László Szarka: The Slovak autonomy and the alternative of the ethnic revision in autumn 1938. The dilemma of János Esterházy in the months of the Czechoslovak crisis

The study examines the behaviour and the political conception of the United Hun­garian Party established in 1936 by fusion, during the months of the 1938 crisis in Czechoslovakia. The leadership of the party of the Hungarian minority attempted to re-consider the available domestic and foreign policy alternatives in order to achieve the improvement of the situation of Hungarians in the Slovak and Ruthenian parts of the country. Party chairman Andor Jaross, executive chairman János Esterházy and parliamentary group leader Géza Szüllő attempted to undertake the task of matching the interests of the Hungarian minority community with the Slovak aspirations for autonomy and the Hungarian revisionist foreign policy. They sought to preserve the chance that the Slovak autonomy is implemented within the framework of the Kingdom of Hungary. For Jaross and Szüllő, the objectives of the revision were of absolute priority all the time. Esterházy, at the same time, considered as important that the Slovak autonomy policy is influenced by Hungary – inter alia, because of the regional aspects of the Polish and Hungarian foreign policy and because he was aware that the Third Reich was endangering the whole of Central Europe. For this purpose, he met the leaders of the Slovak People´s Party several times, although it was continually drawing off the Hungarian aspirations. For the Hungarian government, rejecting the revision proposal of Hitler´s Germany applying for the whole of Slovakia, the only solution acceptable also for the four major European powers was the alternative of ethnic revision. The only task that remained for Ester­hazy in autumn 1938 was to prevent the fatal aggravation of the Hungarian–Slovak relations by upholding dialogue.