“What we can expect from the Pan-European Movement?”

The following document is the March 18, 1928 issue of the Pan-European Movement’s Hungarian-language periodical, the Pan-European Bulletin, written in English language. It was edited by the Hungarian Ferenc Faluhelyi (October 29, 1886 – December 24, 1944), an international law expert and founder of the Institute of Minorities of the University of Pécs. This record will be on display at the first thematic exhibition of the European Digital Treasures project, entitled Construction of Europe – History, Memory and Myth of Europeanness over 1000 years. You can read more about the exhibitions here.

“What We Can Expect From The Pan European Movement?” (Anniversary of issue, 18.03.1928), Location of original record: National Archives of Hungary Reference code: HU MNL BaML XIV 20 b 38 4

Over the years, the interests of Ferenc Faluhelyi gradually aimed from public and criminal law to international law – which he consistently mentioned as interstate law in his lectures and studies. As a researcher and professor, he had been concerned with minority issues since 1926, proclaiming the principle of the equality of states and, within this, the need for the citizens of individual nations to exercise their fundamental rights. He considered the issue of minority protection as a point of doing.

The Hungarian Pan-European Committee was established in Budapest on June 24th, 1926. Lawyers, economists, and representatives of the economic and financial circles played a prominent role in establishing and promoting the goals of the movement. The pursuit of the Hungarian committee – similarly to the government’s foreign policy – started from the injustice of the peace treaty and fought for its revision.

The Pan-European Movement was an appropriate answer to the issue of the national minorities, since its main feature was the aspiration to reduce the significance of the state borders. A united Europe was important for them, because the continent could only defend itself from the threats of the Soviet Union by the power of unity. The idea was to bring the Pan-European Movement closer to the customs union, with unconditional respect for minority rights, language and cultural development, and free contact between minorities in other parts of the country, especially with their “blood brothers in the motherland”.

Hungarian Pan-Europeanists considered it important to clarify their relationship with the nation and to define the relationship between the European and national elements. Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi believed that the feeling of belonging to a nation – like the religion – could be a private matter, and thus the concept of a European nation could be formed. Hungarian Pan-Europeanists did not accept this position, rejected it, considered it a utopia to strive for uniformity, and saw the uniqueness and strength of a united Europe in the totality, harmonious coexistence and cooperation of individual cultures represented and mediated by different nations.

The Pan-European Movement also attracted significant personalities in Hungary, but was unable to put pressure on government circles that did not recognise – or did not want to recognise – the forum provided by the Pan-European Movement to promote foreign policy goals and seek allies. The Hungarian government, like other European governments, did not want to achieve its foreign policy goals by coordinating them with the interests of other states, in a Pan-European framework, but by balancing them between states, taking advantage of their contradictions. The possible development of the Pan-European orientation of the government – as in the case of the other states – could have been greatly helped by the official establishment of the Franco-German rapprochement and cooperation. By the time the Briand Plan based on this could have been discussed, the economic situation was no longer appropriate and the Pan-European political environment was becoming less and less appropriate.

The achievements of Ferenc Faluhelyi in the field of protection of the minorities were honored in 1933 by the Hague-based Association Internationale Pour les Études du Droit des Minorités, and in that year he was awarded the Badge of the Order of the Crown of Italy for his distinguished knowledge and presentation of Italian international law.

Anna Palcsó
Public Education Officer, National Archives of Hungary

Why use original documents? Why are archives important?

People have always been fascinated by history and already the earliest cultures tried to leave evidence of their existence and their work behind and to document them. This fascination has remained unbroken to this day, and the catchphrase “learning from history” is still often used. This inevitably raises the question of what history actually is or what it is composed of.


Primary sources form the basis of any historical topic, which have often been kept, organized and made accessible in archives for centuries. Archives can therefore justifiably be called the custodians of history, since they keep the documents on which history is based. Archival materials can cover a very broad spectrum and range from classic documents such as files, charters or letters, to tables and other compilations, to cartographic products such as plans and maps.

The “European Digital Treasures” project, funded by the European Commission, took precisely this fact as its starting point and tried in a variety of ways to bring original documents, i.e. archive materials, closer to a wider audience and to make them easier to use.


The intensive and conscious preoccupation with original documents brings history to life and gives laypeople a deeper understanding of the context. Interrogation protocols of the 17th century peasants by the secular and ecclesiastical authorities convey a direct and better understanding of the mass expulsions in the course of the Counter Reformation and the peasant uprisings of the 16th century become more vivid, when one looks at contemporary illustrations of the various criminal courts after the suppression.

Of course, not every original document is to be taken at face value and the extent of the objectivity of a source must always be questioned. But even if an original source obviously quite consciously wants to convey a very specific image of history, it is in any case authentic from the relevant time and thus a contemporary document.

Ultimately, one of the goals of the project mentioned is to raise awareness of what historiography is based on and to always question whether historical works have a solid source base or – as so often – are free inventions or at least untenable interpretations that do not stand up to source-based evidence. That is why the project operates in all its activities, be it exhibitions, the provision of prepared teaching materials for schools, intelligent game design or the design and production of marketing products exclusively with original documents from the treasuries of history – the archives.


Dr. Karl Heinz