Variants for Self-determination in Sáros and Abaúj-Torna Counties. Case Study on the Regional Implications of the Collapse of Hungary and the Establishment of the Czechoslovak State at the End of 1918

As Minister for National Minorities of the Károlyi Government, Oszkár Jászi saw clearly that the eastern Slovak movement in north-eastern Hungary, like the republican vision in Szepes (Slovak: Spiš), was a powerless movement from the very beginning. Their governmental support would have only deepened domestic and foreign policy tensions. Their social base was very weak from the outset. In Sáros (Slovak: Šariš) and Szepes counties, it was equally a movement of Hungarian county elites worried about their positions, who wanted to use the given historical moment mainly for the preservation of their remaining way of life, wealth, and influence. At the same time, the role and the importance of Kassa (Slovak: Košice) and the activities of government commissioner Miklós Molnár were acknowledged in Budapest too, but they were confronted with the military weakness, diplomatic isolation and complete lack of support from the great powers to the historical Hungarian state facing disintegration. The Dvorčáks, by proclaiming on behalf of the “Eastern Slovaks” their “people’s republic” that was not registered by anyone and remained unnoticed even locally, actually accelerated the Czechoslovak military occupation of the region. In the case of Kassa, it can be concluded that the city’s leadership in November–December 1918 had to find solutions to increasingly serious problems in a difficult situation. As government commissioner, Miklós Molnár repeatedly asked the Budapest government to send troops to defend the city against Czechoslovak legions and to help keep the city in Hungarian hands. Sensing the changed political situation, the unresolved public order and security problems, the city leadership instructed Miklós Molnár to negotiate with the leaders of the Czechoslovak state and army on the temporary occupation of the city by Czechoslovakia until the decision of the peace conference.