Miklós Kállay

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Dr. Miklós Kállay
de Nagykálló
Kallay Miklos 1942.jpg
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Hungary
In office
9 March 1942 – 22 March 1944
MonarchMiklós Horthy
as Regent
Preceded byLászló Bárdossy
Succeeded byDöme Sztójay
Personal details
Born(1887-01-23)23 January 1887
Nyíregyháza, Austria-Hungary
Died14 January 1967(1967-01-14) (aged 79)
New York City, New York, United States
Political partyUnity Party/Party of National Unity (1929–1935)
Independent (1935–1939)
Party of Hungarian Life
Spouse(s)Helén Kállay (1914–1945)
Márta Fényes de Csokaly
Parent(s)András Kállay de Nagykálló
Vilma Csuha de Eördöghfalva

Dr. Miklós Kállay de Nagykálló (23 January 1887, in Nyíregyháza – 14 January 1967, in New York City) was a Hungarian politician who served as Prime Minister of Hungary during World War II, from 9 March 1942 to 22 March 1944. By early 1942, Hungary's regent Admiral Horthy was seeking to put some distance between himself and Hitler's regime. He dismissed the pro-German prime minister László Bárdossy, and replaced him with Kállay, a moderate whom Horthy expected to loosen Hungary's ties to Germany.[1] Kállay successfully sabotaged economic cooperation with Nazi Germany, protected refugees and prisoners, resisted Nazi pressure regarding Jews, established contact with the Allies and negotiated conditions under which Hungary would switch sides against Germany. However the Allies were not close enough. When the Germans occupied Hungary in March 1944 Kállay went into hiding. He was finally captured by the Nazis, but was liberated when the war ended.[2]


The Kállay family was old and influential among the local gentry of their region and Miklós served as lord-lieutenant (ispán) of his county from 1921 to 1929. He then moved on to national government, serving first as deputy under secretary of state for the Ministry of Trade (1929–31) and later as minister of agriculture (1932–35). He resigned in 1935 in protest over the right-wing policies of Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös. He kept out of politics for most of the next decade before Hungarian Regent Miklós Horthy asked him to form a government to reverse the pro-Nazi policies of László Bárdossy in March 1942.[2] The German minister in Budapest, Dietrich von Jagow reported to Berlin: "Kállay is basically an apolitical person and has not been active in the last few years either in internal or foreign affairs. National Socialism is an "alien" concept to him and he bears no inner sympathy with it. Nevertheless he will no doubt continue the same relations with Germany as his successor".[3]

Prime Minister Kállay Miklós in procession on Holy Trinity Square, along Holy Trinity Street, Buda Castle. 1943. Fortepan.
Prime Minister Kállay and National Defense Minister Lajos Csatay. 13 June 1943.

Although Hungary remained allied with Nazi Germany, Kállay and Horthy were conservatives who were unsympathetic to fascism, and Kállay's government refused to participate in the rounding up of Jews and other activities desired by the Nazis. The government also allowed the left-wing opposition (except for the Communists) to function without much interference. In foreign affairs, Kállay supported the German war effort against the Soviet Union. However, he made numerous peaceful overtures to the Western Allies, even going as far as to promise to surrender to them unconditionally once they reached Hungary's borders. The Germans finally had enough of their ally's policies and occupied Hungary in March 1944, forcing Horthy to oust Kállay and replace him with the more pliable Döme Sztójay.

Kállay was able to evade the Nazis at first, but he was eventually captured and sent first to the Dachau concentration camp and later to Mauthausen. In late April 1945 he was transferred to Tyrol together with other prominent concentration camp inmates, where the SS left the prisoners behind. He was liberated by the Fifth U.S. Army on 5 May 1945.[4]

In 1946 he went into exile, finally settling in the United States in 1951. In 1954, he published his memoirs, Hungarian Premier: A Personal Account of a Nation's Struggle in the Second World War (Columbia University Press).[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ László Borhi, Hungary in the Cold War 1945–1956: Between the United States and the Soviet Union, Central European University Press, New York 2004
  2. ^ a b Nicholas Kállay, Hungarian Premier: A Personal Account of a Nation's Struggle in the Second World War (1954).
  3. ^ Braham 1977, p. 184.
  4. ^ georg-elser-arbeitskreis.de (German) Archived 14 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ See online review


  • Braham, Randolph L (Summer 1977). "The Jewish Question in German-Hungarian Relations during the Kállay Era". Jewish Social Studies. 39 (3): 183–209.
  • Czettler, Antal. "Miklos Kallay's attempts to preserve Hungary's independence." Hungarian Quarterly 41.159 (2000): 88-103.
  • Antal Ullein-Reviczky, Guerre Allemande, Paix Russe: Le Drame Hongrois. Neuchatel: Editions de la Baconniere, 1947.
  • Nicholas Kállay, Hungarian premier: a personal account of a nation's struggle in the second world war; forew. by C. A. Macartney, New York : Columbia Univ. P., 1954. online review
  • C A Macartney, October Fifteenth: A History of Modern Hungary, 1929–1945, 2 vols, Edinburgh University Press 1956–7.
  • György Ránki, Unternehmen Margarethe: Die deutsche Besetzung Ungarns, Böhlau, 1984.
  • Ignac Romsics, Hungary in the Twentieth Century, Budapest: Corvina, 1999.0
  • Antal Ullein-Reviczky, German War, Russian Peace: The Hungarian Tragedy. Translated by Lovice Mária Ullein-Reviczky. Reno, NV. Helena History Press, 2014.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Agriculture
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Hungary
Succeeded by
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by