Zoltán Böszörmény

Zoltán Böszörmény

Zoltán Böszörmény (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, raning from a labourer to a porter. [Aristotle A. Kallis, "The Fascism Reader", London: Routledge, 2003, p. 205] He first flirted with politics in 1919 when he became involved in activity against Béla Kun, albeit on a very minor scale. [Philip Rees, "Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890"] Whilst studying at the University of Budapest he became leader of the state student movement and a supporter of Gyula Gömbös. [Rees, op cit] 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. [Kallis, op cit]

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. [Rees, op cit] 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. [Rees, op cit]

Despite government attention, Böszörmény managed to hold onto his power base in the Tisza, preaching a mixture of anti-Semitism and land reform. [Rees, op cit] Böszörmény was certainly confident of his own abilities as a leader and thinker, writing in 1932 that "even among the giants of intellect I ama giant, a great Hungarian poet with a prophetic mission". [Kallis, op cit] 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). [Kallis, op cit, pp. 205-206]

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. [Rees, op cit] 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. [Rees, op cit]


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