Saturday, April 09, 2005

Germans, Russians, and Hungarians

gardeningThursday I was walking home from my meeting and saw this woman turning soil getting ready for the spring planting. I thought it was a cool shot with the chickens and her clothing. Seeing her made me more curious about what her life a fellow countrymen has been like. I couldn't talk with her so instead I read more history of Hungary last night. I thought I'd share a short history lesson of this least as I understand it.

Hungary was a strong and large country going into the 20th century. However it was involved heavily in World War I and suffered much defeat. So much so that a lot of their land was redistributed to other countries as part of their loss. I don't know all the details of Hungary and WWI, but suffice it to say they were quite on the losing side.

So it made sense that Hungary wanted it's land back. They knew they couldn't look to the WWI victors (US, Britain, and France) for help, so they turned to the growing German and Italian Empires. Germany helped Hungary secure some of the land back...but about that time WWII broke out. Hungary didn't really want to align itself with Germany, but they were kind of stuck and felt they owed them for their help (though I'm quite sure Germany hung it over their head too). Germany used Hungary as front-line pawns in battle so they took the brunt of many attacks as the Germans remained safer in battle.

After a little bit of time into WWII, Hungary wanted to sever ties with Germany so they began looking to the Allies. Germany found out and sacked the country. This certainly made things worse in Hungary. It was almost like Hungary was so desperate for it's land back that they made a deal with the Devil. Soon they realized what kind of raw deal they got and wanted out...and that only made matters worse. As we know, the Allies won WWII and how it played out in Hungary was that the Soviet army surrounded Budapest and was able to drive out the Germans.

There's an interesting debate here about that day. Was this a true liberation? Many say "yes" because things got better when the Germans weren't in town. But many others say "no" because the Russian army wasn't all peaches and cream either. But eventually the Russians left (though it was in the early 90s) and Hungary has been free ever since.

I know I left out a lot of details, but if you know more, feel free to add them. It is an interesting story here the last 90 or so years. I have a feeling this woman in the photo has seen a lot...a lot more than I've ever seen...or want to.

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