Pál Count Teleki


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(b. 1 Nov. 1879, d. 3 Apr. 1941).

Prime Minister of Hungary 1920–1, 1939–41 Born in Budapest, Teleki had a distinguished career as a geographer at the university before being elected to the Hungarian parliament in 1909. He attended the Paris Peace Conference and became Prime Minister (1920–1), passing a series of anti‐Semitic laws in response to the previous Kun regime. He returned to academic life, but in February 1939 Horthy reappointed him Prime Minister. He managed to disband some of the country's more extreme Fascist groups, but allowed anti‐Semitic laws to stand. He believed that the only way to regain territory lost by Hungary at the Treaty of Trianon was to negotiate through Hitler. In this he was successful, via the two Vienna Awards. He tried desperately to keep Hungary out of World War II, but the attraction of joining forces with the apparently unstoppable Hitler made the pressure to join the war at Germany's side irresistible. Feeling bound to a treaty of friendship with Yugoslavia, he committed suicide rather than give in to the pressure from Horthy, his Cabinet, and the army to allow the Germans to attack Yugoslavia through Hungarian territory.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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