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Béla Linder
Born 10 February 1876 (1876-02-10)
Died 15 April 1962 (1962-04-16) (aged 86)
Place of birth Majs, Kingdom of Hungary
Place of death Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia
Allegiance Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
Hungary Hungarian Democratic Republic
Socialist red flag.svg Hungarian Soviet Republic
Serbian-Hungarian Baranya-Baja Republic
Battles/wars World War I

Béla Linder (Majs, 10 February 1876 – Belgrade, 15 April 1962), Hungarian colonel of artillery, Secretary of War of Mihály Károlyi government, minister without portfolio of Dénes Berinkey government, military attaché of Hungarian Soviet Republic based in Vienna, finally the mayor of Pécs during the period of Serb occupation.

Secretary of War for nine days

The father of Béla Linder was of Jewish origin, and was "part of the inner circle of Franz Ferdinand, and when the heir to the throne was assassinated, Lindert was (...) kicked out of the military leadership staff".[1] Presumably after this incident he was actively looking for contact with people who were seeking change. In 1918, during the so-called "Aster Revolution" his career suddenly rocketed from colonel status to Secretary of War on 31 October 1918. He swore to the government of Mihály Károlyi in front of the Hungarian Parliament on 2 November 1918.

During the swearing-in ceremony (wearing a red tie[2]) he spoke the infamous words: "[T]raditions of a thousand years and slavery of a thousand years had to be demolished. Five years of war were needed, thousands and thousands of deaths were needed so that a new victorious life could emerge from it. This new victorious life is born under pacifism. (...) No need for armies anymore! I do not want to see any soldiers anymore! (...) Make an oath that you will bring up your children in such a way that the possibility of war is shut out!"[3]

Referring to the negotiations with the Entente Cordiale, the Ministry of Military led by Linder sent a telegraph to the Foreign Office on 6 November 1918 to order the German troops onto the banks of Danube and Sava, which they refused.[4]

Later the complete honvéds of the ex-Austrian-Hungarian army were asked to return and to hand over all weapons. This led to Hungary being totally defenseless.

Minister without portfolio

Criticised for his dilettantism, he resigned as Secretary of War on 9 November, but he kept his membership in the government. His task was to lead the negotiations for the preparations of the peace treaty.

On 7 November there were already negotiations in Belgrade between the delegation led by Mihály Károlyi and the commander of eastern Entente troops, general Franchet d'Esperey. On 13 November, Linder signed the cease-fire agreement, together with General Henrys (commander of French Eastern Army) and voivode Živojin Mišić (commander general of the Serb army). During the period of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, he was engaged in numerous diplomatic moves as the military attaché of the Ministry of Military in Vienna (2 May – 5 August 1919).

Activities in Baranya, fleeing abroad

After the collapse of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, he joined the Socialist Party, and on 23 September 1920 he became the mayor of Pécs. At this time Pécs was still occupied by the Serb army, even though there was a valid border agreement with Entente. Later he was the leader of the Pécs-Baranya Republic and on 14 August 1921 of the Baranya–Baja Serbian–Hungarian Republic. The latter republic was upheld for eight days, and its president was painter Petar Dobrović.

When the Serb troops left the Baranya region for Yugoslavia on 14 August 1921, Linder joined them.

His remembrance

Linder lived in Yugoslavia till his death. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and Josip Broz Tito's Yugoslavia honoured him, and he received an honorary tomb in Belgrade.[5]

However, Hungarians condemn him as he had a significant part in the borders of the Republic of Hungary being set disadvantageously at the Treaty of Trianon and Hungary had no armies to counter the inordinate demands of the Little Entente.


  1. Memoirs of Louis Windischgrätz: Mémoires du prince, Paris, 1923; My Memoires, Boston, 1921
  3. András Siklós: Magyarország 1918–1919 – Események, képek, dokumentumok, Kossuth Köyvkiadó/Magyar Helikon, 1978, ISBN 963-09-1097-7, ISBN 963-207-325-8, ISBN 963-13-0554-6, p. 123.
  4. István Németh: A Mackensen-ügy – Egy hadsereg bolyongása (Mackensen-case: Wandering of an Army) [1]
  • Árpád Hornyák: "Nem akarok több katonát látni" : Linder Béla – Egy politikai kalandor portréja, [Rubicon 16. évf. 9. sz.]
  • Romsics Ignác: Dalmáciai levelek
  • Aladár Lászlóffy: "Linder Béla azt üzente" poem, A Hét, 1998/45. pp. 5.
Political offices
Preceded by
Sándor Szurmay
Minister of War
Succeeded by
Albert Bartha

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