Horthy de Nagybánya, Miklós, born, 18-06-1868 in Kenderes, Szolnok, Hungary, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1886 and entered the Austro-Hungarian navy, where he served for 32 years. As a captain, Horthy commanded the successful May 1917 attack on the Otranto Barrage, during which he was wounded in both legs. Horthy became a hero in Hungary for his role in the battle, which led to his promotion to rear admiral in March 1918. That same month, following mutinies in the fleet, Emperor Karl promoted Horthy to vice admiral and named him commander of the Austro-Hungarian battle fleet.
Following the war, Horthy retired. He soon entered politics as the leader of the conservative White forces against the communist government of Béla Kun. On 01-03-1920, Horthy became regent of Hungary and head of the executive authority. At first Horthy had little power, but his power increased sharply after 1937 when he refused to be bound by decisions of the Hungarian Parliament. In domestic policy, Horthy rejected universal and secret suffrage and land reform. In foreign policy, his chief aim was revision of the Treaty of Trianon of 1920, by which Hungary had lost two-thirds of its territory and population. For this reason, although he was strongly anti-Fascist, Horthy sought the support of, and an alliance with, Germany and Italy. His diplomatic efforts were successful in that between 1938 and 1940, Hungary recovered some of the territory it had lost after World War I to Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Horthy successfully managed to afford involvement in the war in September 1939. By April 1941, however, pressure from Adolf Hitler
, coupled with promises of additional territory and access to the Adriatic, led to Hungarian military operations against Yugoslavia on the Axis side. Horthy was also forced to send troops to fight on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union, but he resisted German efforts to have him deport Hungarian Jews.In September 1942, personal tragedy struck the Hungarian Regent. 37-year-old István Horthy, Horthy’s eldest son, was killed.
István Horthy was the Deputy Regent of Hungary and a Flight Lieutenant in the reserves, 1/1 Fighter Squadron of the Royal Hungarian Air Force
. He was killed when his Hawk fighter crashed at an air field near Ilovskoye. In 1943, Horthy was already considering escaping from Hitler’s grasp and negotiating with the Allied powers. Aware of this activity and determined to keep Hungary in the war on his side, Hitler sent German troops to occupy the country on 19-03- 1944. Horthy remained in his post. In September, Soviet troops invaded Hungary from Romania, and on 28 September Horthy dispatched representatives to Moscow. There they signed a preliminary armistice agreement on 11 October, which Horthy announced publicly four days later. A lack of coordination with army Chief of Staff General János Vörös
led to a continuation of the fighting. Janos Voros was arrested with the charge of spying by the military investigation service. The Military Courthouse sentenced to life imprisonment him in 1950. Vörös left the prison in 1956 after that he lived desolately and poorly. He died age 72, on 23-07-1968, in Balatonfured. The German army then occupied Budapest and took Horthy’s son hostage, forcing Horthy to appoint Ferenc Szálas
, head of the German Arrow Cross, Fascist Party
, as “Leader of the Nation.” Szalas was the leader for the final three months of Hungary’s particpation in World War II, after Germany occupied Hungary and removed Horthy by force. During his brief rule, Szálasi’s men murdered 10,000–15,000 Jews. After the war, he was executed after a trial by the Hungarian court for crimes against the state committed during World War II, on 12-03-1946, age 46. The Arrow Cross also welcomed SS Obersturmführer, Adolf Eichmann (see Eichmann
) back to Budapest, where he began the deportation of the city’s surviving Jews, Eichmann never successfully completed this phase of his plans, thwarted in large measure by the efforts of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg).
A document dated 17-07-1947, stated “I report that the prisoner Wallenberg who is well-known to you, died suddenly in his cell this night, probably as a result of a heart attack or heart failure. Out of a pre-war Hungarian Jewish population estimated at 825,000, only 260,000 survived.The Germans then removed Horthy to Bavaria, where he was captured by the Americans. In 1946, Horthy appeared as a witness at the post-war International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. The Yugoslav government requested his extradition so that he might be tried there for war crimes, but the U.S. authorities refused the request. Horthy then moved to Portugal, where he remained.
The Soviet occupation and subsequent communist government of Hungary made it impossible for him to return there. Horthy wrote his memoirs in 1953, but they were not published in Hungary until 1990. Horthy was married once, to Magdolna Purgly de Jószáshely. He had two sons, Miklós Horthy, J., often rendered in English as “Nicholas” or “Nikolaus” and István Horthy, who served as his political assistants; and two daughters, Magda and Paula. Of his four children, only Miklós outlived him.
Death and burial ground of Horthy de Nagybánya, Miklós.