Czechoslovak-Hungarian War Interwar Discourse: Between Silence and Heroization
The end of WW I brought the collapse of the great Central-European Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy. The resulting process of forming and shaping successor states was less than smooth, resulting at times in armed clashes or wars. One such battle was the Czechoslovak-Hungarian War in 1919, an occupation by the Hungarian Red Army of an important part of Slovakia. Czechoslovak armed forces, first commanded by an Italian military mission then a French military mission, were not able to push the enemy out from the territory of this new-born state.
The focus of this paper is on how the Czechoslovak-Hungarian War was communicated in the interwar period by actors on the Czechoslovak side. In Czechoslovak discourse, it was either omitted or the few successes of Czechoslovak armed forces were emphasized, such as the battle of Nové Zámky. The French blamed the Italian command, yet at the same time hailed the merits of General Pellé, head of the French military mission, and his generals for “saving Slovakia”. For international political reasons, Italy also chose not to draw attention to this military episode but rather to applaud the successes of the Czechoslovak legions in Italy in 1918.