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The native form of this personal name is Böszörmény Zoltán. This article uses the Western name order.

Zoltán Böszörmény (5 January 1893-?) was a leading exponent of Fascism in Hungary before the Second World War.

The son of a bankrupt landowner, he initially worked a series of odd jobs, raning from a labourer to a porter.[1] He first flirted with politics in 1919 when he became involved in activity against Béla Kun, albeit on a very minor scale.[2] Whilst studying at the University of Budapest he became leader of the state student movement and a supporter of Gyula Gömbös.[3] Whilst at University he also became a poet, writing largely patriotic verses published by two agents who would later become involved in the organisation of his political movement.[4]

He formed the National Socialist Party of Work in 1931, and a meeting with Adolf Hitler that same year convinced him further of the benefits of Nazism.[3] The group followed Hitler's lead closely, adopting the brown shirt and swastika whilst publishing a newspaper National Socialist.[5] As the Scythe Cross, Böszörmény's movement grew to have some 20,000 followers at its peak, although Gömbös, fearing the growing power of the movement, suppressed it.[3] As lead of the movement Böszörmény insisted on the title vezér or 'great leader' in imitation of Hitler's Führer.[6]

Despite government attention, Böszörmény managed to hold onto his power base in the Tisza, preaching a mixture of anti-Semitism and land reform.[3] Böszörmény was certainly confident of his own abilities as a leader and thinker, writing in 1932 that "even among the giants of intellect I ama giant, a great Hungarian poet with a prophetic mission".[4] Despite this supreme confidence Böszörmény was frustrated in his attempts to gain power, frequently attempting to contest by-elections but failing to gain the necessary recommendations for candidacy on all but one occasion (when he captured only a few hundred votes).[7]

He was impressed by Mussolini's March on Rome and planned to launch a similar coup on Budapest. Dressing his followers in second-hand uniforms, Böszörmény attempted to launch a revolution on 1 May 1936 but it was quickly put down and Böszörmény, who pleaded insanity at his subsequent trial, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.[3] He escaped to Germany in 1938 and saw out the war there. He petitioned Mátyás Rákosi to allow him to return to Hungary in 1945 as a member of the Hungarian Communist Party, although permission was denied and he is believed to have died in Germany.[3]

References

  1. ^ Aristotle A. Kallis, The Fascism Reader, London: Routledge, 2003, p. 205
  2. ^ Philip Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890
  3. ^ a b c d e f Rees, op cit
  4. ^ a b Kallis, op cit
  5. ^ C.P. Blamires, World Fascism - A Historical Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2006, p. 100
  6. ^ C.P. Blamires, World Fascism - A Historical Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2006, p. 101
  7. ^ Kallis, op cit, pp. 205-206
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