First Hungarian Republic

Last updated

Hungarian People's Republic

Magyar Népköztársaság
Anthem: "Himnusz"
Partition of Austria-Hungary 1919 map.jpg
Partition of Austria-Hungary: preliminary boundaries as defined in the treaties, 1919
Status Unrecognized rump state
Capital Budapest
Coordinates: 47°29′N19°02′E / 47.483°N 19.033°E / 47.483; 19.033
Official language Hungarian
Common languages
German, Slovak, Croatian, Romanian
Government People's republic
 7 August 1919
Joseph August
 16 November 1918
Mihály Károlyi
 1 August 1919
Gyula Peidl  (acting)
Prime Minister  
 31 October 1918
Mihály Károlyi
 11 January 1919
Dénes Berinkey
 1 August 1919
Gyula Peidl
 7 August 1919
István Friedrich
Legislature National Council
Historical era Interwar period
31 October 1918
16 November 1918
21 March 1919
1 August 1919
8 August 1919
4 June 1920
282,870 km2 (109,220 sq mi) [lower-alpha 1]
ISO 3166 code HU
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Hungary (1915-1918; angels).svg Kingdom of Hungary
Hungarian Republic Flag of Hungary (1920-1946).svg
Soviet Hungary Flag of Hungary (1919).svg
Today part of Hungary
  1. In 1918. (Tarsoly 1995, pp. 595–597.)

The First Hungarian Republic (Hungarian : Első Magyar Köztársaság), [1] until 21 March 1919 the Hungarian People's Republic (Magyar Népköztársaság), was a short-lived unrecognized people's republic that existed – apart from a 133-day interruption in the form of the Hungarian Soviet Republic  – from 16 November 1918 until 8 August 1919. The republic was established in the wake of the dissolution of Austria-Hungary following World War I. The First Hungarian Republic replaced the Kingdom of Hungary, and was in turn replaced by the Hungarian Republic, another short-lived state, from 1919 to 1920. During the rule of Count Mihály Károlyi's pacifist cabinet, Hungary lost the control over approximately 75% of its former pre-World War I territories (325,411 km2 (125,642 sq mi)) without armed resistance and became subject of foreign occupation.


Following this period, the Allied Powers of World War I severely pressured the Hungarians into retreating behind post-war demarcation lines as a provision to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, their attempt to establish new nation states among the former kingdom's non-Hungarian citizens – the principal beneficiaries of which were the Kingdom of Romania, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, the Austrian Republic, and the Czechoslovak Republic. The subsequent Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Hungary was signed under protest by the latter.


President Mihály Károlyi's speech after the proclamation of the First Hungarian Republic on 16 november, 1918
Béla Linder's pacifist speech and declaration of self-disarmament on 2 November 1918
Protest of the Transylvanian National Council against the occupation of Transylvania to Romania on 22 December 1918

"Hungarian People's Republic" was adopted as the official name of the country on 16 November 1918, [2] [3] [4] and remained in use until the overthrow of the Dénes Berinkey government on 21 March 1919. Following the collapse of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, the Gyula Peidl government restored the pre-communist name of the state on 2 August 1919. [5] [6]

The government of István Friedrich changed the name to "Hungarian Republic" on 8 August; [7] [8] [9] however, the denomination "Hungarian People's Republic" appeared on some government-issued decrees during this period. [10] [11]


Károlyi era

The Hungarian People's Republic was created by the Aster Revolution, which started in Budapest on 31 October 1918. That day, King Charles IV appointed the revolt's leader, Mihály Károlyi, as Hungarian prime minister. Almost his first act was to formally terminate the personal union between Austria and Hungary. On 13 November, Charles issued a proclamation withdrawing from Hungarian politics. A few days later the provisional government proclaimed Hungary a people's republic, [2] with Károlyi as both prime minister and interim president. This event ended 400 years of rule by the House of Habsburg.

The Hungarian Royal Honvéd army still had more than 1,400,000 soldiers [12] [13] when Mihály Károlyi was announced as prime minister of Hungary. Károlyi yielded to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's demand for pacifism by ordering the unilateral self- disarmament of the Hungarian army. This happened under the direction of Béla Linder, (minister of war) on 2 November 1918. [14] [15] Due to the full disarmament of its army, Hungary was to remain without a national defence at a time of particular vulnerability. The Hungarian self-disarmament made the occupation of Hungary directly possible for the relatively small armies of Romania, the Franco-Serbian army and the armed forces of the newly established Czechoslovakia.

The Károlyi government's measures failed to stem popular discontent, especially when the Entente powers began distributing slices of what many considered Hungary's traditional territory to the majority ethnic groups in Kingdom of Romania, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and the First Czechoslovak Republic. The new government and its supporters had pinned their hopes for maintaining Hungary's territorial integrity on the abandonment of Cisleithania and Germany, the securing of a separate peace, and exploiting Károlyi's close connections in the French Third Republic. When Károlyi appointed Oszkár Jászi as the new Minister for National Minorities of Hungary, Jászi immediately offered democratic referendums about the disputed borders for minorities, however, the political leaders of those minorities refused the very idea of democratic referendums regarding disputed territories at the Paris peace conference. [16] After the Hungarian self-disarmament, Czech, Serbian, and Romanian political leaders chose to attack Hungary instead of holding democratic plebiscites concerning the disputed areas. [17]

Military and political events changed rapidly and drastically after the Hungarian disarmament.

The Entente considered Hungary a partner in the defeated Dual Monarchy, and dashed the Hungarians' hopes with the delivery of successive diplomatic notes. Each demanded the surrender of more land to other ethnic groups. On 20 March 1919, the French head of the Entente mission in Budapest gave Károlyi a note delineating the final postwar boundaries, which the Hungarians found unacceptable. [18] Károlyi and Prime Minister Dénes Berinkey were now in an impossible position. They knew accepting the French note would endanger the country's territorial integrity, but were in no position to reject it. In protest, Berinkey resigned.

Károlyi informed the cabinet that only the Hungarian Social Democratic Party could possibly form a new government. Unknown to Károlyi, however, the Social Democrats had merged with the Hungarian Communist Party; the latter promised that the Russian SFSR would help Hungary to restore its original borders. Although the Social Democrats held a majority in the newly merged Hungarian Socialist Party, the communists led by Béla Kun immediately seized control and announced the establishment of the Hungarian Soviet Republic on 21 March 1919.

Re-establishment and dissolution

After the fall of the Soviet Republic on 1 August 1919, a social democratic government—the so-called "trade union government"—came to power under the leadership of Gyula Peidl. [19] A decree was issued on 2 August restoring the form of government and the official state name back to "People's Republic". [5] During its brief existence, the Peidl government began to abrogate the edicts passed by the Communist regime. [20]

On 6 August, István Friedrich, leader of the White House Comrades Association—a right-wing, counter-revolutionary group—seized power in a bloodless coup with the backing of the Royal Romanian Army. [6] The next day, Joseph August declared himself regent of Hungary—he held the position until 23 August, when he was forced to resign [21] —and appointed Friedrich as Prime Minister. The state was formally dissolved by the new government on 8 August 1919.

See also

Related Research Articles

Treaty of Trianon

The Treaty of Trianon was prepared at the Paris Peace Conference and was signed in the Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles on 4 June 1920. It formally ended World War I between most of the Allies of World War I and the Kingdom of Hungary. French diplomats played the major role in designing the treaty, with a mind to establishing French-led coalition of the newly formed nations. It regulated the status of the independent Hungarian state and defined its borders generally within the ceasefire lines established in November–December 1918 and left Hungary as a landlocked state that included 93,073 square kilometres (35,936 sq mi), 28% of the 325,411 square kilometres (125,642 sq mi) that had constituted the pre-war Kingdom of Hungary. The truncated Kingdom had a population of 7.6 million, 36% compared to the pre-war kingdom's population of 20.9 million. Though the areas that were allocated to neighbouring countries had a majority of non-Hungarians, in them lived 3.3 million Hungarians – 31% – who were now in a minority status. The treaty limited Hungary's army to 35,000 officers and men, and the Austro-Hungarian Navy ceased to exist. These decisions and their consequences have been the cause of deep resentment in Hungary ever since.

Flag of Hungary National flag

The flag of Hungary is a horizontal tricolour of red, white and green. In this exact form, it has been the official flag of Hungary since 23 May 1957. The flag's form originates from national republican movements of the 18th and 19th centuries, while its colours are from the Middle Ages. The current Hungarian tricolour flag is the same as the republican movement flag of the United Kingdom and the colours in that form were already used at least since the coronation of Leopold II in 1790, predating the first use of the Italian Tricolour in 1797.

Kingdom of Hungary Central European monarchy (1000–1946)

The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy in Central Europe that existed from the Middle Ages into the 20th century. The Principality of Hungary emerged as a Christian kingdom upon the coronation of the first king Stephen I at Esztergom around the year 1000; his family led the monarchy for 300 years. By the 12th century, the kingdom became a European middle power within the Western world.

Mihály Károlyi President of Hungary (1918-1919)

Count Mihály Ádám György Miklós Károlyi de Nagykároly, archaically English: Michael Adam George Nicholas Károlyi, or in short simple form: Michael Károlyi was a Hungarian politician who served as a leader of the short-lived and unrecognized First Hungarian Republic from 1918 to 1919. He served as Prime Minister between 1 and 16 November 1918 and as President between 16 November 1918 and 21 March 1919.

István Friedrich Hungarian Prime Minister, footballer and factory owner

István Friedrich was a Hungarian politician, footballer and factory owner who served as Prime Minister of Hungary for three months between August and November in 1919. His tenure coincided with a period of political instability in Hungary immediately after World War I, during which several successive governments ruled the country.

Gyula Peidl Hungarian Prime Minister and trade union leader

Gyula Peidl was a Hungarian trade union leader and social democrat politician who served as Prime Minister and acting head of state of Hungary for 6 days in August 1919. His tenure coincided with a period of political instability in Hungary immediately after World War I, during which several successive governments ruled the country.

Social Democratic Party of Hungary

The Social Democratic Party of Hungary is a social democratic political party in Hungary. Historically, the party was dissolved during the occupation of Hungary by Nazi Germany (1944-1945) and the communist period of Hungary from 1948 to 1989, after being forced into a merger with the Communist Party. It worked legally for a short time during the Revolution of 1956.


Magyarization, after "Magyar"—the autonym of Hungarians—was an assimilation or acculturation process by which non-Hungarian nationals came to adopt the Hungarian culture and language, either voluntarily or due to social pressure, often in the form of a coercive policy.

Union of Transylvania with Romania

The Union of Transylvania with Romania was declared on 1 December 1918 by the assembly of the delegates of ethnic Romanians held in Alba Iulia. The Great Union Day, celebrated on 1 December, is a national holiday in Romania that commemorates this event. The holiday was established after the Romanian Revolution, and commemorates the unification not only of Transylvania, but also of Bessarabia and Bukovina and parts of Banat, Crișana and Maramureș with the Romanian Kingdom. Bessarabia and Bukovina had joined with the Kingdom of Romania earlier in 1918.

Kingdom of Hungary (1920–1946) Monarchy in Central Europe from 1920 to 1946

The Kingdom of Hungary, sometimes referred to as the Regency or the Horthy era, existed as a country from 1920 to 1946 under the rule of Regent Miklós Horthy. Horthy nominally represented the Hungarian monarchy. In reality there was no king. Attempts by Charles IV to return to the throne were prevented by Horthy.

Hungarian–Romanian War

The Hungarian–Romanian War was fought between Hungary and Romania from 13 November 1918 to 3 August 1919. It started as a Romanian military campaign on the eastern parts of the self-disarmed Kingdom of Hungary on 13 November 1918, and it continued against the First Hungarian Republic and from March 1919 against the Hungarian Soviet Republic.

Aster Revolution Post-WWI revolution in Hungary

The Aster Revolution or Chrysanthemum Revolution was a revolution in Hungary led by Count Mihály Károlyi in the aftermath of World War I which led to the foundation of the short-lived First Hungarian People's Republic.

Béla Linder

Béla Linder, Hungarian colonel of artillery, Secretary of War of Mihály Károlyi government, minister without portfolio of Dénes Berinkey government, military attaché of Hungarian Soviet Republic based in Vienna, finally the mayor of Pécs during the period of Serb occupation.

Zoltán Szabó de Kisjolsva was a Hungarian politician and military officer, who served as Minister of Defence in the counter-revolutionary government against the Hungarian Soviet Republic.

Sándor Juhász Nagy was a Hungarian politician, who served as State Secretary of Religion and Education between 1918 and 1919 with ministerial competence. He finished his law studies in Debrecen, Kolozsvár and Budapest. He worked as a lawyer in Debrecen from 1910. He was member of the National Assembly of Hungary between 1917 and 1919. He supported Mihály Károlyi, joined to the Károly Party, after the Independence Party was collapsed to two parts. Dénes Berinkey appointed him Minister of Justice on 25 January 1919.

The Hungarian National Council was an institution from the time of transition from the Kingdom of Hungary to the People's Republic in 1918. At the congress of the Hungarian Social Democratic Party (MSZDP) in October 1918 called for the Socialist Left József Pogány minority to its own policy, which should be based on the emerging workers 'and soldiers' councils. In contrast prevailed Zsigmond Kunfi in the MSZDP that the liberal left "48" party of Count Mihály Károlyi and the bourgeois radical party of Oszkár Jászi was entered into an alliance. These three parties formed on 25 October, the Hungarian National Council.

Royal Hungarian Army

The Royal Hungarian Army was the name given to the land forces of the Kingdom of Hungary in the period from 1922 to 1945. Its name was inherited from the Royal Hungarian Honvéd which went under the same Hungarian title of Magyar Királyi Honvédség from 1867 to 1918. Initially restricted by the Treaty of Trianon to 35,000 men, the army was steadily upgraded during the 1930s and fought on the side of the Axis powers in the Second World War.

Hungarian Soviet Republic

The Hungarian Soviet Republic, literally the Republic of Councils in Hungary was a short-lived communist rump state. When the Republic of Councils in Hungary was established in 1919, it controlled approximately 23% of the territory of Hungary's classic pre-World War I territories.

Hungarian Republic (1919–1920)

The Hungarian Republic was a short-lived republic that existed between August 1919 and February 1920 in the central and western portions of the former Hungarian Kingdom. The state was established in the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolutions of 1918–1919 by counter-revolutionary forces who sought to return to the status quo prior to 31 October 1918.



  1. Lambert, S. "The First Hungarian Republic". The Orange Files. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  2. 1 2 1918. évi néphatározat (in Hungarian) via Wikisource.
  3. Pölöskei, F.; et al. (1995). Magyarország története, 1918–1990 (in Hungarian). Budapest: Korona Kiadó. p. 17. ISBN   963-8153-55-5.
  4. Minisztertanácsi jegyzőkönyvek: 1918. november 16 (in Hungarian). DigitArchiv. p. 4.
  5. 1 2 A Magyar Népköztársaság Kormányának 1. számu rendelete Magyarország államformája tárgyában (in Hungarian) via Wikisource.
  6. 1 2 Pölöskei, F.; et al. (1995). Magyarország története, 1918–1990 (in Hungarian). Budapest: Korona Kiadó. pp. 32–33. ISBN   963-8153-55-5.
  7. A Magyar Köztársaság miniszterelnökének 1. számu rendelete a sajtótermékekről (in Hungarian) via Wikisource.
  8. 4072/1919. M. E. számú rendelet (in Hungarian) via Wikisource.
  9. Raffay, E. (1990). Trianon titkai, avagy hogyan bántak el országunkkal (in Hungarian). Budapest: Tornado Damenia. p. 125. ISBN   963-02-7639-9.
  10. 3923/1919. M. E. számú rendelet (in Hungarian) via Wikisource.
  11. 70762/1919. K. M. számú rendelet (in Hungarian) via Wikisource.
  12. Martin Kitchen (2014). Europe Between the Wars. Routledge. p. 190. ISBN   9781317867531.
  13. Ignác Romsics (2002). Dismantling of Historic Hungary: The Peace Treaty of Trianon, 1920 Issue 3 of CHSP Hungarian authors series East European monographs. Social Science Monographs. p. 62. ISBN   9780880335058.
  14. Dixon J. C. Defeat and Disarmament, Allied Diplomacy and Politics of Military Affairs in Austria, 1918–1922. Associated University Presses 1986. p. 34.
  15. Sharp A. The Versailles Settlement: Peacemaking after the First World War, 1919–1923. Palgrave Macmillan 2008. p. 156. ISBN   9781137069689.
  16. Adrian Severin; Sabin Gherman; Ildiko Lipcsey (2006). Romania and Transylvania in the 20th Century. Corvinus Publications. p. 24. ISBN   9781882785155.
  17. Bardo Fassbender; Anne Peters; Simone Peter; Daniel Högger (2012). The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law. Oxford University Press. p. 41. ISBN   9780199599752.
  18. Romsics, Ignác (2004). Magyarország története a XX. században (in Hungarian). Budapest: Osiris Kiadó. p. 123. ISBN   963-389-590-1.
  19. Romsics, I. (2004). Magyarország története a XX. században (in Hungarian). Budapest: Osiris Kiadó. p. 132. ISBN   963-389-590-1.
  20. Minisztertanácsi jegyzőkönyvek: 1919. augusztus 3 (in Hungarian). DigitArchiv. p. 6.
  21. "Die amtliche Meldung über den Rücktritt" (in German). Neue Freie Presse, Morgenblatt. 24 August 1919. p. 2.