Washington, DC – The “Hungarian Review”, the English-language affiliate of the bi-monthly journal Magyar Szemle, edited by Gyula Kodolányi and John O`Sullivan, has published its first 2015 issue.
On the cover: Horses wandering in the streets during the siege of Budapest, winter 1944-1945. MTI Fotó. All photos of the siege by courtesy of MTVA, Budapest
As the whole world knows, Hungary and Europe this winter mark the anniversaries of two great cataclysmic events – the fighting of the 1914-1918 war and the final fighting of the Second World War. This issue devotes a great deal of space to the most acute and dreadful phase of this patient history – the period March 1944 to April 1945.
As John O’Sullivan puts it in his editorial note, the past lives in on current debates and in ways that go deeper than debate. Through 1944-45 was the period of most intense conflict and suffering, the long communist despotism from 1947 to 1989 left a deeper legacy in the habits and minds of Hungarians that still distort the nation’s life. This particular legacy has morphed under democracy into what Péter Ákos Bod identifies in his article entitled ‘Under Western Eyes – Perceptions of the Hungarian Economy’ as a legacy of corruption that, according to surveys of foreign investors, grew under Socialist governments and has continued to the present day. According to Péter Ákos Bod, “It would be therefore highly important to leave behind the stigmas and bad images as fast as possible, and be rather associated with successfully emerging and converging nations of the regions – again. If only it were so simple to improve a country’s general image. What can be easier is improving professional perceptions which are less driven by media hype and more by the facts of stakeholders. Their expectations are realistic, the benchmarks are known, and compliance with international best practice is, in fact, in our own interest. But the very first step to correct the image is to realize that perception can be an asset – or a costly liability”.
The ‘Current’ section also deals with Senator McCain’s recent outburst attacking the Orbán government as dictatorial and leaning towards Putin’s Russia. In his article entitled ‘Central Europe in the New World Disorder’, Géza Jeszenszky patiently reminds us that Hungary ended a year of three democratic elections with a virtual festival of unstrained anti-government protests, the country has fulfilled its obligations to NATO and the EU, and stated that Russia has overreached itself and is proving to be less of a power and less of a threat than it seemed, that a perfectly sensible economic outreach to the East is not the same thing as a strategic re-orientation to it, and that radical right ideas of an anti-Westernization of Hungary are a cultural and geopolitical fantasy.
The periodical then continues with an ‘Essays’ section that contains articles written by Clark S. Judge: The Road to the Wall – Ronald Reagan and his Call, “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall”; Christie Davis: Blondes: A Tale of Beauty of Humour; and Attila Balázs: The Haunted Houses of Josip Broz.
In the ‘Histories’ section, Magda Németh, János Horváth and Árpád Kadarkay all give harrowing accounts of how the tornado of war tore through Hungary and their lives exposing them to terrible brutalities and fears that the generation between 1867 and 1914 believed had been left behind in an uncivilized past. The titles of the memoirs are: ‘During and After the Siege of Budapest (1944-1945)’; ‘In Nazi Captivity – Chapter from a Memoir in Progress’; and ‘War and Art – Memoirs of a Hungarian Childhood – Part II’.
Finally, the ‘Arts’ section has articles by Mária Kurdi: Traumatic Memoires on the Stage – A Hungarian Holocaust Survivor in Elizabeth Kuti’s Treehouses; Ted Toghia: Dancing “Hungarian” in the US – On the Kárpátok Folk Ensemble; and Mihály Nagy: Lifting the Curse on the Sevso Treasure – Part II. This section also contains classic Hungarian poems of the Second World War by Hungarian poets Gyula Illyés, Miklós Radnóti and János Pilinszky.
Currently, twenty-four issues of the Hungarian Review (from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) can be ordered from Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main?ie=UTF8&sshmPath=at-a-glance&isAmazonFulfilled=0&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&isCBA=&orderID=&asin=B005ZBLPD0&seller=A1Y47FCTFJNKMW&isPopup= or directly from the publisher at http://www.hungarianreview.com, or by calling the Coalition office in Washington.