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The Hungarian Royal Gendarmerie and Political Violence in “Happy Peaceful Times” (1881-1914)

Aliaksandr Piahanau
p. 85-110

Abstracts

This article deals with the social-political tensions in late Habsburg Hungary by exploring the coercive conduct of the Hungarian Royal Gendarmerie from its creation in 1881 up to the First World War. Through an analysis of narrative and statistical primary sources, the paper shows how the gendarmerie protected the dualist system from the perceived threats of nationalist and labour movements. It attempts to establish the situations in which the gendarmes resorted to physical aggression, how its dynamic changed over time, and the regions where the levels of force exercised by the gendarmerie were higher. Altogether, it argues that widespread physical violence was a central feature of social-political conflicts in pre-WW1 Hungary, with the gendarmes playing a crucial role.

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Excerpt

Full text document will be published online on August 2023.

Outline

Politics in dualist hungary and establishment of the royal gendarmerie (1867/1881-1914)
The gendarmerie’s propensity for violence
Conclusions

First lines

“Since religion has lost its power, what would keep unrestrained masses from crime? Only the gendarme’s bayonet.”

Alajos Csizmadia, Roman Catholic Vicar of Fadd, central Hungary, and law schofar (1904, LXXXI)

“The fear and hatred with which they [gendarmes] are regarded by the common people throughout Hungary, but especially by the Non-Magyars, is one of the most notorious facts in Hungarian country life; and indeed it is not necessary to travel long in Hungary without obtaining some practical illustration of their brutality. They are at all times over-ready with sabre and bayonet, and many think nothing of bestowing a kick or a box on the ears or of using the butts of their rifles against the ribs or back of a refractory peasant […].”

Robert Seton-Watson, British historien (1911, 12)

Peace does not necessarily equal absence of conflict. Nevertheless, many see fin-de-siècle Europe as the Belle Époque. Two generations, born and raised to adulthood after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 an...

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References

Bibliographical reference

Aliaksandr Piahanau, “The Hungarian Royal Gendarmerie and Political Violence in “Happy Peaceful Times” (1881-1914)”Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies, vol. 25, n°1 | 2021, 85-110.

Electronic reference

Aliaksandr Piahanau, “The Hungarian Royal Gendarmerie and Political Violence in “Happy Peaceful Times” (1881-1914)”Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies [Online], vol. 25, n°1 | 2021, Online since 05 August 2023, connection on 10 December 2022. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/chs/2903; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/chs.2903

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About the author

Aliaksandr Piahanau

Padova University
piahanau[at]gmail.com

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Copyright

All rights reserved

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