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Sadurian Mike
364203.  Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:58 pm Reply with quote

Hungary (proper title; Republic of Hungary) has an almost continuous history of more than 900 years.

After a strong start when Stephen I created a new Christian kingdom from the Magyar territories in 1000AD, Hungary had something of a poor military tradition.

First, in 1241-1242 the two-hundred-year-old kingdom was invaded by the Mongols, and the Hungarian army defeated at the battle of Muhi. The result for the population was disastrous, and a large percentage died in the ensuing unheaval. The Mongols, however, could not completely subdue the country because they were unable to reduce the strong castles and fortified towns. This did not stop them from returning in 1286, but this time the combination of castles and new cavalry tactics defeated the invasion.

For the next few centuries, Hungary fought against the encroaching Ottoman Empire coming mainly from Turkey, but managed at the same time to temporarily extend its influence to both Naples and Poland (the start of a long standing friendship between the two countries). Eventually, however, the struggle against the Ottomans proved too much and the Hungarian army was soundly defeated in 1526 at the battle of Mohács.

The country then suffered civil war and fragmented into three parts; the north-west was ruled by descendants of the previous Hapsburg royal family and was known as Royal Hungary, the east became the independent Principality of Transylvania, and the rest was Ottoman Hungary. The country was devastated by continual armed struggle, and many small towns and villages ceased to exist.

In 1686, Ottoman Hungary was invaded and conquered by Austrian-dominated christian armies, which completed the conquest of the remaining Hungarian lands by 1718. Needless to say, native Hungarians revolted several times against the Austrian invaders and this led to the Austrians demolishing many of the castles and fortifications that had formed the bulwark against Mongol invasion centuries before, but were now the centres of resistance against invaders from the other direction.

As a somewhat reluctant part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Hungary was pulled into WWI on the side of the Central Powers (Germany, Turkey and Bulgaria) and suffered a large loss of land as a result of the defeat. The Treaty of Trianon in 1920 meant that Hungary lost more territory than any other nation (Map showing lost territory), amounting to two-thirds of its prewar area.

In 1932, Hungary took the decision to ally itself with Germany in order to pull itself out of depression and to recover lost territory (which Hitler promised would be reward for supporting the Nazi policies). The result was that Hungary was drawn into WWII despite being poorly equipped to fight a modern war and with poorly motivated soldiers. Hungary won the Battle of Uman in 1941, but against the Red Army the eventual result was never in doubt, and the Second Hungarian Army was soundly defeated in 1943 in fighting at the river Don. A few months later Hungary approached the Allies to surrender, but their erstwhile German allies occupied the country in Operation Margarethe. The Hungarian leadership was overthrown and a more aggressive pro-Nazi puppet ruler installed, remaining in power to see the Soviet invasion and victory over Hungary which surrendered in February 1945.

The war had been devastating for Hungary, with 60% of her economy destroyed, over 400 000 Jews and countless Romani gypsies murdered, in addition to the casualties in the fighting itself.

The Soviets made Hungary a satellite state and forcibly reminded the country of who was in charge when the 1956 Hungarian Revolution resulted in a Soviet (with a token presence from other Warsaw Pact member states) invasion by 150 000 troops and 2 500 tanks. The country was a reluctant member of the Warsaw Pact until the country overthrew its Communist government in 1989. The Warsaw Pact itself ceased to exist in 1991.

Now a member of NATO and the EU, Hungary now operates as a republic. What her stance would be in the event of a NATO conflict with Russia reamins to be seen, but with her unhappy military history there is little recent military tradition to uphold.

 
CB27
364335.  Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:28 am Reply with quote

The other thing to note is that the old theory that Hungary was named after the Huns is now mostly replaced by the theory that Hungary was named after the Onogurs who were European nomads around 1500 years ago and that the name came from an alliance forged in the 7th century.

 
jsteel
368287.  Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:51 pm Reply with quote

I suppose some QI thing would not go amiss here.

There are at least two words in English with Hungarian origin: Hussar and coach (kocsi) not counting for Biro (being a proper noun).

I think the expression of insularity in the 18th century Hungarian nationalist statment is quite interesting: There is no life outside Hungary and if there is, it isn't (life). Of course, they said it in Latin :-) And its equivalent: If the Earth is the hat of God, then Hungary is the flower on it. :-(

When Hungary lost two thirds of its territory, only half of the population was Hungarian (by mother tongue), yet it lost a third of the Hungarian population.

After the defeat of the independence war of 1848-1849, Hungarian military officers turned up in a number of wars and revolutions (US, Crimean war (mainly on the Turkish side), Italian unification wars).

There was a professor named Horváth, who, in the 18th century, wrote a book in which he tried to prove that the original language of the Bible was Hungarian.

Budapest is one of the youngest capitals in Europe. It was created in 1873 as a result of the unification of Buda, Pest and Old Buda.

In the interwar period Hungary was a kingdom without a king (the king was expelled from the country twice while demanding a republic was a crime against the state), ruled by a governor who was an admiral, while Hungary is landlocked and had no fleet.

Hungarian (those who are generally considered to be Hungarian) Nobel prize winners
Lénárd, Fülöp (1905)
Bárány, Róbert (1914)
Zsigmondy, Richárd (1925)
Szent-Györgyi, Albert (1937)
Hevesy, György (1943)
Békésy, György (1961)
Wigner, Jenô (1963)
Gábor, Dénes (1971)
Wiesel, Elie (1986)
Polanyi, John C. (1986)
Oláh, György (1994)
Harsányi, János (1994)
Kertész, Imre (2OO1)

In 1953 the Hungarian football team put an end to the 9O years old Home Record of England (6-3)

George Mikes, the author of the witty book on the English (How to be an alien) was Hungarian.

48 distinctly different types of bacon are available in Hungary.

Austria managed to defeat the Hungarian indepence war of 1848-49 only with Russian help. The Tzar asked the permission of England to intervene. Palmerston's answer was: OK, but do it quickly.

 
samivel
368523.  Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:54 pm Reply with quote

jsteel wrote:
In 1953 the Hungarian football team put an end to the 9O years old Home Record of England (6-3)


This isn't quite right - Hungary were the first side from outside the British Isles to beat England at home, but they'd lost previous matches to Scotland, Wales and Ireland. England first home defeat was against Scotland in 1877.

Hungary are, however, responsible for England's biggest ever loss - a 7-1 thrashing in Budapest on 23rd May 1954.

 
Sadurian Mike
368529.  Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:05 pm Reply with quote

jsteel wrote:
48 distinctly different types of bacon are available in Hungary.

I am intrigued.

Do they all come from pigs or do Hungarian butchers offer something... special....?

 
Sadurian Mike
368533.  Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:07 pm Reply with quote



No mention of Hungary would be complete with a honorable mention of the English - Hungarian phrasebook.

 
jsteel
368565.  Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:26 am Reply with quote

Sadurian Mike wrote:
jsteel wrote:
48 distinctly different types of bacon are available in Hungary.

I am intrigued.

Do they all come from pigs or do Hungarian butchers offer something... special....?


They are all from the pig (as the Hungarian saying goes, you can't make bacon of a dog), but vary depending on

    the type of the bacon (neck and back or side or stomach)
    on the saline in which it is marinaded
    whether it's smoked or not
    which type of smoking (cold or hot)
    whether it is allowed to go slightly rancid
    whether the marinading happens before or after smoking
    whether paprika is used at the end of the process

Source: George Lang: Cusine of Hungary
Different bacon are used for different recepies or eaten cold, fried, etc. Of course, some of the 48 types have subtypes.

 
jsteel
368566.  Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:29 am Reply with quote

samivel wrote:
jsteel wrote:
In 1953 the Hungarian football team put an end to the 9O years old Home Record of England (6-3)


This isn't quite right - Hungary were the first side from outside the British Isles to beat England at home, but they'd lost previous matches to Scotland, Wales and Ireland. England first home defeat was against Scotland in 1877.

Hungary are, however, responsible for England's biggest ever loss - a 7-1 thrashing in Budapest on 23rd May 1954.


Thanks, I can now correct my Hungarian friends :-)

 
jsteel
368570.  Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:14 am Reply with quote

Hungary can be proud of highest recorded inflation (1945-46) in economic history. The 1945 one pengő's value was 5O thousand millionth in the summer of 1946 and the highest denomination banknote was issued: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pengő (one milliard billion in long scale). In the early summer of 1946 the inflation became so fast that in the cafés the waiters announced the new prices every half an hour. When the new currency (forint) was introduced the exchange rate between this and the old currency (pengő) was 1 to 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (400 thousand quadrillion in long scale), which effectively meant that people did not exchange pengő to forint.

 
Starfish13
368791.  Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:31 am Reply with quote

The song 'Gloomy Sunday', made famous by Billie Holiday, among others, is also known as the Hungarian Suicide Song, due to the urban legend that it inspired hundreds of suicides.

The song was composed by the Hungarian pianist Rezso Seress, for words by a poet friend who had recently split with his partner. Seress, a holocaust survivor, comitted suicide in the 60s by jumping from a window.

 
Southpaw
368803.  Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:46 am Reply with quote

I'm half Hungarian. My mother was born there. Her family fled to Austria when the Russians got uppity, my grandfather went back and was never heard of again. She was brought to the UK and adopted, shortly before her mother died in Austria, so she has no idea whether she has any relatives back in Hungary. All she knows is the town she was born in and her mother's name.

 
jsteel
368821.  Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:11 am Reply with quote

Another QI

Somebody could have born in Munkács (Hungary), went to school Munkacsevo in Czechoslovakia, enlisted in the Hungarian Army in Munkács (Hungary), worked in Munkacsevo (Soviet Union) and received pension in Munkacsevo in Ukraine and has never left the town of his birth.

To help: until 1918: Hungary, from 1919-1938: Czechoslovakia, 1939-1944: Hungary, 1945-1991: Soviet Union, 1991- : Ukraine.

 
dadge
386082.  Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:12 pm Reply with quote

As you probably know, Hungarian in Hungarian is "Magyar", which is related to the Hungarian word "magyaráz", meaning to explain. Ergo, they are the "plain-speakers" or "clear-talkers".

By contrast, the Hungarian word for German is "Német", related to "néma", meaning mute. Poles, Czechs, etc use a similar-meaning word for the Germans.

What peoples call themselves (and what others call them) and why, is definitely QI.

 
dadge
465800.  Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:33 pm Reply with quote

Is Hungary the only country entirely surrounded by itself? Doughnut-like, the areas removed from Hungary since WW1 entirely surround the current nation.

 
suze
465825.  Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:29 pm Reply with quote

If we construe the Vatican City as being successor to the Papal States, would that too be entirely surrounded by its own former territory?

 

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