Hungary’s entry for Eurovision


Although there is always controversy about an entry in English, this is Compact Disco’s “Sound of our Hearts.” It’s very Hungarian modern and doesn’t have much folk sound or look, but it is an interesting and powerful video and, I think, a pretty good song.

Today, Europe goes to WAR!!!

Okay, yes, it’s the grand final of the Eurovision song contest! Tonight we will see the entries of 26 countries put on their best performances in hopes of winning the contest. The winner gets to host the contest next year, among other incentives. Eurovision was always said to be (or complained to be) quite political, and publications in Hungary earlier this year were posing the question, “Who are we going to send to lose this year?” Yes, destroying EU crops, being punished for poor economic choices, continually refusing Serbia’s hoped-for entry into the EU (I can’t make this stuff up. 🙂 Well, that’s only the beginning… it’s safe to say that the EU and many other countries aren’t too happy with Hungary.

Yet, for the purposes of this blog, I feel the need to tell that both Hungary and Bosnia/Herzegovina are in the Grand Final! 


I am currently …


I am currently watching Oh! What a Lovely War for the first time. I got accidentally punched in the face today and I have a very bad cold. However, I made quiche lorraine, finally found this film, and am now enjoying it with my big, fuzzy blanket.

I’m quite too tired to write anything meaningful and it has been a while, but my review of The Lost History of 1914 is written (it simply needs typing.)

Also, I’m not going back to Hungary this summer 😦 but I will be in a new part of the U.S. learning a lot about WWI! (excited would be an understatement!)




This might now be as funny to you but on first glance at my note it is appearing that one is deciding between the actual World War I and my country. um… Maybe this has been written as such before?? 😉

I am contemplating my options for life this summer. I have a very short time to decide what I should do.

I would be very honoured to have more opinions, especially from people interested in history, museum work, and graduate school for history.

In case you cannot read my notes (most is in English, I promise!) here is the basic conundrum…

1. I can go back to Hungary to work at the summer camp like always.

2. I could (if chosen) be an intern at the WWI Museum in the United States.

As homesick for Budapest as I might be in Chicago, I really really enjoy studying the First World War and hope to do my masters work on the subject at a university also in the U.S.

I can later go to Central European University, but I won’t every have this kind of opportunity to intern in a WWI museum (obviously because we don’t have one in Hungary!)

Yet, relocating to Kansas City (would be great fun!) but expensive. We’re probably talking much more expensive than the plane ticket.

I really am at a loss for what to do.

The deadline for my WWI internship application is 30 April. I know I could send it anyway and go from there, but I don’t want to be dedicated already to two different opportunities.

Any suggestions?

make sachertorte, not ultimatums!

The first step to making an amazing sachertore is to turn on Liszt, Dvořák, or Bartók in the background. Make sure it meets acceptable Habsburg sound codes, not too loud, but loud enough to appreciate each note.

For the torte you will need to acquire apricot jam, some semisweet chocolate, some flour, tiny salt, 6 eggs, butter, and vanilla.


use fine ingraved folk design tools! 🙂

Heat your oven to 165 degrees and to a bigger number if you’re American and use “F.” Put some butter and flour on the bottom and side of the pan (it’s usually round, but you can deviate [even if the Austrians don’t like it!])

Combine only the egg whites. Beat them as fast as you can and take out your anger at our backwards mess of a government at them!

Then, calm…….


(I don’t know either!) o_O

The anthem begins to play and Kaiser Franz Josef himself enters to see how you are making this (multi) national cake!

Slowly and beautifully pour the sugar in to the tune of the anthem.

Okay. Show’s over.

Beat the eggs and sugar again with intensity. You can’t understand the lyrics of the national anthem! Who do they think they are!?

In another bowl, combine more butter and more sugar. Wisk the egg yolks and semi sweet chocolate until it’s light and fluffy like… um, the Kaiser himself!

Fold the ingredients together.


Put in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes.

Eat a Milka bar of your choice (I prefer plum) and drink some Bosnian coffee. Turn on Radetzky March and jump around your kitchen.


Begin making the glaze with these items:

butter, milk chocolate (use Milka if you can find it for cheap/ 500 Forint for 3 bars in some places 🙂 and a little corn syrup.

When you deem that the cake is finished, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Then, cut into two equally duel monarchial slices (or 3 if you’re into Trialism.)* Let it cool more.

Add apricot jam to the middle and glaze the top and sides.



Mine is messy. I made a tiny sachertorte for a birthday gift!

Jó étvágyat!


* Some government officials (including Archduke Franz Ferdinand and many Croatians) advocated for a Trialist system where the Slavs (most likely led by Croatians) would share an equal place with Austrians and Magyars.

Europe’s Last Summer

Happy Easter! (yes. this is real, and just as awkward now as it probably was then.)

I don’t doubt also that the Hungarian water throwing ritual might have taken place on unsuspecting victims (due to the lack of pretty girls this ritual is usually reserved for.)

People have a tendency to simplify and overlook the reasons for The Great War. Yet the subject has been studied immensely since that August of 1914. In his book, Europe’s Last Summer, David Fromkin seeks to explain just what happened that fateful summer in the months preceeding the war.


An abrubt conclusion to a long and tumultuous beginning…

Though undoubtedly scholarly and well-written, Fromkin takes a point of view rather new to me as a student of WWI. His primary argument, which is delivered with excellent sources, is that Germany and Chief of Staff, von Moltke, in particular is responsible for truly initiating the war. His argument is sound, yet the ending comes rather intensely. It reads as if in conclusion, Moltke is a singular government official who truly set off this war. Although, I greatly enjoyed and learned so much from this book, I believe this is a little too much, and I did not care for the ending.

Two Wars

One very good point to know that Fromkin discusses is the two wars beginning that late summer and the lack of sufficient and honest communication between Germany and Austria-Hungary. Few English-language publications make note of the less than perfect relationship between Germany and Austria and how that played a small but significant role.

In short, the two war goals were incompatible. Germany hoped Austria would hold back Russia while pursuing their goals in France (I found it problematic that Alsace-Lorraine was hardly mentioned. In Fromkin’s terms, Germany seemed to lack a perspective and France seemed utterly oblivious.)

Austria-Hungary in turn hoped that Germany would distract Russia while pursuing their goals in Serbia. ((more on this later)) Neither party was aware of the others true plans and desires.

Big surprise: No one wanted to deal with Russia. (Russia didn’t even want to deal with Russia.)

{For some reason in my notes is written “One does not simply seize the fortress of Liége!” 🙂 So, I had to make this ->

I realise my accent is backwards, but I’m using a Hungarian keyboard and we do not have the French “other way” accent. Someday I’ll really learn how to use computers and speak French!}

Localise the conflict!

This seems an excellent plan (we in the future might especially be keen on this idea.)Although the danger for my ancestors in the war would have been the same, I can’t help but to see this as a good idea. Britain, Russia, and Italy advocated for mediation and peace-keeping plans. All Great Powers seemed to agree that if this conflict could not be diplomatically solved, then it should be kept in check (and reduced to something akin to a third and enlarged Balkan war.)

British Asquith stated that Austria had a good case, but Austrians are “quite the stupidest people in Europe.” [I feel conflicted. Should I laugh and agree or be offended myself? 😉 ] David Lloyd George also noted that Austria had made demands [on Serbia] that no self-respecting nation could comply with.

The first war seemed to be agreed upon almost unanimously as nearly unstoppable and a result of the previous Balkan War.

Yet Europe seemed to have forgotten Serbia and Austria-Hungary by the last week in July.

and I wonder…

Fromkin stresses that the outbreak of hostilities was not a surprise. Europe was in an arms race and internally there were social, industrial, and political strife. Much of what people say and think about the start of WWI is now questioned or disputed by scholars. This author has used the newly acquired documents, some thought to be lost or destroyed to prove his point in the events.

are some biases still with us?

This book was a new perspective for me and I look forward to reading many more of the sort.

I first began to learn about World War One when I was in school in the mid-1990s. The anti Russian feeling in Hungary was then still very strong (as was the Russian tradition of overlooking that such war.) We were still very much afraid of the increasingly unstable Balkans next door. Russian aggression was not necessarily exclusive to beginning World War I, as one might hear their mother or father blaming Russians for anything from faulty appliances (true) to expensive candies (a little much.)

When I was older and in more advanced history classes, I remember the causes of World War One being a little vague. Strong emphasis was placed on those big ideologies – nationalism, militarism, colonialism. You know, all those things. It’s a bit like when you start a fight at school and tell your teacher it was the growing feeling of violence on the playground that caused everyone to start throwing balls at each other. The teachers buys it, of course, and laments the problems of young people today. It’s a perfect distraction when you know you played a big part in throwing those first punches.

I have a Russian friend who informed me he learned nothing at all about the First World War in school. I knew it was quite overshadowed by the Great Patriotic War, but in many Russian classrooms today, it’s still considered (if considered at all) that useless imperialist war we were barely involved.

In the Serbia of today, from my observations, history is almost avoided by young people (not so much different from everywhere else) because many have seen where a preoccupation with the past can get you. Yet it’s evident in the films, books, and museums (destroyed, closed, or otherwise even) that the First World War had its heroes and that the whole thing is worth recognizing. In Yugoslavian terms, it was a triumphant battle won against the oppressors. In nationalistic terms, it was (yet another) heroic endeavor for survival.

Across the Danube after walking the green Szabadság Híd is a tiny military antique shop called Fõnix (perhaps tellingly titled Pheonix) with a sun-faded World War One uniform on display in the window. The quirky old man who runs the shop lives above it in a flat cluttered with things that disappeared in all sense of the word almost one hundred years ago. I’ve always been fascinated with this shop and its contents (although if you go beyond the front display, you would find most of what is available is Soviet bloc era regalia.) It is as if a secret door could open and one might find oneself in another world, you know, the one we forgot about after 3 November 1918, after Trianon, after the war.

I am curious to anyone reading who is interested in the First World War. How were you taught about the events leading WWI? What about the war itself? What kind of films and books come from your country, city, or town? Do you think there are still differences in how we understand the conflict? Are wounds still healing in some way? Why do you feel the First World War is significant and does it matter how it began?

More on Fromkin’s book in the next post! I could discuss this for days!

On a slightly similar note, last weekend I moved to my new room from my old which the building caught fire. My things were fine but with a major amount of smoke damage. The police told us that there was carbon monoxide and cyanide in the building. I had to move immediately and gathered my things this weekend. I was afraid, but I can thank Nedeljko Čabrinović for illustrating to me what low levels of cyanide does to the body. Thankfully I just have a sore throat this week. And I can look forward to life in my new apartment rather than solitary confinement in Austrian prison. o_O

More on on Čabrinović in the first WWI film review I do!

a little personal update

After living my life in a building constructed in 1910 (I can’t say we Hungarians were ever too keen on properly fixing anything, just patching up and keeping together er uh…stuff), updated with Soviet style a little later with faulty appliances and strange wires and old stoves, I experienced my first fire when I moved to a much more modern apartment in the United States.

Early this week, there was an electrical fire where I live and the building is going through many repairs which are estimated to take 2-3 months. So, after moving from my Budapest home in January, I am moving again in April. My temporary room is in an almost all Polish building near the airport. It always smells like pierogi, which is a great thing!

The main drawback though is the lack of internet.

I am still working on my review for The Rebels and I’ve started Europe’s Last Summer by David Fromkin.

I was also able to go to an old “movie palace,” where I saw War Horse. It was such a nice film that it was difficult to cringe at the little faults. The experience was also great. I’ve never been to anything like it!

a peculiar and barely related dream…

Last night I had a strange version of my reoccuring bridge dream perhaps worth mentioning maybe for a laugh. For some reason, there were metal bicycle bridges across an unknown body of water. I had this feeling that there was one I shouldn’t use, but I couldn’t pinpoint which one. I started across only to realise that the one I chose was in disrepair, causing me to fall a very short distance into water. Coming close behind me was none other than Count Alois Lexa von Ährenthal, ditching his usual regalia-adorned uniform for a modern looking sweater and riding a blue vintage Schwinn cruiser bicycle. We had to together find a way to get back to land, hopefully before anyone saw our mistake.

Then, task uncompleted, I woke up.

Could this be the result of studying too much World War One history? Am I more worried than I thought about next summer’s three-river, white-water rafting tour in Bosnia? (I can’t swim. I am learning this summer.) Maybe I am just working too much and sleeping too little.

Have you ever had strange dreams about an historical personage or event?