"Trianon Hungary was militarily powerless, economically exhausted, and
surrounded by hostile neighbors. The popular frustration expressed in the
slogan “nem, nem soha” (signifying “no, no never” will we accept this dictate)
was ignored or deplored by the Great Powers. The regime thus turned to
the only option, cultural diplomacy. In a work of high scholarly quality, Zsolt
Nagy relates the historical background, local and international context, and
political execution of this approach.
Nagy concludes that all cultural propaganda, however well-conceived and whatever its genuine services to national pride (there is little data that might allow the historian to propose a better-documented cost-benefit analysis), was vitiated by a “bad” (revisionist) foreign policy resting on a “mistaken interpretation of geopolitical
realities” (293). The truth may be somewhat simpler, if no more reassuring.
Small, defeated countries are particularly vulnerable pawns in the turbulent
world of power politics, and chess games are seldom won by pawns."