1848 - 2017
Commemorating Hungarian National Day
|March 15 is Hungarian National Day commemorating the 1848 War of Independence and fight for Liberation and Democracy. Kossuth Lajos (Louis) (b. 1802, d. 1894, pronounced co-shoot luh-yôsh) was Governor of Hungary and leader during fight for independence which was eventually defeated by the union of the royalist Austrian Habsburg and Russian Czarist Armies (1848 - 1849). Kossuth envisioned a federation in the Kingdom of Hungary in which all nationalties participated in a vibrant democratic system based on fundamental democratic principles such as equality and parliamentary representation. The bloody conflict eventually led to a great compromise known as the "Austro-Hungarian Empire," in which Hungary gained some autonomy, although Kossuth would have no part in it and demanded full indepependence until his death. It also inadvertantly set the seeds for Hungary's dismemberment after WWI.
3/26/2018 - On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, the American Hungarian Federation and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation hosted a Congressional Reception commemorating Hungarian National Day, Lajos Kossuth and the 1848 Hungarian War of Independence, and honoring Representatives Andy Harris (R-MD) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Hungarian Caucus who were presented with AHF's Lajos Kossuth Award in recognition of their support in strengthening U.S. relations with Hungary and of democracy and human and minority rights in Central and Eastern Europe. [Read more]
3/17/2017 - The American Hungarian Federation's annual commemoration of Hungarian National Day and the anniversary of its historic 1848 democratic revolution led by Louis Kossuth for 2017 was held at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC and coincided with a meeting of the Regional Hungarian Diaspora Council. The keynote addresses were provided by Deputy State Secretary Dr. Péter Szilágyi and AHF Chairman Frank Koszorus, Jr. [read more]
3/15/2014 - AHF commemorates Hungarian National Day and the 1848 War of Independence. The 1848 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight sought to throw off the Austrian Yoke. It was quelled under the combined forces of Imperial Austria and Russia, but its impact is felt even today.
Each year, speakers focus on the significance of the 1848 revolution and how its ideals and goals relate to today's Hungary, including the need for unity, honest political debate, the political and human rights situation in Central and Eastern Europe and relations with the United States. This year's keynote address was delivered by Tamas Fellegi former Hungarian Minister of National Development and President of the Hungarian Initiatives Foundation. Other remarks given by Hungarian Ambassador Gyorgy Szapary. [read more]
3/09/2013 - AHF commemorates Hungarian National Day and the 1848 War of Independence. The annual commemoration emphasized the relevance of Kossuth and the historic fight for democracy to today, Hungary's revered history of standing up for freedom and liberty against great odds, and the serious human and minority rights challenges facing ethnic-Hungarian communities throughout the Carpathian basin.
3/11/2012 - AHF commemorates Hungarian National Day and the 1848 War of Independence. The commemoration emphasized Hungary's revered history of standing up for freedom and liberty against great odds, including in 1848 – 1849, and urged that this history not defamed through political expediency. [read more]
3/15/2011 - The American Hungarian Federation of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., holds annual commemoration of the 1848 War of Liberation. Hungarian Ambassador George Szapary's Keynote Address was a welcome paradigm shift in Hungarian official policy toward Hungarians in the diaspora. AHF President Frank Koszorus reflected on what Kossuth's legacy means to us today: "Let us reach out and find all who want to participate [to] ensure democracy for all Hungarians and advance the foreign policy interests of our great American homeland. [read more]
3/15/2010 - Hungarian Americans commemorate Hungarian National Day. President Obama sends congratulations. The 1848 Hungarian Revolution, under its leader Louis Kossuth, sought to throw off the Austrian Yoke. It failed after Russian intervention, but its impact on the United States is felt even today. This year's commemoration was organized by the American Hungarian Federation of Metropolitan Washington, DC, and held on March 14, 2:30 p.m., at the Kay Spiritual Center of the American University. [read more]
3/15/2009 - AHF of Washington, DC's Commemorates the 1848 Hungarian Revolution and War of Liberation. The Chapel at Wesley Theological Seminary at American University in Washington, D.C., was once again the setting for AHFDC's annual commemoration of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution and War of Liberation in which Hungary sought to establish a democratic republic and split with Austria under its leader Louis Kossuth. This year, speakers focused on the significance of the 1848 revolution and how its ideals and goals relate to the political climate in today's Hungary.
This years keynote speaker, the Rev. Judit Mayer, commented that today's politicians could learn from the heroes of 1848 who put the nation ahead of their own personal political agenda: "A politikai önzetlenség példáját jellemzi, hogy március 15-én a később "márciusi ifjaknak" nevezett fiatalok átengedték a vezetést a mérsékelt liberálisok vezéregyéniségeinek, akik ismertebbek és elfogadhatóbbak voltak a polgárok számára. Nem a saját politikai vágyaik kielégitése volt a mérvadó, hanem az, hogy mi jó a nemzetnek. A mai politikusok közül sokaknak talán róluk kellene példát venni." [read more]
3/18/2007 - Washington-area Hungarians commemorate the 1848 Revolution... Hungarians in the Washington Metropolitan area gathered Sunday, March 18, 2007 at the Wesley Theological Seminary, to commemorate March 15 and the 1848 Hungarian Revolution. The American Hungarian Federation of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., organized the event, andmembers of the Bathori Jozsef Hungarian Scout Troup of Washington provided a good part of the program.
AHF Co-President (and President of AHFDC) Frank Koszorus, Jr.'s address, "Kossuth and the Meaning of Democracy," focused attention on the dangers of "illberal democracy" and the "tyranny of the majority" in Central and Eastern Europe. [read more]
3/26/2006 - AHF of Washington, DC's annual 1848 commemoration. The Chapel at Wesley Theological Seminary at American University in Washington, D.C., was the setting for this year's commemoration which featured speeches on Louis Kossuth and the implications of 1848 on recent Hungarian politics and ethnic relations in the Carpathian Basin.
The keynote speaker was Andras Ferenc Bodor who remarked, "Én ahhoz a generációhoz tartozom, amelyik a márciusi ifjak forradalmi attitudjét 1988-89-ben vitték a budapesti utcákra a kommunista diktatúra hatalmi gépezetével szemben. Ezzel a generációval szebben bánt a sors, nekünk nem kellett az életünket áldoznunk a harcunk sikeréért, és nem kellett a hazánkat elhagynunk egy elbukott - mondhatnánk, hogy csak a hosszútávú hatásában gyoztes - harc után." [download his speech here]. The event was closed by a stirring speech Rev. Gábor Nagy. [read more]
March 15th marks Hungary's National Day and the anniversary of its historic 1848 democratic revolution led by Louis Kossuth against Hapsburg domination. “I believe the example of Hungary proves that freedom is universal. I believe everybody desires to live in freedom,” President Bush said. “It's an example that tyranny can never stamp out the desire to be free.” Numerous AHF members joined the event chair, Congressman Tom Lantos and distiguished speakers and guests that included Congressmen Pelosi, Hastert, Reid, Frist, and Hyde, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Hungarian Ambassador Simonyi, Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, and US Ambassador to Hungary Walker in the US Capitol.
3/14/2004 - AHF Celebrating Hungary's National Day in Washington, D.C...The American Hungarian Federation celebrated March 15th, Hungary's National Day commemorating the 1848 democratic revolution headed by Louis Kossuth. AHF's 1st Vice President Frank Koszorus and Louis Segesvary delivered poignant speeches on the life and impact of Kossuth, only the second foreign leader to address a joint session of Congress. Click to [download the full article] by AHF's Dr. Louis Segesvary.
4/6/2002 - Louisiana Hungarians unveil Kossuth Plaque in New Orleans. The plaque was placed in Lafayette Park in front of Gallier Hall in the old New Orleans city center, near to where Kossuth addressed a large audience in 1852. While thousands came to greet him, the welcome was not unanimous due to Kossuth's democratic and anti-slavery viewpoints. The bronze relief casting was done by AHF's Gyuri Hollósy.
The inscription reads, "Kossuth 1802-1894. Here on March 30, 1852 Louis Kossuth Governor of Hungary Leader of the 1848 revolution addressed the Citizens of New Orleans. Hungarians of Louisiana, Árpádhon And Hungarians Worldwide" The project initiators were Dr. Istvan Gergátz and wife Julianna Bika. [read more]
7/13//2001 - Laszlo and Agnes Fulop and the Minnesota Hungarians participate in unveiling of Kossuth Statue in Kossuth County, Iowa. The County was founded on January 15, 1851, honoring Hungary's increasingly popular hero, Kossuth. Iowa governor Hampstead had invited Kossuth to visit the State in early 1852.
Conveying his regrets, Kossuth instead suggested that associations be formed to provide Hungary with "material aid" Several communities within the County have named streets after Kossuth as well. The County's population and leadership had not lost track of its history. Culmination was the 150th anniversary of its founding in 2001 with its observances. [read more]
5/2/1961 - Mrs. Bela Bachkai of the American Hungarian Federation of Washington DC presented the County with a stylized Hungarian coat of arms,since displayed in the third floor hallway of the County Courthouse in Algona.
"the house of Habsburg-Lorraine, perjured in the sight of
God and man, had forfeited the Hungarian throne."
"All for the people and all by the people. Nothing about
the people without the people. That is Democracy, and that is the ruling
tendency of the spirit of our age."
Kossuth Lajos (b. 1802, d. 1894, pronounced co-shoot luh-yôsh) was Governor of Hungary during fight for independence and democracy which was eventually defeated by the union of the royalist Austrian Habsburg and Russian Czarist Armies (1848 - 1849). Kossuth envisioned a federation in the Kingdom of Hungary in which all nationalties participated in a vibrant democratic system based on fundamental democratic principles such as equality and parliamentary representation. The bloody conflict eventually led to a great compromise known as the "Austro-Hungarian Empire," in which Hungary gained some autonomy. although Kossuth would have no part in it and demanded full indepependence until his death.
The speech from which the above excerpt is taken was given over a decade before Lincoln's famed "for the people, by the people" speech given at Gettysburg in 1863. Kossuth was the first foreign Statesman officially invited to the US since the Marquis de Lafayette. His upcoming speech in the Congress of the United States made the pre-civil war joint house nervous due to his democratic views on equality of all men. Kossuth learned English while in prison and exile and spoke to half the population of the US who enthusiastically greeted and flocked to hear him. Despite Hungary's epic struggle and Kossuth's brave and noble efforts, the US, the "Bastion of Democracy" turned him away, empty handed. Hungary was alone again in its fight for democracy in 1956, and didn't gain freedom until 1989 and would soon join NATO.
Today, there are many reminders of Kossuth's impact on America and the world. In North America, there is a Kossuth County in the state of Iowa, a town with his name in Indiana, Ohio and Mississippi, a settlement with a Kossuth Post Office is in Pennsylvania. In addition, there are Kossuth statues and plaques in New York, Cleveland, Akron, New Orleans, Washington, and Ontario, Canada. The Hungarian Reformed Federation's building on Dupont Circle, in Washington, DC is called Kossuth House with a memorial plaque commemorating his speech on democracy. See the picture gallery and memorials on Louis Kossuth in North America.
The renowned Ralph Waldo Emerson said in greeting Kossuth on his arrival at Concord, MA, May 11, 1852:
"[we] have been hungry to see the man whose extraordinary eloquence is seconded by the splendor and the solidity of his actions."
Kossuth was greeted with wild enthusiasm across the country. He was only the second foreign leader (second to Lafayette) to address a joint session of Congress. The American Hungarian Federation dedicated a bust that now sits proudly in the US Capitol - it reads, "Louis Kossuth, Father of Hungarian Democracy" [read more]
Louis Kossuth Speak! [Click Here] - This is the speech of Louis Kossuth which he gave for the dedication of the statue for the 13 Hungarian generals, who were executed at Arad, Hungary, on October 6, 1849 (Arad is in Rumania today after annexation due to the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 ).
Louis Kossuth was exiled after the fall of the Hungarian Liberation Fight of 1848 and made his permanent home in Torino (Turin), Italy. He could not attend the dedication of the monument at Arad, without risking arrest, so he recorded his speech inTurin, and sent it to Arad using the new technology of sound recording, called the phonograph.
The original recording on two wax cylinders for the Edison phonograph survives to this day, although barely audible due to excess playback and unsuccessful early restoration attempts. Lajos Kossuth is the earliest born person in the world who has his voice preserved. Since the audio is of such poor quality, here is it is transcribed in Hungarian and translated to English (special thanks to Louis Kossuth in North America)