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About Horthy

Preface by Horthy || 1: Out Into the World

Photo of Admiral Horthy

Miklós (Nicholas) HORTHY of Nagybánya. Born in 1868, he belonged to an old family of Hungary's landed gentry. He entered the Austro-Hungarian navy. Before W.W.I. he served as an aide-de-camp to Emperor Franz-Joseph. During the war he diastinguished himself greatly and at the end he was appointed Commander in Chief for the Austro-Hungarian fleet. He helped to organize the anti-Bolshevik counter-revolution in 1919 and was made Commander in Chief of the Nationalist Army.

On March 1, 1920, he was chosen Governor or Regent (Kormányzó) of Hungary. It is the same title with which two other Hungarians have been previously honored: John Hunyadi in the fifteenth, and Louis Kossuth in the nineteenth century.

On March 19, 1944, Nazi troops occupied Hungary. Horthy was forced to stay on as a figurehead. In August, 1944, he removed the Nazi puppet government and appointed a new cabinet to seek an armistice. With a preliminary armistice agreement signed in Moscow, he attempted to enforce it on October 15, but overwhelming German forces, supporting a strong Hungarian Nazi movement, thwarted it.

Arrested by the Gestapo, Horthy and his family was taken to Germany. After the war he served as a witness at the Nuremberg Trials. On account of the Soviet occupation and Communist takeover in Hungary, he never returned to his homeland. He died in Estoril, Portugal, in 1956. In 1993, after the last Soviet soldier left Hungary, he was reburied at his place of birth in Kenderes, Hungary.