1875-1955, Hungarian politician, of an ancient noble family. A liberal, he organized (1918) a national council for Hungary after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and was made premier. His attempt to strike a balance between the extreme right and left undermined his position.
A republic was set up and in Jan., 1919, Károlyi was elected provisional president, apparently in order to remove him from active control. Forced in the end to choose between the conservatives and the Communists, he surrendered the government to the Communists. The dictatorship of Bela Kun was set up in March, 1919.
Karolyi left Hungary when Kun’s regime collapsed. He returned from England to Hungary after World War II and was appointed (1947) Hungarian ambassador to France. In 1949 he resigned because of disagreement with the policy of his government. He remained in France until his death. His memoirs appeared in English in 1956.