He was born in 1851 in the city of Rimaszombat in a Jewish family (Kohn). He was enlisted in the Hungarian honvéd army in 1873. Here he soon excelled in his abilities and a few months later was enrolled in the officer training course at the Ludovika Academy in Budapest. He was inaugurated as a lieutenant in 1876. In order to succeed in his military career, he was then baptized and changed his name. By 1881 he had completed additional upper military schools. In 1883, as a first lieutenant, he was sent to the General Staff of the Corps and later to the Ministry of Defense. Later he taught at the Ludovika Academy. From 1904 to 1910 he was a group leader in the Ministry of Defense from 1907 in the rank of Major General. From 1910 to 1917 he was Minister of Defense. From 1916 he was colonel-general. In 1917 he became the owner of the 46th Infantry Regiment of Szeged.
As a minister, his name was associated with the large-scale development of the honvéd army before and during the war. In connection with the defense reform, several important laws have been enacted. He was retired after the war and lived in Budapest. He was arrested and held hostage during the Hungarian Communists’ coup in 1919. After consolidation, he engaged in civil and political activities. From 1927 he was a member of the Upper House of the Hungarian Parliament. He died in Budapest in 1942. One of the Budapest barracks bears his name today.