The Government supports the proposal of the Centenary Memorial Committee to establish a central memorial in Budapest dedicated to the heroes of the World War I, Parliamentary State Secretary Bence Rétvári from the Ministry of Human Capacities said on Tuesday at the opening of an exhibition entitled “A new world is born – European war between brothers” at the Castle Bazaar.

Mr. Rétvári said he considered the exhibition the most important of the year and reminded the audience that between 1914 and 1918, 661,000 Hungarian soldiers lost their lives – almost twice as many as in WW2 – in addition to almost a million prisoners of war and injured.

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He referred to the importance of the lesson that there was not a single war in the 20th century whose participants fully achieved their goals. He said that the history of the nation is almost like the DNA of the nation, because it is from this that we may learn about the character of the nation, people’s way of thinking and the composition of society.

“A nation that knows and has extensive knowledge of its history can expect a long-term future. A nation that forgets its history, does not preserve it and does not get familiar with it is, however, less likely to have a bright future in the long term”, Bence Rétvári said referring to the fact that today we live in a rare era in which we can view the events of WW1 objectively.

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According to the Parliamentary State Secretary, if Hungary had been able to manage its foreign and military affairs individually back in 1914, the country would have had “different borders and a different history in the 20th century”.

Government Commissioner responsible for the renovation of the Buda Castle District and member of the Centenary Memorial Committee László L. Simon said: the narrative of WW1 seems impossible to change, yet it must be changed even if it is difficult to understand that those who lost their lives were heroes in today’s “deheroised” world.

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Director General of the House of Terror Museum and Chief Curator of the exhibition, historian Mária Schmidt pointed out that WW1 “was still fought by 19th century people”, and one of the reasons most of them couldn’t comprehend what happened was that their dictionary still included the terms honour, order, commitment, responsibility, discipline, rank, glory, justice and compassion.

“Everyday life 100 years ago was more similar to the present day than we might think”, she said, adding that one of the “experiences” people of that era didn’t have, however, was “the depressing feeling of mass destruction and vulnerability”.

(The Prime Minister's Office)