Teleki file photo [9885]

Pál Teleki

Given NamePál
Born1 Nov 1879
Died3 Apr 1941


ww2dbaseCount Pál Teleki was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary to politician Géza Teleki. In 1919, he was among the Austro-Hungarian representatives sent to the Versailles Peace Conference. Between 19 Jul 1920 and 14 Apr 1921, he served as Hungary's Prime Minister; in this role, he saw the passage of anti-Semitic laws by the Hungarian Parliament, but did nothing to stop them. Between 1921 and 1938, he was a professor at Budapest University in geography. Because of his son Géza's involvement in the Hungarian Sea Scouts, he became a strong supporter of the Scouting movement, serving in the International Scout Committee from 1929 until 1939 as Chief Scout of Hungary. In the late 1930s, he sent Tibor Eckhard to the United States to work with János Pelenyi, already in the US, to prepare for a Hungarian government-in-exile should it become necessary due to the threat of Germany. In 1938, he became the Minister of Education. On 16 Feb 1939, he became the Prime Minister of Hungary for the second time after his anti-Semitic predecessor Béla Imrédy stepped down after the realization that Imrédy had Jewish heritage. The far right elements in Hungary believed that Teleki would be capable of continuing his predecessor's anti-Semitic policies.

ww2dbaseIn Sep 1939, after the start of the European War, Germany demanded Hungary to grant use of Hungary's rail system for German troops to enter southern Poland, and Teleki rejected the request, declaring that Hungary was a non-belligerent nation in the war. He permitted the Polish Red Cross and the Polish Catholic Church to operate openly in Hungary. Although he formally interned all Polish miiltary personnel who had fled into his country, many of them were allowed to "escape" out of the country, many of whom ended up in France months later. On 25 Mar 1940, Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano met with Teleki and noted that Teleki had avoided to take sides in the conflict, although he had showed personal favor toward the Allies. Later that year, Germany once again requested use of Hungary's transportation system, this time for the occupation of Romanian oil fields, this time offering Transylvania in exchange; the request was once again turned down, citing neutrality. To Teleki's dismay, on 20 Nov 1940, Regent of Hungarian Miklós Horthy signed the Tripartite Pact, making Hungary the fourth country to join the Axis powers. In Mar 1941, he voiced the planned Hungarian participation in the German invasion of Yugoslavia, citing the Treaty of Eternal Friendship that Hungary and Yugoslavia had entered into on 12 Dec 1940. During the war, he was closely monitored by the German Gestapo. In the morning of 3 Apr 1941, he received a telegram from the Hungary minister in London that British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden threatened to break diplomatic relations with Hungary if Teleki did not actively resist the use of Hungarian territory for German troops to enter Yugoslavia; furthermore, Eden threatened war if Hungary actively participates in the invasion. Meanwhile, Horthy was intending to give in to German demands, while General Werth, the chief of Hungarian General Staff, had already secretly worked with his German counterparts for German passage through Hungary. At 2200 hours on 3 Apr, he left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his home. After being notified that German troops had entered Hungary, he committed suicide by pistol some time during the night. His suicide note stated that he had "allowed our nation's honor to be lost" and blamed himself for not being able to stop Hungary from becoming aligned with Germany. He was buried at Gödöllo on the grounds of the Hungarian Royal Palace.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Apr 2010


Portrait of Pál Teleki, circa 1920Pál Teleki, 3 Sep 1921Pál Teleki, 3 Sep 1921Pál Teleki, 1939
See all 6 photographs of Pál Teleki

Pál Teleki Timeline

1 Nov 1879 Pál Teleki was born.
16 Feb 1939 Pál Teleki became the Prime Minister of Hungary.
25 Mar 1940 Hungarian Prime Minister Pál Teleki met with Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano; Teleki voiced neutrality for Hungary.
3 Apr 1941 Pál Teleki passed away.

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Pál Teleki Photo Gallery
Portrait of Pál Teleki, circa 1920
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