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Artúr Görgey (30 January 1818 – 21 May 1916), was a Hungarianmarker military leader.

He was born at Toporcz (present-day Toporecmarker, Slovakiamarker), in Upper Hungary; of a Hungarian noble family who were converted to Protestantism. In 1837 he entered the Bodyguard of Hungarian Nobles at Viennamarker, where he combined military service with a course of study at the university. In 1845, on his father's death, he left the army to study chemistry at the University of Prague, after which he retired to the family estates in Hungary.

When the Hungarian rebellion of 1848 against the Austrian Empiremarker broke out, Görgey joined the rebels. He entered the Honvéd Army with the rank of captain, was employed in the purchase of arms, and soon became major and commandant of the national guards north of the Tisza. While resisting the Croatianmarker army 's crossing of the Danube at Csepel-szigetmarker, Görgey captured and arrested the wealthy Hungarian Count Ödön [Edmund] Zichy. Count Zichy was charged with treason for his pro-Austrian activities, court-martialed, and hanged.

After various successes over the Croatian forces, of which the most remarkable was at Ozoramarker, where 10,000 prisoners were taken, Görgey was appointed commander of the army of the Upper Danube. But when Austrian troops under Windisch-Grätz advanced across the Lajtamarker, he resolved to fall back. In spite of the remonstrances of his political superior, Lajos Kossuth, he held to his resolution and retreated upon Vácmarker. Here, irritated by what he considered undue interference with his plans, he issued (5 January 1849) a proclamation throwing the blame for the recent want of success upon the government, thus virtually revolting against their authority. Görgey retired to the Hungarian Erzgebirgemarker and conducted operations on his own initiative.

The supreme command was conferred upon Henryk Dembiński, but when he lost the Battle of Kápolna (where Görgey's corps arrived too late to take an effective part) the command was again conferred upon Görgey. He conducted the spring 1849 campaign brilliantly and defeated Windisch-Grätz in a series of engagements. In April, Görgey won at Gödöllőmarker, Isaszegmarker, and Nagysalló (now Tekovské Lužanymarker), relieved Komárom (now Komárnomarker), and again won at Vác. He failed to follow up his successes by taking the offensive against the Austrian frontier, contenting himself with besieging Buda, the Hungarian capital, in which he desired to re-establish the Diet. After tkaing Buda, Görgey remained inactive for some weeks.

Meanwhile, at a Diet held at Debrecenmarker, Kossuth had formally proposed the dethronement of the Habsburg dynasty. Görgey had refused Kossuth's offer of the field-marshal's baton, and was not in sympathy with the new regime. However, he accepted the portfolio of minister of war, while retaining the command of the troops in the field. The Russians had now intervened in the struggle and made common cause with the Austrians; the allies were advancing into Hungary on all sides. Kossuth saw the impossibility of continuing the struggle and resigned his position as regent-president. Görgey, who had been fighting hard against the enemy, succeeded him as military dictator with emergency powers. Convinced that he could not break through the enemy's lines, Görgey surrendered his army of 20,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry to the Russian general Rudiger at Világosmarker.

Görgey was not court-martialed, as his generals were, but kept in confinement at Klagenfurtmarker. He lived there, chiefly employed in chemical work, until 1867, when he was pardoned and returned to Hungary. The surrender, and particularly the fact that his life was spared while his generals and many of his officers and men were hanged or shot, led to his being accused of treason by public opinion. After his release he played no further part in public life.

In 1885, an attempt by a large number of his old comrades to rehabilitate him was not favorably received in Hungary. After some years work as a railway engineer he retired to Visegrádmarker, where he lived in retirement. For decades he had been considered a traitor, often humiliated in public places, but in the last years of his life, his very important role during the War and unique military talent became widely acknowledged by his compatriots.

General Görgey wrote a justification of his operations ( , Leipzigmarker, 1852), an anonymous paper under the title (1875), and a reply to Kossuth's charges (signed Joh. Demar) in , 1881, pp. 25-26. Amongst those who wrote in his favor were Captain Stephan Görgey ( , Budapestmarker, 1885), and Colonel Aschermann ( , Klausenburgmarker, 1867).


  • Pethő Sándor: Görgey Artúr, Genius, Budapest, 1930

External links

  • , full public-domain text of Görgey's , in English translation

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