Trianon 100 – Moment of disastrous treaty commemorated by the ringing of fifteen thousand bells
Today, at precisely 4.30 pm, thousands of bells rang out across the Carpathian Basin signalling the moment the Treaty of Trianon was signed. Exactly 100 years ago, on June 4th, 1920, Hungary lost 67% of its territory and 57% of its population. Nearly three million Hungarians were stranded outside the borders of the new Hungary, and a thousand-year-old country was drastically changed forever.
On the National Day of Cohesion, the bells tolled in the churches of Catholics, Evangelic Lutherans, and in Reformed Churches alike to mark the exact date of the Trianon Treaty a hundred years ago, when Hungarian politicians signed the peace treaty in the Great Trianon castle in Versailles, France, after World War I had ended.
Almost two years after World War I, Hungarians had to face another, even more significant loss: the dismantling of historical Hungary—the millenary Kingdom of Saint Stephen, who was the first Christian king of the country.
Everyone believed the treaty was unjust and forced upon Hungarians. Losing two-thirds of its territory along with more than three million Hungarians caused the greatest shock in the modern history of the nation
The Federation of Christian Intellectuals (KÉSZ) first came up with the idea in February to toll the bells in the churches of the Carpathian Basin. They called parishes and congregations regardless of creed to toll the bells for 100 seconds at 4:30 pm on June 4th. Later in May, the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference also joined in the initiative.
Today’s event, when around 15,000 bells rang at the same time across the Carpathian Basin, commemorated the events of a hundred years ago when bells were ringing for hours in protest and remembrance.
Commemorations have been and are being held across the country and beyond the borders today to mark the anniversary. In the capital, Budapest, in addition to ringing the church bells, public transport also stopped for one minute at 4:30 pm, through an initiative of Mayor Gergely Karácsony. This gesture echoed the events in 1920 when public transport stopped for ten minutes at the time the Treaty of Trianon was signed.