2019 is the anniversary of not one, but three remarkable events of the 20th century: NATO’s 70th anniversary and Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic’s 20th anniversary since joining NATO, the dismantlement of the Iron Curtain and the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. According to Eugene Megyesy, the former Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Hungary and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Hungary Foundation, publisher of Hungary Today, we might not have learned from these historical events.
World War I ended with a peace treaty in 1919 which partly led to World War II. After World War II, POTUS Harry Truman “recognized the need for an alliance of free democratic countries to oppose the dictatorial Soviet Union.” NATO was founded and became the most successful alliance in history against the communist/socialist system, Megyesy states.
This created big differences between Western and Eastern and Central Europe in the following decades. Western Europe enjoyed peace and prosperity while Eastern and Central Europe tried to “grow” from socialism to communism. This “progressive” movement actually led to people living in terror and poverty under a loss of individual freedom. 100 million lost their lives and millions were imprisoned.
1956 was a significant year for Hungary because of its revolt against the Soviet Union and dictatorial communism. The revolt was followed by the Prague Spring in 1968 and the Polish Solidarity movement in the early 1980s. Then, “Hungary opened the Iron Curtain toward Austria, allowing East Germans to flee the oppression of the Utopian socialist system, thereby rendering the Berlin Wall obsolete.” This was in June, but in November, the Berlin Wall itself was destroyed.
After these events, optimism was present in Europe. Then, in 1999, three former Warsaw Pact satellites, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, joined NATO.
Socialism was always built on the promises of a Utopian system, equality and the ability to solve all social problems (“heaven on earth”). Megyesy warns that this is happening again in some countries: “sadly, there are politicians and bureaucrats in Washington and Brussels, supported by ivory tower academics, media pundits and Hollywood luminaries who believe socialism is viable.”
Megyesy urges today’s generation to look back and think about whether socialism was ever successful. It may have been, but only for a limited period of time. He cites the unsustainability of the capitalism-backed socialistic systems in the Scandinavian countries as an example. In Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela, it is even worse and only serves to highlight the gap between the poor and the leaders living in luxury, Megyesy explains. Before socialism, Venezuela was one of the richest countries; now it’s one of the poorest.
According to Megyesy, socialism means “control over all means of production and the redistribution of wealth by the government.” He cautions that “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” He believes that if we are unable to learn from our mistakes, we will doom our children and grandchildren to a bleak future.
Source: Washington Examiner
on the featured image: Eugene Megyesy