This article examines the life and political career of Iván Héjjas, one of the most important paramilitary leaders in counterrevolutionary Hungary. The essay sheds additional light on the conflict-ridden relationship between the politicians of the radical right and the members of the conservative authoritarian elite during the interwar period. It portrays right radicalism in Hungary as a political cul-de-sac, which helped prepare the ground for the emergence of the Arrow Cross and similar movements in the 1930s, but did not lead directly to fascism. The articles examines the rise of paramilitary violence in the Hungarian countryside, analyzes the social composition and organizational and motivational structure of rural militias and the role of charismatic leaders. Finally, the article compares Héjjas to other fascist leaders, such as Balbo and Mussolini, and highlights both personal and political structural reasons for his failure to successfully imitate their example.