Kingdom of Hungary
Magyar Királyság
Component of Greater Austria
flag coat of arms
Regnum Mariae Patrona Hungariae
"Kingdom of Mary, the Patron of Hungary"
Hungary (red) within Greater Austria (light yellow)
Capital Budapest
Languages Hungarian
Religion Roman Catholic
Government Constitutional monarchy
 •  1920–1922 Károly IV a
 •  1922–1946 Ottó II
Prime Minister
 •  1920 Károly Huszár (first)
 •  1941–1946 Döme Sztójay b(last)
Legislature Országgyűlés
 •  Upper house House of Magnates
 •  Lower house House of Representatives
 •  Monarchy restored 25 March 1920
 •  Dissolution of Greater Austria 12 March 1941
 •  Monarchy abolished 1 February 1946
 •  Treaty of St. Germain 10 February 1947
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Hungarian Soviet Republic
Second Hungarian Republic
a. Károly IV had been King since 1916

The Kingdom of Hungary (Hungarian: Magyar Királyság) from 1920 to 1946 was a federated component of the United States of Greater Austria. It denoted the areas inhabided mostly or entirely of Hungarians within the Habsburg realm. Civil conflict and resistence to reforms in the aftermath of the World War lead to Hungarian territory to be reduced to 28% of the 325,411 square kilometres (125,642 sq mi) that had constituted the pre-war Transleithania (the Hungarian half of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy).

After the European War, the union between Habsburg lands was dissolved. In 1946, the Second Hungarian Republic was established under Soviet influence. In 1949, the monarchy was restored under the national socialist Arrow Cross Party.

Background[edit | edit source]

Upon the conclusion of the Minority Rights Treaty after the World War, the Hungarian Democratic Republic and then the Hungarian Soviet Republic were briefly proclaimed in July and November 1919, respectively. The short-lived communist government of Béla Kun launched what was known as the "Red Terror", throwing Hungary into an ill-fated war with reactionary forces. By 1920, the country fell into open civil conflict, with Hungarian anti-communists and monarchists violently purging the nation of communists, leftist intellectuals, and others whom they felt threatened by, especially Jews. This period was known as the "White Terror". In 1920, after the ousting of the last of the communist forces, the Kingdom of Hungary was restored.

Admiral Miklós Horthy, head of the Counter-revolutionary National Army.

On 2 February 1920, a coalition of right-wing political forces united and returned Hungary to being a constitutional monarchy. However, it was obvious that Vienna would not accept an independent Hungary. With civil unrest too great to resist, it was decided to restore the real union with Austria. Sándor Simonyi-Semadam was the first Prime Minister of the restored monarchy.

History[edit | edit source]

The new borders set in 1920 by the Constitutional Assembly ceded 72% of the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary to the neighbouring areas. The main beneficiaries were the Romanians in Transylvania, the newly formed states of Slovakia, and the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, but also German-Austria and Galicia gained smaller territories. The areas that were allocated to neighbouring areas in total (and each of them separately) possessed a majority of non-Hungarian population, but more than 3.3 million ethnic Hungarians were left outside the new borders of Hungary. Many viewed this as contrary to King Charles IV's oath on the integrity of the Hungarian crown.

King Ottó II in 1923, age 11.

King Charles appointed Count Pál Teleki as Prime Minister in July 1920. His government issued a numerus clausus law, limiting admission of "political insecure elements" (these were often Jews) to universities and, in order to quiet rural discontent, took initial steps towards fulfilling a promise of major land reform by dividing about 3,850 km2 from the largest estates into smallholdings. Teleki's government resigned, however, after Charles IV unexpectedly died in April 1922. King Charles's death produced a split between parties between conservatives who favored the Regency of Archduke Maximilian and nationalist right-wing radicals who wanted a local Hungarian regent. Count István Bethlen, a non-affiliated right-wing member of the parliament, took advantage of this rift forming a new Party of Unity under his leadership. Archduke Max then appointed Bethlen prime minister.

As prime minister, Bethlen dominated Hungarian politics between 1921 and 1931. He fashioned a political machine by amending the electoral law, providing jobs in the expanding bureaucracy to his supporters, and manipulating elections in rural areas. Bethlen restored order to the country by giving the radical counterrevolutionaries payoffs and government jobs in exchange for ceasing their campaign of terror against Jews and leftists. In 1921, he made a deal with the Social Democrats and trade unions (called Bethlen-Peyer Pact), agreeing, among other things, to legalize their activities and free political prisoners in return for their pledge to refrain from spreading anti-Hungarian propaganda, calling political strikes, and organizing the peasantry. The revision of Hungary's borders rose to the top of Hungary's political agenda. Revision of the treaty had such a broad backing in Hungary that Bethlen used it, at least in part, to deflect criticism of his economic, social, and political policies.

István Bethlen, the Prime Minister of Hungary

The Great Depression induced a drop in the standard of living and the political mood of the country shifted further toward the right. The regency ended soon after King Otto II's twentieth birthday in November 1932. That same year appointed a new prime-minister, Gyula Gömbös, who moved Hungary towards a one-party government like those of Fascist Italy.

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