Szálasi, Ferenc (1897-1946)

Hungarian Arrow-Cross Prime Minister and Head of State

Of mixed Armenian, German, Hungarian and Slovak ancestry, Szálasi joined the army and became a Major on the General Staff. A fanatical right-wing Hungarian patriot, he joined the Nazi party and eventually founded the Arrow-Cross party as a coalition of a number of anti-Semitic extreme right-wing Nazi parties. After many unsuccessful attempts to gain power, it was not until the Germans forced Horthy from power in 1944 and made Szálasi Premier and head of State.  Oddly, he was not as vehement an anti-Semite as his followers. He objected to the German deportations of Hungarian Jews which resulted in running disputes with his German patrons. As an alternative, he suggested to relocate the Jews to a Jewish state, to be established in Central Asia, very much along the general idea of the establishment of Israel. Despite the overwhelming onslaught of the Soviets, he ordered resistance to his remaining troops. He ended his short but bloody reign on 4 April when he finally fled Budapest to Austria where he was captured by US forces and extradited to Hungary. Tried as a war criminal, he was executed in Budapest, aged forty-nine.


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