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Hungary Past and Present

The “Spanish” Flu in Hungary
The “Spanish” Flu in Hungary

At long last, something that was not invented by a Hungarian… Even the Spaniards were associated with it totally unfairly.

Although there are a few different versions, the “Spanish” flu most likely originated at a military camp in Fort Riley, Kansas, in the spring of 1918, where American soldiers gathered before their transfer to Europe.  In that last semester of World War I, in an effort to boost morale and avoid panic among both the military and the civil population, newspapers of both sides involved in the war euphemized the situation, trying to diminish both the medical seriousness and the death toll of the disease.

Spain was one of the few countries that did not partake in the war, thus her press was not restricted by censorship.  Therefore, their news could be printed freely, including some gruesome details about the new disease. Hence the name “Spanish Flu”, even though it did not originate in Spain.

The Hungarian press, including the most respected papers, was no exception.  They euphemized, even falsified the data.  We will deal with it in more detail below. 

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Olga Vállay Szokolay

A Short History of Polish-Hungarian Friendship

Pendant attributed to Princess Kinga
A Short History of Polish-Hungarian Friendship

There is a connection between Poland and Hungary that dates back to the late Middle Ages.  On April 9th, 1241 the Mongols invaded Poland and defeated a combined Polish and Moravian army at the Battle of Legnica.  Two days later the beginning of a much more overwhelming defeat took place in Hungary at the Battle of Mohi (Muhi Csata), where the Hungarians were aided mostly by the Croatians, since Hungarian King Béla IV was also the king of Croatia.  Most of the Hungarian army was killed and in the aftermath of the battle the rest of the population was devastated, with estimated losses ranging from 15% to almost 50% of the population.

I believe that as a result of the shared suffering due to these defeats, the few times that these countries were united by a single ruler, and for various cultural similarities as well, Poland and Hungary came to aid each other numerous times over the coming centuries.  Here then are just a few of the many connections between these two countries:

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Charles Bálintitt Jr.

Hungarian Jacobins of the 18th Century

Graves of the Jacobins
Hungarian Jacobins of the 18th Century

Absolutist rule, by its very nature, usually engenders opposition and revolt.  People want to have a say in the way they are governed.  Even if the goal is unattainable, they dream of bringing about change.  Such was the case of the Hungarian Jacobins.  The execution of most of them in May 1795 is our excuse for running this article at this time.  

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Karolina Tima Szabo