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Zoltán Böszörmény

Zoltán Böszörmény
Born
Zoltán Böszörmény

(1893-01-05)5 January 1893
Budapest, Hungary
Diedunknown
CitizenshipHungarian
EducationUniversity of Budapest
Known forNazi politician
Political partyScythe Cross

Zoltán Böszörmény (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈzoltaːn ˈbøsørmeːni]; 5 January 1893-?) was a leading exponent of Fascism in Hungary before the Second World War.

The son of a bankrupt landowner, he initially worked a series of odd jobs, ranging from a labourer to a porter.[1] He first flirted with politics in 1919 when he became involved in activity against Béla Kun, albeit on a very minor scale.[2] Whilst studying at the University of Budapest he became leader of the state student movement and a supporter of Gyula Gömbös.[2] Whilst at University he also became a poet, writing largely patriotic verses published by two agents who would later become involved in the organisation of his political movement.[1]

He formed the National Socialist Party of Work in 1931, and a meeting with Adolf Hitler that same year convinced him further of the benefits of Nazism.[2] The group followed Hitler's lead closely, adopting the brown shirt and swastika whilst publishing the newspaper National Socialist.[3] As the Scythe Cross, Böszörmény's movement grew to have some 20,000 followers at its peak, although Gömbös, fearing the growing power of the movement, suppressed it.[2] As lead of the movement Böszörmény insisted on the title vezér or 'great leader' in imitation of Hitler's Führer.[4] A word-for-word translation of the Nazi Party's National Socialist Program served as the founding document for the Scythe Cross.[5]

Despite government attention, Böszörmény managed to hold on to his power base in the Tisza, preaching a mixture of anti-Semitism and land reform.[2] Böszörmény was certainly confident of his own abilities as a leader and thinker, writing in 1932 that "even among the giants of intellect I am a giant, a great Hungarian poet with a prophetic mission".[1] Despite this supreme confidence Böszörmény was frustrated in his attempts to gain power, frequently attempting to contest by-elections but failing to gain the necessary recommendations for candidacy on all but one occasion (when he captured only a few hundred votes).[6]

He was impressed by Mussolini's March on Rome and planned to launch a similar coup on Budapest. Dressing his followers in second-hand uniforms, Böszörmény attempted to launch a revolution on 1 May 1936 but it was quickly put down and Böszörmény, who pleaded insanity at his subsequent trial, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.[2] He escaped to Germany in 1938 and saw out the war there. He petitioned Mátyás Rákosi to allow him to return to Hungary in 1945 as a member of the Hungarian Communist Party, although permission was denied and he is believed to have died in Germany.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c Aristotle A. Kallis, The Fascism Reader, London: Routledge, 2003, p. 205
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Philip Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890, Simon & Schuster, 1990, p. 43
  3. ^ C.P. Blamires, World Fascism - A Historical Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2006, p. 100
  4. ^ C.P. Blamires, World Fascism - A Historical Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2006, p. 101
  5. ^ F.L. Carsten, The Rise of Fascism, London: Methuen & Co, 1974, p. 173
  6. ^ Kallis, The Fascism Reader, pp. 205-206