Kálmán Darányi

Kálmán Darányi de Pusztaszentgyörgy et Tetétlen (22 March 1886 in Budapest – 1 November 1939 in Budapest) was a Hungarian politician who served as Prime Minister of Hungary from 1936 to 1938. He also served as Speaker of the House of Representatives of Hungary from 5 December 1938 to 12 June 1939 and from 15 June 1939 to 1 November 1939. Darányi was associated with the radical right in Hungarian politics, and although not sympathetic to the Hungarian fascists, pursued an increasingly authoritarian policy at home, and an alliance with the fascist powers Germany and Italy abroad.


Kálmán Darányi

de Pusztaszentgyörgy et Tetétlen
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-E05367A, Johann von Daranyi.jpg
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Hungary
In office
6 October 1936 – 14 May 1938
MonarchMiklós Horthy
as Regent
Preceded byGyula Gömbös
Succeeded byBéla Imrédy
Speaker of the House of Representatives
In office
5 December 1938 – 1 November 1939
Preceded byGyula Kornis
Succeeded byAndrás Tasnádi Nagy
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
31 January 1927 – 1 November 1939
Personal details
Born(1886-03-22)22 March 1886
Budapest, Austria-Hungary
Died1 November 1939(1939-11-01) (aged 53)
Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary
NationalityHungarian
Political partyUnity Party, Party of National Unity, Party of Hungarian Life
Spouse(s)Márta Szemere
Professionpolitician

Early lifeEdit

His parents were Béla Darányi and Antónia Nagy. His uncle was Ignác Darányi who served as Minister of Agriculture during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Darányi started his civil service career in 1909 at Pest-Pilis-Solt-Kiskun County. After the revolutions of 1918–1919 he served as commissioner then ispán (county head) of Győr County, Komárom County and Győr. Darányi became a member of the Hungarian Diet in 1927. Gyula Gömbös appointed him Minister of Agriculture in 1935. In addition to his political activities he played a leadership role in the agricultural class movement. He also took part in the life of the Calvinist Church as a member of the Universal Convent and synod.

Prime Minister of HungaryEdit

Darányi replaced the ailing Gyula Gömbös as Prime Minister. After the death of Gömbös, Regent Miklós Horthy appointed Darányi as Gömbös' successor on 12 October 1936. Darányi wanted to return to the platform of István Bethlen with a program to preserve constitutional order, but he did not want to turn sharply against Gömbös' political testament. He maintained the promise of secret suffrage, but first of all he wanted to increase the gubernatorial jurisdiction and the House of Magnates' role.

He set himself apart from right-wing and left-wing extremes both during the initial period of his prime ministership. On April 1937 he banned the Party of National Will, which was the predecessor of the Hungarian National Socialist Party and the Arrow Cross Party. Ferenc Szálasi, the leader of the party, was arrested and sentenced to imprisonment for three years. But the March Front (founded on 15 March 1937), a progressive political-intellectual movement, was also subjected to police harassment and prosecutions.

Darányi and his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kálmán Kánya attempted to strengthen contacts with the United Kingdom and France to balance pressure from Nazi Germany. However, the Western powers were not very receptive of these endeavors. Hungarian foreign policy continued to promote the country's relationship with Italy at the same time. The thought of the cooperation between Italy, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Poland was resumed in Rome.

During his term the gubernatorial jurisdiction was expanded again (for the fourth time). The Regent was now allowed to delay the implementation of bills by up to a year, and he was no longer accountable to Parliament. The law also specified the role of the National Council in case of vacancy of the gubernatorial seat. The House of Magnates' jurisdiction was also expanded: the upper house could now return laws to the lower house twice.

In 1938, Darányi accepted the law of suffrage that was advocated by Gyula Gömbös. This law modified earlier provisions in two areas: it abolished the open vote in favor of the secret ballot, but narrowed suffrage rights. The new law reduced the number of eligible voters by 250,000 – 300,000. The minimum voting age for men was now 26 (in regional elections) and 30 (in constituency elections), while for women, the universal voting age was 30 years. He introduced mandatory old-age social insurance for agricultural workers. For the civil servants the work week was set at 44 hours while for industrial workers, 48 hours.

The Hungarian military force's state was disastrous. To address this, Darányi presented the Győr Program, which was drawn up by Béla Imrédy. The aim of the program was the modernize the army and upgrade its equipment. The government allocated one billion pengős for the program. This, originally earmarked for five years, was spent in under two years. Of the program's budget, 60% was used for the development of the army while 40% was spent on infrastructure. This program's invigorating effect on the economy was considerable.

After the Anschluss, Darányi's political direction changed. As of March 1938, Hungary was now a neighbor of Nazi Germany. A vigorous Nazi propaganda campaign was initiated in the country. Darányi shifted towards the right in response. He appointed pro-German politicians to his cabinet. He regularly expressed the importance of the German relations. Darányi began secret negotiations with Kálmán Hubay with the intention of uniting right extremist forces. He agreed to allow Arrow Cross Party members to run for parliament so long as these right extremist politicians agreed to respect the law. Conservatives responded to these steps with distrust. Horthy also expressed his discontent, which is why Darányi resigned as Prime Minister on 11 May 1938. He was followed by Béla Imrédy in this position.

Later lifeEdit

Promoting the First Anti-Jewish Law and its preparation are connected to his name yet. This bill was introduced to the parliament during his prime ministership, but it already became law during reign of Imrédy. Kálmán Darányi served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 5 December 1938 until his death.

ReferencesEdit

  • Magyar Életrajzi Lexikon
  • parlament.hu
  • Jenő Gergely – Lajos Izsák: A huszadik század története. [History of the twentieth century.] Annonica Kiadó, 2000. (Magyar századok) ISBN 963-9252-13-1
  • Mária Ormos: Magyarország a két világháború korában 1914–1945. [Hungary during the two World Wars 1914–1945.] Csokonai Kiadó, Debrecen, 1998. (Történelmi kézikönyvtár) ISBN 963-260-115-7

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Miklós Kállay
Minister of Agriculture
1935–1938
Succeeded by
Ferenc Marschall
Preceded by
Gyula Gömbös
Prime Minister of Hungary
1936–1938
Succeeded by
Béla Imrédy
Preceded by
Miklós Kozma
Minister of the Interior
Acting

1937
Succeeded by
József Széll
Preceded by
Gyula Kornis
Speaker of the House of Representatives
1938–1939
Succeeded by
András Tasnádi Nagy