11-12 / 2000
Imre Szilágyi

Central Europe observed from Paris by a Hungarian: Ferenc Fejtő, a thinker with two homelands

The political scientist, journalist and prolific writer Ferenc Fejtő was bom in 1909 in Nagykanizsa in Hungary. Political reasons compelled him to flee the country in 1938 and since then he has lived in France. In 2000 he was awarded the Prix des Ambassadeurs. His book The History of the People s Democracies (1952) was the first to provide an extensive history of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe between 1945 and 1952. In Requiem for a Former Empire he provides a detailed analysis of the political life of Austria-Hungary and the reasons for its decline. Fejtő is an advocate of the idea of Central Europe, of federalism and of meta-nationalism. He believes that the nation is an important constituent of self-awareness and that the national movement of the Slovenes, Croats, Hungarians, etc. is legitimate. His view of nations and sovereignty is very close to theviews of the Slovene intellectuals (Peter Jambrek, France Bučar and Dimitrij Rupel) who wrote on this topic in the late Eighties and early Nineties.