Hungarian Fascism

Contemporanean History. Second World War. Adolf Hitler. Fascist

  • Enviado por: Pablo Jessop
  • Idioma: inglés
  • País: Reino Unido Reino Unido
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Hungary experienced many of the very common characteristics that help create a fascist state. Hungary like many other nations in Europe had very extreme anti-Semitic feelings, an extreme poverty crisis and had encountered a red scare. Hungarian people had a historic sense of resentment and humiliation, since the epoch of the Ottoman empire to the controversial treaty of Trianon. The Hungarians had always been dominated and highly influenced by other nations. Gyula Juhasz claims that `A totalitarian dictatorship was encouraged to eliminate the economic, political and social difficulties which existed'. However, the fertile conditions of Hungary alone did not guarantee that a Fascist state would be created. But it seems that despite these positive factors in favour of Fascism, the radical Right still failed to establish a state until the Germany's intervention in 1944.

From 1918 to 1944 Admiral Miklos Horthy was the leader of Hungary. Admiral Horthy often referred to as the Admiral on horseback or the Admiral without a Navy. Horthy was considered by many historians such as Sakmyster as quite simply Right wing with some fascist characteristics. He was called a fascist by some Marxist historians. By the standards of some of his allies such as Adolf Hitler, he was a conservative man rather than radical. Stanley G. Payne states that; `Horthy was not, strictly speaking, a dictator but governed under the laws of the old Hungarian constitution'. Many of the other more radical Right parties did not enjoy the same level of support as Horthy. The Admiral had undivided support from many high ranking areas of the Army, the middle and upper classes and other Aristocracy, but most importantly support from the Fuhrer himself. Whilst many radical Right parties enjoyed only support from the workers and young low ranking Army officers. Horthy's system highly favoured the middle and upper classes. So whilst he kept them satisfied, there was no need for the ruling classes to oppose Horthy and support a Fascist party.

Hitler an invaluable ally to Horthy's regime did not see any reason to remove Horthy from power or allow any other party take control of Hungary, not until 1944.

In the meantime Hitler used the Arrow Cross as a blackmail weapon against the Admiral, in the event of any infidelity. Hitler was also known to have financially assisted the Arrow Cross. Adolf Hitler described Horthy as `A bull of a man…and without doubt the bravest man in the Austrian Navy'. However Hitler preferred the brutality and radicalism of the Arrow Cross but did not trust them as a party, as they were an unstable and unpredictable party that could not be relied on. It was this instability and lack of assurance that prevented the Arrow Cross from gaining power at an earlier stage. During the 1930's many radical Right wing fascist parties emerged, but three stood out from the rest. The three parties were the Arrow Cross, the Scythe Cross and the MOVE.

The MOVE ( Magyar Orszagos Vedero Egyesulete ) or known as the Hungarian Association of National Defence. This radical party was headed by an Army Captain called Gyula Gombos. Gombos was an extreme Hungarian nationalist ( ironically of Swabian descent). Gombos had the intention of creating a state that would put an end to the Independent workers movement (MSzDP). Although Gombos was part of this radical movement he was also on very good personal terms with Horthy. It is perhaps because of the affinity that Gombos and Horthy shared, that meant that the MOVE was not in danger of being eradicated. The Scythe Cross `a movement for the landless proletariat' (thought to be the most dangerous) was also known as the National Socialist Workers Party. It was founded in 1931 by Zoltan Boszormeny. Boszormeny like Gombos found many of his inspirations from Germany and both were passionately anti-Semitic, but unlike Gombos Boszormeny targeted the Proletariat and not the middle classes. The Scythe Cross was said to of hated Communists and the rich.The Scythe Cross was seen as menacing by the Horthy regime, so it was later eradicated and its leader Zoltan Boszormany was deported to Germany. The other prominent party was the infamous Arrow Cross, the Arrow Cross proved to be much harder to eradicate. Their leader was Ferenc Szalasi, Szalasi believed in saving Christian Civilisation alongside Germany and Italy. In 1938 Horthy grew increasingly concerned about the Arrow Cross as he feared a coup against his regime, so Szalasi was imprisoned. Despite Szalasi's incarceration in 1938, the Arrow Cross gained a majority of the of the workers vote in the national elections in 1939.It was eventually the Arrow Cross headed by Szalasi that took control of Hungary in 1944 under the orders of Hitler.

One of the biggest reasons for the radical Right failing to come to power before 1944, was perhaps because of the fact that Horthy's conservative right wing National Union had gained control straight after Bela Kun's communist regime and claimed the spot before anyone else. Hungary's political and social climate welcomed a Right wing style regime, therefore Horthy was more than welcomed to take control of Hungary. As Stanley .G Payne proclaims `this pre-empted any need to instate a fascist style government'. However the fact that Horthy had stolen the spot before anyone else did not prevent him from receiving pressure from the radical Right wingers that were so keen to get into power. Eventually Admiral Horthy appointed General Gombos as Prime Minister and this way he removed some of the pressure that he was receiving as well as appointing someone that he was on good terms with rather than just any radical right wing politician. The fact that Gombos was the Prime Minister did not change the balance of power as much of the power was still held by Horthy. General Gyula Gombos had support from the Civil service, the Army, and sections of the Gentry. However Gombos a pro-Fascist was deprived of the one essential ingredient to his success, a Fascist party to push him into power, rather than Horthy's conservative National Union. By October 1936 Gombos had died. His death did not help the fascist cause in Hungary, however his position as PM had not done much for fascism in the first place. Then again this was due to his lack of power. As soon as Gombos was elected to the post of prime minister he found that he was not able to select his own cabinet. This made Gombos's position almost ceremonial, this also meant that Gombos could not appoint anyone with fascist ideologies. During his time as Prime Minister Gombos became much less radical in his ideas, perhaps to please Horthy. It is worth noting that Gombos's view towards the Hungarian Jews changed drastically once he was appointed as Prime Minister, he went from being a passionate hater of Jews to publicly saying `I say openly and sincerely to the Jews that I have revised my point of view. Those Jews who acknowledge a common fate with the nation I regard as my brothers, just like my Magyar brothers'. This shocking statement either a true feeling or political stratagem, immediately ruled him out as a future fascist dictator. It also guaranteed a lack of patronage and support from both Hitler and Mussolini. According to F.L. Carsten there were far too many Fascist parties in Hungary at that period of time, these parties were all enemies and hostile to each other. Had these fascist groups not had disputes and fights against each other they could have considered the possibility of merging and forming one big Fascist party that would realistically challenge the Horthy regime and finally instate a truly Fascist state before 1944. A unification of Fascist parties did not happen until Ferenc Szalasi finally took control of Hungary in 1944. F.L. Carsten also goes on to claim that once Szalasi was installed as the leader of Hungary, he lacked many of the essential qualities that made a good Fascist leader, such as ruthlessness and tactical knowledge. But it seems that even before 1944, Szalasi had the opportunity to overthrow the Horthy regime with German support, yet he refused to take part as he was busy planning a Europe that was divided into ethnic tribes. It seems that the radical Right failed in its crusade in instating a Fascist state before 1944, for many reasons that were not all entirely avoidable. Firstly these pro-Fascist parties emerged after Horthy had gained control. Parties like the Arrow Cross seemed to have targeted the wrong market by appealing to the working class. Although the working class formed the majority of the population, the Armed forces were controlled by the upper class. It was therefore essential to appeal to the high ranking senior military officers, as they were a crucial ingredient for a successful regime overthrow. It is hard to overthrow a dictatorship without foreign intervention of some sort. Hitler provided the answer but was too late. But most importantly the fact that there was no co-operation between radical Right parties seemed to be a colossal disadvantage.

Zsuzsa L. Nagy

Martin Blinkhorn; Fascism and the Right in Europe 1919-1945, p.84-85

Martin Blinkhorn; p.90-91

Roger Griffin; The Nature of Fascism, p.128

Thomas Sakmyster; Hungary's Admiral on Horseback, Miklos Horthy 1918-1944, p. 191

Martin Blinkhorn; p.90-91

At the time he was a Captain, but went on to be a General. He was commonly known as General Gombos rather than Captain Gombos.

Swabian; An ethnic minority of Germanic descent that settled in Hungary.

C A Macartney; Hungary, p.83

Hans-Georg Heinrich; Hungary: Politics, Economics and Society, p.24

Martin Blinkhorn; p.46

Quote by F.L. Carsten; The Rise of Fascism, p. 174

F.L. Carsten; The Rise of Fascism, p.174

F.L. Carsten; p.174

Martin Blinkhorn; p,47

Roger Griffin; The Nature of Fascism, p.128

Hans-Georg Heinrich; Hungary: Politics, Economics and Society, p.24

Stanley. G. Payne; A history of Fascism 1914-1945, p.417

Stanley. G. Payne; p.132

F.L. Carsten; p.173

F.L. Carsten; p.173

Thomas Sakmyster; Hungary's Admiral on Horseback, Miklos Horthy 1918-1944, p 171

Thomas Sakmyster; Hungary's Admiral on Horseback, Miklos Horthy 1918-1944, p 171

F.L. Carsten; p.173

F.L. Carsten; p.173

F.L. Carsten; p.181

Stanley G. Payne; A history of Fascism 1914-1945, p.417

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