Friday, August 31, 2012

Rongyos Gárda commemoration

Rongyos Gárda members pose for a picture in 1921. They defended Hungary's territorial sovereignty.

The Rongyos Gárda, known as the "Ragged Guards" in English, were a Hungarian non-regular paramilitary set up in 1921. They were a mix of veterans from World War One and citizens (militia). They defended the Hungarian territory around the city of Sopron after the Treaty of Trianon (1920). The Austrians wanted to seize that part of Hungary after WW1. The area was a mix of Hungarians and German-speakers.

The Gárda successfully led attacks against the Austrians forcing them to leave and give up their plans on taking that part of Hungary. For a very brief time, they created their own self-proclaimed republic called Lajtabánság.

The Rongyos Gárda were reformed in 1938 and led attacks and operations into Slovakia in trying to retake the lost Hungarians lands there. Their operations contributed to the decision of the Czechoslovakian government to accept an international arbitration to solve the territorial dispute. (See First Vienna Award). On August the 28th, various Hungarian nationalist groups commemorated the Rongyos Gárda in Budapest.

Speeches were given about the significance of the Gárda and what impact they had. Many see them as Hungarian patriots who defended their land and who were the only ones fighting the Trianon Peace Pact's dictations. During the communist years, they were portrayed as savage terrorists who murdered people. I guess one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. It all depends on how you look at it.