Slovaks, Hungarians argue over joint history textbook

Ivan Eckhardt and Zdeněk Mihalco
8. 2. 2008 6:00
Nationalists on both sides consider the idea wrong

Bratislava/Budapest - Slovakians and Hungarians plan to introduce a joint history textbook at schools in both of the countries within two years.

Both countries agreed on the general guidelines years ago. As for the contentious historic moments, each side will have a chance to present their viewpoints in the textbook.

Nationalists say "no"

However, it is precisely the duality of opinion that has met resistance of Slovakia´s Minister of Education Ján Mikolaj, a member of the nationalist Slovakian National Party (SNS). The SNS leader Ján Slota is fiercely hostile to the Hungarian minority in southern Slovakia.

Ján Slota, the leader of the Slovakian National Party
Ján Slota, the leader of the Slovakian National Party | Foto:

The notion of opposite views of Slovakian and Hungarian historians being presented in a single book was called "illogical" by Mikolaj and "inconsistent... simply impossible" by Slota.

Deputy PM Dušan Čaplovič of the senior government party Smer still favors the idea of having both views presented in the textbook.

Kosovo as a precedent?

Slovakia and Hungary are not the first countries to have a joint history textbook.

France and Germany and Germany and Poland - nations whose interrelated histories are as knotty as the one of Slovakia and Hungary - have already explored this terra incognita of education.  

Although the Czech Republic's relations to Poland and Germany is just as stormy, no projects of joint school books have been mentioned yet.

The general question of the status of ethnic minorities present all over Europe has lately been brought up yet again by the hot debate over the independence of Kosovo.

Slovakia and Romania oppose the independence of Kosovo, fearing that such an act could set up a precedent case for the Hungarian minorities living in both of these countries.

Some EU countries, the population of which is far from being homogenous, such as Cyprus or Spain, share the same point of view with Slovakia not to grant independence to ethnic minorities.

Disputed history of disputes

The history of Slovakia and Hungary is rife with bitter conflicts. Ethnically and linguistically alien to predominantly Slavic and German peoples in the region, Finno-Ugric Magyar tribes migrated to the area of today´s Central and Eastern Europe in the 9th century AD.

Eventually, their kingdom consumed the territory of present-day Slovakia and Slavic people living there. This situation remained virtually unchanged for nearly one millennium, until the onset of World War I.

Riots that took place in Hungary in 2006 revived the spectre of the violent past
Riots that took place in Hungary in 2006 revived the spectre of the violent past | Foto: Reuters

As one of the defeated powers, Hungary was territorially curtailed after the war. Trianon, the name of the palace near Versailles  where the treaty establishing the new borders was signed, is still a swearword to some Hungarians.

Bitter legacies still vivid

With huge minorities being left behind in neighboring countries including Slovakia, the politics of Hungary in the following tumultuous decades aimed to reintegrate the Hungarian territory.

Between 1938 to 1945, southern parts of Slovakia inhabited by Hungarians were annexed by Budapest. After World War II was over, with Hungary yet again on the losing side, the pre-war frontiers were re-established.

Nowadays, despite both states being members of the EU and part of the Schengen border-free zone, the mere existence of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia still bothers many Slovaks.


Právě se děje

před 1 hodinou

V Kongu po nehodě autobusu s cisternou převážející benzín uhořelo 33 lidí

V provincii Kwango na západě Konga při střetu autobusu s cisternou převážející pohonné hmoty uhořelo 33 lidí. Cisterna směřovala po jednom z hlavních tahů do metropole Kinshasy, zjistila agentura AFP z policejních zdrojů. Pozůstatky obětí dopravní nehody v pondělí ráno pohřbili.

"V noci ze soboty na neděli uhořelo 33 lidí při velkém požáru způsobeném kolizí rozměrného vozidla přepravujícího pohonné hmoty a přeplněného autobusu," uvedlo vedení místní policie. "Mohli jsme vyzvednout jen lebky, zbytek těl se nepodařilo najít. S úctou jsme je pohřbili dnes ráno," uvedl další policejní zdroj.

Dopravní nehody s četnými oběti na životech jsou v Kongu poměrně časté, na vině je špatný technický stav mnoha vozidel i silnic nebo opilí řidiči, někdy též bez potřebných znalostí. V říjnu 2018 na trase mezi Kinshasou a Matadi taktéž havarovala cisterna, při nehodě tehdy zemřelo 53 lidí. Tragickou bilanci 230 obětí měla nehoda cisterny v roce 2010.

Zdroj: ČTK
Další zprávy