László Bárdossy

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Dr. László Bárdossy de Bárdos
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1984-018-35A, Laszlo von Bardossy.jpg
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Hungary
In office
3 April 1941 – 7 March 1942
Preceded by Pál Teleki
Succeeded by Miklós Kállay
Personal details
Born (1890-12-10)10 December 1890
Szombathely, Hungary
Died 10 January 1946(1946-01-10) (aged 55)
Budapest, Hungary
Nationality Hungarian
Political party Party of Hungarian Life
Spouse(s) Marietta Belatiny Braun
Profession politician, diplomat
The native form of this personal name is bárdosi dr. Bárdossy László. This article uses the Western name order.

Dr. László Bárdossy de Bárdos (10 December 1890 – 10 January 1946) was a Hungarian diplomat and politician who served as Prime Minister of Hungary from 1941 to 1942.

Biography[edit]

László Bárdossy with his predecessor Pál Teleki

Born in Szombathely to a middle-class family, Bárdossy began his career in the Hungarian government as a young man when he found employ in the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Bárdossy transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1920, and served as head of its press department from 1924 to 1931. Bárdossy quickly rose through the foreign ministry, serving as a member of the Hungarian legation to London from 1931 to 1934. In 1934, he was appointed to the important position of Ambassador to Romania. In February 1941, Bárdossy was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in Prime Minister Pál Teleki’s cabinet. When Teleki committed suicide on 3 April 1941, Bárdossy was immediately appointed prime minister by Regent Miklós Horthy. As prime minister, Bárdossy (who also retained the portfolio of foreign minister) pursued a strong pro-German foreign policy, reasoning that an alliance with the Nazis would allow Hungary to retrieve land that had been taken from it as a result of the Treaty of Trianon. Shortly after Bárdossy became prime minister, Germany invaded Yugoslavia. Bárdossy and Horthy sent the Hungarian Army to assist the Germans, and in return Hungarian troops were allowed to occupy part of the Yugoslav territory that had formerly belonged to Hungary.

On matters of domestic policy, Bárdossy proved to be an advocate of radical right wing politics. An anti-Semite, Bárdossy enacted the Third Jewish Law in August 1941, which severely limited Jewish economic and employment opportunities and prohibited Jews from marrying or having sexual intercourse with non-Jews. Bárdossy also approved the policy of deporting non-Hungarians from the territory seized from Yugoslavia, and authorized the slaughter of thousands of Jews in Novi Sad. After Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, Bárdossy was restrained by Horthy from declaring war on the Soviet Union.

Bárdossy moments before he was executed in 1946

On 26 June, however, the Hungarian city of Kassa was bombed and the Hungarian government claimed that the Soviets were the attackers. (The identity of the attackers has never been satisfactorily resolved, but it is one of two leading theories that Soviet planes on a mission to bomb the city of Eperjes, at the time under German rule, mistakenly bombed Kassa instead.) After learning of the attack and meeting with his cabinet and Horthy, Bárdossy declared war on the Soviet Union. In so doing, he violated Hungary’s constitution, which required the prime minister to receive the consent of Parliament before declaring war (Bárdossy declared war without Parliament’s permission). After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Bárdossy was reluctant to declare war on the United States. He eventually relented to pressure from Germany (which reminded him of Hungary’s signing of the Tripartite Pact), however, and declared war on the United States on 13 December 1941 (once again not gaining permission from Parliament before declaring war).

On 7 March 1942, Horthy forced Bárdossy's resignation in favour of the more moderate Miklós Kállay. Exactly why Horthy decided to remove Bárdossy is unclear, but some possible reasons include Bárdossy’s unwillingness to stand up to Germany, his compliancy to Hungary’s far-right and growing increasing Hungarian troop levels and casualties in the Soviet Union. Perhaps the primary reason that Horthy dismissed Bárdossy, however, was that Bárdossy successfully opposed a plan by Horthy that would have elevated his son, Miklós Jr, to the regency after Miklós Horthy’s death. After resigning as prime minister, Bárdossy became chairman of the Fascist United Christian National League in 1943. After the German occupation of Hungary in 1944, Bárdossy and his followers collaborated with Prime Minister Döme Sztójay. Later on, they collaborated with Ferenc Szálasi’s Arrow Cross Party. After World War II ended, Bárdossy was arrested and tried by the People’s Court in November 1945. He was found guilty of war crimes and collaboration with the Nazis, sentenced to death, and executed by firing squad in Budapest in 1946.

References[edit]

In English[edit]

  • Clementis-Záhony Botond, "Bárdossy Reconsiderd: Hungary's Entrance into World War II" In: Triumph in Adversity. New York, 1988.
  • Nandor F. Dreisziger: "A Dove? A Hawk? Perhaps a Sparrow: Bárdossy Defends his Wartime Record before the Americans, July 1945," in Hungary Fifty Years Ago, N.F. Dreisziger ed. (Toronto and Budapest: special issue of the Hungarian Studies Review, Vol. XXII, Nos. 1–2, 1995), pp. 71–90.
  • Nandor F. Dreisziger: "Prime Minister László Bárdossy was Executed 50 Years Age as a 'War Criminal'," in Tárogató: the Journal of the Hungarian Cultural Society of Vancouver, Vol. XXIII, no. 11 (November 1996), pp. 56–57.
  • Nandor F. Dreisziger: Was László Bárdossy a War Criminal? Further Reflections, In: Hungary in the Age of Total War 1938–1948 (Bradenton: East European Monographs, distr. through Columbia University Press, 1998) pp. 311–320.

In Hungarian[edit]

  • Bárdossy László: Magyar politika a mohácsi vész után. Budapest, 1943.
  • A Bárdossy-per / a Magyar Országos Tudósitó és a Magyar Távirati Iroda hivatalos kiadásaiból szerk. Ábrahám Ferenc, Kussinszky Endre, Budapest, 1945.
  • Bárdossy László a Népbíróság elõtt, [szerk: Pritz Pál] Bp. : Maecenas, 1991. (dokumentumok)
  • Bûnös volt-e Bárdossy László [ed.Jaszovszky László] Budapest, Püski, 1996. (az elsőfokú tárgyalás jegyzőkönyve)
  • Czettler Antal: A mi kis élethalál kérdéseink. A magyar külpolitika a hadbalépéstől a német megszállásig. Bp., 2000, Magvető.
  • PERJÉS Géza: Bárdossy László és pere. Hadtörténelmi közlemények. 113. 2000. 4. 771–840.
  • Pritz Pál: A Bárdossy-per, Bp. : Kossuth, [2001].
  • JASZOVSZKY László: Észrevételek Perjés Géza "Bárdossy László és pere" című tanulmányához. Hadtörténelmi közlemények. 114. 2001. 4. 711–725.
  • CLEMENTIS-ZÁHONY Botond: Hozzászólás Perjés Géza Bárdossy-tanulmányához. = Hadtörténelmi közlemények. 114. 2001. 4. 726–734.
  • PRITZ Pál: Válasz Perjés Gézának. Hadtörténelmi közlemények. 114. 2001. 4.
  • PERJÉS Géza: Viszontválasz Pritz Pálnak. Hadtörténelmi közlemények. 114. 2001. 4.
  • Bokor Imre: Gróf Teleki Pálról és Bárdossy Lászlóról, Budapest, Szenci M. Társ., 2002.
  • Szerencsés Károly: "Az ítélet: halál" magyar miniszterelnökök a bíróság elõtt : Batthyány Lajos, Bárdossy László, Imrédy Béla, Szálasi Ferenc, Sztójay Döme, Nagy Imre, Bp. : Kairosz, [2002]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Pál Teleki
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1941–1942
Succeeded by
Ferenc Keresztes-Fischer
Acting
Preceded by
Ferenc Keresztes-Fischer
Acting
Prime Minister of Hungary
1941–1942