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Foreword by Andrew L. Simon

Title Page || 1: Out Into the World

Andrew L. Simon
Professor Emeritus
The University of Akron

It is a sure sign of respectability if one is routinely vilified for 75 years by the Communists and for 50 years by the Nazis. Without the opportunity for rebuttal, a fiction repeated often enough, will become 'self evident truth'. Goebbels knew this, so did Bene, two of the 20th century's master propagandists. When Admiral Nicholas Horthy, Regent of Hungary for a quarter of a century, was re-buried in his family's cript in September of 1993, there was an international uproar in the media. The Economist wrote about 'Hungary's shameful past'. The New York Times served up a dire warning about the return of Fascism, the Frankfurter Allgemeine 'would rather forget it', the Brazilian Veja commented that 'Hungary honors a Nazi'. There is no end to the list. One sane opinion appeared in The Financial Times: 'western historiography was interested exclusively in his alliance with Hitler, and the Communists characterized the anti-Bolshevik as a monster'.

The death of Communism, (if not the Communists) revived the old ethnic and religious conflicts in Central and Eastern Europe, not only in Bosnia but throughout the Danubian basin. To address these problems western statesmen, and indeed, the general public, must understand them. Alas, this understanding will not come from western history books. As a 1993 survey of standard American college history textbooks indicated, these are saturated with some eighty years worth of propaganda. First, this propaganda was directed toward the dissolution of the Habsburg empire. Then it was a reaction of Hungary's demand of the peaceful return to her "historic borders". Hungary lost two thirds of her territory at the end of the first world war; one out of every three Magyars became "ethnic minorities" in their own land of birth. Hungary wanted 'everything back', the Successor States were not prepared to give an inch. The end of the second world war, and the Communist oppression that followed, has placed a lid on the boiling pot. Now the lid is off.

A Serbian refugee from Croatia has defined the Yugoslav problems this way: "We are consumed by now with anger, blinded by it. As we feel more victimized, we deny what we did to the Croats. We romanticize and glorify our own community, and we demonize everyone else. Any type of revenge will be soon justified."(1). The same sentiments may be applied to others in the region. On Slovakia's language law, approved by Parliament on November 18th The Economist comments in an article aptly titled: Slovakia: Madness ((Dec. 2, 1995)." In Slovakia one may speak Hungarian only in the kitchen" explains the Globe and Mail (December 6, 1995). "The European Parliament adopted a resolution charging the Slovak Government with following policies which show no respect for democracy, human and minority rights and the rule of law" wrote Stephen Kinzer in the New York Times on December 26, 1995. Romania introduced a new education law In September, 1995, which sets Romanian as the national language and the language of education. Hungarian schools and church properties nationalized at the beginning of Communism have not been returned by the current 'democratic' regime. Now the official language is to be used in writing even in a village council where not one of the residents is Romanian. "Language rights ... are at the heart of disputes between Budapest and Bucharest" reports Reuter on December 8, 1995. Throughout the Little Entente, Nation States are being built, under the shared leadership of former Communists and ultra-Nationalists; Iliescu - Funar; Milosevic - Seselj; Meiar - ?.

Even if the Danubian countries are not allowed into the European Union, their future would be more secure in some sort of federation. "The old Austro-Hungarian empire is reemerging in the new political geography" wrote The Boston Globe as early as August 20, 1989. Columnist Flora Lewis echoed from Paris that in proposing a Danubian Federation "Kossuth's Idea is Timely" (September 24, 1989). Otto von Habsburg, quoted in Le Figaro as saying in 1991: "under Austria one should not consider the present tiny country but a cultural sphere that spread from Czernowitz to Sarajevo. A survey article in The Economist (November 18, 1995) David Lawday wrote: "The countries of Central Europe, unavoidably detained for a while, are clamoring to join the European Union. When they do, it will be a homecoming."

Admiral Horthy, privy to the domestic policies of the Habsburg empire at the highest level, naval hero, last commandant of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, Regent of a destroyed country that he led into relative prosperity against great odds, an anti-Bolshevik, a prisoner of the Nazis, was a statesman. Having traveled the world while in the navy, speaking six languages (Hungarian, Croat, Italian, German, French, English), he was not a narrow-minded Nationalist but a partiot who greatly preferred the multi-ethic, multi-religious, multi-lingual diversity of the Monarchy in which he grew up and had a great career, even as a Hungarian Protestant in a Austrian Catholic "regime". Above all, he was a gentleman in the oldest, truest sense of the word.

His intimate knowledge of the politics of Central Europe from the heights of the cultured, "gemütlich", liberalizing, modernizing, developing age of the Monarchy to the depths of the Communist reigns of terror throughout the region makes his Memoirs an interesting, informative reading even in the 1990's.

For this edition, the text was compared to the Hungarian original and edited accordingly. Over five hundred footnotes were added to clarify names and some issues the reader may not be familiar with. In the Appendix letters expressing opinions on Horthy are included.

Wadsworth, Ohio
December 25, 1995
Andrew L. Simon