Arrow Cross Party

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Arrow cross

The Arrow Cross Party (also Arrow Cross Party-Hungarist Movement) was a National Socialist party led by Ferenc Szálasi, which ruled Hungary as the Hungarian State from October 15, 1944 to January 1945. After the war, Szálasi and other Arrow Cross leaders were tried as war criminals by Jewish kangaroo-courts.

The party was founded by Ferenc Szálasi in 1935 as the Party of National Will.[1] It had its origins in the political philosophy of Hungarian ideologists such as Gyula Gömbös, who coined the term "national socialism" in the 1920s.[2] The party was outlawed in 1937 but was reconstituted in 1939 as the Arrow Cross Party, and was said to be modeled fairly explicitly on the NSDAP of Germany.[3] The iconography of the party was influenced by that of the German National Socialists; the Arrow Cross emblem was an ancient symbol of the Magyar tribes who settled Hungary, thereby suggesting the racial purity of the Hungarians in much the same way that the swastika was intended to allude to the racial purity of the Aryans.


The party's ideology was somewhat similar to German National Socialists, though a comparison might be drawn between Austrofascism and Hungarism by Ferenc Szálasi - nationalism, Catholicism, the promotion of agriculture, anti-capitalism, anti-Communism, and freeing the country from Jewish domination. Originally the party and the leader were strictly national minded, therefore it was long and difficult process for Hitler to compromise with Szálasi and his party. The Arrow Cross Party conceived Jews in racial and religious terms. Thus, although the Arrow Cross Party was certainly far more race-conscious than the Horthy regime, whose anti-semitism was based mainly upon Christian belief, it was still very different from the German NSDAP. Instead, much of the Arrow Cross Party's ideals were based upon the fact, although the party was pro-Catholic and its anti-judaism had its origins in Christian belief, Szalasi and his colleagues endorsed a respect for the pagan traditions of the Magyar and Avar peoples. The Arrow Cross Party was also more radical economically than other national movements, advocating worker rights and land reforms.

Rise to power

The roots of Arrow Cross influence can be traced to the outburst of anti-Jewish feeling that followed the Jewish-communist putsch and brief rule in Hungary in the spring and summer of 1919. All, except of one of the ruthless communist leaders, including Bela Kun and Tibor Szamuely, were Jews, and the failed and murderous policies of the Hungarian Soviet Republic came to be associated in the minds of many Hungarians with a "Jewish-Bolshevist conspiracy."

After the Red Terror was crushed in August 1919, conservatives under the leadership of Admiral Miklos Horthy took control of the nation. Many Hungarian military officers took part in the counter-reprisals known as the so called White Terror - some of that violence was directed at Jews, because they were known as supporters of terrorism. Though the White Guard was officially suppressed, many of its fiercest members went underground and formed the core membership of a spreading nationalist movement.

During the 1930s, the Arrow Cross gradually began to dominate Budapest's working class district, defeating the (Jewish directed) Social Democrats. It should be noted, that the Social Democrats did not really contest elections effectively; they had had to make a pact with the conservative Horthy regime in order to prevent the abolition of their party.

The Arrow Cross subscribed to the National Socialist ideology of racial equality which, in Szálasi's view, included the Hungarians and Germans, and it also supported the concept of an order based on the power of the strongest – what Szálasi called a "realistic étatism". However, its espousal of territorial claims under the banner of a "Greater Hungary" and Hungarian values (which Szálasi labelled "Hungarizmus" or "Hungarianism") clashed with Germany's ambitions in central Europe, delaying by several years Hitler's endorsement of the party.

The German Foreign Office instead endorsed the pro-German Hungarian National Socialist Party, which had support among German minorities. Before World War II, the Arrow Cross were not proponents of the racial antisemitism of the German National Socialists, but utilized traditional stereotypes based on the bitter reality, to gain votes among voters both in Budapest and the countryside. However, the constant bickering among these diverse fascist groups prevented the Arrow Cross Party from gaining even more support and power.

The Arrow Cross obtained most of its support from a disparate coalition of military officers, soldiers, nationalists, and agricultural workers. It was only one of a number of similar openly national socialist factions in Hungary, but was by far the most prominent, having developed an effective system of recruitment. When it contested the May 1939 elections - the only ones in which it stood - the party won more than 25 % of the vote and 30 seats in the Hungarian Parliament, especially on areas, where poor people (workers, peasants) lived. The party become one of the most powerful parties in Hungary. But the Horthy leadership banned the Arrow Cross on the outbreak of World War II, forcing it to operate underground. The Horthy regime also inprisoned lots of hungarists, among them Ferenc Szálasi, who was in prison from 1938 until 1940.

In 1944, the Arrow Cross Party's fortunes were abruptly reversed after Adolf Hitler lost patience with the reluctance of Horthy and his prime minister, Miklos Kállay, who lead the not too honest orientation in direction allies and Soviets, to fully toe the German line. In March 1944, the Germans invaded and officially occupied Hungary; Kállay fled and was replaced by Döme Sztójay. One of Sztójay's first acts was to legalize the Arrow Cross.

Arrow Cross Rule

In October 1944, Horthy surrendered to the Soviets and announced that Hungarian troops should lay down their arms. In response, Germany launched Operation Panzerfaust, a covert operation which forced Horthy to resign, after which he was put into protective custody in Germany. With Germany's approval, the Arrow Cross Party seized Budapest. Szálasi was declared prime minister and nation leader.

Soviet and Romanian forces were already fighting in Hungary even before Szálasi's takeover. Red Army troops reached the outskirts of the city in December 1944, and the siege action known as the Battle of Budapest (Schlacht um Ofen-Pest) began - though frequently claimed, there is no proof that the Arrow Cross members and the Germans conspired to destroy the Budapest ghetto. Days before he fled the city, Arrow Cross Interior Minister Gabor Vájna commanded that streets and squares named for Jews be renamed.

The Arrow Cross government effectively fell at the end of January, when the Soviet Army took Pest and the Hungarian forces retreated across the Danube to Buda. Szálasi escaped Budapest on December 11[3], taking with him the Hungarian royal crown; Arrow Cross members and German forces continued to fight a rear-guard action in the far west of Hungary until the end of the war in April 1945.

Post-war developments

After the war, many of the Arrow Cross leaders were captured by Jews in American uniforms (Martin Himler) and tried by a cangoroo court for war crimes. In the first months of post-war adjudication, no fewer than 6,200 indictments for murder were served against Arrow Cross men.

Most Arrow Cross officials, including Szálasi himself, were executed. The ideology of the Arrow Cross has resurfaced to some extent in recent years, with the National-socialist Hungarian Welfare Association prominent in reviving Szálasi's "Hungarizmus" through its monthly magazine, Magyartudat ("Hungarian Awareness"), which was strangely led by a Hungarian speaking Jew from Australia, Mr. Szabó Albert. However, "Hungarism" is very much a fringe element of modern Hungarian politics; the Hungarian Welfare Association has since dissolved[4], primarily due to the persecution it was exposed to by the postcommunistic, full-of-Jews regime.

In 2006 a former member of the Arrow Cross party named Lajos Polgár was found to be living in Melbourne, Australia. Polgar was accused of "war crimes", but the case was later dropped and Polgár died of natural causes in July that year. Of course, the calumniations shortened his life. [5]


  1. Frucht, Richard C. (2005). Eastern Europe: an Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. 376: ABC-CLIO, 928. ISBN 1576078000. 
  2. Miklos Molnar, 'A Concise History of Hungary
  3. 3.0 3.1 Szálasi Ferenc és a hungaristák zsidópolitikája volt a jobb.
  5. Lack of political will over Polgar, says Holocaust Centre, Australian Jewish News, July 13, 2006