While Western Europe becomes increasingly cucked and ashamed of its own history, Eastern Europe is increasingly asserting itself, and taking pride in its historical figures—even the "fashy" ones. And few figures from Hungarian history are as fashy as Admiral Horthy, the country's dictatorial strongman, who ruled the country for 24 years (1920-44) and also allied himself with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Usually somebody with that kind of political pedigree would be regarded as a historical pariah in most European countries, but not Hungary. Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban the landlocked country is uncucked.
During a recent speech Orban lavished praise on Horthy, who first won distinction in the Austro-Hungarian navy in WWI, and two other members of his government, Prime Minister Istvan Bethlen, and Minister Kuno Klebelsberg:
"The second and third decades of the twentieth century were serious trials in Hungarian history," Orban said. "That the lost World War, the 133 days of Red Terror, and the Treaty of Trianon did not crush us underneath the foot of history, well, this is thanks to a handful of exceptional statesmen: Governor Miklos Horthy, Prime Minister Istvan Bethlen, and Minister Kuno Klebelsberg. Without a Governor there is no Prime Minister. And without a Prime Minister there is no Minister. This fact cannot be doubted no matter Hungary’s mournful participation in the Second World War."
Bethlen was responsible for concluding an alliance with Fascist Italy, while Klebelsberg blamed the Jews for the revolutions of 1918 and 1919 that greatly weakened Hungary during the period of the Treaty of Trianon, and led to the loss of large areas of territory, much of it actually inhabited by people of Hungarian stock.
Following the speech, Janos Lazar, another minister, called Admiral Horthy a "great Hungarian patriot." In May, a mayor belonging to Orban's Fidesz party inaugurated a statue of the Admiral. This reversed an earlier decision by the party not to support statues of the Admiral on the grounds that he was a collaborator with the Nazis.
Since then, thanks to the irresponsible actions of the EU leaders like Angela Merkel, Orban has decided to take a more assertive nationalist position. Changing his party's position on Admiral Horthy, who was a very decent man who had to rule in extremely difficult times, is very much part of this.
Naturally Hungary's Jews were upset, although why, when they have their own country to go to, beats me. Andras Heisler, the President of Mazsihisz, the Federation of Hungary's Jewish Communities, said, "Due to the antisemitism of the era named after [Horthy], it is a mistake to set him as an example for the next generation."
Some analysts see this move by Orban as an attempt to take votes from Jobbik, which has been considered even more right-wing and nationalist than Fidesz. This is unlikely to be the main motivation, as Fidesz is riding high in the opinion polls and doesn't need to resort to gimmicks to fend off Jobbik.
In fact Jobbik's main problem is that Orban is doing such a good job representing healthy Hungarian nationalism that they have been forced to look for other pastures by moving left on social and economic issues, while softening their positions on their traditional nationalist positions.
This means that Jobbik are now serving the ends of Orban by fighting with the Hungarian Socialist Party for votes, so that rather than splitting the right-wing vote, they are now helping to split the left-wing vote. This explains why Fidesz has a 32-point lead in the latest opinion poll (Fidesz 52%, Jobbik 17%, Hungarian Scocialist Party 20%). The next election will be in Spring 2018, so expect further jostling and another big Orban victory.