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Counterrevolution in Szeged

In 1939 during celebrations commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the 1919 counterrevolutionary movement, Count Pál Teleki said: ". . . . since that time there are anticomintern pacts, antibolshevik movements but who were the originators? We were, here at Szeged.."[18] During the Horthy era the name of Szeged acquired a special mystique, a special place in right-wing nationalist mythology. Szeged was celebrated as the birthplace of national rejuvenation and as the city where the "Idea of Szeged," the ideology of this national renaissance, was first given concrete form. In the eyes of right-wing chroniclers of this period Szeged appeared as the new Mecca where, at the moment of deepest despair and humiliation of the nation, when Hungary lay prostrate before her conquerors and devoured by flames of revolution, a few thousand patriots, undaunted by many defeats and by heavy odds against them, gathered to form a national government and a national army. From there they marched forth to recapture Hungary and to cleanse her of the alien and anti-Christian usurpers of power and, then, to rededicate the nation to its true national and Christian principles.

Szeged, itself, was not a radical or conservative town. Although the second largest city in Hungary, it was still predominantly agricultural, with a strong commercial and official stratum generally of non-noble origins, and a relatively weak working class mostly employed in the agriculture-oriented industries. This social makeup, plus the location of the city on the Great Hungarian Plain, where the tradition of Kossuth was always strong, went far to determine the political attitudes of its population. Throughout the Dualist Era Szeged had remained faithful to the liberal principles of 1848. After the October Revolution the population generally backed the moderate democratic course advocated by Károlyi.

Szeged. therefore, owed the dubious distinction of being the celebrated birthplace of the Hungarian radical right not to any traditional right-wing radicalism of its native population, but to the fact that in mid-1919 it was the only Hungarian city which could offer a safe haven for both the thousands of displaced persons from the Successor States and for those fleeing from the Communist-held territories. The city's favorable geographic location and the special status that made it attractive and safe for the refugees. Wedged between the occupation zones of Romania and Serbia and the territories of the Hungarian Soviet Republic. Szeged was easily accessible from all three areas. At the same time, due to French military presence in the city, it was outside the jurisdiction of the Successor States and after March 29, 1919, beyond the reach of the official Hungarian government.

French occupation began in December 1918 and by January 1919 the number of French troops rose to approximately 3000.[19] The presence of these troops became especially significant after March 21, and the establishment of the Hungarian Soviet Republic. Following that event, in Szeged, as almost everywhere in Hungary, control of instruments of state power passed to a hastily formed directory. Neither the populace nor the local French military commander opposed that move. Unlike anywhere else, however, French presence made dissolution of the directory possible after only six days of existence, and the disarming of the local Red Army units a few weeks later.[20] This did not alter the legal status of the city; nominally it still remained under Budapest' s control, but, in reality, it attained an independent status, subject only to the authority of the city's French commander. The French generally refrained from interfering in the city's day-to-day operation. Thus the old city administration functioned more or less as an independent government.

It would be an error to date the beginning of the counterrevolutionary movement with the overthrow of the Szeged directory. This coup was essentially a local. isolated incident, made possible by special circumstances and carried out by local officers. These officers were not members of the radical right. Most of them were recruited from the ranks of local moderate and liberal elements, with only a sprinkling of radical refugee officers. The large number of Jewish officers among the participants is especially noteworthy. It indicates that active opposition to the Communist regime was not the exclusive concern of the right. Also, it demonstrates that in early May the moderate and liberal forces still held the upper hand in Szeged. Moreover, at that time, cooperation between moderate and right-wing elements was still possible, and anti-Semitism was not a factor as long as the refugee officers were in the minority.[21] Even the establishment of the ABC's Szeged branch, in April 1919, was strictly a local affair, without national significance.

The counterrevolutionary ideology became dominant and the counterrevolutionary movement began to acquire momentum only after the refugees began to arrive in sufficiently significant numbers to tip the balance of power in favor of radical right-wing elements.

In March 1919 there was already a sizable number of refugees in Szeged. They came mostly from the southern, Serbian-occupied territories, but, being largely unorganized, their political impact on the city was negligible. After March, however, their numbers were rapidly reinforced by waves of new refugees, especially from Romaniancontrolled areas. These refugees did not dare go to Hungary for fear of less than generous treatment by the Communists who considered them enemies of the people owing to their class origins and association with the old regime. Szeged, therefore, was the only place where they could find safety. The flow of refugees toward Szeged accelerated after midApril, when Romania renewed her offensive and brought under her control large strips of additional territory. The same offensive also broke the back of the Székely Division. Scores of Székely officers and men who refused Romanian internment and no longer wished to serve in the Red Army gradually found their way to Szeged.[22] During May and June thousands of additional refugees escaped to Szeged from central Hungary, some, mostly politicians of the old regime, as a precautionary measure, but much larger numbers fled after each of the many unsuccessful counterrevolutionary attempts, to escape the draconian justice of Tibor Szamuely. For example, from Kalocsa and its neighboring villages alone several thousand individuals fled to Szeged after the collapse of the counterrevolutionary attempt.[23]

From Austria, hundreds of refugees were sent in small groups across Yugoslavia by ABC's recruiting officers. They were mostly radical officers. Others, such as Gömbös and Lászlo Magasházy, were sent there to establish contact between the various counterrevolutionary groups in Austria and Szeged. A third group of officers, such as Pónay, left Vienna on their own; they were disenchanted with the Austrian groups, failures and grew skeptical about the success of any attempt directed against the Hungarian Soviet Republic from Austrian territory. They were also opposed to the conservative, aristocratic leadership of the Vienna ABC.[24] Pónay, who was never short of malice, wrote about this migration to Szeged: ". . . From every corner of the country the opportunists, frauds, condottieri descended on [Szeged] like wasp on to honey, because they knew the different opportunities which such times opened for them. All offered their services and wished to become somebody."[25]

[]Precise figures on the number of refugees who thus gathered in Szeged are not available. By the summer of 1919, however, their numerical strength and their political impact on the city were considerable. It may be estimated that by the beginning of August around 35 ,000 refugees were living in the city, out of which approximately 12,00014,000 came from the Successor States, mainly from Yugoslavia and Romania, and most of the rest from inner Hungary.[26] As we have noted, the social background of the refugees in Szeged differed from that of the Vienna group. The aristocratic group was weak: the more radical officers and Protestant gentry elements from central and eastern Hungary, dominant. The Szeged group, therefore held more radical social views, were less attached to the old land-tenure system, and were more intensely nationalistic. Some were also anti-Habsburg, although the question of Habsburg restoration had not yet divided the forces of the right.

The political impact of these refugees on Szeged was far greater than their actual number would have warranted. For one thing these refugees were politically more conscious and more active than the average citizen of Szeged. Most were members of the old ruling elite and, as such, they were accustomed to think in political terms and felt that it was their responsibility to offer an alternative to the nation more in tune with their own traditional ideology. They were generally young, well educated, at least in those subjects that were deemed appropriate for their class, and psychologically prepared to take drastic measures to recapture their previous positions in society. Many of them had served in the army as officers, some saw long combat duty; all had witnessed an increased political influence of the military. These experiences had prepared them to accept violence as the method and dictatorship as a political form when dealing with a crisis situation.

At first, the population of Szeged welcomed the refugees with generosity and with compassion. Prominent citizens opened their homes to upper-class refugees. Leading ladies of the city organized charity drives for their benefit. The city council ordered conversion of schools and other available public buildings into refugee hostels, set up free kitchens and, for others, made loans available guaranteed by the city treasury.[27]

With the growing number of refugees this hospitality gradually gave way to irritation and finally to open resentment. Complaints about housing shortages and crowded conditions grew louder with each passing day. In fact by mid-summer many refugees were incapable of finding any accommodations within the city and spilled over into adjacent villages. There at times reluctant peasants opened their gates to the uninvited guests only under police pressure. Food shortages and scarcity of other supplies and a necessity of having to share these with an army of refugees and opportunists caused additional frictions.

A more important conflict arose because of the right-wing radicalism of the refugees, which stood in sharp contrast with the moderate and liberal views of the local population. Liberals, local trade unions, and non-Communist Socialists were apprehensive about the increasing domination of the city by refugee extremists. These groups were opposed to dictatorship in whatever form. In their view a genuine alternative to the dictatorship of the proletariat was to be found not in a dictatorship of the right but in a liberal or, perhaps, socialist, democracy.

The liberal press such as Délmagyarország (Southern Hungary) openly attacked the extremist tendencies among the refugees and the more and more frequent physical street attacks on peaceful citizens.[28] Another paper, the Szegedi napló (Journal of Szeged) in an editorial entitled " White Bolshevism" raised the specter of an irresponsible white terror should the right be allowed to triumph. It also called for expulsion of those refugees who could not prove an overriding necessity for their presence in the city. The nationalist press indignantly rejected these charges and defended the refugees as innocent victims who suffered for the whole nation. This followed up with an acrimonious and venomous campaign of their own against the liberal press.[29]

[]With rapid increase of refugees in the city the right radicals acquired sufficient strength to silence the disunited local moderates. But French occupying forces proved an obstacle which this new power could not overcome.

The French generally did not intervene in the day-to-day squabbles in the press and between liberals and refugees, but they did in clashes over the makeup of the proposed counterrevolutionary government, and the struggle became three-sided. On this issue as well as on questions concerning the counterrevolutionary army, the French had an important and, often, deciding voice. To the counterrevolutionaries at Szeged, French policy toward Hungarian opponents of the Kun regime contained some curious contradictions. The French seemed both to support and oppose the counterrevolutionary movement. First, French-occupying forces turned Szeged into a safe haven for all reactionary and right-wing elements. They openly encouraged the gathering of refugees in that town; they were instrumental in sending hundreds of officers and other refugees from Austria to Szeged. Also, although they turned a deaf ear to Count Bethlen's proposal for the establishment of a counterrevolutionary government-in-exile, the French were responsible for the existence of the first counterrevolutionary government of Count Gyula Károlyi at Arad. This government was brought to life on May 5, at the express urging of two French officers, General Paul de Lobit, and the commander of Arad, General Henri Gondrecourt. The composition of Károlyi's cabinet was also prescribed by the French. It had to be a moderate, anticommunist coalition government with both the liberals and conservatives participating, that is, not unlike Bethlen's proposed government.[30] The French, too, engineered its transfer to Szeged after realizing that Serbian and Romanian occupation of the surrounding countryside isolated Arad, thereby making it unsuitable for uniting opponents of the Hungarian Soviet Republic. Similarly, the French instigated cabinet changes, and, finally, they were responsible for the formation of the counterrevolutionary National Army under Admiral Miklós Horthy.[31]

[]At the same time, the French had no intentions of negotiating with, let alone recognizing, Károlyi' s cabinet as the legal government of Hungary. Although the French fashioned the artificial environment in which the refugees could organize in safety its protective shield around the town soon became a prison for both the counterrevolutionary army and government. Without French permission, supplies, and military cooperation, no counterrevolutionary attack could be contemplated against the Hungarian regime. Such permission was withheld until after the collapse of the Kun regime. The French also prohibited expansion of the National Army, and they refused to release the needed captured arms . Thus the counterrevolutionary government was paralyzed and its will remained constantly fixed on its French masters' wishes.[32] In short, the whole Szeged counterrevolutionary movement became an instrument, an appendage of French foreign policy; the movement could triumph only if its victory could be fitted into the greater French foreign policy designs for East Central Europe.

Neither the French nor the other Western Powers had specific longrange plans for Hungary. After the establishment of the Hungarian Soviet Republic the country aroused international attention only as a Western outpost of Bolshevism. The major aim of French policy was to destroy that regime, and, if necessary, use force. The counterrevolutionary movement was not suited for that purpose. It lacked the necessary military strength to make even a significant contribution; the overthrow of the Hungarian Soviet system had to be achieved either with French forces or with those of France's East Central European allies, the Czechs and the Romanians. At the time when the first proposal for formation of a counterrevolutionary government was made, the French were, it seems, momentarily considering dispatching some of their own troops to Budapest to overthrow the Communist government.[33] In that event a Hungarian government, representing a broad coalition of the noncommunist parties, in tow of French forces, could have been useful. Even after this plan was discarded, French control of the counterrevolutionary movement promised some solid diplomatic advantages. By keeping the Szeged government firmly in their orbit France could curtail diplomatic contacts between Hungarian refugees and other powers, could limit the influence over the refugees of other powers, especially Great Britain and Italy.[34]

[]Control of a Hungarian counterrevolutionary government also offered France a leverage against its own East Central European allies, specifically Serbia and Romania. Both Belgrade and Bucharest looked upon signs of friendliness toward Hungary by a great power with utmost anxiety. They realized that premature normalization of relations between the Western Powers, and especially between France and Hungary, would jeopardize chances of securing their maximum territorial claims against Hungary. Unconditional support of France could not be taken for granted after France decided to permit organization of a new Hungarian government. This policy, therefore, had a moderating influence on Belgrade and Bucharest vis-a-vis each other, and their strained relations over the disputed province of Bánát were kept below boiling point.

Belgrade chose to follow the French example and adopted a correct, and even at times friendly, attitude toward the counterrevolutionary government of Szeged. Various high Serbian officials repeatedly received with courtesy Count Teleki, Admiral Horthy and other representatives of that government. As another gesture of good will permission was granted to refugee groups to travel across Yugoslavia from Austria to Szeged. The Yugoslav government also hinted that, at a future date, it might even consider granting diplomatic recognition to the Szeged government. As a result, the Gyula Károlyi government, as well as its successor headed by Dezsö Abrahám, became strong advocates of pro-Serbian policy. Just before the Hungarian Soviet Republic's collapse the Yugoslav government did recognize the Abrahám government and promised to send official representatives and arms to overthrow the Kun government. It also promised aid to the counterrevolutionary government once it came to power. The question of an economic union of the two countries was also seriously considered. Some politicians, both Hungarian and Yugoslav, were even toying with the idea of a personal union of the two countries under the Serbian dynasty.[35]

It was more difficult to establish a modus vivendi with the Romanian government. Károlyi as a Transylvanian magnate was personally unacceptable. The Károlyi family was to lose in Romania 106,000 yokes of land, out of which Gyula Károlyi and his wife owned about 14,000 yokes. The foreign minister in Károlyi's cabinet, Baron Gyula Bornemissza, was also a member of the Transylvanian nobility. The rest of the ministry came mostly from Arad and Temesvár; both cities were claimed by Romania. Thus most of the cabinet was strongly opposed to Romanian occupation of eastern Hungary; this made cooperation with the Romanians most difficult. International recognition of a Hungarian government and normalization of relations between the Western Powers and Hungary presented a greater danger to Romania's territorial ambitions. The first response of Romanian authorities to the establishment of the Arad government. therefore, was simply to arrest, in spite of the safe conduct pass issued by the French. nearly the entire Károlyi cabinet as they traveled across Romanian controlled areas from Arad to Szeged. Between May 13 and 22, Károlyi and his entourage remained in Romanian custody and were released only after strong and repeated French protests. Subsequently Romania modified its position and made some overtures to the Szeged government, suggesting that if the Hungarians were willing to subordinate themselves to the Romanian high command, interned Székely units could be released and would be allowed to join the Hungarian National Army and to participate in a joint offensive against the Hungarian Soviet Republic. The French approved this plan and promised arms if the Hungarians aided the Romanians, but Count Teleki, foreign minister in the second and third Szeged governments, indignantly rejected the idea of killing Hungarian soldiers, even if Communist, in service of Romania. The National Army, however, was willing to engage in simultaneous, but totally independent operations against the Red Army, but no agreement to this effect was ever worked out between the Romanians and the counterrevolutionary government .[36]

Initial French enthusiasm about the idea of a counterrevolutionary government rapidly waned as it became apparent that it was virtually impossible to bring together under one roof all the Hungarian feuding factions. To be useful, a counterrevolutionary government not only had to be viable, but capable of gaining control and restoring order within Hungary. It had to demonstrate through its makeup and policies a clear break with the prewar regime. In the French view, only a broad-based government could claim to be representative, and only such a government would have sufficient strength to give some assurances that the country would accept the verdict of the Paris Peace Conference. For this reason the French never ceased to press for a broadening of the Szeged government and for exclusion of those politicians or soldiers who were considered to be pro-German or too closely identified with the old order. They repeatedly urged the formation of a "union sacrée," a coalition of all political parties, with a strong representation of liberals and Socialists.[37]

[]Chances of a moderate government in Szeged, however, proved rather slim. In the radical atmosphere of Szeged, only the right could hold together. Refugees from inner Hungary and from the Successor States vigorously resisted pressures for moderation and all suggestions for cooperation with liberal or Socialist political groups. They also refused to compromise on the territorial issue: in fact, they rigidly lined up behind the principle of Hungary's complete territorial integrity. Thus, in spite of French pressures, a shift in the Gyula Károlyi government toward the right was more likely than toward the left.

After Károlyi's arrival in Szeged, he immediately ran into strong opposition from various right-wing groups, from officers, refugees, and especially from the ABC's Szeged branch. In fact, the ABC's first reaction to news of the formation of the Arad government was to reject it outright, to declare it illegitimate. Károlyi, therefore, if his government was to survive, had to mollify the Hungarian right before he could defer to the wishes of the French.[38] A compromise had to be reached to meet the major objections of the Szeged counterrevolutionary groups; concessions had to be made both in terms of personnel, and in the political composition of the government. The Szeged groups complained that the Károlyi cabinet lacked prestige because it contained too many unknown figures, whose only claim to fame was that they happened to be in Arad at the right time. More important, the Arad government included some liberal politicians who, in their eyes, compromised themselves during the presidency of Mihály Károlyi. Resentment was also voiced about participation in the government of supporters of Archduke Joseph, symbolizing to many a continued Habsburg claim to the Hungarian crown; and a legitimist or Habsburg restoration was not the most welcome idea in Szeged.

A compromise was finally struck, after the arrival of Count Pál Teleki who represented the magnates in the Viennese ABC. The supporters of Archduke Joseph and some liberals of the Arad government were sacrificed and were replaced by more illustrious members of the Szeged and Viennese refugee groups. The only man with genuine liberal credentials to remain in the cabinet was Lajos Varjassy, a member of Oszkár Jászi's Radical Party. He had to be retained, in spite of a strong antipathy toward him in right-wing circles, because he was the only man in the government who enjoyed the confidence and whole-hearted support of the French. The Foreign Ministry, after Bethlen refused the post, was taken over by his friend and confidant and fellow Transylvanian, Count Pál Teleki. The Interior Ministry went to the leader of the Szeged ABC, Béla Kelemen, and the officers were appeased by calling Horthy to Szeged to head the Ministry of Defense, with Gömbös, the president of MOVE, as his second in command.

This was a clear victory for the right. Nevertheless, in its first proclamation "To the Hungarian Nation," the new government preached moderation. It declared itself the representative of all political parties and of all classes; it called for reconciliation within the country and with the Western world; and finally it promised social reforms and a general amnesty.[39] In actual fact, the list of political leaders, who in the name of the various noncommunist political parties signed a supporting proclamation, left little doubt about the political position of the government. Eight of the fourteen were aristocrats, and all but three were refugees from areas occupied by the Successor States. Also, in their public statements some government members, or their close supporters, made it clear that the right was in a triumphant mood.

This was not as much a victory for a political ideology as for the radical frame of mind of the refugees. It was a victory for the spirit of revenge against their enemies both social and national.

As we have noted earlier, manifestations of open terror increased after the counterrevolutionary government took control of Szeged. Intimidation through threats, violent attacks by gangs of officers, through arrests, and, at times, even through murder, rapidly became the order of the day. Socialist workers when caught were beaten on the spot and then dragged into the barracks for more punishment. "On these occasions," brags Prónay, the chief perpetrator of these crimes, "I ordered an additional fifty strokes with-the rod for these fanatic human animals, whose heads were drunk with the twisted ideology of Marx." Or he personally slapped the face of a victim until, as he complained, his arm was more painful than the prisoner's face. Those newspapermen who dared to raise their voices in protest were threatened with arrest or with expulsion from the city.[40] In an open memorandum to Gyula Károlyi Jews of Szeged rejected the charge of the officers that they were responsible for sins of their coreligionists in Budapest and for the outbreak of Bolshevism. All over the country, they argued, noncommunist Jews suffered as much at the hands of the Communists as any other religious group.[41 ] Gyula Károlyi merely replied to the Jewish delegation delivering this memorandum that although he regretted the anti-Semitic outbursts as long as some Jews remained opposed to his nationalist government, it was natural that the nation should look upon even patriotic Jews as destructive, internationalist enemies of Hungary.[42]

[]The extreme right, and especially Transylvanian refugees, remained dissatisfied and embittered, and continued to press for a more intensely nationalistic government. Many felt that their own particular interests were neglected or sacrificed in the struggle for reconquest of Hungary. The Székely National Council, therefore, as a minimum concession, demanded the creation of a new ministry dealing with Transylvanian affairs. The function of this new department was to be threefold: to aid those thousands of refugees who were forced to leave their native towns and villages; to organize an international campaign to ease terror against the Hungarian population in Romanian-occupied territories and to aid the thousands of dismissed persons who lost their jobs because of their loyalty to the Hungarian nation, which led them to refuse the loyalty oath; and, most important, to make the necessary political and military preparations for reconquest of Transylvania. Such a ministry, the Székely National Council argued, was necessary to restore partially the Székelys, lost faith and confidence in the Hungarian nation, which up to that point had not lifted a finger to save Transylvania for Hungary. They warned that if the Hungarian nation stood by passively once more, at a time when the Székely nation cried out in desperation for help, the Székelys would rise up alone in revolt and would be either destroyed totally or would surrender to Romania. In either case Transylvania would be lost to Hungary forever. Károlyi, however, had to reject these demands. The establishment of such a ministry would have run into strong opposition from the Romanians and the French, since its irredentist purpose would have been transparent.[43]

The Szeged government and some refugees, mostly teachers, officials, and other public servants, also clashed head on over the refugees' angry demands for the payment of salaries by the new national government. The government was also besieged with applications from other old state employees still in Transylvania for positions within the new government. These demands finally forced the counterrevolutionary government to come to grips with the refugee problem and somehow halt the flood of refugees to Szeged. From its meager resources the new government was obviously not able to maintain an army of state employees. The Károlyi cabinet, therefore, resolved not to assume responsibility for the salaries of the refugees, but it held out a slender hope to the refugees by hinting that once the counterrevolution was victorious the contribution of the refugees would not be forgotten and there would be sufficient employment for all.[44]

[]The Károlyi government also decided to discourage the flight of the Hungarian population from the occupied areas. It urged everyone to remain in their old residences, and to take the oath of loyalty to the new government there. The Minister of Interior went even further. In his view, to flee from the lost territories was cowardly and unpatriotic. "Every refugee public employee," he argued, "is like a soldier, who at the moment of danger abandoned his post; with his departure he weakens the Hungarian minority in the occupied territories and thus weakens the cause of the whole Hungarian nation."[45] During subsequent years this argument became a recurrent theme and a constant source of conflict between refugees and the population of inner Hungary. For those already in Szeged the government could only suggest that they should hasten the day of victory by joining the National Army where, incidentally, they were to receive regular pay--a suggestion that, in fact. was followed by the refugees in increasing numbers. Thus the National Army became the melting pot where the most radicalized men from inner Hungary and from the Successor States joined hands to impose their radical frame of mind on the whole counterrevolutionary movement, and ultimately on the country.

Some of the more astute politicians in Szeged realized that growing radicalism in the National Army and in the government paralyzed the counterrevolutionary movement. Defiance of French wishes for a more democratic government may have been emotionally satisfying for the frustrated officers, but these actions merely increased French opposition to the Szeged government. Such men as Teleki and even Gömbös realized the utter helplessness of the movement in the face of French opposition. They knew that the strength and the ultimate success of the movement depended not on the particular makeup of the Szeged government but on the power of the National Army. Nowhere else were the Hungarians more dependent on the goodwill of the French than in military affairs.

Gömbös, the spokesman of the radical officers, therefore, tried to negotiate a compromise with Lajos Varjassy, the leader of the liberal faction and the only man who had free access to French officers. Gömbös promised to restrain the most extreme officers, while Varjassy agreed to muzzle the liberal press and to gain permission for expansion of the National Army.[46] Neither of the two, however, was able to make good on his promise. Relations with the French continued to worsen to the point that the Károlyi government was in constant fear of imminent arrest and internment by the French.

By the beginning of July the Károlyi government realized that its position had become untenable. It had to make room for a new government that was more in harmony with French wishes. Thus, on July 12, the most objectionable individuals were removed from the cabinet, namely Károlyi, Horthy, Kelemen, and Gömbös. The latter was even expelled from Szeged.[47] Horthy, however, was allowed to retain control of the National Army by becoming its Commander-in-Chief.

The new government of Dezsö Abrahám was more moderate. The result was that relations with the French and the local population improved, but only at the cost of alienating the radical right. The right distrusted and held in contempt the new government, and looked only to the army for leadership. The Abrahám government lost control of the army, which was willing to obey none but its Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Horthy. From the time of the establishment of the Abrahám government Horthy became independent all but in name, though he did not formalize this break until August 9, 1919.[48]

The loss of the army's confidence proved to be a death blow to the Abrahám government. With loss of the army' s support the very reason for its existence had also vanished. Since this government was a forced mixture of divergent views, this body was without character or prestige: because it tried to reflect most of the political ideologies and factions competing for power, it became representative of none. In the public's mind the Szeged government was closely identified with the counterrevolutionary army. Once this government ceased to represent the radical attitudes of the army officers, it could no longer survive. Consequently, on August 19, on the eve of the triumph of the White Army, it quietly expired, less than two weeks after the collapse of the Hungarian Soviet Republic.[49]

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