The Simon Editions Kra publishing house, based in Paris, launched a series in the late 1920s concerning the literary history of various nations, titled Panoramas des Littérature Contemporaines. Preceding Scandinavian and Balkan literatures, the Hungarian literary history was published in May 1930 in French, with the above mentioned title, writ...ten by two authors from Debrecen, professor János Hankiss and secondary school teacher Géza Juhász. The volume managed to attract and keep up the interest of the national literary public for over half a year; forty reviews, reports, debates and corresponding articles were produced in response. Among the authors were Mihály Babits, György Bálint, Pál Ignotus, Attila József, Sándor Márai, etc. Two other teachers from Debrecen, László Kardos and Pál Kardos published their views on the 348-page volume in a 24-page separate booklet in Debreceni Szemle. The authors began with the explanation of the book’s content-editorial principles, emphasising that the book is only a panoramic overview, thus it is “not a report on the contemporary Hungarian literary hierarchy and its inner merits, but merely aims to attract interest in Hungarian literature”. The debates around the Panoramas reflect the divided nature of the contemporary Hungarian over-politicising intellectual life: the liberal and left-wing papers criticise the volume for satisfying course demands and for its anti-Semitism, which they despise, right-wing papers, on the other hand, appraise the work.
Taking stance regarding the question of war was the “litmus paper” of the test of patriotism. Whoever was against war was a defeatist, moreover, a traitor. The conservative, folk-national group – with a few exceptions - was on the side of war, while the generation producing “new songs for new times” (Endre Ady, Mihály Babits, Dezső...Kosztolányi, Margit Kaffka, Ernő Szép, Menyhért Lengyel, Ákos Dutka, Árpád Tóth, etc.) was, apart from some initial hesitation, on the side of peace. The full scale of production cannot be measured; we are talking about tens of thousands of work. One of the main characteristics of war poetry was the emphasis on the defensive aspect. Many poems connected the First World War with the Hungarian War of Independence of 1848-49. Some poets (such as Mihály Szabolcska) saw the essence of Hungarian identity in war-time valour. The main core of these poems consists of heroic and sentimental texts, belittling dying and praising heroic death. Some militarist poems disparaged “rotten” peace as the root of liberalism, cosmopolitanism, and ideas of freemasonry. Propaganda poetry was advocating national unity. War poetry drew an idealistic portrait of the relationship between the officers and the troops. Finally, one can find a multitude of poems mocking and hating the enemy. The Hungarian poetry of the First World War only gained a position of value by an ideological-performative power act; all other instances reveal its rhetorical emptiness.