The 1920 Treaty of Trianon that formally ended World War I resulted in 72 percent of the then Kingdom of Hungary’s territory being divided between the Kingdom of Romania, the Czechoslovak Republic, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Romania received the largest chunk of over 102,000 square kilometers.
While Romania – understandably – has ample reason for celebration, many Hungarians at home and in neighboring Romania can hardly wait for it to be over. For lack of a better approach, they would rather say that December 1st is World AIDS day.
There may have been a popular assembly on December 1st, 1918 in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia, Romania) deciding the unification of Transylvania with the rest of Romania, but in truth that had little to do with the historic reality that the winning side of World War I decided the fate of the region.
We, Hungarians would even be inclined to respect their feelings if the reverse would also be true, but the majority of the Romanian politics and press keeps asking the insensitive question of why don’t (ethnic) Hungarians celebrate alongside us?
But ethnic Hungarians in Romania have no reason for celebration: their minority rights are being disregarded and they are constantly being harassed for using their mother tongue. The Transylvanian transport infrastructure has seen little development in the past decades and four million Romanians have left the country looking for a better life in the West.
The upcoming celebrations will certainly cover the country in tricolor flags (the red-yellow-blue Romanian flag), but these can only hide the reality for so long: a perpetual government crisis, lack of workforce, inadequate infrastructure and political infighting. So after the celebrations they will wake up with a hangover and the unanswered question of how to proceed.
Title image: December 1st military parade in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia, Romania)