Second Vienna Award
The Second Vienna Award was the second of two Vienna Awards arbitrated by the Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and Fascist Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

. Rendered on August 30, 1940, it re-assigned the territory of Northern Transylvania
Northern Transylvania
Northern Transylvania is a region of Transylvania, situated within the territory of Romania. The population is largely composed of both ethnic Romanians and Hungarians, and the region has been part of Romania since 1918 . During World War II, as a consequence of the territorial agreement known as...

 (including the entire Maramureş
Maramureș may refer to the following:*Maramureș, a geographical, historical, and ethno-cultural region in present-day Romania and Ukraine, that occupies the Maramureș Depression and Maramureș Mountains, a mountain range in North East Carpathians...

 and part of Crişana
Crișana is a geographical and historical region divided today between Romania and Hungary, named after the Criș River and its three tributaries: the Crișul Alb, Crișul Negru and Crișul Repede....

) from Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 to Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...


Prelude and historical background

After the World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the multi-ethnic Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 was split apart by the Treaty of Trianon
Treaty of Trianon
The Treaty of Trianon was the peace agreement signed in 1920, at the end of World War I, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary . The treaty greatly redefined and reduced Hungary's borders. From its borders before World War I, it lost 72% of its territory, which was reduced from to...

 to form several new nation-states. The new Magyar nation-state of Hungary was approximately ⅓ the size of the former Kingdom, and millions of ethnic Magyars now lived outside the borders of Hungary. Many historically important areas of Hungary were assigned to other countries, and the distribution of natural resources came out unevenly as well. Thus, while the various non-Magyar populations of the old Kingdom generally saw the treaty as justice for the historically-marginalized nationalities, from the point of view of the Hungarians, the Treaty had been unjust and even a national humiliation.

The Treaty and its consequences dominated Hungarian public life and political culture in the inter-war period. In addition, the government of Hungary swung more and more to the right in those years; eventually, under Regent Miklos Horty, Hungary established close relations with Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

's Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

The alliance with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 made possible Hungary's regaining of southern Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

  in the First Vienna Award
First Vienna Award
The First Vienna Award was the result of the First Vienna Arbitration, which took place at Vienna's Belvedere Palace on November 2, 1938. The Arbitration and Award were direct consequences of the Munich Agreement...

 of 1938 and Subcarpathia
Carpathian Ruthenia
Carpathian Ruthenia is a region in Eastern Europe, mostly located in western Ukraine's Zakarpattia Oblast , with smaller parts in easternmost Slovakia , Poland's Lemkovyna and Romanian Maramureş.It is...

 in 1939. But that and the subsequent military conquest of Carpathian
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

Ruthenia is the Latin word used onwards from the 13th century, describing lands of the Ancient Rus in European manuscripts. Its geographic and culturo-ethnic name at that time was applied to the parts of Eastern Europe. Essentially, the word is a false Latin rendering of the ancient place name Rus...

 in 1939 still did not satisfy Hungarian political ambitions. These awards allocated only a fraction of the territories lost by the Treaty of Trianon, and in any event, the loss that the Hungarians resented the most was that of Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...


At the end of June 1940, as relations between Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 and her neighboring countries were seriously strained, the Romanian government gave in to a Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

An ultimatum is a demand whose fulfillment is requested in a specified period of time and which is backed up by a threat to be followed through in case of noncompliance. An ultimatum is generally the final demand in a series of requests...

, and allowed Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 to retake Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

 and Northern Bukovina, which had been incorporated into Romania after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Although the territorial loss was undesirable from the Romanian perspective, the government viewed it as preferable to the conflict which could have arisen had Romania resisted Soviet advances. However, the Hungarian government interpreted the fact that Romania gave up some of its territories as an admission that Romania no longer insisted on keeping its territory intact.

So the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina inspired Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

 to escalate its efforts to resolve the question of Transylvania. Peace in the Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 was very much in the interest of the Axis Powers, both for strategic and material reasons, and so they suggested to the parties concerned that they solve their problems by direct negotiations.

The negotiations started on August 16, 1940 in Turnu Severin. The Hungarian delegation hoped to gain as much of Transylvania as possible, but the Romanians would have none of that and submitted only a small region for consideration. Eventually, the Hungarian-Romanian negotiations fell through entirely. After this, the Romanian government asked Italy and Germany to arbitrate.

Meanwhile, the Romanian government had acceded to Italy's request for territorial cessions to Bulgaria. On September 7, under the Treaty of Craiova
Treaty of Craiova
The Treaty of Craiova was signed on 7 September 1940 between the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Romania. Under the terms of this treaty, Romania returned the southern part of Dobruja to Bulgaria and agreed to participate in organizing a population exchange...

, the "Cadrilater" (southern Dobrudja) was ceded by Romania to Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...



The ministers of foreign affairs of the Axis, Joachim von Ribbentrop
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister of Germany from 1938 until 1945. He was later hanged for war crimes after the Nuremberg Trials.-Early life:...

 of Germany and Galeazzo Ciano
Galeazzo Ciano
Gian Galeazzo Ciano, 2nd Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari was an Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Benito Mussolini's son-in-law. In early 1944 Count Ciano was shot by firing squad at the behest of his father-in-law, Mussolini under pressure from Nazi Germany.-Early life:Ciano was born in...

 of Italy, announced the award on August 30, 1940 at the Belvedere Palace
Belvedere (palace)
The Belvedere is a historical building complex in Vienna, Austria, consisting of two Baroque palaces the Upper and Lower Belvedere, the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. The buildings are set in a Baroque park landscape in the 3rd district of the city, south-east of its centre. It houses the...

 in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. As a result of the award, Hungary regained 43,104 km² of its territories lost to Romania after the First World War. The new border was guaranteed by both Germany and Italy.

The population statistics in Northern Transylvania and the changes following the award are presented in detail in the next section. The rest of Transylvania, known as Southern Transylvania, with 2,274,600 Romanians and 363,200 Hungarians remained Romanian.


The territory in question covered an area of 43,104 km².

The 1930 Romanian census registered for this region a population of 2,393,300. In 1941 the Hungarian authorities conducted a new census which registered a total population of 2,578,100. Both censuses asked separately about language and nationality. The results of the two censuses are summarized in the following table.
1930 Romanian census 1941 Hungarian census 1940 Romanian
Nationality Language Nationality Language
Hungarian 912,500 1,007,200 1,380,500 1,344,000 968,371
Romanian 1,176,900 1,165,800 1,029,000 1,068,700 1,304,898
German 68,300 59,700 44,600 47,300 N/A
Jewish/Yiddish 138,800 99,600 47,400 48,500 200,000
Other 96,800 61,000 76,600 69,600 N/A

As Árpád E. Varga writes, "the census conducted in 1930 met international statistical requirements in every respect. In order to establish nationality, the compilers devised a complex criterion system, unique at the time, which covered citizenship, nationality, native language (i.e. the language spoken in the family) and religion."

Apart from the natural population growth, the differences between the two censuses are due to some other complex reasons, like migration and assimilation of Jews or bilingual speakers. According to Hungarian registrations, 100 thousand Hungarian refugees had arrived in Hungary from South Transylvania by January 1941. Most of them sought refuge in the north, and almost as many persons arrived from Hungary in the re-annexed territory as moved to the Trianon Hungary territory from South Transylvania. As a result of these migrations, North Transylvanian Hungarians increased by almost 100 thousand. In order to compensate for this, a great number of Romanians were obliged to leave North Transylvania. Some 100 thousand had left by February 1941 according to the incomplete registration of North Transylvanian refugees carried out by the Romanian government. Besides this, a fall in the total population suggests that a further 40 to 50 thousand Romanians moved from North to South Transylvania (including refugees who were omitted from the official registration for various reasons). The Hungarian assimilation gain is made up of losses on the part of other groups of native speakers, such as the Jewish people. The changing of language was most typical among bilingual Romanians and Hungarians. On the other hand, in Maramureş
Maramures County
Maramureș is a county of Romania, in the Maramureș region. The county seat is Baia Mare.- History :* The 10th century frontier county of Borsova was founded by Stephen I of Hungary. Since then Máramaros served as the north-eastern border of the Hungarian Kingdom until 1920, the Trianon Peace...

  and Satu Mare
Satu Mare County
Satu Mare County is a county of Romania. The capital city is Satu Mare. Besides Romanians , Satu Mare features a significant ethnic minority of Hungarians .-Demographics:...

  counties, in dozens of settlements many of those who had declared themselves as Romanian now identified themselves as Hungarian, even though they did not speak Hungarian at all (nor did they in 1910).


Historian Keith Hitchins summarizes the situation created by the award in his book "Rumania: 1866-1947 (Oxford History of Modern Europe), Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

, 1994":
Far from settling matters, the Vienna Award had exacerbated relations between Romania and Hungary. It did not solve the nationality problem by separating all Magyars from all Romanians. Some 1,150,000 to 1,300,000 Romanians, or 48 per cent to over 50 per cent of the population of the ceded territory, depending upon whose statistics are used, remained north of the new frontier, while about 500,000 Magyars (other Hungarian estimates go as high as 800,000, Romanian as low as 363,000) continued to reside in the south.

Romania had 14 days to evacuate concerned territories and assign them to Hungary. The Hungarian troops stepped across the Trianon borders on September 5. The Regent of Hungary, Miklós Horthy
Miklós Horthy
Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya was the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary during the interwar years and throughout most of World War II, serving from 1 March 1920 to 15 October 1944. Horthy was styled "His Serene Highness the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary" .Admiral Horthy was an officer of the...

, also attended in the entry. They reached the
pre-Trianon border, completing the re-annexation process, on September 13.

Generally, the ethnic Hungarian population welcomed the troops and regarded separation from Romania as liberation. The large ethnic Romanian community had nothing to celebrate though, as for them the Second Vienna Award represented the return to the times of Hungarian rule. Upon entering the regained territory there were incidents between the Hungarian Army and the Romanian population:
  • On September 9 in the village of Treznea
    Treznea massacre
    The Treznea massacre occurred in the village of Treznea, Sălaj in north-western Transylvania on 9 September 1940, during the handing over of Northern Transylvania from Romania to Hungary after the Second Vienna Award....

     , some Hungarian troops made a 4 km detour from the Zalău
    Zalău is the seat of Sălaj County, Transylvania, Romania. In 2004, its estimated population was 62,900.- Ancient times :Zalău is situated in the area inhabited by "Free Dacians", 8 kilometers away from the historical landmark of Porolissum, a well-preserved Roman Castrum with an imposing fortress,...

    Cluj-Napoca , commonly known as Cluj, is the fourth most populous city in Romania and the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Geographically, it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest , Budapest and Belgrade...

     route of the Hungarian Army and started firing at will on locals of all ages, killing many of them and partially destroying the Orthodox
    Romanian Orthodox Church
    The Romanian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church. It is in full communion with other Eastern Orthodox churches, and is ranked seventh in order of precedence. The Primate of the church has the title of Patriarch...

     church. The official Hungarian sources of the time recorded that 87 Romanians and 6 Jews were killed, including the local Orthodox priest and the Romanian local teacher with his wife, while some Romanian sources give as many as 263 locals who were killed. Some Hungarian historians claim that the killings came in retaliation after the Hungarian troops were fired upon by inhabitants, allegedly incited by the local Romanian orthodox priest, but this claims are not supported by the accounts of several witnesses. The motivation of the 4 km detour of the Hungarian troops from the rest of the Hungarian Army is still a point of contention, but most evidence points towards the local noble Ferenc Bay, who lost a large part of his estates to peasants in the 1920s, as most of the violence was directed towards the peasants living on his former estate.
  • Similarly, 159 local villagers were killed on 13 –14 September 1940 by the Hungarian troops in the village of Ip
    Ip massacre
    The Ip massacre took place in the early hours of 14 September 1940, in Ip, Sălaj, a village in Northern Transylvania when the Hungarian Army, apparently supported by a local vigilante group, killed 158 Romanian civilians....

     (Hungarian: Szilágyipp). Again, some Hungarian historians suggests that this was the result of a retaliation to the killing of 4 Hungarian soldiers by a grenade
    A grenade is a small explosive device that is projected a safe distance away by its user. Soldiers called grenadiers specialize in the use of grenades. The term hand grenade refers any grenade designed to be hand thrown. Grenade Launchers are firearms designed to fire explosive projectile grenades...


The exact number of casualties is disputed between some historians, but the existence of such events cannot be disputed.

The retreat of the Romanian army was also not free from incidents, mostly consisting of damaging the infrastructure and destroying public documents.


The Second Vienna Award was voided by the Allied Commission
Allied Commission
Following the termination of hostilities in World War II, the Allied Powers were in control of the defeated Axis countries. Anticipating the defeat of Germany and Japan, they had already set up the European Advisory Commission and a proposed Far Eastern Advisory Commission to make recommendations...

 through the Armistice Agreement with Romania (September 12, 1944) whose Article 19 stipulated the following: "The Allied Governments regard the decision of the Vienna award regarding Transylvania as void and are agreed that Transylvania (the greater part thereof) should be returned to Romania, subject to confirmation at the peace settlement, and the Soviet Government agrees that Soviet forces shall take part for this purpose in joint military operations with Romania against Germany and Hungary."

This came after King Michael's Coup
King Michael's Coup
King Michael's Coup refers to the coup d'etat led by King Michael of Romania in 1944 against the pro-Nazi Romanian faction of Ion Antonescu, after the Axis front in Northeastern Romania collapsed under the Soviet offensive.-The coup:...

 following which Romania changed sides and joined the Allies. Thus, the Romanian army fought Nazi Germany and its allies in Romania, regaining Northern Transylvania, and further on, in German occupied
Operation Panzerfaust
Operation Panzerfaust, known as Unternehmen Eisenfaust in Germany, was a military operation to keep the Kingdom of Hungary at Germany's side in the war, conducted in October 1944 by the German military...

 Hungary and Czechoslovakia (e.g. Budapest Offensive
Budapest Offensive
The Budapest Offensive was the general attack by Soviet forces against Germany and their allies from the territory of Hungary. The offensive lasted from 29 October 1944 until the fall of Budapest on 13 February 1945.-Prelude:...

 & Siege of Budapest and Prague Offensive
Prague Offensive
The Prague Offensive was the last major Soviet operation of World War II in Europe. The offensive, and the battle for Prague, was fought on the Eastern Front from 6 May to 11 May 1945. This battle for the city is particularly noteworthy in that it ended after the Third Reich capitulated on 8 May...


The 1947 Treaty of Paris
Paris Peace Treaties, 1947
The Paris Peace Conference resulted in the Paris Peace Treaties signed on February 10, 1947. The victorious wartime Allied powers negotiated the details of treaties with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland .The...

 reaffirmed the borders between Romania and Hungary, as originally defined in Treaty of Trianon
Treaty of Trianon
The Treaty of Trianon was the peace agreement signed in 1920, at the end of World War I, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary . The treaty greatly redefined and reduced Hungary's borders. From its borders before World War I, it lost 72% of its territory, which was reduced from to...

, 27 years earlier.

External links

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