Reply to an Article by Global Research: Post World War II History of Central Europe, from Yalta to Donald Trump, December, 2016
Although your recent piece of writing on central Europe is clearly based on good professional intention and has some good points in it, the article fundamentally lacks a sound knowledge and understanding of the region.
Empathy and an effort to being objective is shown up front by the use of the very term Central Europe (instead of earlier and in the West more usual Eastern Europe, which the people concerned always resented), but your objectivity just about stops right there. The first paragraph consists of four or five statements, each of which is so blatantly erroneous that one is almost tempted to think that the whole piece is simply balderdash.
Of the countries you deal with, let me remind you, as a Hungarian, of some facts mainly in connection with Hungary, which I know relatively best of the countries in question. You write about its leaders' „folly” for the country's participation in the war, taking somewhat lightly the tragic death toll, and the Hungarian leaders' frantic efforts to keep the country out of the war, which they managed to do until 1942, when it had to succumb to German pressure and Soviet provocation (the bombing of the Hungarian town Kassa). Nonetheless the Soviets had to „rescue the peoples of Central Europe.” I can hardly beleive my eyes when I read this. Much worse, you continue to write: „the next four decades would represent the fastest economic and social progress the countries of Central Europe have ever known.” Gentlemen, are you sure you know what you are talking about? If you had bothered to open any schoolbook on recent Hungarian history, you would know that of the several golden ages of Hungary, the latest one occurred between 1867-1914, time of the dual monarchy, a continuous economic boom, when the country approached and in some ways surpassed its Western European neighbors. Conversely, right after the Soviet invasion and during the Soviet occupation, your favorite era, people began to be accused, arrested, deported, imprisoned, tortured and killed. Those who survived would mostly starve and be deprived of every social right including not only international but partly even domestic travel. A total ban on free expression would comperatively be a minor problem. All of these things, and many others were the reason for the outbreak of 1956 revolution. Following '56 in the 60s and 70s, an almost equally destructive economic repression, i. e. exploitation followed. Uranium-laden trains were leaving the country for the Sovet Union uncounted and unaccounted for, bundles of Hungarian earned dollars were landing in Moscow safes and we never knew what else went accross the border every day in the continuous state-run trafficking.
Most of the rest of your article deals with the economic relations of Central Europe and the West, mainly with the European Union, of which Central Europe has incidentally been an integral part for more then a decade now. Yet, you argue that the EU continues to subsidize Central Europe and its „eastward expansion has become a net liability for the wealthier partners.” For my part I would equally strongly argue that Central Europe has become a lucrative market for the EU; that they knew that it would, and that is mainly why they supported accession in the first place.
Gentlemen, you are absolutely correct in writing that „Central European countries have lost, through rapid privatization, most of their national industries to foreign (let me add: western) conglomerates….” But then you add in the next sentence that „These practices … have turned Central Europe into net burden on the West. Clearly, both statements can hardly be true at the same time. I suggest that you take a look at the facts, and then make up your mind.
Dr. L. Pordany