenyi Medicinal Bath are a reflection of this resurgence in popularity. Approximately 1,500 thermal springs can be found in Hungary. About half of these are used for bathing. The spa culture has a nearly 2,000 year history in Budapest. Budapest has the richest supply of thermal water among the capitals of the world. The amount of thermal water used in Budapest is roughly equal to two million bath tubs per day. There are approximately 450 public baths in Hungary. Nowadays the trend shows that bath operators are modernizing their facilities and expanding the services offered. A total of 50 of the 160 public baths are qualified as spas throughout the country. Services are offered for healing purposes. These spas provide every type of balneal and physical therapy. Throughout history bathing and spa tourism has always played an important role in Hungary.

The thermal lake of Hévíz is the largest biologically active, natural thermal lake of the world. The oldest and most well-known bath of Hungary, in accordance with records from the Roman era, has a history of 2000 years. The Hévíz treatment, in its present sense, also dates back more than 200 years. The 4.4 ha lake is fed by its spring rushing up at a depth of 38 m, containing sulphur, radium and minerals. Due to the high water output of the spring, the water of the lake is completely changed within 48 hours. The water of the Hévíz Lake is equally rich in dissolved substances and gases, combining the favourable effects of naturally carbonated medicinal waters and those containing sulphur, calcium, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate, as well as those with a slightly radioactive content. The medicinal mud, which covers the bed of the lake in a thick layer, deserves special attention. The Hévíz mud, which is unique of its kind, contains both organic and inorganic substances and the radium-salts and reduced sulphuric solutions in it represent special medicinal factors. The medicinal water and mud originating from the then several thousand year-old Pannonian Sea, together with the complex physiotherapeutic treatments, are suitable for treating all kinds of rheumatic and locomotory diseases. The temperature of the water is 23-25 C in winter and 33-36 C in summer.

Ugrós (Jumping dances): Old style dances dating back to the Middle Ages. Solo or couple dances accompanied by old style music, shepherd and other solo man's dances from Transylvania, and marching dances along with remnants of medieval weapon dances belong in this group.

Karikázó: a circle dance performed by women only accompanied by singing of folksongs.

Csárdás: New style dances developed in the 18-19th centuries is the Hungarian name for the national dances, with Hungarian embroidered costumes and energetic music. From the men's intricate bootslapping dances to the ancient women's circle dances, Csárdás demonstrates the infectious exuberance of the Hungarian folk dancing still celebrated in the villages.

Verbunkos: a solo man's dance evolved from the recruiting performances of the Austro-Hungarian army.

The Legényes: is a men's solo dance done by the ethnic Hungarian people living in the Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania. Although usually danced by young men, it can be also danced by older men. The dance is performed freestyle usually by one dancer at a time in front of the band. Women participate in the dance by standing in lines to the side and sing/shout verses while the men dance. Each lad does a number of points (dance phrases) typically 4 to 8 without repetition. Each point consists of 4 parts, each lasting 4 counts. The first part is usually the same for everyone (there are only a few variations).

It was in the beginning of the eighteenth century that the present style of Hungarian folk art took shape, incorporating both Renaissance and Baroque elements, depending on the area, as well as Persian Sassanide influences. Flowers and leaves, sometimes a bird or a spiral ornament, are the principal decorative themes. The most frequent ornament is a flower with a centerpiece resembling the eye of a peacock's feather. Nearly all the manifestations of folk art practiced elsewhere in Europe also flourished among the Magyar peasantry at one time or another, their ceramics and textile being the most highly developed of all. The finest achievements in their textile arts are the embroideries which vary from region to region. Those of Kalotaszeg in Transylvania are charming products of Oriental design, sewn chiefly in a single color - red, blue, or black. Soft in line, the embroideries are applied on altar cloths, pillow cases and sheets. In Hungary proper Sárköz in Transdanubia and the Matyóföld in the Great Hungarian Plain produce the finest embroideries. In the Sárköz region the women's caps show black and white designs as delicate as lace and give evidence of the people's wonderfully subtle artistic feeling. The embroidery motifs applied to women's wear have also been transposed to tablecloths and runners suitable for modern use as wall decorations.

These vessels, made of black clay, reflect more than three hundred years of traditional Transdanubian folk patterns and shapes. No two are precisely alike, since all work is done by hand, including both the shaping and the decorating. The imprints are made by the thumb or a finger of the ceramist who makes the piece.

Founded in 1826, Herend Porcelain is one of the world's largest ceramic factories, specializing in luxury hand painted and gilded porcelain. In the mid-19th century it was purveyor to the Habsburg Dynasty and aristocratic customers throughout Europe. Many of its classic patterns are still in production. After the fall of communism in Hungary the factory was privatised and is now 75% owned by its management and workers, exporting to over 60 countries of the world.

There are special Hungarian species of domestic animals which are seen as national symbols in Hungary. The long-horn Hungarian Grey Cattle is traditionally kept in the open full year. The Hungarian Vizsla, the Puli, the Komondor, the Kuvasz, the Pumi, the Hungarian Greyhound, the Transylvanian Bloodhound and the Mudi are all considered breeds originating in Hungary. Hungarian thoroughbred horses are a mid-19th century mixture of the best Arab and English race horse characteristics. The Mangalica, a breed of pigs, are characterised by their long curly hair and relatively fatty meat which makes them ideal for making sausages and salami.

One of the most famous Hungarians is the footballer Ferenc Puskás (1927–2006). He scored 84 goals in 85 internationals for Hungary, and 511 goals in 533 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. Puskás played the 1954 World Cup final against West Germany. In 1958, after the Hungarian Revolution, he emigrated to Spain where he played in the legendary Real Madrid team that also included Alfredo Di Stéfano, and Francisco Gento.

Hungarians are also known for their prowess at water sports, mainly swimming, water polo (See: Water polo at the Summer Olympics) (in which they have defeated the Soviet team in 1956) and canoeing (they have won multiple medals); this may be to be surprising at first, due to Hungary being landlocked. On the other hand, the presence of two major rivers (the Duna and the Tisza) and a major lake (Balaton) give excellent opportunities to practice these sports. Some of the world's best sabre fencing athletes have historically hailed from Hungary. The Hungarian national ice hockey team has also qualified for its first IIHF World Championship in more than seventy years.

1 Has part of its territory outside Europe.  2 Entirely in West Asia but having socio-political connections with Europe.  3 Has dependencies or similar territories outside Europe. 4 Name disputed by Greece; see Macedonia naming dispute. 5 Declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008 and is recognised by 57 United Nations member states.

1 Provisionally referred to by the Council of Europe as the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"; see Macedonia naming dispute.

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History of Hungary

Coat of Arms of Hungary

Hungary is a state in central Europe, its history under this name dating to the early Middle Ages, when the region previously known as Pannonia was colonized by the Magyar nomad people from what is now central-northern Russia. For history of the area before this period, see Pannonian basin before Hungary.

The Magyars settled in Hungary in 896. Árpád was the Magyar leader whom sources name as the single leader who unified the Magyar tribes via the Covenant of Blood (Hungarian: Vérszerződés) forged one nation, thereafter known as the Hungarian nation and led the new nation to the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century. After an early Hungarian state was formed in this territory military power of the nation allowed the Hungarians to conduct successful fierce campaigns and raids as far as today's Spain. A later defeat at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955 signaled an end to raids on foreign territories, and links between the tribes weakened. The ruling prince (fejedelem) Géza of the Árpád dynasty, who was the ruler of only some of the united territory, but the nominal overlord of all seven Magyar tribes, intended to integrate Hungary into Christian Western Europe, rebuilding the state according to the Western political and social model. He established a dynasty by naming his son Vajk (the later King Stephen I of Hungary) as his successor. This was contrary to the then-dominant tradition of the succession of the eldest surviving member of the ruling family. By ancestral right prince Koppány, -as the oldest member of the dynasty- should have claimed the throne, but Géza chose his first-born son to be his successor. The fight in the chief prince's family started after Géza's death, in 997. Duke Koppány took up arms, and many people in Transdanubia joined him. The rebels represented the old faith and order, the ancient human rights, tribal independence and the pagan belief. Stephen won a decisive victory over uncle Koppány, and had him executed.

Hungary was recognized as a Catholic Apostolic Kingdom under Saint Stephen I.

Applying to Pope Sylvester II, Stephen received the insignia of royalty (including the still existent Holy Crown of Hungary) from the papacy. He was crowned in December 1000 AD in the capital, Esztergom. Papacy confers on him the right to have the cross carried before him, with full administrative authority over bishoprics and churches. He was the son of Géza and thus a descendant of Árpád. By 1006, Stephen had solidified his power, eliminating all rivals who either wanted to follow the old pagan traditions or wanted an alliance with the Eastern Christian Byzantine Empire. Then he started sweeping reforms to convert Hungary into a western feudal state, complete with forced Christianisation. Stephen established a network of 10 episcopal and 2 archiepiscopal sees,and ordered the buildup of monasteries churches and cathedrals. In the earliest times Hungarian language was written in a runic-like script. The country switched to the Latin alphabet under Stephen. From 1000 to 1844, Latin was the official language of the country. He followed the Frankish administrative model: The whole of this land was divided into counties (megyék), each under a royal official called an ispán count (Latin: comes)—later főispán (Latin: supremus comes). This official represented the king’s authority, administered its population, and collected the taxes that formed the national revenue. Each ispán maintained at his fortified headquarters (castrum or vár) an armed force of freemen.

What emerged was a strong kingdom that withstood attacks from German kings and Emperors, and nomadic tribes following the Hungarians from the East, integrating some of the latter into the population (along with Germans invited to Transylvania and the northern part of the kingdom, especially after the Battle of Mohi), and conquering Croatia in 1091.An alternative history based on Pacta Conventa is that Croatia joined to Hungary by a personal union in 1102 after Coloman I assumed control over the territory. However, the validity of this document is still disputed among historians.

One of his most famous laws was half a millennium ahead of its time: De strigis vero quae non sunt, nulla amplius quaestio fiat (As for the matter of witches, no such things exist, therefore no further investigations or trials are to be held).

In 1211 Andrew II of Hungary (ruled from 1205 to 1235) granted the Burzenland (Transylvania) to the Teutonic Knights. In 1225, Andrew II expelled the Teutonic Knights from Transylvania, hence Teutonic Order had to transfer to the Baltic sea. In 1224, Andrew issued the Diploma Andreanum which unified and ensured the special privileges of the Transylvanian Saxons. It is considered the first Autonomy law in the world.

He led the Fifth Crusade to the Holy Land in 1217. He set up the largest royal army in the history of Crusades (20,000 knights and 12,000 castle-garrisons). The Golden Bull of 1222 was the first constitution in Continental Europe. It limited the king's power. The Golden Bull — the Hungarian equivalent of England’s Magna Carta — to which every Hungarian king thereafter had to swear, had a twofold purpose: to reaffirm the rights of the smaller nobles of the old and new classes of royal servants (servientes regis) against both the crown and the magnates and to defend those of the whole nation against the crown by restricting the powers of the latter in certain fields and legalizing refusal to obey its unlawful/unconstitutional commands (the ius resistendi). The lesser nobles also began to present Andrew with grievances, a practice that evolved into the institution of the parliament, or Diet. The most important legal-ideology was the Doctrine of the Holy Crown.

In 1241–1242, Hungary received a major blow in the form of the Mongol invasion: after the defeat of the Hungarian army in the Battle of Mohi, Béla IV of Hungary fled, and a large part (historians estimate that up to half of Hungary's two million population at that time were victims of the Mongol invasion.) of the population died (leading later to the invitation of settlers largely from Germany) in the ensuing destruction (Tatárjárás). During the Russian campaign, the Mongols drove some 200,000 Cumans, a nomadic tribe of pagan Kipchaks, west of the Carpathian Mountains. There, the Cumans appealed to King Béla IV of Hungary for protection. The Iranian Jassic people reached Hungary together with the Cumans after they were defeated by the Mongols. During the centuries they were fully assimilated to the Hungarian population, their language disappeared, but they preserved their identity and their regional autonomy until 1876.

Only strongly fortified cities and abbeys could withstand the assault. As a consequence, after the Mongols retreated, King Béla ordered the construction of hundreds of stone/brick castles and fortifications, meant to be defense against a possible second Mongol invasion. Mongols returned to Hungary in 1286, but the new built stone-castle systems and new tactics (using higher ratio of heavy knights) stopped them. The invading Mongol force was defeated near Pest by the royal army of Ladislaus IV of Hungary. These castles proved to be very important later in the long struggle with the Ottoman Empire in the following centuries (from the late 14th century onwards), but their cost indebted the King to the major feudal landlords again, so the royal power reclaimed by Béla IV after his father Andrew II weakened it (leading to the Golden Bull of 1222) was lost again.

Árpád's direct descendants in the male line ruled the country until 1301. During the reigns of the Kings after the Árpád dynasty, the Kingdom of Hungary reached its greatest extent, yet royal power was weakened as the major landlords (the Barons) greatly increased their influence. The most powerful landlords started to use royal prerogatives (coinage ,customs, declaration of wars against foreign monarchs). After the destructive period of interregnum (1301–1308), the first Angevin king, Charles I of Hungary (King: 1308–1342) -a descendant of the Árpád dynasty on the female line- successfully restored the royal power, who defeated oligarch rivals, the so called "little kings". His new fiscal, customs and monetary policies proved successful under his reign. One of the primary sources of his power was the wealth derived from the gold mines of east and northern Hungary. Eventually production reached the remarkable figure of 3,000 lb. of gold annually - one third of the total production of the world as then known, and five times as much as that of any other European state. Charles also sealed an alliance with the Polish king Casimir III.

The second Hungarian king in the Angevin line, Louis I the Great (King: 1342–1382) extended his rule over territories to the Adriatic Sea, and occupied the Kingdom of Naples several times. Under his reign lived the most famous epic hero of Hungarian literature and warfare, the king's Champion: Nicolas Toldi. Louis had become popular in Poland due to his successful campaigns against the Mongols (Golden Horde) and pagan Lithuanians. Two successful wars (1357–1358, 1378–1381) against Venice annexed Dalmatia and Ragusa and more territories at Adriatic Sea. Venice also had to raise the Angevin flag on St. Mark's Square on holy days. Louis I established a university in Pécs in 1367 (by papal accordance). The Ottoman Turks confronted the country ever more often. In 1366 and 1377, Louis led successful champaigns against the Ottomans (Batlle at Nicapoli in 1366), therefore Balkanian states became his vassals. From 1370, the death of his uncle (Casimir III of Poland), he was also king of Poland. Until his death, he retained his strong potency in political life of Italian Peninsula.

King Louis died without a male successor, and the country was stabilized only after years of anarchy when Sigismund (king: 1387–1437) a prince from the Luxembourg line succeeded to the throne by marrying Louis's daughter, Queen Mary. It was not for entirely selfless reasons that one of the leagues of barons helped him to power: Sigismund had to pay for the support of the lords by transferring a sizeable part of the royal properties. (For some years, the baron's council governed the country in the name of the Holy Crown , the king was impirsoned for a short time ) The restoration of the authority of the central administration took decades of work. In 1404 Sigismund introduced the Placetum Regium. According to this decree, Papal bulls and messages could not be pronounced in Hungary without the consent of the king. Sigismund congregated Council of Constance (1414–1418) to abolish the Papal Schism of Catholic church, which was solved by the election of a new pope. In 1433 he even became Holy Roman Emperor. During his long reign Royal castle of Buda became probably the largest Gothic palace of the late Middle Ages. The first Hungarian Bible translation completed in 1439, but Hungarian Bible was illegal in its age. Hungary was the first non-Italian country, where the renaissance appeared in Europe.

In 1446, the parliament elected the great general János Hunyadi as governor (1446–1453) and then as regent (1453–1456) of the kingdom. Hunyadi was a successful crusader against the Ottoman Turks, one of his greatest victories being the Siege of Belgrade in 1456. Hunyadi defended the city against the onslaught of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. During the siege, Pope Callixtus III ordered the bells of every church to be rung every day at noon, as a call for believers to pray for the defenders of the city. However, in many countries (like England and Spanish kingdoms), news of the victory arrived before the order, and the ringing of the church bells at noon thus transformed into a commemoration of the victory. The Popes didn't withdraw the order, and Catholic (and the older Protestant) churches still ring the noon bell in the Christian world to this day.

The last strong king was the Renaissance king Matthias Corvinus (king from 1458 to 1490). Matthias was the son of John Hunyadi. András Hess set up a printing press in Buda in 1472.

This was the first time in the medieval Hungarian kingdom that a member of the nobility, without dynastic ancestry and relationship, mounted the royal throne. A true Renaissance prince, a successful military leader and administrator, an outstanding linguist, a learned astrologer, and an enlightened patron of the arts and learning. Although Matyas regularly convened the Diet and expanded the lesser nobles' powers in the counties, he exercised absolute rule over Hungary by means of huge secular bureaucracy. Matthias set out to build a great empire, expanding southward and northwest, while he also implemented internal reforms. The serfs, common people considered Matthias a just ruler because he protected them from excessive demands and other abuses by the magnates. Like his father, Matthias desired to strengthen the Kingdom of Hungary to the point where it became the foremost regional power and overlord, strong enough to push back the Ottoman Empire; toward that end he deemed necessary the conquering of large parts of the Holy Roman Empire.In 1479, under the leadership of Pál Kinizsi, the Hungarian army destroyed the Ottoman and Wallachian troops at the Battle of Breadfield. Army of Hungary, almost all times destroyed the enemies when Matthias was the king. His mercenary standing army called the Black Army of Hungary (Hungarian: Fekete Sereg) was an unusually big army in its age, it accomplished a series of victories also capturing parts of Austria, Vienna (1485) and parts of Bohemia. The king died without a legal successor. His library, the Bibliotheca Corviniana, was Europe's greatest collection of historical chronicles, philosophic and scientific works in the 15th century, and second only in size to the Vatican Library which mainly contained religious material. His renaissance library is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

By the 1520's, the Ottoman Empire became the second most populous state in the world.

The magnates, who did not want another heavy-handed king, procured the accession of Vladislaus II, king of Bohemia (Ulászló II in Hungarian), precisely because of his notorious weakness: he was known as King Dobže, or Dobzse (meaning “Good” or, loosely, “OK”), from his habit of accepting with that word every paper laid before him. Under his reign the central power began to experience severe financial difficulties, largely due to the enlargement of feudal lands at his expense.

In 1514, the weakened old King Vladislaus II faced a major peasant rebellion led by György Dózsa, which was ruthlessly crushed by the nobles, led by János Szapolyai. The resulting degradation of order paved the way for Ottoman preeminence. In 1521, the strongest Hungarian fortress in the South, Nándorfehérvár (modern Belgrade) fell to the Turks. The strongest nobles were so busy oppressing the peasants and robbing each other that they failed to heed the agonized calls of the young king against the Turks. In 1526, the Hungarian army was crushed at the Battle of Mohács. The leader of the Hungarian army, Pál Tomori also died in the battle. The early appearance of protestantism further worsened the relations in the anarchical country.

Through the centuries the Kingdom of Hungary kept its old "constitution", which granted special "freedoms" or rights to the nobility and groups like the Saxons or the Jassic people, and to free royal towns such as Buda, Kassa (Košice), Pozsony (Bratislava), Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) and others.

After some 150 years of war in the south of Hungary, Ottoman forces conquered parts of the country, continuing their expansion until 1556. The Ottomans achieved their first decisive victory over the Hungarian army at the Battle of Mohács in 1526.

Subsequent decades were characterised by political chaos. A divided Hungarian nobility elected two kings simultaneously, János Szapolyai (1526-1540, of Hungarian-German origin) and the Austrian Ferdinand of Habsburg (1527-1540). Armed conflicts between the rival monarchs further weakened the country from the internal side. With the conquest of Buda in 1541 by the Turks, Hungary was riven into three parts. The north-west (present-day Slovakia, western Transdanubia and Burgenland, western Croatia and parts of north-eastern present-day Hungary) remained under Habsburg rule; although initially independent, later it became a province of Austrian Empire under the informal name Royal Hungary. The Habsburg Emperors would from then on be crowned also as Kings of Hungary.

The eastern part of the kingdom (Partium and Transylvania) became at first an independent principality, but gradually was brought under Turkish rule as a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. The remaining central area (most of present-day Hungary), including the capital of Buda, became a province of the Ottoman Empire. Much of the land was devastated by recurrent warfare. Most small settlements disappeared. Rural people living in the now Ottoman provinces could survive only in larger settlements known as Khaz towns, which were owned and protected directly by the Sultan. The Turks were indifferent to the sect of Christianity practiced by their Hungarian subjects.

For this reason, a majority of Hungarians living under Ottoman rule became Protestant (largely Calvinist), as Habsburg counter-reformation efforts could not penetrate Ottoman lands. Largely throughout this time, Pozsony (Pressburg, today: Bratislava) acted as the capital (1536-1784), coronation town (1563-1830) and seat of the Diet of Hungary (1536-1848). Nagyszombat (modern Trnava) acted in turn as the religious center, starting from 1541.

In 1558 the Transylvanian Diet of Turda declared free practice of both the Catholic and Lutheran religions, but prohibited Calvinism. Ten years later, in 1568, the Diet extended this freedom, declaring that "It is not allowed to anybody to intimidate anybody with captivity or expelling for his religion". Four religions were declared as accepted (recepta) religions, while Orthodox Christianity was "tolerated" (though the building of stone Orthodox churches was forbidden). Hungary entered the Thirty Years' War, Royal (Habsburg) Hungary joined the catholic side, until Transylvania joined the Protestant side.

In 1686, two years after the unsuccessful siege of Buda, a renewed European campaign was started to enter the Hungarian capital. This time, the Holy League's army was twice a large, containing over 74,000 men, including German, Croat, Dutch, Hungarian, English, Spanish, Czech, Italian, French, Burgundian, Danish and Swedish soldiers, along with other Europeans as volunteers, artilleryman, and officers, the Christian forces reconquered Buda, and in the next few years, all of the former Hungarian lands, except areas near Timişoara (Temesvár), were taken from the Turks. In the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz these territorial changes were officially recognized, and in 1718 the entire Kingdom of Hungary was removed from Ottoman rule.

Concurrently, between 1604 and 1711, there was a series of anti-Austrian, and anti-Habsburg uprisings which took place in the Habsburg state of Royal Hungary (more precisely, in present-day Slovakia), as well as anti-Catholic uprisings, which were to be found across the Hungarian lands. Religious protesters demanded equal rights among Christian groups. The uprisings were usually organized from Transylvania.

There were a series of anti-Habsburg (i.e. anti-Austrian) and anti-Catholic (requiring equal rights and freedom for all Christian religions) uprisings between 1604 and 1711, which – with the exception of the last one – took place in Royal Hungary. The uprisings were usually organized from Transylvania. The last one was an uprising led by 'II. Rákóczi Ferenc', who after the dethronement of the Habsburgs in 1707 at the Diet of Ónód took power as the "Ruling Prince" of Hungary. The Hungarian Kuruc army lost the main battles at Battle of Trencin however there were also success actions, for example when Ádám Balogh almost captured the Austrian Emperor with Kuruc troops. When Austrians defeated the uprising in 1711, Rákóczi was in Poland. He later fled to France, finally Turkey, and lived to the end of his life (1735) in nearby Rodosto. Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny who was son of Miklós Bercsényi immigrated to France and created the first French hussar regiment. Afterwards, to make further armed resistance impossible, the Austrians blew up some castles (most of the castles on the border between the now-reclaimed territories occupied earlier by the Ottomans and Royal Hungary), and allowed peasants to use the stones from most of the others as building material (the végvárs among them). In this century lived one of the most famous Hungarian hussar named Michael de Kovats who created the modern US cavalry in the American Revolutionary War. He has statue now in Charleston.

During the Napoleonic Wars and afterwards, the Hungarian Diet had not convened for decades. In the 1820s, the Emperor was forced to convene the Diet, and thus a Reform Period began. Nevertheless, its progress was slow, because the nobles insisted on retaining their privileges (no taxation, exclusive voting rights, etc.). Therefore the achievements were mostly of national character (e.g. introduction of Hungarian as one of the official languages of the country, instead of the former Latin).

Count István Széchenyi,the most prominent statesmen of the country recognized the urgent need of modernization and their message got through. The Hungarian Parliament was reconvened in 1825 to handle financial needs. A liberal party emerged in the Diet. The party focused on providing for the peasantry in mostly symbolic ways because of their inability to understand the needs of the laborers. Louis Kossuth emerged as leader of the lower gentry in the Parliament. A remarkable upswing started as the nation concentrated its forces on the inevitable modernization, even though the reactionary Habsburgs were obstructing all important liberal reforms.

On March 15, 1848, mass demonstrations in Pest and Buda enabled Hungarian reformists to push through a list of 12 demands. Faced with revolution both at home and in Vienna, Austria first had to accept Hungarian demands. Later, under governor and president Lajos Kossuth and the first Prime minister, Lajos Batthyány, the House of Habsburg was dethroned and the form of government was changed to create the first Republic of Hungary. After the Austrian revolution was suppressed,emperor Franz Joseph replaced his epileptic uncle Ferdinand I as Emperor. The Habsburg Ruler and his advisors skillfully manipulated the Croatian, Serbian and Romanian peasantry, led by priests and officers firmly loyal to the Habsburgs, and induced them to rebel against the Hungarian government. The Hungarians were supported by the vast majority of the Slovak, German and Rusyn nationalities and by all the Jews of the kingdom, as well as by a large number of Polish, Austrian and Italian volunteers. Some members of the nationalities gained coveted positions within the Hungarian Army, like General János Damjanich, an ethnic Serb who became a Hungarian national hero through his command of the 3rd Hungarian Army Corps. Initially, the Hungarian forces (Honvédség) defeated Austrian armies. In July 1849, Hungarian Parliament proclaimed foremost the ethnic and minority rights in the world, but it was too late: To counter the successes of the Hungarian revolutionary army, Franz Joseph asked for help from the "Gendarme of Europe," Czar Nicholas I, whose Russian armies invaded Hungary. The huge army of the Russian Empire and the Austrian forces proved too powerful for the Hungarian army, and General Artúr Görgey surrendered in August 1849. Julius Freiherr von Haynau, the leader of the Austrian army, then became governor of Hungary for a few months and on October 6, ordered the execution of 13 leaders of the Hungarian army as well as Prime Minister Batthyány. Lajos Kossuth escaped into exile.

Following the war of 1848–1849, the whole country was in "passive resistance". Archduke Albrecht von Habsburg was appointed governor of the Kingdom of Hungary, and this time was remembered for Germanization pursued with the help of Czech officers.

Due to external and internal problems, reforms seemed inevitable to secure the integrity of the Habsburg Empire. Major military defeats, like the Battle of Königgrätz (1866), forced the Emperor to concede internal reforms. To appease Hungarian separatism, the Emperor made a deal with Hungary, negotiated by Ferenc Deák, called the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, by which the dual Monarchy of Austria–Hungary came into existence. The two realms were governed separately by two parliaments, with a common monarch and common external and military policies. Economically, the empire was a customs union. The first prime minister of Hungary after the Compromise was Count Gyula Andrássy. The old Hungarian Constitution was restored, and Franz Joseph was crowned as King of Hungary.

The era witnessed an impressive economic development. The formerly backward Hungarian economy became relatively modern and industrialized by the turn of the century, although agriculture remained dominant. In 1873, the old capital Buda and Óbuda(Ancient Buda) were officially merged with the third city, Pest, thus creating the new metropolis of Budapest. The dynamic Pest grew into the country's administrative, political, economic, trade and cultural hub.

Technological change accelerated industrialization and urbanization. The GNP per capita grew roughly 1.45% per year from 1870 to 1913. That level of growth compared very favorably to that of other European nations such as Britain (1.00%), France (1.06%), and Germany (1.51%). The key symbols of industrialization were (at the time) the famous Ganz concern, and Tungsram works. Many of the state institutions and the modern administrative system of Hungary were established during this period.

Due to various reasons like the policy of Magyarization and the migration of millions, the census in 1910 (excluding Croatia), recorded the following distribution of population: Hungarian 54.5%, Romanian 16.1%, Slovak 10.7%, and German 10.4%. The largest religious denomination was the Roman Catholic (49.3%), followed by the Calvinist (14.3%), Greek Orthodox (12.8%) /Romanians Serbians Ruthenians), Greek Catholic (11.0%), Lutheran (7.1%), and Jewish (5.0%) religions. In 1910, 6.37% of the population were eligible to vote in elections due to census.

Austria–Hungary drafted 9 million (fighting forces: 7,8 million) soldiers in World War I (4 million from Kingdom of Hungary).

The prime minister, István Tisza tried to avoid the breaking out and excalating of a war in Europe, but his diplomatic attempts remained unsuccessful.

In the conflict Austria–Hungary was fighting on the side of Germany, Bulgaria and Turkey. The Central Powers conquered Serbia; then, with great difficulty, they were able to stop and repel the attacks of the Russian Empire. Romania proclaimed war. The Central Powers conquered Southern Romania and the Romanian capital Bucharest. On the Italian front, the Austro-Hungarian army could not make significant progress against Italy after January 1918. By that period, the economic situation had deteriorated (strikes in factories were organized by leftist and pacifist movements), and uprisings in the army had become commonplace. French Entente troops landed in Greece. In places of Austria and Hungary where, Austrians and Hungarians were the majority (like Vienna and Budapest), the leftist liberal movements and politicians strengthened and supported the separatism of ethnic minorities. In October 1918, the personal union with Austria was dissolved.

In 1918, as a political result of defeat in World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy collapsed. PM. Tisza was murdered in Budapest by a gang of soldiers during Aster Revolution of October 1918. On October 31, 1918, the success of the Aster Revolution in Budapest brought the leftist liberal count Mihály Károlyi to power as Prime-Minister. Károlyi was a devotee of Entente from the beginning of the war. On November 13, 1918, Charles IV surrendered his powers as King of Hungary; however, he did not abdicate, a technicality that made a return to the throne possible. In 1918, by a notion of Wilson's pacifism, Károlyi ordered the full disarmament of Hungarian Army. Hungary remained without national defense in the darkest hour of its history. Sorrounding countries started to arm. The First Republic was proclaimed in November 16, 1918, with Károlyi being named as president. The Károlyi government pronounced illegal all armed associations and proposals which wanted to defend the integrity of the country.

By February 1919 the government had lost all popular support, having failed on domestic and military fronts. On March 21, after the Entente military representative demanded more and more territorial concessions from Hungary, Károlyi signed all concessions and resigned.

The Communist Party of Hungary, led by Béla Kun, came to power and proclaimed the Hungarian Soviet Republic. The Communists also promised equality and social justice. The Communists – "The Reds" – came to power largely thanks to being the only group with an organized fighting force, and they promised that Hungary would defend its territory without conscription. (possibly with the help of the Soviet Red Army). Hence: the Red Army of Hungary was a little voluntary army (53,000 men). Most soldiers of the Red Army were armed factory workers from Budapest. Initially, Kun's regime achieved some impressive military successes: the Hungarian Red Army, under the lead of the genius strategist, Colonel Aurél Stromfeld, ousted Czech troops from the north and planned to march against the Romanian army in the east. In terms of domestic policy, the Communist government nationalized industrial and commercial enterprises, socialized housing, transport, banking, medicine, cultural institutions, and all landholdings of more than 400,000 square metres. The support of the Communists proved to be short lived. In the aftermath of a coup attempt, the government took a series of actions called the Red Terror, murdering several hundred people(mostly scientists and intellectuals). The Soviet Red Army was never able to aid the new Hungarian republic. Despite the great military successes against Czechoslovakian army, the communists gave back all recaptured lands. That attitude demoralized the voluntary army. The Hungarian Red Army was dissolved before it could successfully complete its campaigns. In the face of domestic backlash and an advancing Romanian force, Béla Kun and most of his comrades fled to Austria, while Budapest was occupied on August 6. Kun and his followers took along numerous art treasures and the gold stocks of the National Bank. All these events, and in particular the final military defeat, led to a deep feeling of dislike among the general population against the Soviet Union (which did not offer military assistance) and the Jews (since many members of Kun's government were Jewish, making it easy to blame the Jews for the government's mistakes).

The new fighting force in Hungary were the Conservative Royalists counter-revolutionaries – the "Whites". These, who had been organizing in Vienna and established a counter-government in Szeged, assumed power, led by István Bethlen, a Transylvanian aristocrat, and Miklós Horthy, the former commander in chief of the Austro-Hungarian Navy. The conservatives determinded the Károlyi government and communists as capital treason. Starting in Western Hungary and spreading throughout the country, a White Terror began by other half-regular and half-militarist detachments (as the police power crashed, there were no serious national regular forces and authorities), and many Communists and other leftists were tortured and executed without trial. Radical Whites launched pogroms against the Jews, displayed as the cause of all territorial losses of Hungary. The leaving Romanian army pillaged the country: livestock, machinery and agricultural products were carried to Romania in hundreds of freight cars. The estimated property damage of their activity was so much that the international peace conference in 1919 did not require Hungary to pay war redemption to Romania. On November 16, with the consent of Romanian forces, Horthy's army marched into Budapest. His government gradually restored security, stopped terror, and set up authorities, but thousands of sympathizers of the Károlyi and Kun regimes were imprisoned. Radical political movements were suppressed. In March, the parliament restored the Hungarian monarchy but postponed electing a king until civil disorder had subsided. Instead, Miklos Horthy was elected Regent and was empowered, among other things, to appoint Hungary's Prime Minister, veto legislation, convene or dissolve the parliament, and command the armed forces.

As prime minister, Bethlen dominated Hungarian politics between 1921 and 1931. He fashioned a political machine by amending the electoral law, providing jobs in the expanding bureaucracy to his supporters, and manipulating elections in rural areas. Bethlen restored order to the country by giving the radical counterrevolutionaries payoffs and government jobs in exchange for ceasing their campaign of terror against Jews and leftists. In 1921, he made a deal with the Social Democrats and trade unions (called Bethlen-Peyer Pact), agreeing, among other things, to legalize their activities and free political prisoners in return for their pledge to refrain from spreading anti-Hungarian propaganda, calling political strikes, and organizing the peasantry. Bethlen brought Hungary into the League of Nations in 1922 and out of international isolation by signing a treaty of friendship with Italy in 1927. The revision of the Treaty of Trianon rose to the top of Hungary's political agenda and the strategy employed by Bethlen consisted by strengthening the economy and building relations with stronger nations. Revision of the treaty had such a broad backing in Hungary that Bethlen used it, at least in part, to deflect criticism of his economic, social, and political policies. The Great Depression induced a drop in the standard of living and the political mood of the country shifted further toward the right. In 1932 Horthy appointed a new prime-minister, Gyula Gömbös, that changed the course of Hungarian policy towards closer cooperation with Germany and started an effort to magyarize the few remaining ethnic minorities in Hungary. Gömbös signed a trade agreement with Germany that drew Hungary's economy out of depression but made Hungary dependent on the German economy for both raw materials and markets. Adolf Hitler appealed to Hungarian desires for territorial revisionism, while extreme right wing organizations, like the Arrow Cross party, increasingly embraced Nazi policies, including those related to Jews. The government passed the First Jewish Law in 1938. The law established a quote system to limit Jewish involvement in the Hungarian economy.

Imrédy's attempts to improve Hungary's diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom initially made him very unpopular with Germany and Italy. In light of Germany's Anschluss with Austria in March, he realized that he could not afford to alienate Germany and Italy for long; in the autumn of 1938 his foreign policy became very much pro-German and pro-Italian. Intent on amassing a base of power in Hungarian right wing politics, Imrédy began to suppress political rivals, so the increasingly influential Arrow Cross Party was harassed, and eventually banned by Imrédy's administration. As Imrédy drifted further to the right, he proposed that the government be reorganized along totalitarian lines and drafted a harsher Second Jewish Law. The Parliament under the new government of Pál Teleki approved the Second Jewish Law in 1939, which greatly restricted Jewish involvement in the economy, culture, and society and, significantly, defined Jews by race instead of religion. This definition altered the status of those who had formerly converted from Judaism to Christianity.

Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy sought to enforce peacefully the claims of Hungarians on territories Hungary lost in 1920 with the signing of the Treaty of Trianon, and the two Vienna Awards returned parts of Czechoslovakia and Transylvania to Hungary.

On 20 November 1940, under pressure from Germany, Pál Teleki affiliated Hungary with the Tripartite Pact. In December 1940, he also signed an ephemeral "Treaty of Eternal Friendship" with Yugoslavia. A few months later, after a Yugoslavian coup threatened the success of the planned German invasion on the Soviets (Operation Barbarossa), Hitler asked Hungarians to support his invasion of Yugoslavia. He promised to return some former Hungarian territory lost after World War I in exchange for cooperation. Unable to prevent Hungary's participation in the war alongside Germany, Teleki committed suicide. The right-wing radical László Bárdossy succeeded him as Prime Minister. Eventually Hungary annexed small parts of present day Slovenia and Serbia.

After war broke out on the Eastern Front many Hungarian officials argued for participation in the war so as not to encourage Hitler into favouring Romania in the event of border revisions in Transylvania. Hungary entered the war and on July 1, 1941, at the direction of the Germans, the Hungarian Karpat Group advanced far into southern Russia. At the Battle of Uman the Gyorshadtest participated in the encirclement the 6th Soviet Army and the 12th Soviet Army. Twenty Soviet divisions were captured or destroyed.

Worried about Hungary's increasing reliance on Germany, Admiral Horthy forced Bárdossy to resign and replaced him with Miklós Kállay, a veteran conservative of Bethlen's government. Kállay continued Bárdossy's policy of supporting Germany against the Red Army while he also began negotiations with the Western Allies.

During the Battle of Stalingrad, the Hungarian Second Army suffered terrible losses. The heavy Soviet breakthrough at the Don River sliced directly through the Hungarian units. Shortly after the fall of Stalingrad in January 1943, the Hungarian Second Army nearly ceased to exist as a functioning military unit.

Secret negotiations with the British and Americans continued. As per the request of the Western Allies, there were no connection made with the Soviets. Aware of Kállay's deceit and fearing that Hungary might conclude a separate peace, Hitler ordered Nazi troops to launch Operation Margarethe and occupy Hungary in March 1944. Döme Sztójay, an avid supporter of the Nazis, become the new Prime Minister with the aid of a Nazi military governor, Edmund Veesenmayer.

The infamous SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann went to Hungary to oversee the large-scale deportations of Jews to German death camps in occupied Poland. Between May 15 and July 9, 1944, Hungarian authorities deported 437,402 Jews to Auschwitz concentration camp.

In August 1944, Horthy replaced Sztójay with the anti-Fascist General Géza Lakatos. Under the Lakatos regime, acting Interior Minister Béla Horváth ordered Hungarian gendarmes to prevent any Hungarian citizens from being deported.

In September 1944, Soviet forces crossed the Hungarian border. On 15 October 1944, Horthy announced that Hungary had signed an armistice with the Soviet Union. The Hungarian army ignored the armistice. The Germans launched Operation Panzerfaust and, by kidnapping his son (Miklós Horthy, Jr.), forced Horthy to abrogate the armistice, depose the Lakatos government, and name the leader of the Arrow Cross Party, Ferenc Szálasi, as Prime Minister. Szálasi became Prime Minister and Horthy abdicated, thus ending the Regency.

In cooperation with the Nazis, Szálasi restarted the deportations of Jews, particularly in Budapest. Thousands more Jews were killed by Arrow Cross members. The retreating German army demolished the rail, road, and communications systems.

On December 28, 1944, a provisional government was formed in Hungary under acting Prime Minister Béla Miklós. Miklós immediately ousted Prime Minister Ferenc Szálasi's government. The Germans and pro-German Hungarians loyal to Szálasi fought on. The Red Army completed the encirclement of Budapest on 29 December 1944 and the Battle of Budapest began and continued into February 1945. Most of what remained of the Hungarian First Army was destroyed about 200 miles north of Budapest between January 1 and February 16, 1945.

On January 20, 1945, representatives of the Hungarian provisional government signed an armistice in Moscow. Officially, Soviet operations in Hungary ended on April 4, 1945 when the last German troops were expelled. On May 7, 1945, General Alfred Jodl, the German Chief of Staff, signed the unconditional surrender of all German forces.

Hungary's World War II casualties: Tamás Stark of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences has provided the following assessment of losses from 1941-45 in Hungary. Military losses were 300,000-310,000 including 110-120,000 killed in battle and 200,000 missing in action and POW in the Soviet Union. Hungarian military losses include 110,000 men who were conscripted from the annexed territories of Greater Hungary in Slovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia and the deaths of 20-25,000 Jews conscripted for Army labor units. Civilian losses of about 80,000 include 45,500 killed in the 1944-45 military campaign and in air attacks, and the genocide of Romani people of 28,000 persons. Jewish Holocaust victims totaled 200,000. See World War II casualties.

The Soviet Army occupied Hungary from September 1944 until April 1945. The siege of Budapest lasted almost 2 months, from December 1944 to February 1945 (the longest siege of any city in the entire war, including Berlin) and the city suffered widespread destruction, including all the Danube bridges which were blown up by the Germans in an effort to slow the Soviet advance.

By signing the Peace Treaty of Paris, Hungary again lost all the territories that it gained between 1938 and 1941. Neither the Western Allies nor the Soviet Union supported any change in Hungary's pre-1938 borders, which was the primary motive behind the Hungarian involvement in the war. The Soviet Union itself annexed Sub-Carpathia (before 1938 the eastern edge of Czechoslovakia), which is today part of Ukraine.

The Treaty of Peace with Hungary signed on 10 February 1947 declared that "The decisions of the Vienna Award of 2 November 1938 are declared null and void" and Hungarian boundaries were fixed along the former frontiers as they existed on 1 January 1938, except a minor loss of territory on the Czechoslovakian border. The first major violation of civil rights was suffered by the ethnic German minority, half of which (240,000 people) were deported to Germany in 1946-48, although the great majority of them did not support Germany and were not members of any pro-Nazi movement. There was a forced "exchange of population" between Hungary and Czechoslovakia, which involved about 70,000 Hungarians living in Slovakia and somewhat smaller numbers of ethnic Slovaks living in the territory of Hungary. Unlike the Germans, these people were allowed to carry some of their property with them.

The Soviets originally planned for a piecemeal introduction of the Communist regime in Hungary, therefore when they set up a provisional government in Debrecen on December 21, 1944, they were careful to include representatives of several moderate parties. Following the demands of the Western Allies for a democratic election, the Soviets authorized the only essentially free election in Eastern Europe in November 1945 in Hungary. This was also the first election held in Hungary on the basis of universal franchise. People voted for party lists, not for individual candidates. At the elections the Independent Smallholders' Party, a center-right peasant party, won 57% of the vote. Despite the hopes of the Communists and the Soviets that the distribution of the aristocratic estates among the poor peasants would increase their popularity, the Hungarian Communist Party received only 17% of the votes. The Soviet commander in Hungary, Marshal Voroshilov, refused to allow the Smallholders' Party to form a government on their own. Under Voroshilov's pressure, the Smallholders organized a coalition government including the Communists, the Social Democrats and the National Peasant Party (a left-wing peasant party), in which the Communists held some of the key posts. On February 1, 1946, Hungary was declared a Republic, and the leader of the Smallholders, Zoltán Tildy, became President giving over his office of Prime Minister to Ferenc Nagy. Mátyás Rákosi, leader of the Communist Party, became deputy prime minister.

At the next parliamentary election in August 1947, the Communists committed widespread election fraud with absentee ballots (the so-called "blue slips"), but even so, they managed to increase their share from 17% only to 24% in Parliament. The Social Democrats (by this time a servile ally of the Communists) received 15% in contrast to their 17% in 1945. The Smallholders' Party lost much of its popularity and ended up with 15%, but their former voters turned towards three new center-right parties which seemed more determined to resist the Communist onslaught: their combined share of the total votes was 35%.

Faced with their second failure at the polls, the Communists changed tactics, and, under new orders from Moscow, decided to eschew democratic facades and speed up the Communist takeover. In June 1948, the Social Democratic Party was forced to "merge" with the Communist Party, creating the Hungarian Working People's Party, which was dominated by the Communists. Anti-Communist leaders of the Social Democrats, such as Károly Peyer or Anna Kéthly, were forced into exile or excluded from the party. Soon after, President Zoltán Tildy was also removed from his position, and replaced by a fully cooperative Social Democrat, Árpád Szakasits. Ultimately, all "democratic" parties were organized into a so-called People's Front in February 1949, thereby losing even the vestiges of their autonomy. The leader of the People's Front was Rákosi himself. Opposition parties were simply declared illegal and their leaders arrested or forced into exile.

On 18 August 1949, the Parliament passed the new constitution of Hungary (1949/XX.) modelled after the 1936 constitution of the Soviet Union. The name of the country changed to People's Republic of Hungary, "the country of the workers and peasants" where "every authority is held by the working people". Socialism was declared as the main goal of the nation. A new coat-of-arms were adopted with Communist symbols like the red star, hammer and sickle.

Mátyás Rákosi, who as chief secretary of the Hungarian Working People's Party was de facto the leader of Hungary, possessed practically unlimited power and demanded complete obedience from fellow members of the Party, including his two most trusted colleagues, Ernő Gerő and Mihály Farkas. All three of them returned to Hungary from Moscow, where they spent long years and had close ties to high-ranking Soviet leaders there. Their main rivals in the party were the 'Hungarian' Communists who led the illegal party during the war in Hungary, and were considerably more popular within party ranks. Their most influential leader, László Rajk, who was minister of foreign affairs at the time, was arrested in May 1949. He was accused of rather surreal crimes, such as spying for Western imperialist powers and for Yugoslavia (which was also a Communist country but in very bad relations with the Soviet Union at the time). At his trial in September 1949 he made a forced confession to be an agent of Miklós Horthy, Leon Trotsky, Josip Broz Tito and Western imperialism. He also admitted that he had taken part in a murder plot against Mátyás Rákosi and Ernő Gerő. Rajk was found guilty and executed. In the next three years, other leaders of the party deemed untrustworthy, like former Social Democrats or other Hungarian illegal Communists such as János Kádár, were also arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges.

The showcase trial of Rajk is considered the beginning of the worst period of the Rákosi dictatorship. Mátyás Rákosi now attempted to impose totalitarian rule on Hungary. The centrally orchestrated personality cult focused on him and Stalin soon reached unprecedented proportions. Rákosi's images and busts were everywhere, all public speakers were required to glorify his wisdom and leadership. In the meantime, the secret police, led through Gábor Péter by Rákosi himself, mercilessly persecuted all 'class enemies' and 'enemies of the people'. An estimated 2,000 people were executed and over 100,000 were imprisoned. Some 44,000 ended up in forced-labour camps, where many died due to horrible work conditions, poor food and practically no medical care. Another 15,000 people, mostly former aristocrats, industrialists, military generals and other upper-class people were deported from the capital and other cities to countryside villages where they were forced to do hard agricultural labour. These policies were opposed by some members of the Hungarian Working People's Party and around 200,000 were expelled by Rákosi from the organization.

By 1950, the state controlled most of the economy, as all large and mid-sized industrial companies, plants, mines, banks of all kind as well as all companies of retail and foreign trade were nationalized without any compensation. Slavishly following Soviet economic policies, Rákosi declared that Hungary would become a "country of iron and steel", even though Hungary lacked iron ore completely. The forced development of heavy industry served military purposes; it was meant to be preparation for the impending World War III against Western imperialism. A disproportionate amount of the country's resources were spent on building whole industrial cities and plants from scratch, while much of the country was still in ruins since the war. Traditional strengths of Hungary, such as the food and textile industries were neglected.

Large agricultural latifundia were divided and distributed among poor peasants already in 1945. In agriculture, the government tried to force independent peasants to enter co-operatives in which they would become merely paid labourers, but many of them stubbornly resisted. The government retaliated with ever higher requirements of compulsory food quotas imposed on peasants' produce. Rich peasants, called 'kulaks' in Russians, were declared 'class enemies' and suffered all sorts of discrimination, including imprisonment and loss of property. With them, some of the most able farmers were removed from production. The declining agricultural output led to a constant scarcity of food, especially meat.

Rákosi rapidly expanded the education system in Hungary. This was an attempt to replace the educated class of the past by what Rákosi called a new "working intelligentsia". In addition to effects such as better education for the poor, more opportunities for working class children and increased literacy in general, this measure also included the dissemination of communist ideology in schools and universities. Also, as part of an effort to separate the Church from the State, practically all religious schools were taken into state ownership, and religious instruction was denounced as retrograde propaganda and was gradually eliminated from schools.

The Hungarian churches were systematically intimidated. Cardinal József Mindszenty, who had bravely opposed the German Nazis and the Hungarian Fascists during the Second World War, was arrested in December, 1948, and accused of treason. After five weeks under arrest (which included torture), he confessed to the charges against him and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Protestant churches were also purged and their leaders were replaced by those willing to remain loyal to Rákosi's government.

The new Hungarian military hastily staged public, pre-arranged trials to purge "Nazi remnants and imperialist saboteurs". Several officers were sentenced to death and executed in 1951, including Lajos Toth, a 28 victory-scoring fighter ace of World War II Royal Hungarian Air Force, who had voluntarily returned from US captivity to help revive Hungarian aviation. The victims were cleared posthumously following the fall of communism.

Preparations for a show trial started in Budapest in 1953 to prove that Raoul Wallenberg had not been dragged off in 1945 to the Soviet Union but was the victim of cosmopolitan Zionists. For the purposes of this show trial, three Jewish leaders as well as two would-be "eyewitnesses" were arrested and interrogated by torture. The show trial was initiated in Moscow, following Stalin-s anti-Zionist campaign. After the death of Stalin and Lavrentiy Beria, the preparations for the trial were stopped and the arrested persons were released.

Rákosi had great difficulties managing the economy and the people of Hungary saw living standards fall. Although his government became increasingly unpopular, he had a firm grip on power until Joseph Stalin died on March 5, 1953, when a confused power struggle began in Moscow. Some of the Soviet leaders perceived the unpopularity of the Hungarian regime and ordered Rákosi to give up his position as prime minister in favour of another former Communist-in-exile in Moscow, Imre Nagy, who was Rákosi's chief opponent in the party. Rákosi, however, retained his position as general secretary of the Hungarian Working People's Party and over the next three years the two men became involved in a bitter struggle for power.

As Hungary's new prime minister, Imre Nagy slightly relaxed state control over the economy and the mass media and encouraged public discussion on political and economic reform. In order to improve the general supply, he increase the production and distribution of consumer goods and reduced the tax and quota burdens of the peasants. Nagy also closed forced-labour camps, released most of the political prisoners - the Communists were allowed back into Party ranks -, and reined in the secret police, whose hated head, Gábor Péter, was convicted and imprisoned in 1954. All these rather moderate reforms earned him widespread popularity in the country, especially among the peasantry and the left-wing intellectuals.

Following a turn in Moscow, where Malenkov, Nagy's primary patron lost the power struggle against Khrushchev, Mátyás Rákosi started a counterattack on Nagy. On 9 March 1955, the Central Committee of the Hungarian Working People's Party condemned Nagy for "rightist deviation". Hungarian newspapers joined the attacks and Nagy was accused of being responsible for the country's economic problems and on 18 April he was dismissed from his post by a unanimous vote of the National Assembly. Soon after, Nagy was even excluded from the Party and temporarily retired from politics. Rákosi once again became the unchallenged leader of Hungary.

Rákosi's second reign, however, did not last long. His power was undermined by a speech made by Nikita Khrushchev in February 1956, in which he denounced the policies of Joseph Stalin and his followers in Eastern Europe, especially the attacks on Yugoslavia and the cult of personality. On 18 July 1956, visiting Soviet leaders removed Rákosi from all his positions and he boarded a plane bound for the Soviet Union, never to return to Hungary. But the Soviets made a major mistake by the appointment of his close friend and ally, Ernő Gerő, as his successor, who was equally unpopular and shared responsibility for most of Rákosi's crimes.

The fall of Rákosi was followed by a flurry of reform agitation both inside and outside the Party. László Rajk and his fellow victims of the showcase trial of 1949 were cleared of all charges, and on 6 October 1956, the Party authorized a reburial, which was attended by tens of thousands of people and became a silent demonstration against the crimes of the regime. On 13 October it was announced that Imre Nagy had been reinstated as a member of the party.

On October 23 1956, a peaceful student demonstration in Budapest produced a list of 16 demands for reform and greater political freedom. As the students attempted to broadcast these demands, police made some arrests and tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas. When the students attempted to free those arrested, the police opened fire on the crowd, setting off a chain of events which led to the Hungarian Revolution.

That night, commissioned officers and soldiers joined the students on the streets of Budapest. Stalin's statue was brought down and the protesters chanted "Russians go home", "Away with Gerő" and "Long Live Nagy". The Central Committee of the Hungarian Working People's Party responded to these developments by requesting Soviet military intervention and deciding that Imre Nagy should become head of a new government. Soviet tanks entered Budapest at 2 a.m. on 24 October.

On October 25 Soviet tanks opened fire on protesters in Parliament Square. One journalist at the scene saw 12 dead bodies and estimated that 170 had been wounded. Shocked by these events the Central Committee of the Hungarian Working People's Party forced Ernő Gerő to resign from office and replaced him with János Kádár.

On October 28, Nagy and a group of his supporters, including János Kádár, Géza Losonczy, Antal Apró, Károly Kiss, Ferenc Münnich and Zoltán Szabó, managed to take control of the Hungarian Working People's Party. At the same time revolutionary workers' councils and local national committees were formed all over Hungary.

The change of leadership in the party was reflected in the articles of the government newspaper, Szabad Nép (i.e. Free People). On 29 October the newspaper welcomed the new government and openly criticised Soviet attempts to influence the political situation in Hungary. This view was supported by Radio Miskolc that called for the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country.

On October 30, Imre Nagy announced that he was freeing Cardinal József Mindszenty and other political prisoners. He also informed the people that his government intends to abolish the one-party state. This was followed by statements of Zoltán Tildy, Anna Kéthly and Ferenc Farkas concerning the restitution of the Smallholders Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Petőfi (former Peasants) Party.

Nagy's most controversial decision took place on 1 November when he announced that Hungary intended to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact as well as proclaiming Hungarian neutrality he asked the United Nations to become involved in the country's dispute with the Soviet Union.

On 3 November, Nagy announced details of his coalition government. It included communists (János Kádár, Georg Lukács, Géza Losonczy), three members of the Smallholders Party (Zoltán Tildy, Béla Kovács and István Szabó), three Social Democrats (Anna Kéthly, Gyula Keleman, Joseph Fischer), and two Petőfi Peasants (István Bibó and Ferenc Farkas). Pál Maléter was appointed minister of defence.

Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union, became increasingly concerned about these developments and on November 4 1956 he sent the Red Army into Hungary. Soviet tanks immediately captured Hungary's airfields, highway junctions and bridges. Fighting took place all over the country but the Hungarian forces were quickly defeated.

During the Hungarian Uprising an estimated 20,000 people were killed, nearly all during the Soviet intervention. Imre Nagy was arrested and replaced by the Soviet loyalist, János Kádár. Nagy was imprisoned until being executed in 1958. Other government ministers or supporters who were either executed or died in captivity included Pál Maléter, Géza Losonczy, Attila Szigethy and Miklós Gimes.

Hungary's transition to a Western-style democracy was one of the smoothest among the former Soviet bloc. By late 1988, activists within the party and bureaucracy and Budapest-based intellectuals were increasing pressure for change. Some of these became reform socialists, while others began movements which were to develop into parties. Young liberals formed the Federation of Young Democrats (Fidesz); a core from the so-called Democratic Opposition formed the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), and the national opposition established the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF). Civic activism intensified to a level not seen since the 1956 revolution.

In 1988, Kádár was replaced as General Secretary of the Communist Party, and reform communist leader Imre Pozsgay was admitted to the Politburo. In 1989, the Parliament adopted a "democracy package," which included trade-union pluralism; freedom of association, assembly, and the press; a new electoral law; and in October 1989 a radical revision of the constitution, among others. Since then, Hungary has tried to reform its economy and increase its connections with western Europe, hoping to become a member of the European Union as soon as possible. A Central Committee plenum in February 1989 endorsed in principle the multiparty political system and the characterization of the October 1956 revolution as a "popular uprising," in the words of Pozsgay, whose reform movement had been gathering strength as Communist Party membership declined dramatically. Kádár's major political rivals then cooperated to move the country gradually to democracy. The Soviet Union reduced its involvement by signing an agreement in April 1989 to withdraw Soviet forces by June 1991.

National unity culminated in June 1989 as the country reburied Imre Nagy, his associates, and, symbolically, all other victims of the 1956 revolution. A national round table, comprising representatives of the new parties and some recreated old parties -- such as the Smallholders and Social Democrats -- the Communist Party, and different social groups, met in the late summer of 1989 to discuss major changes to the Hungarian constitution in preparation for free elections and the transition to a fully free and democratic political system.

In October 1989, the communist party convened its last congress and re-established itself as the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP). In a historic session on October 16 - October 20, 1989, the Parliament adopted legislation providing for multiparty parliamentary elections and a direct presidential election. The legislation transformed Hungary from a People's Republic into the Republic of Hungary, guaranteed human and civil rights, and created an institutional structure that ensures separation of powers among the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of government. On the day of the 1956 Revolution, October 23, the Hungarian Republic was officially declared (by the provisional President of the Republic Mátyás Szűrös), replacing the Hungarian People's Republic. The revised constitution also championed the "values of bourgeois democracy and democratic socialism" and gave equal status to public and private property.

The first free parliamentary election, held in May 1990, was a plebiscite of sorts on the communist past. The revitalized and reformed communists performed poorly despite having more than the usual advantages of an "incumbent" party. Populist, center-right, and liberal parties fared best, with the Democratic Forum (MDF) winning 43% of the vote and the Free Democrats (SZDSZ) capturing 24%. Under Prime Minister József Antall, the MDF formed a center-right coalition government with the Independent Smallholders' Party (FKGP) and the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) to command a 60% majority in the parliament. Parliamentary opposition parties included SZDSZ, the Socialists (MSZP), and the Alliance of Young Democrats (Fidesz). Péter Boross succeeded as Prime Minister after Antall died in December 1993. The Antall/Boross coalition governments achieved a reasonably well-functioning parliamentary democracy and laid the foundation for a free-market economy, and the massive worsening of living standards because of the free-market reforms led to a massive loss of support.

In May 1994, the socialists came back to win a plurality of votes and 54% of the seats after an election campaign focused largely on economic issues and the substantial decline in living standards since 1990. A heavy turnout of voters swept away the right-of-center coalition but soundly rejected extremists on both right and left. After its disappointing result in the election, Fidesz changed its political position from liberal to conservative. In 1995, it added "Hungarian Civic Party" (Magyar Polgári Párt) to its shortened name. The conservative turn caused a severe split in the membership. Péter Molnár left the party, as well as Gábor Fodor and Klára Ungár, who joined the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats. The MSZP, whose politics was as much determined by the socialism of PM Gyula Horn and a large part of the base, as by the economic focus of its technocrats (educated with a Western orientation in seventies-eighties) and ex-cadre entrepreneur supporters, and its liberal coalition partner SzDSz continued economic reforms and privatization, adopting a painful policy of fiscal austerity (the "Bokros plan") in 1995. The government pursued a foreign policy of integration with Euro-Atlantic institutions and reconciliation with neighboring countries. But neither an invitation to join NATO nor improving economic indicators guaranteed the governing parties' re-election; dissatisfaction with the pace and style of economic recovery, rising crime, the attempt to re-start the unpopular program of building a dam in the Danube, and cases of government corruption convinced voters to propel center-right parties into power following national elections in May 1998.

Fidesz captured a plurality of parliamentary seats and forged a coalition with the Smallholders and the Democratic Forum. The new government, headed by 35-year-old Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, promised to stimulate faster growth, curb inflation, and lower taxes. Although the Orbán administration also pledged continuity in foreign policy, and continued to pursue Euro-Atlantic integration as its first priority, it was a more vocal advocate of minority rights for ethnic Hungarians abroad than the previous government. In 2002 it was decided that Hungary, together with 9 other countries was to join the European Union on 1 January 2004.

However, Fidesz lost the next election in April 2002, in which the MSZP and its liberal ally SzDSz 51% won over Fidesz and its ally MDF 48% in a fierce fight that showed a loss of trust in Fidesz due to supposed professed corruption problems, a style seen as arrogant by parts of the population, and lack of communication between the government and the other parties and some strategically bad connections to extreme right-wing parties during the election campaign, while also showing the doubt and memories of already mentioned problems with the socialist party's last government.

On April 12, 2003 Hungary voted for joining the European Union, where 83% of the votes said "Yes" to EU (45% of the population voted). Since the EU already accepted Hungary as a possible member, the 4 leading political parties (MSZP, Fidesz, SZDSZ and MDF) agreed to establish the required prerequisites and policies and to work together to prepare the country for the accession with the least possible harm to the economy and people while maximising the positive effects on the country. On May 1, 2004, Hungary became a member of the EU.

In the elections of April 2006, Hungary decided to keep its government in place for the first time in the history of the Third Hungarian Republic. The left-wing strengthened its positions, with the coalition of the Social Democrats (MSZP) and the Liberals (SZDSZ) reaching 54 percent of the votes, gaining 210 seats as opposed to the previous 198. Surprise elements were the rise in votes for the smaller parties SZDSZ and MDF, and the largest conservative party Fidesz (joining forces with one of the Christian Democrat parties for the elections) winning a considerably lower number, 164 of the altogether 386 seats, while most polls showed a head-to-head competition and an almost equal amount of seats won by the two large parties. Many analysts have pointed to Fidesz's largely negative political campaign, its conflicts with MDF (which refused to ally with Fidesz because, among others, of differences in basic principles and a number of alleged blackmail incidents ), as well as the content of public speeches of some of its candidates (such as deputy prime minister nominee István Mikola referring to young Hungarians participating in Budapest Parade as "hordes made up of single people" ) as probable causes of the party's loss of voters especially in the second round where, according to the Tárki institute, Fidesz lost as much as ten percent of its voters. The new Parliament assembled in late May 2006, and the new government was formed in June 2006. Under the socialist-liberal government (since 2002) all index of the Hungaran economy started to downfall. There were mass protests against social-liberal Gyurcsány government between 17 September and 23 October 2006. It was the first sustained protest in Hungary since 1989.

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History of the Jews in Hungary

A medal minted during the reign of Josef II, commemorating his grant of religious liberty to Jews and Protestants.

History of the Jews in Hungary concerns the Jews of Hungary and of Hungarian origins. Jews have been a present community in Hungary since at least the 11th Century (with earlier references to Jews in Hungary existing), struggling against discrimination throughout the Middle Ages. The community grew to be 5% of Hungary's population by the early 20th Century and were prominent in areas of science, art and business.

Under communist rule, discrimination against the small remaining Jews still in Hungary continued as Zionism was banned and the number of Jews shrank to even smaller levels.

Today between 50,000 and 100,000 Jews live in Hungary, mostly in Budapest. The inter-marriage rates for Jews is around 60%. There are many active synagogues in Hungary including the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world, after the Temple Emanu-El in New York City.

It is not definitely known when Jews first settled in Hungary. According to apocryphal legend, King Decebalus of Dacia permitted the Jews who aided him in his war against Rome to settle in his territory. A Latin inscription, the epitaph of Septima Maria, discovered within the territory of the ancient province of Pannonia, clearly refers to Jewish matters. But, although it may be unhesitatingly assumed that Jews came to Hungary while the Roman emperors held sway in that country, there is nothing to indicate that at that time they had settled there permanently. In the Hungarian language, the word Jew is zsidó, a term which the Hungarians adopted from the Slavs.

The first historical document relating to the Jews of Hungary is the letter written about 960 to King Joseph of the Khazars by Hasdai ibn Shaprut, the Jewish statesman of Córdoba, in which he says that the Slavic ambassadors promised to deliver the message to the King of Slavonia, who would hand the same to Jews living in "the country of Hungarin," who, in turn, would transmit it farther. About the same time Ibrahim ibn Jacob says that Jews went from Hungary to Prague for business purposes. Dr. Samuel Kohn suggests that Jewish Khazars may have been among the Hungarian troops that under Árpád conquered the country in the second half of the ninth century. Nothing is known concerning the Jews during the period of the Vajdas, except that they lived in the country and engaged in commerce there.

Two hundred years later, in the reign of St. Ladislaus (1077-1095), the Synod of Szabolcs decreed (May 20, 1092) that Jews should not be permitted to have Christian wives or to keep Christian slaves. This decree had been promulgated in the Christian countries of Europe since the fifth century, and St. Ladislaus merely introduced it into Hungary.

The Jews of Hungary formed at first small settlements, and had no learned rabbis; but they were strictly observant of all the Jewish religious laws and customs. Jews from Ratisbon (Regensburg) once came into Hungary with merchandise from Russia, and the wheel of their wagon broke on a Friday, near Buda (Ofen) or Esztergom (Gran). By the time they had repaired it and had entered the town, the Jews were just leaving the synagogue; and the unintentional Sabbath-breakers were heavily fined. The ritual of the Hungarian Jews faithfully reflected their German origin.

King Coloman (1095-1116), the successor of St. Ladislaus, renewed the Szabolcs decree of 1092, adding further prohibitions against the employment of Christian slaves and domestics. He also restricted the Jews to cities with episcopal sees - probably to have them under the continuous supervision of the Church. Soon after the promulgation of this decree, Crusaders came to Hungary; but the Hungarians did not sympathize with them, and Coloman even opposed them. The infuriated Crusaders attacked some cities, and if Gedaliah ibn Yaḥya is to be believed, the Jews suffered a fate similar to that of their coreligionists in France, Germany, and Bohemia.

The cruelties inflicted upon the Jews of Bohemia induced many of them to seek refuge in Hungary. It was probably the immigration of the rich Bohemian Jews that induced Coloman soon afterward to regulate commercial and banking transactions between Jews and Christians. He decreed, among other regulations, that if a Christian borrowed from a Jew, or a Jew from a Christian, both Christian and Jewish witnesses must be present at the transaction.

During the reign of King Andrew II (1205-1235) there were Jewish Chamberlains and mint-, salt-, and tax-officials. The nobles of the country, however, induced the king, in his Golden Bull (1222), to deprive the Jews of these high offices. When Andrew needed money in 1226, he farmed the royal revenues to Jews, which gave ground for much complaint. The pope (Pope Honorius III) thereupon excommunicated him, until, in 1233, he promised the papal ambassadors on oath that he would enforce the decrees of the Golden Bull directed against the Jews and the Saracens (by this time, the papacy had changed, and the Pope was now Pope Gregory IX; would cause both peoples to be distinguished from Christians by means of badges; and would forbid both Jews and Saracens to buy or to keep Christian slaves.

The year 1240 was the closing one of the fifth millennium of the Jewish era. At that time the Jews were expecting the advent of their Messiah. The Mongol invasion in 1241 seemed to conform to expectation, as Jewish imagination expected the happy Messianic period to be ushered in by the war of Gog and Magog. Béla IV (1235-1270) appointed a Jew, Henul by name, court chamberlain (the Jew Teka had filled this office under Andrew II); and Wölfel and his sons Altmann and Nickel held the castle at Komárom with its domains in pawn. Béla also entrusted the Jews with the mint; and Hebrew coins of this period are still found in Hungary. In 1251 a privilegium was granted by Béla to his Jewish subjects which was essentially the same as that granted by Duke Frederick II the Quarrelsome to the Austrian Jews in 1244, but which Béla modified to suit the conditions of Hungary. This privilegium remained in force down to the Battle of Mohács (1526).

At the Synod of Buda (1279), held in the reign of King Ladislaus IV (1272-1290), it was decreed, in the presence of the papal ambassador, that every Jew appearing in public should wear on the left side of his upper garment a piece of red cloth; that any Christian transacting business with a Jew not so marked, or living in a house or on land together with any Jew, should be refused admittance to the Church services; and that a Christian entrusting any office to a Jew should be excommunicated. Andrew III (1291-1301), the last king of the Árpád dynasty, declared, in the privilegium granted by him to the community of Posonium (Bratislava), that the Jews in that city should enjoy all the liberties of citizens.

Under the foreign kings who occupied the throne of Hungary on the extinction of the house of Arpad, the Hungarian Jews suffered many persecutions; and at the time of the Black Death (1349) they were expelled from the country. Although the Jews were immediately readmitted, they were again persecuted, and were once more expelled in 1360 by King Louis the Great of Anjou (1342-1382) on the failure of his attempt to convert them to Catholicism. They were graciously received by Alexander the Good of Moldavia and Dano I of Wallachia, the latter affording them special commercial privileges.

When, some years later, Hungary was in financial distress, the Jews were recalled. They found that during their absence the king had introduced the custom of Tödtbriefe, i.e., canceling by a stroke of his pen, on the request of a subject or a city, the notes and mortgage-deeds of the Jews. An important office created by Louis was that of "judge of all the Jews living in Hungary," this official being chosen from among the dignitaries of the country, the palatines, and treasurers, and having a deputy to aid him. It was his duty to collect the taxes of the Jews, to protect their privileges, and to listen to their complaints, which last-named had become more frequent since the reign of Sigismund Luxembourg (1387-1437).

The successors of Sigismund: Albert (1437-1439), Ladislaus Posthumus (1453-1457), and Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490)—-likewise confirmed the privilegium of Béla IV. Matthias created the office of Jewish prefect in Hungary. The period following the death of Matthias was a sad one for the Hungarian Jews. He was hardly buried, when the people fell upon them, confiscated their property, refused to pay debts owing to them, and persecuted them generally. The pretender John Corvinus, Matthias' illegitimate son, expelled them from Tata, and King Ladislaus II (1490-1516), always in need of money, laid heavy taxes upon them. During his reign, Jews were for the first time burned at the stake, many being executed at Nagyszombat (Trnava) in 1494, on suspicion of ritual murder.

The Hungarian Jews finally applied to the German Emperor Maximilian for protection. On the occasion of the marriage of Louis II and the archduchess Maria (1512), the emperor, with the consent of Ladislaus, took the prefect, Jacob Mendel, together with his family and all the other Hungarian Jews, under his protection, according to them all the rights enjoyed by his other subjects. Under Ladislaus' successor, Louis II (1516-1526), persecution of the Jews was a common occurrence. The bitter feeling against them was in part augmented by the fact that the baptized Emerich Szerencsés, the deputy treasurer, embezzled the public funds, following the example of the nobles who despoiled the treasury under the weak Louis.

The Turks vanquished the Hungarians at the Battle of Mohács (August 29, 1526), on which occasion Louis II was slain. When the news of his death reached the capital, Buda, the court and the nobles fled together with some rich Jews, among them the prefect. Although the Turkish Army turned back after the battle, in 1541 it again invaded Hungary to help repel an Austrian attempt to take Buda. By the time the Turkish Army arrived, the Austrians were defeated, but the Turks seized Buda. When the grand vizier, Ibrahim Pasha, preceding Sultan Suleiman I, arrived with his army at Buda, the representatives of the Jews who had remained in the city appeared garbed in mourning before him, and, begging for grace, handed him the keys of the deserted and unprotected castle in token of submission. The sultan himself entered Buda on September 11; and on September 22 he decreed that all the Jews seized at Buda, Esztergom, and elsewhere, more than 2,000 in number, should be distributed among the cities of the Turkish empire.

While some of the Jews of Hungary were deported to Turkey, others, who had fled at the approach of the sultan, sought refuge beyond the frontier or in the free royal towns of western Hungary. The widow of Louis II, the queen regent Maria, favored the enemies of the Jews. The citizens of Sopron (Ödenburg) began hostilities by expelling the Jews of that city, confiscating their property, and pillaging the vacated houses and the synagogue. The city of Pressburg (Bratislava) also received permission from the queen (October 9, 1526) to expel the Jews living within its territory, because they had expressed their intention of fleeing before the Turks. The Jews left Pressburg on November 9.

On that same day the diet at Székesfehérvár was opened, at which János Szapolyai (1526-1540) was elected and crowned king in opposition to Ferdinand. During this session it was decreed that the Jews should immediately be expelled from every part of the country. Zápolya, however, did not ratify these laws; and the Diet held at Pressburg in December 1526, at which Ferdinand of Habsburg was chosen king (1526-1564), annulled all the decrees of that of Székesfehérvár, including Zápolya's election as king.

As the lord of Bösing (Pezinok) was in debt to the Jews, a blood accusation was brought against these inconvenient creditors in 1529. Although Mendel, the prefect, and the Jews throughout Hungary protested, the accused were burned at the stake. For centuries afterward Jews were forbidden to live at Bösing. The Jews of Nagyszombat (Trnava) soon shared a similar fate, being first punished for alleged ritual murder and then expelled from the city (February 19, 1539).

In 1541, on the anniversary of the battle of Mohács, Sultan Suleiman I again took Buda by a ruse. This event marks the beginning of Turkish rule in many parts of Hungary, which lasted down to the end of the 17th century. The Jews living in these parts were treated far better than those living under the Habsburgs. During this period, beginning with the second half of the sixteenth century, the community of Ofen (Buda) flourished more than at any time before or after. While the Turks held sway in Hungary, the Jews of Transylvania (at that time an independent principality) also fared well. At the instance of Abraham Sassa, a Jewish physician of Constantinople, Prince Gabriel Bethlen of Transylvania granted a letter of privileges (June 18, 1623) to the Spanish Jews from Turkey.

On November 26, 1572, King Maximilian II (1563-1576) intended to expel the Jews of Pressburg (Bratislava), stating that his edict would be recalled only in case they accepted Christianity. The Jews, however, remained in the city, without abandoning their religion. They were in constant conflict with the citizens. On June 1, 1582 the municipal council decreed that no one should harbor Jews, or even transact business with them. The feeling against the Jews in that part of the country not under Turkish rule is shown by the decree of the Diet of 1578, to the effect that Jews were to be taxed double the amount which was imposed upon other citizens.

By article XV of the law promulgated by the Diet of 1630, Jews were forbidden to take charge of the customs; and this decree was confirmed by the Diet of 1646 on the ground that the Jews were excluded from the privileges of the country, that they were unbelievers, and had no conscience (veluti jurium regni incapaces, infideles, et nulla conscientia praediti). The Jews had to pay a special war-tax when the imperial troops set out toward the end of the sixteenth century to recapture Buda from the Turks. The Buda community suffered much during this siege, as did also that of Székesfehérvár when the imperial troops took that city in September 1601; many of its members were either slain or taken prisoner and sold into slavery, their redemption being subsequently effected by the German, Italian, and Turkish Jews. After the conclusion of peace, which the Jews helped to bring about, the communities were in part reconstructed; but further development in the territory of the Habsburgs was arrested when Leopold I (1657-1705) expelled the Jews (April 24, 1671). He, however, revoked his decree a few months later (August 20). During the siege of Vienna, in 1683, the Jews that had returned to that city were again maltreated. The Turks plundered some communities in western Hungary, and deported the members as slaves.

The imperial troops recaptured Buda on September 2, 1686, most Jewish residents were massacred, some captured and later released for ransom. In the following years the whole of Hungary now came under the rule of the House of Habsburg. As the devastated country had to be repopulated, Bishop Count Leopold Kollonitsch, subsequently Archbishop of Esztergom and Primate of Hungary, advised the king to give the preference to the German Catholics in order that the country might in time become German and Catholic. He held that the Jews could not be exterminated at once, but they must be weeded out by degrees, as bad coin is gradually withdrawn from circulation. The decree passed by the Diet of Pressburg (1687-1688), imposing double taxation upon the Jews, must be enforced. Jews must not be permitted to engage in agriculture, nor to own any real estate, nor to keep Christian servants.

This advice soon bore fruit and was in part acted upon. In August 1690, the government at Vienna ordered Sopron to expel its Jews, who had immigrated from the Austrian provinces. The government, desiring to enforce the edict of the last Diet, decreed soon afterward that Jews should be removed from the office of collector. The order proved ineffective, however; and the employment of Jewish customs officials was continued. Even the treasurer of the realm set the example in transgressing the law by appointing (1692) Simon Hirsch as farmer of customs at Leopoldstadt (Leopoldov); and at Hirsch's death he transferred the office to Hirsch's son-in-law.

The revolt of the Kuruc, under Francis II Rákóczi, caused much suffering to the Hungarian Jews. The Kuruc imprisoned and slew the Jews, who had incurred their anger by siding with the king's party. The Jews of Eisenstadt, accompanied by those of the community of Mattersdorf, sought refuge at Vienna, Wiener-Neustadt, and Forchtenstein; those of Holics (Holíč) and Sasvár (Šaštín) dispersed to Göding (Hodonín); while others, who could not leave their business in this time of distress, sent their families to safe places, and themselves braved the danger. While not many Jews lost their lives during this revolt, it made great havoc in their wealth, especially in Sopron County, where a number of rich Jews were living. The king granted letters of protection to those that had been ruined by the revolt, and demanded satisfaction for those that had been injured; but in return for these favors he commanded the Jews to furnish the sums necessary for suppressing the revolt.

After the restoration of peace the Jews were expelled from many cities that feared their competition; thus Esztergom expelled them in 1712, on the ground that the city which had given birth to St. Stephen must not be desecrated by them. But the Jews living in the country, on the estates of their landlords, were generally left alone.

The lot of the Jews was not improved under the reign of Leopold's son, Charles III (1711-1740). He informed the government (June 28, 1725) that he intended to decrease the number of Jews in his domains, and the government thereupon directed the counties to furnish statistics of the Hebrew inhabitants. In 1726 the king decreed that in the Austrian provinces, from the day of publication of the decree, only one male member in each Jewish family be allowed to marry. This decree, restricting the natural increase of the Jews, materially affected the Jewish communities of Hungary. All the Jews in the Austrian provinces who could not marry there went to Hungary to found families; thus the overflow of Austrian Jews peopled Hungary. These immigrants settled chiefly in the northwestern counties, in Nyitra (Nitra), Pressburg (Bratislava), and Trencsén (Trenčín).

The Moravian Jews continued to live in Hungary as Moravian subjects; even those that went there for the purpose of marrying and settling promised on oath before leaving that they would pay the same taxes as those living in Moravia. In 1734 the Jews of Trencsén bound themselves by a secret oath that in all their communal affairs they would submit to the Jewish court at Ungarisch-Brod (Uherský Brod) only. In the course of time the immigrants refused to pay taxes to the Austrian provinces. The Moravian Jews, who had suffered by the heavy emigration, then brought complaint; and Maria Theresa ordered that all Jewish and Christian subjects that had emigrated after 1740 should be extradited, while those who had emigrated before that date were to be released from their Moravian allegiance.

The government could not, however, check the large immigration; for although strict laws were drafted in 1727, they could not be enforced owing to the good-will of the magnates toward the Jews. The counties either did not answer at all, or sent reports bespeaking mercy rather than persecution.

Meanwhile the king endeavored to free the mining-towns from the Jews — a work which Leopold I had already begun in 1693. The Jews, however, continued to settle near these towns; they displayed their wares at the fairs; and, with the permission of the court, they even erected a foundry at Ság (Sasinkovo). When King Charles ordered them to leave (March, 1727), the royal mandate was in some places ignored; in others the Jews obeyed so slowly that he had to repeat his edict three months later.

In 1735 another census of the Jews of the country was taken with the view of reducing their numbers. There were at that time 11,621 Jews living in Hungary, of which 2,474 were male heads of families, and fifty-seven were female heads. Of these heads of families 35.31 per cent declared themselves to be Hungarians; the rest had immigrated. Of the immigrants 38.35 per cent came from Moravia, 11.05 per cent from Poland, and 3.07 per cent from Bohemia. The largest Jewish community, numbering 770 persons, was that of Pressburg (Bratislava). Most of the Jews were engaged in commerce or industries, most being merchants, traders, or shopkeepers; only a few pursued agriculture.

During the reign of Queen Maria Theresa (1740-1780), daughter of Charles III, the Jews were expelled from Buda (1746), and the "toleration-tax" was imposed upon the Hungarian Jews. On September 1, 1749, the delegates of the Hungarian Jews, except those from Szatmár County, assembled at Pressburg and met a royal commission, which informed them that they would be expelled from the country if they did not pay this tax. The frightened Jews at once agreed to do so; and the commission then demanded a yearly tax of 50,000 gulden. This sum being excessive, the delegates protested; and although the queen had fixed 30,000 gulden as the minimum tax, they were finally able to compromise on the payment of 20,000 gulden a year for a period of eight years. The delegates were to apportion this amount among the districts; the districts, their respective sums among the communities; and the communities, theirs among the individual members.

The queen confirmed this agreement of the commission, except the eight-year clause, changing the period to three years, which she subsequently made five. The agreement, thus ratified by the queen, was brought on November 26 before the courts, which were powerless to relieve the Jews from the payment of this Malkegeld (queen's money), as they called it.

The Jews, thus burdened by new taxes, thought the time ripe for taking steps to remove their oppressive disabilities. While still at Presburg the delegates had brought their grievances before the mixed commission that was called delegata in puncto tolerantialis taxae et gravaminum Judeorum commissio mixta. These complaints pictured the distress of the Jews of that time. They were not allowed to live in Croatia and Slavonia, in Baranya and Heves Counties, or in several free royal towns and localities; nor might they visit the markets there. At Stuhlweissenburg (Székesfehérvár) they had to pay a poll-tax of 1 gulden, 30 kreuzer if they entered the city during the day, if only for an hour. In many places they might not even stay overnight. They therefore begged permission to settle, or at least to visit the fairs, in Croatia and Slavonia and in those places from which they had been driven in consequence of the jealousy of the Greeks and the merchants.

The Jews also had to pay heavier bridge-and ferry-tolls than the Christians; at Nagyszombat (Trnava) they had to pay three times the ordinary sum, namely, for the driver, for the vehicle, and for the animal drawing the same; and in three villages belonging to the same district they had to pay toll, although there was no toll-gate. Jews living on the estates of the nobles had to give their wives and children as pledges for arrears of taxes. In Upper Hungary they asked for the revocation of the toleration-tax imposed by the chamber of Zips County (Szepes, Spiš), on the ground that otherwise the Jews living there would have to pay two such taxes; and they asked also to be relieved from a similar tax paid to the Diet. Finally, they requested that Jewish artisans might be allowed to follow their trades in their homes undisturbed.

The commission laid these complaints before the Queen, indicating the manner in which they could be relieved; and their suggestions were subsequently willed by the queen and made into law.

The queen relieved the Jews from the tax of toleration in Upper Hungary only. In regard to the other complaints she ordered that the Jews should specify them in detail, and that the government should remedy them insofar as they came under its jurisdiction.

The toleration-tax had hardly been instituted when Michael Hirsch petitioned the government to be appointed primate of the Hungarian Jews in order to be able to settle difficulties that might arise among them, and to collect the tax. The government did not recommend Hirsch, but decided that in case the Jews should refuse to pay, it might be advisable to appoint a primate to adjust the matter.

Before the end of the period of five years the delegates of the Jews again met the commission at Pressburg (Bratislava) and offered to increase the amount of their tax to 25,000 gulden a year if the queen would promise that it should remain at that sum for the next ten years. The queen had other plans, however; not only did she dismiss the renewed gravamina of the Jews, but rather imposed stiffer regulations upon them. Their tax of 20,000 gulden was increased to 30,000 gulden in 1760; to 50,000 in 1772; to 80,000 in 1778; and to 160,000 in 1813.

Joseph II (1780-1790), son and successor of Maria Theresa, showed immediately on his accession that he intended to alleviate the condition of the Jews, communicating this intention to the Hungarian chancellor, Count Franz Esterházy as early as May 13, 1781. In consequence the Hungarian government issued (March 31, 1783) a decree known as the Systematica gentis Judaicae regulatio, which wiped out at one stroke the decrees that had oppressed the Jews for centuries. The royal free towns, except the mining-towns, were opened to the Jews, who were allowed to settle at pleasure throughout the country. The regulatio decreed that the legal documents of the Jews should no longer be composed in Hebrew, or in Yiddish, but in Latin, German, and Hungarian, the languages used in the country at the time, and which the young Jews were required to learn within two years.

Documents written in Hebrew or in Yiddish were not legal; Hebrew books were to be used at worship only; the Jews were to organize elementary schools; the commands of the emperor, issued in the interests of the Jews, were to be announced in the synagogues; and the rabbis were to explain to the people the salutary effects of these decrees. The subjects to be taught in the Jewish schools were to be the same as those taught in the national schools; the same text-books were to be used in all the elementary schools; and everything that might offend the religious sentiment of non-conformists was to be omitted.

During the early years Christian teachers were to be employed in the Jewish schools, but they were to have nothing to do with the religious affairs of such institutions. After the lapse of ten years a Jew might establish a business, or engage in trade, only if he could prove that he had attended a school. The usual school-inspectors were to supervise the Jewish schools and to report to the government. The Jews were to create a fund for organizing and maintaining their schools. Jewish youth might enter the academies, and might study any subject at the universities except theology. Jews might rent farms only if they could cultivate the same without the aid of Christians.

Jews were allowed to peddle and to engage in various industrial occupations, and to be admitted into the guilds. They were also permitted to engrave seals, and to sell gunpowder and saltpeter; but their exclusion from the mining-towns remained in force. Christian masters were allowed to have Jewish apprentices. All distinctive marks hitherto worn by the Jews were to be abolished, and they might even carry swords. On the other hand, they were required to discard the distinctive marks prescribed by their religion and to shave their beards. Emperor Joseph regarded this decree so seriously that he allowed no one to violate it.

The Jews, in a petition dated April 22, 1783, expressed their gratitude to the emperor for his favors, and, reminding him of his principle that religion should not be interfered with, asked permission to wear beards. The emperor granted the prayer of the petitioners, but reaffirmed the other parts of the decree (April 24, 1783). The Jews organized schools in various places, at Pressburg (Bratislava), Óbuda, Vágújhely (Nové Mesto nad Váhom), and Nagyvárad (Oradea). A decree was issued by the emperor (July 23, 1787) to the effect that every Jew should choose a German surname; and a further edict (1789) ordered, to the consternation of the Jews, that they should henceforth perform military service.

After the death of Joseph II the royal free cities showed a very hostile attitude toward the Jews. The citizens of Pest petitioned the municipal council that after May 1, 1790, the Jews should no longer be allowed to live in the city. The government interfered; and the Jews were merely forbidden to engage in peddling in the city. Seven days previously a decree of expulsion had been issued at Nagyszombat (Trnava), May 1 being fixed as the date of the Jews' departure. The Jews appealed to the government; and in the following December the city authorities of Nagyszombat were informed that the Diet had confirmed the former rights of the Jews, and that the latter could not be expelled.

The Jews of Hungary handed a petition, in which they boldly presented their claims to equality with other citizens, to King Leopold II (1790-1792) at Vienna on November 29, 1790. He sent it the following day to the chancelleries of Hungary and Moravia for their opinions. The question was brought before the estates of the country on December 2, and the Diet drafted a bill showing that it intended to protect the Jews. This decision created consternation among the enemies of the latter. Nagyszombat (Trnava) addressed a further memorandum to the estates (December 4) in which it demanded that the Diet should protect the city's privileges. The Diet decided in favor of the Jews, and its decision was laid before the king.

Thus came into force the famous law entitled De Judaeis, which forms the thirty-eighth article of the laws of the Diet of 1790-1791. The De Judaeis law was gratefully received by the Jews; for it not only afforded them protection, but also gave them the assurance that their affairs would soon be regulated. Still, although the Diet appointed on February 7, 1791, a commission to study the question, the amelioration of the condition of the Hungarian Jews was not effected till half a century later, under Ferdinand V (1835-1848), during the session of the Diet of 1839-1840.

In consequence of the petition of the Jews of Pest, the mover of which was Dr. Philip Jacobovics, superintendent of the Jewish hospital, the general assembly of the county of Pest drafted instructions for the delegates on June 10, 1839, to the effect that if the Jews would be willing to adopt the Magyar language they should be given equal rights with other Hungarian citizens. From now on much attention was paid to the teaching of Hungarian in the schools; Moritz Bloch (Ballagi) translated the Pentateuch into Hungarian, and Moritz Rosenthal the Psalms and the Pirkei Avoth. Various communities founded Hungarian reading-circles; and the Hungarian dress and language were more and more adopted. Many communities began to use Hungarian on their seals and in their documents, and some liberal rabbis even began to preach in that language.

At the sessions of the Diet subsequent to that of 1839-1840, as well as in various cities, a decided antipathy—at times active and at times merely passive—toward the Jews became manifest. In sharp contrast to this attitude was that of Baron József Eötvös, who published in 1840 in the Budapesti Szemle, the most prominent Hungarian review, a strong appeal for the emancipation of the Jews. This cause also found a friend in Count Charles Zay, the chief ecclesiastical inspector of the Hungarian Lutherans, who warmly advocated Jewish interests in 1846.

Although the session of the Diet convened on November 7, 1847, was unfavorable to the Jews, the latter not only continued to cultivate the Hungarian language, but were also willing to sacrifice their lives and property in the hour of danger. During the Revolution of 1848 they displayed their patriotism, even though attacked by the populace in several places at the beginning of the uprising. On March 19 the populace of Pressburg (Bratislava), encouraged by the antipathies of the citizens—who were aroused by the fact that the Jews, leaving their ghetto around Pressburg Castle (Bratislava Castle), were settling in the city itself—began hostilities that were continued after some days, and were renewed more fiercely in April.

At this time the expulsion of the Jews from Sopron, Pécs, Székesfehérvár, and Szombathely was demanded; in the last two cities there were pogroms. At Szombathely, the mob advanced upon the synagogue, cut up the Torah scrolls, and threw them into a well. Nor did the Jews of Pest escape, while those at Vágújhely (Nové Mesto nad Váhom) especially suffered from the brutality of the mob. Bitter words against the Jews were also heard in the Diet. Some Jews advised emigration to America as a means of escape; and a society was founded at Pest, with a branch at Pressburg, for that purpose. A few left Hungary, seeking a new home across the sea, but the majority remained.

Jews entered the national guard as early as March 1848; although they were excluded from certain cities, they reentered as soon as the danger to the country seemed greater than the hatred of the citizens. At Pest the Jewish national guard formed a separate division. When the national guards of Pápa were mobilized against the Croatians, Leopold Löw, rabbi of Pápa, joined the Hungarian ranks, inspiring his companions by his words of encouragement. Jews were also to be found in the volunteer corps, and among the honvéd and landsturm; and they constituted one-third of the volunteer division of Pest that marched along the Drava against the Croatians, being blessed by Rabbi Schwab on June 22, 1848.

Many Jews throughout the country joined the army to fight for their fatherland; among them, Adolf Hübsch, subsequently rabbi at New York; Solomon Marcus Schiller-Szinessy, afterward lecturer at the University of Cambridge; and Ignatz Einhorn, who, under the name of "Eduard Horn," subsequently became state secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Commerce. The rebellious Serbians slew the Jews at Zenta who sympathized with Hungary; among them, Rabbi Israel Ullmann and Jacob Münz, son of Moses Münz of Óbuda The conduct of the Jewish soldiers in the Hungarian army was highly commended by Generals Klapka and Görgey. Einhorn estimated the number of Jewish soldiers who took part in the Hungarian Revolution to be 20,000; but this is most likely exaggerated, as Béla Bernstein enumerates only 755 combatants by name in his work, Az 1848-49-iki Magyar Szabadságharcz és a Zsidók (Budapest, 1898).

The Hungarian Jews served their country not only with the sword, but also with funds. Communities and individuals, Chevra Kadisha, and other Jewish societies, freely contributed silver and gold, armor and provisions, clothed and fed the soldiers, and furnished lint and other medical supplies to the Hungarian camps. Meanwhile they did not forget to take steps to obtain their rights as citizens. When the Diet of 1847-1848 (in which, according to ancient law, only the nobles and those having the rights of nobles might take part) was dissolved (April 11), and the new Parliament — at which under the new laws the delegates elected by the commons also appeared — was convened at Pest (July 2, 1848), the Jews hopefully looked forward to the deliberations of the new body.

Many Jews thought to pave the way for emancipation by a radical reform of their religious life, in agreement with opinions uttered in the Diets and in the press, that the Jews should not receive equal civic rights until they had reformed their religion. This reform had been first demanded in the session of 1839-1840. From this session onward the necessity of a reform of the Jewish religion was generally advocated in the press and in general assemblies, mostly in a spirit of friendliness. Several counties instructed their representatives not to vote for the emancipation of the Jews until they desisted from practising the externals of their religion.

For the purpose of urging emancipation all the Jews of Hungary sent delegates to a conference at Pest on July 5, 1848; there a commission consisting of ten members was chosen, to which was entrusted the task of agitating on behalf of emancipation; but the commission was instructed to make no concessions in regard to the Jewish faith, even if the Parliament should stipulate such as the condition on which civic equality to the Jews would be granted. The commission soon after addressed a petition to the Parliament, but it proved ineffective.

The emancipation of the Jews, was granted by the national assembly at Szeged on Saturday, the eve of the Ninth of Av (July 28, 1849). The bill, which was quickly debated and immediately became a law, realized all the hopes of the Reform party. The Jews obtained full citizenship; and the Ministry of the Interior was ordered to call a convention of Jewish ministers and laymen for the purpose of drafting a confession of faith, and of inducing the Jews to organize their religious life in conformity with the demands of the time. The bill also included the clause referring to marriages between Jews and Christians, which clause both Kossuth and the Reform party advocated.

The Jews enjoyed their civic liberty for just two weeks. When the Hungarian army surrendered at Világos to the Russian troops that had come to aid the Austrians in suppressing the Hungarian struggle for liberty, the Jews were severely punished for having taken part in the uprising. Field Marshal Julius Haynau, the new governor of Hungary, imposed heavy war-taxes upon them, especially upon the communities of Pest and Óbuda, which had already been heavily taxed by Prince Alfred I. zu Windisch-Graetz, commander-in-chief of the Austrian army, on his triumphant entry into the Hungarian capital at the beginning of 1849. The communities of Kecskemét, Nagykőrös, Cegléd, Irsa, Szeged, and Szabadka (Subotica) were punished with equal severity by Haynau, who even laid hands upon the Jews individually, executing and imprisoning several; others sought refuge in emigration.

Several communities petitioned to be relieved of the tax imposed upon them. The ministry of war, however, decided that the communities of Pest, Óbuda, Kecskemét, Czegléd, Nagykőrös, and Irsa should pay this tax not in kind, but in currency to the amount of 2,300,000 gulden. As the communities were unable to collect this sum, they petitioned the government to remit it, but the result was that not only the communities in question but the communities of the entire country were ordered to share in raising the sum, on the ground that most of the Jews of Hungary had supported the Revolution. Only the communities of Temesvár (Timişoara) and Pressburg (Bratislava) were exempted from this order, they having remained loyal to the existing government. The military commission subsequently added a clause to the effect that individuals or communities might be exempted from the punishment, if they could prove by documents or witnesses, before a commission to be appointed, that they had not taken part in the Revolution, either by word or deed, morally or materially. The Jews refused this means of clearing themselves, and finally declared that they were willing to redeem the tax by collecting a certain sum for a national school-fund. Emperor Franz Joseph therefore remitted the war-tax (September 20, 1850), but ordered that the Jews of Hungary without distinction should contribute toward a Jewish school-fund of 1,000,000 gulden; and this sum was raised by them within a few years.

The emancipation of the Jews remained in abeyance while the House of Habsburg held absolute sway in Hungary; but it was again taken in hand when the Austrian troops were defeated in Italy in 1859. In that year the cabinet, with Emperor Franz Joseph in the chair, decreed that the status of the Jews should be regulated in agreement with the times, but with due regard for the conditions obtaining in the several localities and provinces. The question of emancipation was again loudly agitated when the emperor convened the Diet on April 2, 1861; but the early dissolution of that body prevented it from taking action in the matter.

The decade of absolutism in Hungary (1849–1859) was beneficial to the Jews insofar as it forced them to establish schools, most of which were in charge of trained teachers. The government organized with the Jewish school-fund model schools at Sátoraljaújhely, Temesvár (Timişoara), Pécs, and Pest. In Pest the Israelite State Teachers' Seminary was founded in 1859, the principals of which have included Abraham Lederer, Heinrich Deutsch, and Joseph Bánóczi. The graduates of this institution have rendered valuable services in the cause of patriotism and religious education.

When the Parliament dissolved in 1861, the emancipation of the Jews was deferred to the coronation of Franz Joseph. On December 22, 1867, the question came before the lower house, and on the favorable report of Kálmán Tisza and Zsigmond Bernáth a bill in favor of emancipation was adopted, which was passed by the upper house on the following day. This bill (article xvii of the Laws of the Parliament session of 1867) was received with universal satisfaction not only by the Jews, but also by the whole country. Although an Antisemitic Party was present in the Parliament, it was not taken seriously by the political elite of the country, and their agitation against Jews was not successful (see Tiszaeszlár blood libel).

On October 4, 1877, the Jewish Theological Seminary – University of Jewish Studies opened in Budapest. The university is still functioning, having its 130th anniversary on October 4, 2007. Since its opening, it has been the only Jewish institute in all of Central and Eastern Europe.

The number of Jews according to the 1910 census was 5.0% of the 18 million people living in Hungary (Croatia excluded). The capital, Budapest, was 23% Jewish. The list of towns where the Jewish population exceeded 20%: Munkács (Mukachevo) 44%, Máramarossziget (Sighetu Marmaţiei) 37%, Ungvár (Uzhhorod) 31%, Bártfa (Bardejov) 30%, Beregszász (Berehove) 30%, Sátoraljaújhely, Nagyvárad (Oradea), Nyitra (Nitra), Szilágysomlyó (Şimleu Silvaniei), Szatmárnémeti (Satu Mare), Miskolc. In three counties, namely Máramaros, Ugocsa and Bereg, the village population was more than 10% Jewish.

The Jews of Hungary were fairly well integrated into Hungarian society by the time of the First World War. Class distinction was very significant in Hungary in general, and among the Jewish population in particular. Rich bankers, factory owners, lower middle class artisans and poor factory workers did not mingle easily. In 1926, there were 50,761 Jewish families living in Budapest. 65% of them lived in apartments that contained one or two rooms, 30% had three or four rooms, while 5% lived in apartments with more than 4 rooms.

There was also religious division. There were three denominations. Traditionalists ("Status quo ante") were a minority, mainly in the North. Budapest, the South and West had a "Neolog" majority (somewhat between modern US conservative and Reform), with a significant Orthodox (more orthodox than "status quo ante") minority. The East and North of the country were overwhelmingly Orthodox. One can say, in broad terms, that Jews whose ancestors had come from Moravia in the 18th century became Neolog, while Jews whose ancestors had come from Galicia became Orthodox at the split in 1869.

More than 10,000 Jews died and thousands wounded and disabled fighting for Hungary in WW I. But these sacrifices by patriotic Hungarian Jews may have been outweighed by the chaotic events following the war's end.

With the defeat and dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Hungary would be forced by the Allies to adhere to the Treaty of Trianon, which ceded to neighboring nations fully two-thirds of Hungary's imperial territory and two thirds of its population, including a third of its ethnically Magyar citizens and many Jews. These losses provoked deep anger and hostility in the remaining Hungarian population.

The first post-war government was led by Mihály Károlyi, and was the first modern effort at liberal democratic government in Hungary. But it was cut short in a spasm of communist revolution, which would have serious implications for the manner in which Hungarian Jews were viewed by their fellow-countrymen.

In March 1919, Communist and Social Democrat members of a coalition government ousted Karolyi; soon after (21 March), the Communists were to take power as their Social Democrat colleagues were willing neither to accept nor to refuse the note of French foreign minister Vyx to cede a significant part of the Great Plains to Romania and the communists took control of Hungary's governing institutions. While popular at first, the so-called Hungarian Soviet Republic fared poorly in almost all of its aims, particularly its efforts to regain territories occupied by Slovakia (although achieving some transitional success here) and Romania. All the less palatable excesses of Communist uprisings were in evidence during these months, particularly the formation of squads of brutal young men practicing what they called "revolutionary terror" to intimidate and suppress dissident views. Three of the principal leaders of this short-lived revolution - Béla Kun, Tibor Szamuely, and Jenő Landler - were of Jewish ancestry. As in other countries where Communism was viewed as an immediate threat, the presence of Jews, even irreligious Jews, in positions of revolutionary leadership helped foster the notion of a Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy.

Kun's regime was crushed after four and a half months when the Romanian army entered Budapest; it was quickly followed by the reactionary forces under the command of the former Austro-Hungarian admiral, Miklós Horthy.

The sufferings endured during the brief revolution, and their exploitation by fascist and ultra-nationalist movements, helped generate stronger suspicions among non-Jewish Hungarians, and undergirded pre-existing anti-Semitic views.

Beginning in July 1919, officers of Horthy's National Army engaged in a brutal string of counter-reprisals against Hungarian communists and their allies, real or imagined. This series of pogroms directed at Jews, progressives, peasants and others is known as the White Terror. Horthy's personal role in these reprisals is still subject of debate (in his memoirs he refused to disavow the violence, saying that "only an iron broom" could have swept the country clean). Tallying the numbers of victims of the different terror campaigns in this period is still a matter of some political dispute but the White Terror is generally considered to have claimed more lives than the repressions of the Kun regime.

In the first few decades of the 20th Century the Jews of Hungary numbered roughly 5 percent of the population. This minority had managed to achieve great commercial success, and Jews were disproportionately represented in the professions, relative to their numbers.

In 1921 Budapest, 88% percent of the members of the stock exchange and 91% percent of the currency brokers were Jews, many of them ennobled. In interwar Hungary, more than half and perhaps as much as 90 percent of Hungarian industry was owned or operated by a few closely related Jewish banking families.

Jews represented one-fourth of all university students and 43% percent at Budapest Technological University. In 1920, 60 percent of Hungarian doctors, 51 percent of lawyers, 39 percent of all privately employed engineers and chemists, 34 percent of editors and journalists, and 29 percent of musicians identified themselves as Jews by religion.

Unfortunately for Jews they had also become, by a quirk of history, the most visible minority remaining in Hungary; the other large "non-Hungarian" populations (including Slovaks, Slovenes, Croats, and Romanians, among others) had been abruptly excised from the Hungarian population by the territorial losses at Trianon. That left Hungary's Jews as the one ethnically separate group which could serve as a scapegoat for the nation's ills. The scapegoating began quickly. In 1920, Horthy's government passed a "Numerus Clausus," restricting the Jewish enrollment at universities to five percent or less, in order to reflect the Jewish population percentage.

Anti-Jewish policies grew more repressive in the interwar period as Hungary's leaders, who remained committed to regaining the lost territories of "Greater Hungary," chose to align themselves (albeit warily) with the fascist governments of Germany and Italy - the international actors most likely to stand behind Hungary's claims. The inter-war years also saw the emergence of flourishing fascist groups, such as the Hungarian National Socialist Party and the Arrow Cross Party.

Starting in 1938, Hungary under Horthy passed a series of anti-Jewish measures in emulation of Germany's Nürnberg Laws. The first, promulgated on May 29,1938, restricted the number of Jews in each commercial enterprise, in the press, among physicians, engineers and lawyers to twenty percent. The second anti-Jewish law (May 5, 1939), for the first time, defined Jews racially: people with 2, 3 or 4 Jewish-born grandparents were declared Jewish. Their employment in government at any level was forbidden, they could not be editors at newspapers, their numbers were restricted to six per cent among theater and movie actors, physicians, lawyers and engineers. Private companies were forbidden to employ more than 12% Jews. 250,000 Hungarian Jews lost their income.

The "Third Jewish Law" (August 8, 1941) prohibited intermarriage and penalized sexual intercourse between Jews and non-Jews.

During the war, Jews were called to serve in "labour service" (munkaszolgálatos) units which were brought to the front to clean up minefields and other auxiliary work without defence, equipment. In the camp of Kőszeg, even before going to the front, the order was that no one should survive.

According to "Magyarország történelmi kronológiája", the census of January 1941 found that 6.2% of the population of 13,644,000, i.e. 846,000 people, were considered Jewish according to the racial laws of that time. From this number, 725,000 were Jewish by religion (184,000 in Budapest, 217,000 in the pre-1938 countryside, and 324,000 in the reunited Northern Transylvania, Carpatho-Ruthenia and southern Slovakia). In April 1941, Hungary annexed the Bácska (Bačka), the Muraköz (Međimurje County) and Muravidék (Prekmurje) regions from the occupied Yugoslavia, with 1,025,000 people including 16,000 Jews. It is not clear whether the 10-20,000 Jewish refugees were counted in the January census. They and anyone who could not prove legal residency, about 20,000 people, were handed over to the Germans in July, and were massacred in Kameniec-Podolsk (Kamianets-Podilskyi) at the end of August.

In the Újvidék (Novi Sad) massacre, 3,000 Serbs and 1,000 Jews were murdered, and approximately 42,000 Jewish forced laborers were killed at the Soviet front in 1942-43. Nevertheless, the Hungarian Prime Ministers, and especially Regent Horthy, continually resisted German pressure and refused to allow the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the German extermination camps in occupied Poland. This "anomalous" situation lasted until March 1944, when German troops occupied Hungary.

On March 18, 1944, Hitler summoned Horthy to a conference in Austria, where he demanded greater acquiescence from the Hungarian state. Horthy resisted, but his efforts were fruitless - while he attended the conference, German tanks rolled into Budapest.

On March 23, 1944, the quisling government of Döme Sztójay was installed. Among his other first moves, Sztójay legalized the Arrow Cross Party, which quickly began organizing. During the four days' interregnum following the German occupation, the Ministry of the Interior was put in the hands of László Endre and László Baky, right-wing politicians well-known for their hostility to Jews. Their boss, Andor Jaross, was another committed anti-Semite.

A few days later, Ruthenia, Upper Hungary, and Northern Transylvania were placed under military command; these territories contained an additional 320,000 Jews. On April 9, Prime Minister Döme Sztójay and the Germans obligated Hungary to place at the disposal of the Reich 300,000 Jewish laborers. Five days later, on April 14, Endre, Baky, and Eichmann decided to deport all the Jews of Hungary.

SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann, whose duties included supervising the extermination of Jews, set up his staff in the Majestic Hotel and proceeded rapidly in rounding up Jews from the Hungarian provinces outside of Budapest and its suburbs. The Yellow Star and Ghettoization laws, and Deportation were accomplished in less than 8 weeks with the enthusiastic help of the Hungarian authorities, particularly the gendarmerie (csendőrség). The first transports to Auschwitz began on May 15, 1944. Even as Soviet troops were rapidly approaching the Hungarian border, and Eichmann and his staff knew that Germany had by then lost the war, the trains continued to roll to Auschwitz.

By July 8, 437,402 Jews had been deported in 151 trains, according to Edmund Veesenmayer's official German reports. One hundred and thirty six trains were sent to Auschwitz, where 90% of the people were exterminated on arrival. Because the crematoria couldn't cope with the number of corpses, special pits were dug near them, where bodies were simply burned. It has been estimated that one third of the murdered victims at Auschwitz were Hungarian. For most of this time period, 12,000 Jews were delivered to Auschwitz in a typical day, among them the future writer and Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel, at age 15. The devotion to the cause of the "final solution" of the Hungarian gendarmes surprised even Eichmann himself, who supervised the operation with only twenty officers and a staff of 100, which included drivers, cooks, etc.

The relative safety of the Jews of Budapest is particularly noteworthy. The Pope, the King of Sweden, and, in strong terms, President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged the halt to the deportations. The deportation of the Jews of Budapest, scheduled for July 5, was halted before Admiral Horthy finally ordered the suspension of all deportation on July 8, and as a result almost 100,000 Jews of Budapest survived. Most of them were, however, concentrated under inhuman conditions in the Budapest ghetto. Some other areas were also designated as "houses with stars" and some were under the protecion of neutral powers. The names of some diplomats, Raoul Wallenberg, Carl Lutz, Giorgio Perlasca deserve mentioning, as well as some members of the army and police who saved people (Fewnczy, Pál Szalai, Károly Szabó, and other officers who took Jews out from camps with fake papers) and some church institutions and personalities.

The decision to end the transport was opposed by Endre, Baky and the Germans. To forestall a Nazi coup d'etat, Horthy ordered the remaining parts of the army and the gendarmerie that were still loyal to him to Budapest. Nonetheless, another 30,000 Jews were deported from the Trans-Danubian region and the outskirts of Budapest. On October 15, 1944 Horthy was finally deposed and the Nazis supported a coup by the antisemitic Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross Party (Hungarian: Nyilaskeresztes Párt). In the two months between November 1944 and February 1945, the Arrow Cross shot 10,000 to 15,000 Jews on the banks of the Danube.

Soviet troops liberated the Budapest ghetto on January 18, 1945.

By the end of the war in Hungary on April 4, 1945, from an original population of almost 900,000 people considered Jewish inside the borders of 1941-44, about 255,000 survived.

At this time, one of the most daring figures of the Holocaust emerged onto the stage: Raoul Wallenberg. Using his staff to prepare Protective Passports under the authority of the Swedish Legation Wallenberg saved the lives of thousands of Jews. At one point, he appeared personally at the train station, insisting that many Jews on the train be removed, and presenting the Arrow Cross guards with the Protective Passports for many on the train. Carl Lutz, of the Swiss Legation, also saved many people in a similar manner.

Under Communist rule, from 1948 to 1988, Zionism was outlawed and Jewish observance was curtailed. The previous upper class, Jews and anti-Semites alike, were expelled from the cities to the provinces for 6-12 months in the early 1950s.

However, the reality is more complex. The Communist governments of Béla Kun (mid-1919) and Mátyás Rákosi (1948-1954) included a large number of (atheist) Jews in prominent and influential decision-making positions. Certain Hungarian Communists who did have a Jewish background like Mátyás Rákosi and Ernő Gerő (Prime Minister and effective head of state in 1956) had totally repudiated Judaism (per pure Communist doctrine, which was strictly atheistic) and sometimes expressed anti-Semitic attitudes themselves.

During the 1919-1920 "White terror" period and the 1956 uprising, the backlash targeted not only Communist party members but Jews in general, and there were lynchings. On the other hand, some of the armed rebel leaders in 1956 were Jewish (István Angyal, an Auschwitz survivor, was executed on December 1,1958), and the uprising was supported by a number of Jewish writers too (for instance, Tibor Déry was imprisoned from 1957 to 1961). After the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, about 20,000 or so Jews fled the country. By 1967, only about 80,000-90,000 Jews (including non-religious Jews) remained in the country, with the number dropping further before the country's Communist regime collapsed in 1989.

Under the milder communist regime of János Kádár (ruled 1957-1988) leftist Jewish intelligentsia remained an important and vocal part of Hungarian art and sciences. Diplomatic relations with Israel were severed in 1967, but it was not followed by antisemitic campaigns as in Poland or the Soviet Union.

Most estimates about the number of Jews in Hungary range from 50,000 to 150,000; intermarriage rates are around 60%. (On the other hand, only 12,871 people declared Jewish religion in the census of 2001). Hungary boasts a number of synagogues, including the Dohány Street Synagogue, which is the largest synagogue in Europe. Jewish education is well organized: there are three Jewish high schools (Lauder Javne, Wesselényi and Anna Frank). Hungary is also home to the Jewish Theological Seminary – University of Jewish Studies.

Anti-Semitism as well as racism towards the Roma population has been a problem in Hungary since the fall of communism. There was a peak in 1992, before the departure of the strongly antisemitic wing of the ruling MDF party. There was a second peak when the ruling FIDESZ party needed the parliamentary support of MIÉP between 1998 and 2002. The economic situation has been deteriorating in 2007, and the extreme elements established a paramilitary organization, complete with Nyilas-like uniforms and armbands.

Although violence against individuals is rare, hatred of Jews is usually exhibited by destroying tombstones or vandalizing synagogues. Soccer games continue to see significant antisemitic messaging, including banners saying "send goose-eaters (libások) home", the massive exhibitions of Heil Hitler!, and imitation of the sound of steam engines (going to Auschwitz). The reason is that one of the teams in the premier league, MTK, was founded by Jews.

Most of the Jews in Hungary are secular. Since the fall of Communism in 1989, there has been a modest spiritual revival of Jewish observance. In 2003, Slomó Köves became the first Orthodox Rabbi to be ordained in Hungary since the Holocaust. The ceremony was attended by Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, as well as, the President of Hungary, Ferenc Mádl.

Some political conservatives and a part of the Hungarian population believe that these aims are meant to demolish the very foundations of the Hungarian nation, by destroying rural and religious traditions. The far right alleges that this agenda is part of a secret Jewish domination plan.

In April 1997, the Hungarian parliament passed a Jewish compensation act that returns property stolen from Jewish victims during the Nazi and Communist eras. Under this law, property and monetary payment were given back to the Jewish public heritage foundation and to Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The sums provided, however, are trivial, and represent nothing more than a symbolic gesture which many international observers have deemed to be too little, and too late.

This article incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain.

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Source : Wikipedia