|Vitéz Gyula Gömbös de Jákfa|
|Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Hungary|
1 October 1932 – 6 October 1936
|Preceded by||Gyula Károlyi|
|Succeeded by||Kálmán Darányi|
26 December 1886|
|Died||6 October 1936
|Political party||National Smallholders and Agrarian Workers' Party
Hungarian National Independence Party
Unity Party → Party of National Unity
|Spouse(s)||Greta Reichert (first)
Erzsébet Szilágyi (second)
Greta Reichert (third; again)
Gyula Gömbös de Jákfa (26 December 1886 – 6 October 1936) was a Hungarian military officer and politician, who served as Prime Minister of Hungary from 1 October 1932 until his death on 6 October 1936.
Gömbös was born in the Tolna County village of Murga, Hungary, which had a mixed Hungarian and ethnic German population. His father was the village schoolmaster. The family belonged to the Hungarian Evangelical (i. e. Lutheran) Church.
Gömbös entered the Austro-Hungarian Army as a cadet in Pécs and quickly became a member of the officer corps, serving as a captain during World War I. While in the army, Gömbös became a staunch advocate of Hungary's gaining independence from Austria and a bitter critic of the Habsburgs. After World War I ended and Hungary split from Austria, Gömbös joined Conservative Hungarian forces in Szeged that were unwilling to support Communist Béla Kun, who had seized control of Hungary in 1919, forming his own paramilitary group, the Hungarian National Defence Association (Magyar Országos Véderő Egylet, or MOVE). Gömbös became a close ally of Miklós Horthy, the leader of the anti-Communist government in Szeged, and played a leading role in organizing Horthy’s army. For his services, Gömbös was made minister of defense in the Szeged government. After Kun’s government was ousted in August 1919, Gömbös helped direct the ensuing "White Terror" which purged Communists from Hungarian society. Gömbös also supported the actions against Hungary’s Jews. Having noted that Kun and many of the ministers in his Communist government were Jews, he took advantage of widespread sentiment in the country that the Jews were the primary backers of Communism.
Gömbös had been a Smallholer before the war, but veered sharply to the right in the upheaval following the breakup of Austria-Hungary. After Miklós Horthy was made regent of Hungary in 1920, Gömbös became the primary leader of Hungary’s emerging Right Radical movement, which was gaining some support from the people in response to the brief period of Communist rule and the signing of the Treaty of Trianon, which resulted in Hungary losing two-thirds of its territory to neighboring nations. Despite some disagreements with Horthy, Gömbös was active in the widespread purge of Hungarian Communists and later organized mass military opposition to the Habsburg pretender Charles IV's plan to regain his throne in 1921, a move which kept Horthy firmly in control of Hungary. Later that year, Gömbös became one of the primary leaders of the opposition to Prime Minister István Bethlen. By the mid-1920s, Gömbös had turned so far to the right that he favoured making Hungary a one-party state and reorganizing the country along totalitarian lines, implementing land reform, creating anti-Jewish laws, and withdrawing Hungary from the League of Nations. In 1929, Gömbös was made a major general and appointed Minister of Defense in the Bethlen government by Horthy in an attempt to appease the growing Right, but Gömbös’s ambition was not abated.
By 1932, the Right had become such a force in Hungary that Horthy had no choice but to appoint Gömbös prime minister. However, Horthy forced Gömbös to recant his anti-Semitism before taking office. Horthy also made him promise not to ask for new elections. This severely limited Gömbös’s ability to bring about the kind of sweeping domestic changes he had in mind, as Parliament was packed with Bethlen supporters. However, Gömbös never gave up his plans for making Hungary a fascist state, and subsequently used what power he had and the backing of the secret police to establish a much more authoritarian government than those of his predecessors.
While prime minister, Gömbös was very active in international politics. One of his major goals was to align Hungary into an Axis with Italy and Austria. Shortly after becoming prime minister, Gömbös flew to Italy and visited Benito Mussolini. The two came to an accord, and Mussolini gave Gömbös his support for the revision of the Treaty of Trianon. Mussolini also promised Gömbös Italy’s aid if Hungary went to war with Yugoslavia and Romania in an attempt to regain Hungary’s former territory from those nations. However, Gömbös also harbored hopes of forming an alliance with Germany, especially when it seemed that the Nazi Party would gain control of the country. When Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Gömbös became the first head of a foreign nation to visit the Nazi leader. Shortly thereafter, Gömbös signed a major trade agreement with Germany which would greatly improve Hungary’s ailing economy as the 1930s progressed. The move alarmed many Hungarian political leaders, who believed Gömbös’s relations with Germany would damage Hungary’s ties with Italy, as Italy and Germany were in dispute over a proposed union between Germany and Austria. Gömbös eventually decided to align Hungary primarily with Italy and Austria when Hitler made it clear to Gömbös that while he would support Hungary in an effort to regain land from Czechoslovakia, he would not support Hungary against Romania or Yugoslavia. Hitler was also against Gömbös’s plans to expand the size and power of the Hungarian military, while Mussolini supported the idea.
In early 1935, Gömbös’s luck greatly improved when he finally persuaded Horthy to allow new elections. The elections resulted in the far right winning control of Parliament, which in turn led to a huge increase in Gömbös’s power. Gömbös expanded and re-equipped the army, filled it with sympathetic officers, and exerted greater control over the civil services by filling them with supporters. In 1936, Gömbös boasted to Hermann Göring that within two years, Hungary would be a fascist state with himself as its dictator.
Death in office
- Retrieved 8 March 2011.
- Earlier accounts had kidney failure as the cause of death. See Püski, Levente: A Horthy-rendszer (The Horthy System; Budapest: Pannonica, 2006), pp. 104–6.
- Kürti, László (2006). "Gömbös, Gyula". In Blamires, Cyprian. World fascism: a historical encyclopedia 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. 285–286. ISBN 1-57607-940-6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gyula Gömbös.|
- A Gömbös-kormányról „A háború árnyékában”, Szegedi Egyetemi Könyvtár
- Gömbös Gyula Gergely Jenő írása (mult-kor.hu)
- Az evangélikus Gömbös Gyula
|Minister of Defence
|Prime Minister of Hungary
|Minister of Foreign Affairs