Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Vörös, János (1891–1968)

Hungarian army general, chief of staff, and minister of defense during the war years. Born in Csabrendek, Hungary, on 25 March 1891 to a family of the lesser nobility, János Vörös graduated from a military prep school in 1911 and joined the joint army of the Dual Monarchy. He distinguished himself during World War I as a first lieutenant and was decorated. On graduation from the Military Academy in 1921, Vörös joined the General Staff. Between 1931 and 1936, he taught strategy at the Military Academy. In May 1941, he was promoted to brigadier general, and in November 1943, he took command of II Corps. Appointed chief of staff of the Hungarian army under pressure from the Germans after their occupation of Hungary, he served between 19 April and 16 October 1944. That May, he was promoted to full general.

It was partly Vörös's fault that Governor Miklós Horthy's attempt to surrender failed on 15 October 1944. Although Horthy made a proclamation requesting an armistice, Vörös ordered the continuation of military operations. A day later, Hungarian Fascists took power in Budapest, appointed a prime minister friendly to Germany, and relieved Vörös, who had concluded that Hungary must leave the war. Vörös fled, disguised as a Franciscan monk, and surrendered to the Soviets on 1 November. He was taken to Moscow, and he served as a member of the Hungarian delegation that negotiated an armistice with the Soviet Union. On his return from Moscow, Vörös was appointed minister of defense in the new interim government (December 1944–November 1945) and was a member of the Hungarian government delegation that signed the peace treaty with the Soviet Union on 20 January 1945. Vörös resigned his position as chief of staff on 2 March 1946.

On 25 March 1949, Vörös was arrested by the Hungarian government on charges of spying for the United States. Tried and convicted, he was sentenced to life in prison, but he was freed during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. He died in Balatonfüred, Hungary, on 23 July 1968. In 1992, the Hungarian Supreme Court annulled the charges against Vörös and rehabilitated him.

Anna Boros-McGee


Further Reading
Eby, Cecil D. Hungary at War: Civilians and Soldiers in World War II. University Park: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998.; Fenyo, Mario D. Hitler, Horthy, and Hungary: German-Hungarian Relations, 1941–1944. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1972.; Szakály, Sándor. "A Magyar Királyi Honvéd Vezérkar fõnökei, 1919 augusztus 12–1945 május 9." (Chiefs of staff of the Royal Hungarian Army, 12 August 1919–9 May 1945). Új Honvédségi Szemle 56 (January 2002): 96–115.
 

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