First Vienna Arbitration
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseAs required by the Munich Agreement, Czechoslovakia was to peacefully settle territorial disputes with Hungary and Poland. These territorial disputes were largely the result of the Treaty of Trianon of 1920 that forced Hungary, a successor state to the defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire, to cede territory to Czechoslovakia. Between Czechoslovakia and Hungary, they began their negotiations on 8 Oct 1938, but the negotiations soon came to a deadlock. Hungary attempted to threaten Czechoslovakia with a partial mobilization with its military; undaunted, Czechoslovakia declared martial law in its border regions in response. Knowing that its forces were no match for the Czechoslovakian military, Hungary appealed to Germany and Italy for assistance. Italy announced that, should the participating parties fail to reach a peaceful conclusion, the four powers that presided over the Munich Agreement was to mandate their own solution; the four powers were Germany, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Germany communicated to Hungary that it would not receive German backing should Hungary start a war with Czechoslovakia, thus suggesting the Hungary should return to the negotiating table.
ww2dbaseIn mid-Oct, Poland proposed to partition the contested Subcarpathian Rus among Hungary, Poland, and Romania; this plan was opposed by Romania, which was an ally of Czechoslovakia's. On 20 Oct, the Rusyns proposed a plebiscite by the people of Carpathorus to decide whether it should go to Hungary entirely; for that suggestion, Subcarpathian Prime Minister Andriy Borody was placed under arrest at Prague, Czechoslovakia on 25 Oct. On 22 Oct, Czechoslovakia made another offer, suggesting ceding part of southern Slovakia and part of Subcarpathian Rus to Hungary; this was rejected. On 27 Oct, in Rome, Italy, Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano persuaded his German counterpart Joachim von Ribbentrop that Germany and Italy should move in to arbitrate. On 29 Oct, Czechoslovakia and Hungary officially agreed to the German-Italian arbitration proposal.
ww2dbaseAt noon on 2 Nov 1938, representatives of involved nations met at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria, with Ribbentrop and Ciano presiding over the First Vienna Arbitration. Foreign Minister Kálmán Kánya led the Hungarian delegation, while Foreign Minister Frantisek Chvalkovsky led the Czechoslovakian delegation. Jozef Tiso and Hermann Göring were also in attendance, among others. Ribbentrop and Ciano concluded the conference at 1900 hours, revealing a decision that strongly favored the Hungarians. An area 11,927 square kilometers in size was to be ceded to Hungary, which had about 1,060,000 inhabitants. The decision was made largely with ethnic concerns. This decision was known as the First Vienna Award.
ww2dbaseHungary occupied the newly acquired territory between 5 and 10 Nov. Hungarian Regent Miklós Horthy toured Kosice on 11 Nov. On 12 Nov, the Hungarian Parliament officially incorporated the newly acquired territory into its borders, creating two new counties.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, the Allies declared both the First and Second Vienna Awards null and void, and the territories lost by Czechoslovakia were returned. Article 1 of the Treaty of Paris of 10 Feb 1947 specifically noted so, and it later re-established the Czechoslovakian-Hungarian border to, largely, that of 1 Jan 1938.
Last Major Update: Oct 2010
First Vienna Arbitration Timeline
|8 Oct 1938||Czechoslovakia and Hungary negotiated over territory, but the negotiations soon broke down, and Hungary threatened Czechoslovakia with war.|
|22 Oct 1938||Czechoslovakia offered Hungary a piece of territory in Subcarpathian Rus to Hungary, but Hungary rejected the offer, demanding more territory.|
|27 Oct 1938||Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano persuaded German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop that Germany and Italy should arbitrate over the Czechoslovakian-Hungarian territorial dispute.|
|29 Oct 1938||Czechoslovakia and Hungary agreed to allow Germany and Italy arbitrate their territorial dispute.|
|2 Nov 1938||Arbitration of Vienna gave Hungary southeastern Slovakia and Ruthenia.|
|5 Nov 1938||Hungary began to occupy territory ceded by Czechoslovakia per the First Vienna Award.|
|10 Nov 1938||Hungary completed the occupation of territory ceded by Czechoslovakia per the First Vienna Award.|
|12 Nov 1938||The Hungarian Parliament officially incorporated the newly acquired territory from Czechoslovakia into its borders.|
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Thomas Dodd, late 1945