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05-08-2013 12:14 AMMSZNot sure if you got this message I sent yesterday, since I see now that I might have accidently sent to to my profile page rather than our conversation.... So I'll just re-send it. If you did get yesterday, then sorry for the inconvienience
You know, I sometimes find myself in a similar situation, where a thought enters my mind on how “making country X be different in some way in the years Y” would be cool, and then thinking how to achieve it, as well as what the results would be. It’s cool that you are able to make an entire timeline out of it. When I find myself with some idea for my timeline, I sometimes note those thoughts down, think some more on what the PoD would be, what the later effects could be, write those thoughts down (even stream of consciousness-style), do some research (even Wikipedia-level research, sometimes google-books, some historic forums or look through my pile of historic magazines I sometimes buy) – and then use that accumulated knowledge to describe and explain the reasons behind by earlier thoughts, put into actual sentences. This way you can get a single-sentence thought develop into an entire paragraph, though at the cost of the dynamics of you work.
You want a Communist Hungary to arise after WW1, maintain it and avoid Trianon. OK, let’s think about it. For one, you will need an earlier PoD – a XIXth century one would probably be one to give the most plausible one to reach your desired effects, but maybe we don’t need to go so far. Let’s make it this way – the PoD is that the Hungarian Social Democratic Party/Communist Party/Whatever Left-Wing Party there was in the Hungarian Parliament in 1914 does not vote for the war (I assume there was a vote – if not, then let’s say that vote was a declaration of the party issued against the war). This causes a reaction by the authorities, which cracks down on that party, arresting many of its members and keeping a closer eye on MPs. You have Karolyi as Hungary’s post-war president and first ruler – let say then that he suffers a worse fate in Hungary during the war, his party being delegalized for defeatism/anti-state activity or something, he himself being imprisoned. But he escapes prison and flees to Switzerland and further to Paris, where he creates the “Hungarian National Committee”, alongside the Czechoslovak, Yugoslav and Polish one, meant to advocate for the Hungarian cause among the Entente. A “Hungarian Army in the West” is formed from Hungarian volunteers living in France and the USA, who fight on the western front. Karolyi fights his own diplomatic battles regarding the post-war order with the other interest groups in Paris – particularly the Yugoslav and Czechoslovak ones are his main opponents, as Karolyi wants to preserve Hungary’s territorial integrity while breaking off from Austria. He does not manage to get any guarantees from the Allies during his stay in Paris, but he has some success in weakening the Czechoslovak Committee by promising even greater autonomy for the Slovaks than Benes even did, as well as the Romanians, by erasing the Treaty of Bucharest after Romania switched sides. He argues before the French that a large, federal Hungary together with a large Poland would serve as a better counter-balance to Germany than a little Czechoslovakia could. Basically, Karolyi manages to give the Hungarians a voice in Paris during the war, even if it isn’t massive.
Karolyi returns to Hungary once the war ends and quickly becomes President, presenting his own political program for the establishment of a Hungarian federal state. But he is met with a nasty surprise. The collapse of the monarchy also meant the collapse of the administration, many former workers choosing to back their bags and leave their posts, leaving much of the country outside of the capital’s control. In the meantime, the banned socialist party which declared its opposition to war manages to get support because of that during the war, becoming increasingly popular among the working class. State propaganda against only helps in them being marked as the “greatest enemy of the Empire” – which becomes a compliment. Once the war ends and the royal administration is gone, the party now operates in the open, and its formerly secret structures are the only one which actually have control over the country from one central point. The social-democratic party establishes committees and soviets across Hungary, taking control of factories, railway junctions, power plants, granaries, hospitals, army supply depots, etc. The socialist party is thus in de facto control over the country, and Bela Kun is the leader, who escaped arrest through the entire war and is now a popular hero. Karolyi, upon returning to Hungary finds himself only in control of Budapest. He doesn’t disband the Honvedseg like OTL, hoping he could use it to reclaim control of the country and protect it. He promises autonomy to Slovakia, Transylvania, Croatia. Declares his intent for introducing universal suffrage and land reform. However, he doesn’t have time to introduce everything he has planned and does not organize an election right away, wanting to keep power for himself for the time being to secure the state – something that gets him called out on by Bela Kun and his socialists. Initially Karolyi wants nothing to do with Bela Kun and his communists/socialists. But with Czechia, Romania and Yugoslavia invading and his Honvedseg not being able to stop them, he starts to fear that the Allies might accept a facti accompli. He calls for an election in early 1919 which his party still wins due to how the voting laws were, but Bela Kun’s party comes second. The two form a coalition cabinet with Bela Kun sworn in as the Prime Minister on march 20th, most of the new cabinet being made up from communists.
The Honvedseg is now being joined by the Hungarian Red Guards (a militia created right after the war to protect and police the areas where the socialist committees formed) who put up a resistance to the Czechs, Romanians and Serbs. Karolyi gets sent back to Paris to work out a diplomatic solution to the conflicts. This turns out to be a brilliant move on Bela Kun’s part, as Karolyi’s Party was organized completely around his persona, and with him out of the country, the Party can only accept what the communists are doing, as they have no initiative. In Paris, Karolyi is now greeted coldly, due to being seen as the one who allied with Bela Kun (though not ice-coldly – Bela Kun declares himself just a socialist, not a communist at this point, despite his party having a Marxist program), but nevertheless tries to lobby for better terms for Hungary. Slovakia is an early example of Hungary being able to fight back, the Czechs having to fight a simultaneous war with Austria over the Sudetenland and being involved in a conflict with the Poles in Tsesin. The Hungarians thus manage to push the Czechs out. Paris suggests a compromise, Hungary leaving Slovakia in return for being allowed to keep Transylvania, with the Czechoslovak-Hungarian border being decided by plebiscite (the goal is to compromise Czechoslovakia and Hungary, those two plus Poland and Yugoslavia being the Little Entente against Germany). Karolyi thinks it fair. Bela Kun does not. Through the Internationale, he has already come in contact with Lenin, presenting him with a vision of a Russian-Hungarian connection through Romania and Ukraine. Lenin sees Bela Kun’s successes as paramount for the global revolution and orders to move south west to Besarabia in spring 1919. This move diverts Romanian attention from Transylvania to Besarabia, as they fear that the Ukrainians and Whites will not hold – especially since the Poles are not in a hurry to save them. With less forces west, the Hungarians launch an effective campaign regaining Transylvania. The fighting in the south with Yugoslavia, while brutal due to urban warfare isn’t as dramatic, as from the Yugoslav perspective, they moved into the territory they wanted an stopped (French political pressures preventing Belgrade from taking further action). The Hungarian offensive is a Pyrrhic victory, as the Red Guards bleed themselves out attacking fortified towns and cities. They manage, but deplete themselves while Yugoslavia still has fresh reinforcments.
The Treaty of Trianon (which is different than the OTL one) is thus suggested, meant to strip Hungary from much of the territory it managed to keep. Bela Kun refuses, but offers different terms – Croatia goes to Yugoslavia (since it is already outside Hungary’s control), Zips and Orava to Poland, Hungary signs the charter on the protection of minorities as well as an alliance with France and Poland against Germany. London is very unhappy, having supported Czechoslovakia from the start; Paris is more pleased with it (there may be some governmental changes taking place to justify this, the French faction opting for Large Hungary over Czechoslovakia getting to power). The Not-Trianon peace treaty is signed with Hungary, and soon turns out to have been a huge mistake – as Bela Kun, having secured the country’s borders, being in control of the military and police as well as being a folk hero starts his purges against political opponents – including Karolyi. All political opposition is banned, whatever constitution that was introduced or promised by him is/remains suspended, Hungary descends into a Red Dictatorship. Still nominally tied with its alliance with France, it exists on paper only.
This is a basic framework you can use as a prologue. Basically, Bela Kun does not voice his communist sympathies so early and is the leader of the Socialist Party which grew in popularity during WW1 because of its opposition to it – thus leaving Hungary with a somewhat better administration in 1918. Karolyi manages to give the Hungarians better press among the Entente thanks to his Hungarian National Committee, as well as does not disband the honvedseg, giving Hungary a better military. After that, Hungary basically manages to roll sixes a number of times in a row, with Czechia not being able to send its full forces against Hungary (maybe some Austrian followed Karolyi example, formed an Austrian National Committee in Paris too, thus making a war between the Republic of German Austria and Czechia), Romania diverting part of its military east to protect against the approaching Bolsheviks and the Serbs simply stopping their advance due to French pressures, as they want Yugoslavia and Hungary in the same anti-German bloc. This saves it from losing a lot of territory. And only after that does Bela Kun’s communist spirit truly show up, starting the revolution. You can use those loose ideas if you wantto go further with your timeline. I don't think any of the above would strongly contradict what you wrote about later times.
05-06-2013 12:04 PMMSZHi!
I'm glad you like my work and treat me as someone you can actually turn to for an opinion. I'm really flattered. I actually read what you wrote before logging on and saw that you sent me a PM, so I'm going to anwser here rather than on the topic page - unless you want me to post there as well.
Since you ask my opinion, I am going to be honest with you rather than just give a one-word anwser. Please don't take it the wrong way, I myself am hardly a writer so my opinions are just my opinions. Your timeline is, well, short. Personally I like it when PoDs and their results are explained in some detail. Your timeline has two rather large ones – Hungary going communist and Trianon not being enforced. I think you should explain in more detail just how that managed to happen. A Central Powers member not suffering almost no territorial losses (As I understand, it was just Croatia, Burgenland, Zips and Orava that were lost, though it more like being silently implied than stated, maybe that should be mentioned) and a communist state surviving in the middle of Europe – both are unlikely to have happened.
The Slovak Socialist Republic existed only on paper and really did not have any kind of popular support. It wasn’t a state even really, just territory under the control of the Hungarians who joined the Hungarian Red Army when it was forming, and who happened to be stationed in Slovakia. There was no Slovak Communist Party to speak of, and even within the Czechslovak Communist Party the Slovaks were only a minority. The Slovaks wouldn’t support any type of continued Hungarian rule and would rather turn to Czechia (like OTL) or Poland for help. And I think that you have put Janousek as the leader of Slovakia just because he was the self-proclaimed leader of the SSR for two weeks. He wasn’t even Slovak, he couldn’t have lasted in any position of power.
Further, Communist Hungary seems to have had no effect on the post-war situation in Europe. It should have, for example during the Anschluss, assuming Hitler even gets to power ITTL, or doesn’t turn against Hungary before moving on the USSR. You should have given more details and information on at least how the Hungarian Federal Social Soviet Republic reacted to the interwar occurrences. And later the Cold War. But this is simply repeating that the timeline is too short and that apart from stating facts which have transpired, there could be more descriptions added – like with how collectivization occurring in the various SSR’s.
I like the pictures and the format of “middle-size paragraph – picture - middle-size paragraph – picture – and so on and so on”. Also the larger font makes it well-readable. And you made your own maps, that’s cool, I always have a big problem with those. You gave a good description of the internal situation of Hungary – that’s what I really like, too many TL's in my opinion concentrate on “target country becomes super powerful and expands territorially” with no description as to what happened internally to allow it to happen, nor how it affected the country itself. You avoided that, which is great.
So maybe you can treat what you wrote as the “skeleton” of the timeline and now make further chapters concentrating on the passing decades one by one, or on Hungarian reaction to European/Global events? That could be an interesting story, especially since every reader would already now the result - it would be up to them to speculate as to what happened that allowed for TTL result to occur as opposed to what happened OTL. You could get a nice discussion going, providing you with the data you need - a Chris Carter effect of sort.
10-03-2012 06:53 AMAJNolteI need to do an update on central and western NA (Ojibwe-Arapaho wars), then I'll catch up the rest of North America and the British Isles. I definitely have some ideas. However, I just started a new RL job, so might take some time before I can post again. I'll have it up ASAP though.