István Tisza

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István Tisza

de Borosjenő et Szeged
Istvan Tisza.jpg
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Hungary
In office
3 November 1903 – 18 June 1905
MonarchFrancis Joseph I
Preceded byKároly Khuen-Héderváry
Succeeded byGéza Fejérváry
In office
10 June 1913 – 15 June 1917
MonarchFrancis Joseph I
Charles IV
Preceded byLászló Lukács
Succeeded byMóric Esterházy
Personal details
Born(1861-04-22)22 April 1861
Pest, Hungary
Died31 October 1918(1918-10-31) (aged 57)
Budapest, Hungary
Political partyLiberal Party
National Party of Work
Spouse(s)Ilona Tisza de Borosjenő
ProfessionEconomist, Lawyer, Political Scientist, Banker

Count István Imre Lajos Pál Tisza de Borosjenő et Szeged (archaically English: Stephen Emery Louis Paul Tisza, or in short simple form Stephen Tisza; 22 April 1861 – 31 October 1918) was a Hungarian politician, prime minister, political scientist, international lawyer, macroeconomist, member of Hungarian Academy of Sciences and champion duelist. The prominent event in his life was Austria-Hungary's entry into the First World War when he was prime minister for the second time. He was later assassinated during the Aster Revolution on 31 October 1918 - the same day that Hungary terminated its real union with Austria. Tisza supported the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary and was representative of the then liberal-conservative consent.

István Tisza in Oxford, England
The 33-year-old Tisza as a member of the parliament in 1894
István Tisza and his family. Geszt, Hungary around 1895
anti-semitic mockery against István Tisza

He had been a Member of Parliament since 1887 and had had abundant opportunities to see how the unyielding temper of the Emperor on the one hand, and the revolutionary spirit of the extremists on the other, were leading to a complete impasse. He himself supported the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867. A social reactionary to the end, Tisza stubbornly opposed on principle the break-up of the large landed estates as well as even the most modest reform proposals that would have granted the suffrage to soldiers fighting at the front[1] (before 1918 only 10% of the Hungarian population could vote and hold office). However, in economic affairs, he tended to be a modernizer who encouraged and supported industrialization and, in that respect, he was an opponent of anti-Semitism, which he feared could jeopardize Hungary's economic development. Among the Hungarian political leaders, Tisza was the most zealous adherent of Dualism and the partnership with Austria.[2] The Austro-Hungarian Compromise, the Liberal party and István Tisza remained bitterly unpopular[3] among ethnic Hungarian voters. Thus - similarly to his father Kálmán Tisza - he could rely mostly on the political support of ethnic minorities during the parliamentary elections.[4]

In the diplomacy, Tisza's role model was Otto von Bismarck. As an economist, he followed the concepts of the English historical school of economics, as a lawyer and political scientist, Tisza favored the social and political development of England, which he considered as the "ideal way of development".[5]

Early life and education[edit]

István Tisza was the son of Kálmán Tisza de Borosjenő, prime minister of Hungary between 1875–1890 from the Liberal Party. The Tiszas were originally a Calvinist untitled lower nobility (regarded as equivalent to the British gentry). His mother, Countess Helene von Degenfeld-Schonburg, was a Hungarian-German aristocrat from Baden-Württemberg (born: Helene Johanna Josepha Mathilde Gräfin von Degenfeld-Schonburg).[6]

The young Stephen raised in a puritanical and authoritarian Calvinist environment with high expectations. Stephen has studied at home until the age of twelve, then he entered the Calvinist Gymnasium (a college-preparatory school) of Debrecen. Tisza took legal studies in Budapest, international law in Heidelberg University, economics in Humboldt University of Berlin, where he received PHD, and political science in Oxford University, where he received a doctorate in political science.

Initially, he became acquainted with the practical issues of public administration at the Ministry of the Interior. Several studies on the agricultural issue were published in the Budapest Review. After serving 1 year as a volunteer hussar in the Royal Hungarian Honvéd army, he got the rank of hussar officer. He settled in Bihar County and took an active part in the political and economic life of the county as a committee member and honorary chief notary of Bihar county.

Political career[edit]

Tisza as member of the parliament[edit]

He then took care of the family land at Bihar County and Geszt for five years. He won his first parliamentary electoral mandate in 1886 with the Liberal Party in Vízakna (Now: Ocna Sibiului, Romania), a Transylvanian electoral district, and he represented the district until 1892. He won his second seat in 1892 as representative of Újbánya district (Now: Nová Baňa, Slovakia). In 1896 he won the seat of Ugra district (Now: Ungra, Romania) and he became also a member of the economic committee of Hungarian parliament, where he plunged himself into the macroeconomic discussions.

In the 1890s he served a number of sinecures which provided extraordinary income, a common situation among prestigious European politicians of the time. He was the president of the Hungarian Industrial and Commercial Bank (Magyar Ipar- és Kereskedelmi Bank) and was a member of the boards of numerous joint-stock companies and industrial enterprises. Despite the financial crisis of the 1890s, under his control many of these enterprises became the fastest emerging companies of the realm, some of them became unavoidable enterprises in their own sectors. His instructions and rule transformed the mediocre Hungarian Industrial and Commercial Bank into the largest Bank of Hungary within a decade.

His uncle, the childless Lajos Tisza received the title of Count from Emperor Franz Joseph in 1897. However, Lajos Tisza conferred his new title on his nephew Stephen with the consent of the Monarch on 16 February 1897.[7]

Prime minister for first time, 1903–1905[edit]

He was chairman and board member of several financial institutions (eg the Hungarian Industrial and Commercial Bank) and many industrial companies, but resigned from all of his memberships before he was appointed as Prime minister.

Target of Leftist and socialist circles[edit]

In this period he managed to get the remains of Francis II Rákóczi repatriated from Turkey and interred in the cathedral of Kassa, today Košice. On April 19, 1904, nationwide strike of railroad workers broke out, which paralyzed the Hungarian economy. Tisza solved the crisis quickly but drastically: the organizers of the strike were arrested, and participant railway workers were recruited into the Hungarian Honvéd army. The Parliament approved the increase of conscriptees. The police crushed a Socialist gathering for peasants in Bihar, leaving 33 dead and several hundred wounded.

Target of anti-Semite circles[edit]

Tisza often used his influence in parliament to grant titles to wealthy Jewish families, especially successful industrialists and bankers, and set them and their success as an example for the people. Many families of young middle class were Jews or baptized Jews. Tisza often gathered influential men of Jewish extraction to advise him. He even offered many positions in his cabinet to Jews. His first appointment was Samu Hazai as Minister of War. Two years later he picked János Teleszky as minister of finance. The third Jewish member of his cabinet was János Harkányi, minister of trade. Tisza appointed Samu Hazai as Minister of War during his second premiere. They all served for the duration of Tisza's seven years in office. The Liberal Party passed legislation for Jewish emancipation in 1867, and appointed many Jewish origin MEPs to the parliament (both the upper and lower houses). In return, many Jews supported the party. Many districts of Budapest, where Jews made up half of the voters, reliably voted for the Liberal candidate.[8] Similarly to the policy of his father, István Tisza allowed the unrestricted immigration of Jewish refugees from the Russian Empire, who fled from the Tzarist pogroms. His philosemitic political attitude made him a target of anti-Semite politicians and political circles.

Target of radical nationalists[edit]

During the era, only 54.5% (1910 census[9]) of the population of kingdom of Hungary considered themselves as Hungarians. Tisza's party (The Liberal Party of Hungary) urgently needed the support of minorities to maintain the majority of the party in the Hungarian parliament. The liberal party was the most popular political force in the electoral districts where the ethnic minorities represented the local majority. However his main political opponents (The nationalist Party of Independence and '48 and Catholic People's Party) could collect mandates only from the Hungarian majority electoral districts.[10]

"Election by handkerchief" and the victory of nationalist opposition[edit]

The parliamentary rules of procedure in the dualism in Hungary followed the common law of feudal Parliament, according to which everybody could speak as much as they wished: so, the most prominent speakers could speak up to 4-8 hours in public. However, this made the procedure of legislature impossible. For decades, the opposition often used this weapon in the case of extremely important or disputed issues.

From the first his ministry was exposed to the most unscrupulous opposition, exacerbated by the new and stringent rules of procedure which Tisza felt it his duty to introduce if any business were to be done. Tisza planned a modification to the rules of the House of Parliament on 18 November 1904 to crush the obstruction of the opposition. The motion for their introduction was made by the deputy Gábor Daniel, supported by the premier, and after scenes of unheard-of obstruction and violence (16–18 November) the speaker, in the midst of an ear-splitting tumult, declared that the new regulations had been adopted by the house, and produced a royal message suspending the session. But the Andrássy group, immediately afterwards, separated from the Liberal Party, and the rest of the year the Opposition made the legislation impossible. By January 1905 the situation had become ex lex or anarchical. Tisza stoutly stood by his rules, on the ground that this was a case in which the form must be sacrificed to the substance of parliamentary government.[11]

Dezső Perczel, the President of the House, called for immediate voting on the modification. It is not clear what exactly happened, but some sources say that the Speaker of the House of Parliament waved a handkerchief, signalling for the governing party to vote "yes"; this act later became known as the "election by handkerchief", which became a large scandal and, as a consequence, Kálmán Széll and Gyula Andrássy left the Liberal Party and the opposition unified into the "Federal Opposition". The political powers polarised and in new elections the 30 years of governing by the Liberal Party was ended, with the side effect that the party was dissolved.

After the defeat of his Liberal Party by the nationalist coalition in the 1905 elections, Tisza only took part in the operations of the Upper House of Parliament (similar to House of Lords in Britain), staying away from political struggles. However, his political opponent the governing Independence and '48 Party was unable to withhold positions to protect the interests of Hungary so it resigned on 25 April 1909.

Tisza and his son with ministers and leaders of the Liberal Party in his family estate at Geszt in 1904

National Party of Work, electoral victory in 1910[edit]

Tisza gives a speech in Arad in 1910
Tisza gives an electoral speech in Sopron in April 1910

On 19 February 1910, Tisza established the National Party of Work (Nemzeti Munkapárt) which subsequently won the election of 1910. He did not desire to form a government, primarily due to his conflict with Franz Ferdinand who sought to centralise the Habsburg Monarchy with universal suffrage. Tisza opposed this initiative, as he believed that this would lead to the weakening of the Magyar supremacy over ethnic minorities in Hungary. In addition, he claimed "demagogues (i.e. Communists and agrarian socialist movements) would manipulate peasants with the majority of the votes to put in power such groups whose aims are against democracy, supported by the urban intellectuals".[12] Tisza was supported by Franz Josef, but he feared a repeat of the faults of his first prime ministry and thus called for Károly Khuen-Héderváry to form the new government. Despite Tisza was not prime minister again until 1913, as the founder of the National Party of Work, his power and influence on the ruling majority party was completely absolute. In this way Tisza could remain the keyfigure of Hungarian politics and legislation behind the curtains, even without having premiership.

István Tisza (right) with Emperor-King Francis Joseph

Act of Protection[edit]

István Tisza in 1914

As Speaker of the House of Representatives from 22 May 1912 to 12 June 1913 Tisza supported the reform of the common Austro-Hungarian army to enhance the military power of the dual monarchy. The Hungarian side was fighting for more Hungarian interests (i.e. use of the Magyar language in the army). Tisza and his party refused the idea of universal suffrage. According to his threatening prediction, the majority votes of peasants - manipulated by primitive demagogues - would result in the domination of groups whose goals are just contrary to the ideals of metropolitan intellectuals and socialists who call for democracy. The Socialists strongly opposed his acts and decided to organize a protest march. Socialist agents organised a worker rebellion on 22 May 1912 (Blood-Red Thursday), calling for Tisza to resign as President of the House and calling for universal suffrage. On the next day, the protesters and workers marched toward the Parliament building, meanwhile the events transformed to violence, protesters broke the shop windows in the surrounding streets, automobiles and tramcard were damaged by the masses. However the protesters were stopped by the storm of hussar cavalry units, and they were arrested by the police. Six people died in the clashes, nearly two hundred were injured and three hundred were arrested. This event became known as "Blood-Red Thursday" in the contemporary press and later in the history books.

Tisza tried to solve the question of ethnic minorities based on a clerical approach (like the representation of Orthodox and Greek Catholic Church in The Upper House of the parliament).

He was convinced that the challenging foreign situation called for military preparation and he strongly pushed against opposition obstruction. He did not allow the opposition to speak up regarding rules of House of Parliament. Referring to an act of 1848, he called for the police force to force out numerous opposition representatives. He managed to pass the Act of Protection, resulting in the removal of some members of the opposition party.

As a result, Gyula Kovács, an opposition party representative, tried to assassinate Tisza in the Parliament Building on 7 June 1912. His shots missed and the marks are still visible in the Hungarian Parliament Building to this day. With his last shot Kovács shot himself, but he survived. Tisza then continued the session.

Prime minister for second time, 1913–1917[edit]

Tisza became prime minister again on 7 June 1913.

Freedom of the press[edit]

Inspired by the Western European model, Tisza's cabinet introduced for the first time in the history of Hungarian journalism the legal category of defamation, libel and "scare-mongering", thus the press became actionable before the courts. Journalists and newspapers had to pay compensations for the victims of defamation and libel. Despite the fact that these institutions and laws worked well in Western Europe and in the United States, the contemporary Hungarian newspapers and journalists considered it as the violation of the Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of Press.


Count István Tisza tried to solve the longstanding Hungarian-Croatian issue, namely to clarify the relationship; for this matter, he met Count Tivadar Pejácsevich, Count of Verovce, Croatian Ban, and a year later, Baron Lomnica, Ivan Skerlecz, the new Croatian Ban.

Tisza maintained his conciliatory position, promising to reestablish the Croatian Constitution, which had been suspended in May 1912. Tisza appointed his old family friend Baron Ivan Skerlecz, of Šokci origin, as the new ban of Croatia. Negotiations between the Croatian representatives and Tisza bore fruit and allowed the restitution of the Croatian constitutional government in November 1913.

Foreign policy and the Great War[edit]

Tisza and Hötzendorf left Vienna after 3 days long fierce debate.

A few days before the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which resulted in World War I, Tisza supported a strong stand against Serbia. However, after the assassination he was against going to war against Serbia, a rare view in Austria-Hungary. He knew the army's strength, and he was afraid that with the increase of more Slavic territories the equilibrium inside the monarchy would be upset. Moreover, he was afraid that Romania would attack Transylvania.[13] The loss of the alliance with the German Empire would have meant the end of Austria-Hungary as a Great Power, so he gave in and supported the war. He then became a relentless supporter of the war until its end.

Tisza believed Romania to be an enemy from the beginning. He was afraid that if Romania attacked Hungary then the Romanians in Transylvania would revolt against Hungary. In the end, 40,000 soldiers were moved to protect Transylvania.

During the war, the reformists became more and more powerful, but he continued to oppose them. At the time, Tisza was seen as forcing the continuation of the war and was losing a great deal of support. He opposed the ideas of the new Emperor, Karl I, and was asked to resign; he did so on 23 May 1917.[14][15] However, he retained great political influence, and was able to delay the enactment of universal suffrage.

During this period of international insecurity, he wanted to solidify the government. During this period, he appointed Baron Stephan Burián von Rajecz who planned to increase the prestige of the monarchy and to get parity with Germany but also to negotiate peace with the help of the Americans.[16][17] He would fail in the latter, after Germany announced in 1916 that it intended to start full submarine warfare, leading the US to prepare for war.[18]

By late October 1918, the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, and the surrender of Germany, were imminent and there was nothing that foreign minister Burián (who was still in that role) could do to change the course of history.[19]

Towards the end of the war, Tisza had wanted to convince the Serbs and Bosnians to achieve autonomy within Austria-Hungary. As a homo regius ("king's man"), he went to Sarajevo to attempt this, but without success.

His judgement from abroad during and after the war[edit]

It is clear that after the outbreak of World War I, all opposing sides pointed to the other side as the party guilty of initiating the greater war.[citation needed] The British newspaper "New Europe" printed a comment that Hungary was the only responsible party for the war, "where Hungary′s responsibility is greater than Austria′s" and that Tisza was the militaristic politician who dragged all sides into war. As a consequence the "Little Entente" took this view and pushed to punish Hungary at the end of the war. Later, the propaganda of these nations augmented and even invented Tisza's guilt, claiming that he took pains to point out in a report of 8 July that "there should at any rate be no question of the annihilation or annexation of Serbia, and that if Serbia gave way, Austria-Hungary must be content." According to recent findings these accusations are without merit.[citation needed]

The accusations are rooted in the common belief that Tisza carried out a policy of forced Magyarization towards the ethnic minorities in Hungary. His minority policy was (directly or indirectly) often confused with the policy of his radical nationalist political opponents in the 1906 -1910 period (like the Party of Independence and '48).

His view on war against Serbia[edit]

István Tisza served on the Italian front between 1917-1918, where he had opportunity to experience the circumstances and dangers of trench warfare on a daily basis

Tisza opposed the expansion of the empire on the Balkan (see Bosnian crisis in 1908), because "the Dual Monarchy already had too many Slavs", which would further threaten the integrity of the Dual Monarchy.[20]

In March 1914, Tisza wrote a memorandum to Emperor Francis Joseph. His letter had a strongly apocalyptic, predictive and embittered tone. He used the expression "Weltkrieg" (meaning World War) - a term hitherto unknown - in his letter. "It is my firm conviction that Germany's two neighbors [Russia and France] are carefully proceeding with military preparations, but will not start the war so long as they have not attained a grouping of the Balkan states against us that confronts the monarchy with an attack from three sides and pins down the majority of our forces on our eastern and southern front."[21]

On the day of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Tisza immediately traveled to Vienna where he met Minister of Foreign Affairs Count Berchtold and Army Commander Conrad von Hötzendorf. They proposed to solve the dispute with arms, attacking Serbia. Tisza proposed to give the government of Serbia time to take a stand as to whether it was involved in the organisation of the murder and proposed a peaceful resolution, arguing that the international situation would settle soon. Returning to Budapest, he wrote to Franz Joseph saying he would not take any responsibility for the armed conflict because there was no proof that Serbia had plotted the assassination. Tisza opposed a war with Serbia, stating (correctly, as it turned out) that any war with the Serbs was bound to trigger a war with Russia and hence a general European war.[22] He thought that even a successful Austro-Hungarian war would be disastrous for the integrity of Kingdom of Hungary, where Hungary would be the next victim of Austrian politics. After a successful war against Serbia, Tisza adumbrated a possible Austrian military attack against Kingdom of Hungary, where the Austrians want to break up the territory of Hungary.[23] He did not trust in the Italian alliance, due to the political aftermath of the Second Italian War of Independence. He also felt the threat of Romania and Bulgaria after the Balkan wars and was afraid of Romanian attack from the east, while Austro-Hungarian forces had to fight against the Russian Empire and maybe against Italy. He was also not sure about the stand of the Germans. Germany's stand was of ultimate importance due to the security of the state.

During a conversation between Franz Joseph and Conrad von Hötzendorf, Hötzendorf asked, "If Germany's reply is that they are on our side, do we engage in war with Serbia?" The emperor replied, "Then yes", "But what if they reply differently?", "Then the Monarchy will be alone".

Kaiser Wilhelm II supported the war, promised to neutralize a Romanian attack, and put pressure on Sofia. After this, Tisza still sought a peaceful solution, but most of all he wanted to wait for the result of the official investigation into the assassination. The only proposal of Tisza, which was accepted, was that the Monarchy should not annihilate Serbia completely in order to avoid Russian support for Serbia. The council finally addressed an ultimatum to the Serbian government and immediately commenced mobilisation of troops.

After sending the ultimatum, his view changed. The ultimatum had expired after 48 hours, so Tisza wrote: "it was a difficult decision to take a stand to propose war, but now I am firmly convinced of its necessity"[24] He was, however, still opposed to the annexation of Serbia to the Monarchy, but failed. On 4 August 1914 Russia, Germany, Britain and France also entered the war, enlarging it to a world war.

Tisza did not resign as Prime Minister, as he thought that, with his connections in Vienna, remaining in this position was the best way he could represent Hungarian interests inside Austria-Hungary. Moreover, his resignation would have sent a message of weakness to the Entente at the outbreak of war.

His initial opposition to the conflict, only became public after the end of World War 1, on 17 October 1918, when he spoke in the Parliament. He said, "the Monarchy and the Hungarian nation were longing for peace all the way until there were proofs that the enemy was systematically trying to humiliate and destroy us as soon as possible (...) As we have found proofs that the Serbian government took part in organising the assassination, we could not but address an ultimatum to Serbia ... where we stipulated that the war is preventive."

The struggle of a WW1 political leader in the trenches[edit]

The 57 year-old Tisza joined the 2nd Hussar Regiment of Hungary - which served on the Italian front - as a hussar colonel, and personally led his hussar units during the attacks.

Tisza at the front: "Tisza already felt the not too friendly atmosphere surrounding him at the first days of his joining up to the regiment and at first he tried to ease the general mood by informal behavior. (...) He made an effort from the beginning to use an informal tone both with the staff of officers and - of course within the limits of the service regulations - with the rank and file. In order to get to know his fellow officers better, he invited some young officers to his table every day. In this way he tried to establish better personal relations with his environment. The troops had slowly started to recognize him as a "tough to those above and humane to those below" kind of commander. He distributed his tobacco provisions among the officers and he used his commander pay to improve the catering of the troops, and these of course left a good impression on everybody. Tisza's paternalistic attitude towards his subordinates also manifested itself in civil law cases: he helped with his personal influence in getting done of those petitions what he considered fair, he interceded with notaries, judges, alispáns (deputy-lieutenants) for advancing the home affairs of his men, due to this both the officers and the troops more and more came to like and embrace him. Tisza himself also felt that the front service had been quite useful and productive since on the one hand he could personally experience the dangers of the battleground an on the other hand-at least he was thinking that way and there is a lot of truth in it-he could truly become familiar with the real nature of the simple, peasant origin soldiers. He wrote about peasant soldiers in this way in a letter to Archduke Joseph: "I’ve got to truly know the ordinary [peasants] people now. This is the most extraordinary race of the world that can only be loved and respected. How unfortunate that the political intelligentia doesn’t do anything else, just corrupts this great and God-blessed people."[25]

Assassination attempts[edit]

Monument to Tisza István outside the Budapest Parliament building

For many, he was the representative of the war policy in the Monarchy, so he was an assassination target. The fourth assassination attempt against him was successful.

The first attempt was made in the Hungarian parliament in 1912 by Gyula Kovács, an opposition politician. He shot two bullets, but missed Tisza. Kovács was arrested by the police, but he was acquitted by the court, the justification was "temporary insanity".

The second was made by a soldier when Tisza was returning from the front line during the war. The bullet missed him.

The third attempt came on 16 October 1918 when János Lékai, a member of the society Galilei-circle and an anti-military group led by Ottó Korvin, tried to kill Tisza while he was leaving the Hungarian Parliament, but the revolver malfunctioned and Tisza managed to flee.[26] The assassin was sent to prison but was released after 15 days during the Chrysanthemum Revolution.

The fourth and successful attempt came on 31 October 1918, when soldiers broke into his home, the Róheim Villa in Budapest, Hermina út 35., (today the Villa is at nr. 45.) in front of his wife and his grandniece. Some sources suggest these were disgruntled deserters who blamed Tisza for having started the war.[27]

Subsequently, Mihály Károlyi's government initiated an investigation but the identity of the killers was not confirmed at that time, however, family members had identified individuals that they said were the killers. In the trial that followed the fall of the Communist regime and ended on 6 October 1921, Judge István Gadó established the guilt of Pál Kéri, who was exchanged with the Soviet Union; József Pogány, aka John Pepper, who fled to Vienna, then Moscow and the USA; István Dobó; Tivadar Horváth Sanovics, who also fled; Sándor Hüttner, who died in a prison hospital in 1923; and Tibor Sztanykovszky, who was the only one to serve his 18-year sentence, being released in 1938.

Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist – who knew both politicians personally, wrote about the assassination of István Tisza and the appointment of Mihály Károlyi as new prime minister of Hungary:

I was certainly no adherent of the ancien régime, but it seems doubtful to me whether it is a sign of political shrewdness to beat to death the smartest of the many counts [Count István Tisza] and to make the stupidest one [Count Mihály Károlyi] president.[28]

Personal life[edit]

He married his first degree cousin, Ilona Tisza de Borosjenő. They had two children together.

  • István (1886–1918)
  • Juliska (1888-1894)

His son, István died of Spanish flu on 5 November 1918, five days after the death of the father.[29]

Tisza was a "champion duellist" who "had fought more duels than any man in Europe and had never once been seriously wounded".[30] Having been taught by "the best masters in Germany, France and Italy", he was equally adept with sword or pistol, despite (by 1913) having had a cataract operation on one of his eyes and wearing "think horn-rimmed spectacles".[30] In January 1913,[31] he fought Mihály Károlyi in a 34-bout duel with cavalry sabres which lasted an hour until Tisza cut Károlyi's arm and the seconds ended the duel.[30] A week later he fought Aladár Széchenyi, again with sabres - the duel lasted one bout, ending with Tisza wounding Széchenyi with "a long cut across the head".[30] On about 20 August 1913,[32] Tisza fought György Pallavacini (son-in-law and supporter of Opposition leader Gyula Andrássy) at a Budapest fencing school in a duel with "heavy cavalry sabres" and "only slight protection of the body was allowed".[33] After nine bouts, both duellists were bleeding from cuts to their foreheads, and the seconds declared both principals unable to continue - "[t]he two men shook hands, then embraced, kissing each other on both cheeks, and declared themselves reconciled."[33]


A István Tisza postage stamp was issued by Hungary on 1 July 1932 in the Famous Hungarians series.[34]

Orders and decorations[edit]

Works and Publications[edit]

Historical Studies[edit]

- About Barras' memoirs
- From Sadowa to Sedan
- Wertheimer's Andrássy
- European cruise in the 17th century
- A few more words about Benedict's tragedy
- Historical materialism in the Balkans

Electoral Studies[edit]

-Preface to the volume about the political franchise
-The Austrian election
-The Austrian House of Representatives
-The result of the German election
-Hieronymi on the political franchise
-Electoral Reform and Industrial Workers
-On the verge of electoral reform
-General suffrage and the dynasty


-Theory of tax evasion (1882)
-Hungarian agricultural policy (1883) -The Agricultural Question (1887)
-American competition on the European wheat market (1888)
-Sorting of our currency (1890)
-About the Budget of 1890 (1890)
-The Budget of 1891 (1890)
-The Budget of 1892 (1892)
-Currency Exchange & Gold Pricing (1893)
-Gábor Baross and his system (1894)
-A few more words about Baross's railway policy (1894)
-Our export on the Austrian railways and the customs union
-About the inflation
-20,000 crowns

Other studies and dissertations[edit]

-Public status of Rijeka (1883)
-Once again on the public law status of Rijeka (1883)
-The Fight for Parliamentarism: Speeches by Count István Tisza (1904)
-Gyula Andrássy on art
-About Károly Hieronymi
-Austrian work on the 67th anniversary of the Compromise
-Pietreich on Protective Law
-Compulsory insurance and local government
-Crisis of the British House of Lords
-One word or two about parliamentarianism
-Nation and society
-Gyula Wlassics in the 1867: XII. t.-c. legal nature
-A few words in response to Ödön Polner
-A little browsing in the field of English parliamentarism
-A little controversy
-Notice to the article by Mihály Réz
-Approach of Austrian Germans
-Nationalization and local government
-The impact of war on the nation

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robert A. Kann, A History of the Habsburg Empire, 1526–1918, University of California Press, 1974, p. 494-495.
  2. ^ Stephen Tisza article of the 1922 Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. ^ Cieger András. Kormány a mérlegen – a múlt században (in Hungarian)
  4. ^ András Gerő (2014). Nationalities and the Hungarian Parliament (1867–1918).
  5. ^ Zoltán Maruzsa, Political scientist, ELTE University:"The standpoint of the Tisza István Friends Society concerning the historical figure of Count István Tisza". March 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  6. ^ Degenfeld Kastely biographical data
  7. ^ "Ferenc József; Bécs; 1897.02.16; grófi cím átruházása; előnév átruházása".
  8. ^ Lorman, Thomas (2019). The Making of the Slovak People's Party: Religion, Nationalism and the Culture War in Early 20th-Century Europe. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-350-10938-4.
  9. ^ 1910. évi népszámlálás adatai. (Magyar Statisztikai Közlemények, Budapest, 1912. pp 30–33)
  10. ^ See: Zoltán Maruzsa
  11. ^ "Stephen Tisza" in the Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed. 1911., VOLUME: XXVI, page:1017
  12. ^ A magyar jobboldali hagyomány (Hungarian Right-Wing Heritage), 1900–1948. Edited by Ignác Romcsics, Osiris, 2009. pp. 65.
  13. ^ Köpeczy-Makkai-Mócsy-Szász: History of Transylvania
  14. ^
  15. ^ Winkler, Heinrich August (28 September 2015). The Age of Catastrophe: A History of the West 1914–1945. ISBN 9780300213096.
  16. ^ Afflerbach, Holger (2015). The Purpose of the First World War: War Aims and Military Strategies. London: De Gruyter Oldenbourg. p. 122. ISBN 978-3110346220.
  17. ^ Hollander, Neil (2014) [19 December 2013]. Elusive Dove: The Search for Peace During World War I. McFarland & Company. p. 178. ISBN 978-0786478910.
  18. ^ Buttar, Prit (19 September 2017). The Splintered Empires: The Eastern Front 1917–21. Osprey Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 978-1472819857. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  19. ^ ref>Morrow, John (5 October 2003). The Great War: An Imperial History. Basel: De Gruyter Oldenbourg. ISBN 0415204399.
  20. ^ William Jannen: Lions of July: Prelude to War, 1914 - PAGE:456
  21. ^ David G. Herrmann: The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War - PAGE: 211, Princeton University Press, (1997) ISBN 9780691015958
  22. ^ Fischer, Fritz: Germany’s Aims in the First World War, New York, W.W. Norton, 1967, ISBN 978-0-393-09798-6 (PAGE: 52)
  23. ^ Duffy, Michael. "Who's Who - Count Istvan Tisza de Boros-Jeno".
  24. ^ Tschirschky's report to the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 July 1914
  25. ^ Peter Strausz: (Hungarian) "István Tisza and the Second Hussar Regiment" [1]
  26. ^ András Siklós. Revolution in Hungary and the Dissolution of the Multinational State. 1918. Studia Historica. Vol. 189. Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. Budapest, 1988; p.32-33
  27. ^ Newton, Michael (17 April 2014). Famous Assassinations in World History: An Encyclopedia [2 volumes]. ISBN 9781610692861.
  28. ^ Sigmund Freud; Sándor Ferenczi; Eva Brabant; Ernst Falzeder; Patrizia Giampieri-Deutsch (1993). The Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi, Volume 2: 1914-1919. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674174191.
  29. ^ Múlt-kor - László Anka - Férje kultuszának mellékszereplőjévé avatták
  30. ^ a b c d Cowles, Virginia (1967). 1913: The Defiant Swan Song. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 158.
  31. ^ Cowles, Virginia (1967). 1913: The Defiant Swan Song. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 157–158.
  32. ^ "ANNO, Neue Freie Presse, 1913-08-21, Seite 6". Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  33. ^ a b Cowles, Virginia (1967). 1913: The Defiant Swan Song. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 159.
  34. ^án_Tisza_1861-1918_politician-Personalities-Hungary
  35. ^ Sveriges statskalender (in Swedish), 1915, p. 777, retrieved 8 November 2020 – via
  36. ^ "Ritter-Orden", Hof- und Staatshandbuch der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie, 1918, pp. 53, retrieved 11 November 2020


  • Deák, Istvan "The Decline and Fall of Habsburg Hungary, 1914–18" pages 10–30 from Hungary in Revolution edited by Ivan Volgyes Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1971.
  • Menczer, Béla "Bela Kun and the Hungarian Revolution of 1919" pages 299–309 from History Today Volume XIX, Issue #5, May 1969, History Today Inc: London.
  • Vermes, Gábor. "The October Revolution In Hungary" pages 31–60 from Hungary in Revolution edited by Ivan Volgyes Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1971.
  • Vermes, Gábor.. István Tisza: the liberal vision and conservative statecraft of a Magyar nationalist (East European Monographs, 1985).

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