“All of them Will be Back by Autumn!” Cover Image

„Őszre hazajönnek mind!”
“All of them Will be Back by Autumn!”

The Prisoner of War Question and Hungarian Society in the Columns of the Pesti Hírlap, 1920–1923

Author(s): Eszter Kaba
Subject(s): Interwar Period (1920 - 1939)
Published by: AETAS Könyv- és Lapkiadó Egyesület

Summary/Abstract: The peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk (Russia's separate peace), which ended World War I, did not automatically bring about the possibility for the hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war taken by Russia to return to their home country. Prisoners of war held in the territories east of the Ural, in Turkestan and Siberia, often had to wait years to see their motherland again. A couple of factors, including the Russian-Hungarian diplomatic relations, the general conditions in Soviet Russia and the limited financial means of the Hungarian government, stood in the way of their return. At the beginning of the 1920s, the prisoner of war question was a topic Hungarian society was concerned with on a daily basis, which was mirrored in the columns of one the most popular dailies at the time, the Pesti Hírlap. The newspaper echoed the official views of the government on this topic, but it also encouraged direct social involvement: its articles emphasized that opening diplomatic negotiations and finding the financial means required for bringing the captives home were both essential to the successful settlement of the prisoner of war problem. The articles published in the newspaper used graphic descriptions to illustrate the fate of those languishing in Russian captivity, which resulted in the launch of a then unprecedented fundraising campaign to which almost all social groups contributed. Thanks to the money collected and the settlement of the diplomatic relations, it became possible to bring the prisoners of war home, and the newspaper did not fail to report on how they were welcomed, either. But from the flower-adorned railway stations and passionate words of welcome, the one-time prisoners of war were taken to disarmament camps, and subsequently even to detention camps in some cases, where the ex-soldiers were also accompanied by the correspondent of the daily.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 97-108
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: Hungarian