A Fantastic Mechanized Visualization of Hungarian Irredentism on the Eve of the Second World War.
An unusual gear-operated postcard displaying the breakup of Hungarian territory following the end of the First World War.
Operated by a central paper gear, or volvelle, this movable map diagrams the portions of Hungarian territory given to Austria, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Czechoslovakia in the infamous 1919 Treaty of Trianon. The percentage of territory and the areas lost to each adjacent country are denoted on the map. However, perhaps most insidious are the number of Hungarians listed as lost to each region - without mention of other ethnicities in those regions.
A number of organizations, both in the Hungarian government and in Hungarian civil society, produced such irredentist maps. These were often targeted at non-Hungarians and published in a number of different languages to make them widely available. This mechanized postcard, by letting the viewer play with the destruction of the country, is a particularly notable example of this style of persuasive cartography.
The map was published by the Hungarian Women's National Association and created by Gusztav Emich.
The Treaty of Trianon
The Treaty of Trianon has been called the most traumatic event in the past hundred years of Hungarian history by Magyar nationalists (which obviously ignores the atrocities of WWII and the Soviet occupation). The Treaty was negotiated as part of the Paris Peace Talks that determined the terms of surrender for the Kingdom of Hungary. The treaty was named after the Grand Trianon Palace of Versailles.
While this Treaty is often neglected in favor of the more well-known Treaty of Versailles signed between the Allies and the Kingdom of Germany, Trianon would be one of the defining factors of interwar Central European politics. The terms of the Treaty were effectively dictated by the victorious powers, and while not as harsh as those imposed on Germany, still had far-reaching implications. The treaty included many clauses, including stipulating that the Hungarian military would be reduced to 35,000 soldiers and the Hungarian navy disbanded. The most offensive terms to Hungarians, however, regarded losses in territory.
The treaty would involve a contraction in territory that would reduce the population of Hungary by 64% and relegate many ethnic Hungarians to minority status. Furthermore, these decisions were decided with only a single plebiscite across all of the lands granted, which served to resolve a small border dispute between Hungary and Austria. This was contrary to the principle of self-determination that the victorious powers so championed. Hungarians were left feeling enraged by the massive loss of territory to their state which drastically reduced the importance of Hungary on the European stage after the war.