Magyar National Liberation Movement

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Magyar National Liberation Movement

Magyar Nemzeti Felszabadítási Mozgalom
Flag of NLM
• 1924-1928
Zsolt Fodor
• 1928-1931
Rudolf Bodnár
• 1932-1941
István Ákos

The Magyar National Liberation Movement (NLM or MNLM; Magyar: Magyar Nemzeti Felszabadítási Mozgalom (NFM or MNFM)), was a national republican revolutionary organization founded in the Magyar territories of the Austrian Empire, that operated throughout the 1930s and the Magyar War of Independence. The NLM was the driving force for Magyarian independence and establishment of Magyaria. In the later years of the war it came to an agreement with the National Republican Forces of Hungary and New Black Army and created the Magyar National Front against Austria.



Founded by Zsolt Fodor and Rudolf Bodnár in Debrecen in 1924, in the wake of the European Economic Crisis, the NLM positioned itself as an adherent of "classical national republicanism" as described by the earliest national republican theorists in 19th century Hungary, promoted the idea of independence from Austria and agitated against liberal thought. Although it was modelled after the NRF, the two organizations soon found themselves in conflict due to ideological differences and personal rivalries, leading to a weakened independence movement in the late 1920s. The organization was denied official registry as a party 4 times, but remained legal due its low membership.

Political shift

The death of Fodor and fall of popularity of Bodnár led to a crisis in the organization, following which the NLM went through a leadership change, electing István Ákos in 1932. After this the organization was inspired heavily by the victorious Vosstanists in Russia. Its official political stances were redefined to put an emphasis on cooperating with other national republican movements, fighting Austrian oppression and dismantling the Empire. The organizations popularity surged thanks to this, however it was still far behind the NRF in terms of public support among Magyars.

Great War and War of Independence

From the outbreak of the Great War, the NLM campaigned against hostilities and was officially banned in July of 1935. By this point the organization already had deepened its ties to Russia and the New Black Army, and most of the organizations members went underground or fled to Russia.

The National Liberation Movement gained the upper hand after the failed December Uprising in 1937. It immediately took advantage of the severely weakened NRF to take the leading position of Magyar independence. Utilizing its connections with Russia, Romania and the New Black Army, the NLM organized mass revolts in May of 1938, beginning the end of Austrian rule over Magyars. The NLM would form the Magyar National Front with the NRF in June of the same year and lead the Magyarians to victory. They also supported the Romani militias in their right for communal defence and the Slovak insurgents.

Post-war period

Following complete victory in the Magyar War of Indepedence, the Magyar National Front, primarily consisting of NLM forces, co-led the occupation of the Austrian Empire with Russia and Romania. Upon formal establishment of Magyaria and the formation of the Magyarian government out of most of the former Magyarian factions, the NLM formally disbanded, with most of its leadership and public support base transitioning into the National Revival Party.


Along with the general ideals of national republicanism, the NLM stood among most nationalist factions after the 1932 restructuring, as it was viewed as more moderate and open to international cooperation to achieve the greater goal of independence, unlike, most notably, the NRF, which held more chauvinistic views. The main attributes of the National Liberation Movement as stated by the organizations Magyar Nationalist Charter of 1934 are:

  • Staunch opposition to imperialism of any form
  • The conviction that Magyars and all of the peoples of the Austrian Empire have a right for self-determination and must struggle for independence
  • The opposition to Germanisation outside of historically German lands
  • The goal to rediscover and reembrace national Magyar culture for all the Magyar people
  • The acceptance of international cooperation as a primary way of attaining independence and achieving regional stability