PM Orban: Nation-building work of Istvan Bethlen offers useful solutions for today's challenges
In his opening message at Tuesday's conference marking the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Bethlen government, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban praised the country-building work of former PM Istvan Bethlen.
Viktor Orban expressed his conviction that the “decades-long nation-building work of Istvan Bethlen and his government, which has been neglected and at times even wifully falsified for decades, can provide useful solutions to the current challenges of our time”.
The premier’s letter to the conference entitled The Formation of the Bethlen government and the Intellectual Background of the Consolidation, jointly organised by the Veritas Historical Research Institute and Archives and the Public Collections and Public Education Directorate of the Office of the Parliament, was read by Parliament Press Chief Zoltan Szilagyi in the former upper house chamber of the National Assembly building.
“The achievements of a government and its prime minister are best measured by comparing the situation of the country he was mandated to lead at the starting point, and then at the finishing point.”
The legacy of Prime Minister Bethlen‘s governance was much more than crisis management, it laid the foundations and organised a new homeland, enabling the rebirth of a free and independent Hungary, Mr Orban wrote.
Mr Orban recalled that in the spring of 1921, Istvan Bethlen took over a country on the brink of financial and economic collapse, completely isolated in foreign policy, surrounded by hostile countries, deprived of two-thirds of its territory, more than half of its population and the vast majority of its natural resources, which was barely recovering from the blood loss of the World War, the Spanish flu and the Bolshevik terror. A mass of problems of such magnitude could have easily buried even black-belt crisis managers, he added.
Istvan Bethlen, however, was able to successfully complete this seemingly hopeless task because he did not seek a solution in the world-changing ideologies of his time, but assessed the situation of the remaining country and the nation as a whole in accordance with the real possibilities. He did what he could, relying on what was available to him, Mr Orban stressed, adding that Istvan Bethlen trusted in the strength, talent and exceptional self-healing capacity of the Hungarian nation. And this was enough to build a homeland for the Hungarians from a seemingly nonviable torso, by fitting together the building blocks scattered by hostile external and internal forces, Mr Orban concluded.