Károlyi & Bethlen

by Bryan Cartledge

Mihaly Karolyi (1875-1955) was brought to power after a revolution as Head of a National Council. He soon concludes an armistice, which leaves large areas of Hungarian territory under occupation by French, Romanian and Serbian forces. After Communists fail to stem the advances of Romanian forces, the Peace Conference, in 1920, dispatches a British diplomat who invites a delegation to come to Paris, which includes Istvan Bethlan(1874-1946). Hungarians are appalled to find that the treaty will deprive their country of two thirds of her territory and over half of her population. The injustice of the treaty will drive Hungary into the arms of Nazi Germany, a fatal alliance which will doom Hungary’s Jews to annihilation and Hungary to defeat and destruction in the Second World War.

BRYAN CARTLEDGE is a retired diplomat, who served in Sweden, the Soviet Union and Iran before being appointed, in 1977, to be Private Secretary (Overseas Affairs) to the British Prime Minister; he served both James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher in that capacity before taking up his first ambassadorial appointment as British Ambassador to Hungary, in 1980. His well-received history of Hungary, The Will to Survive, fulfils an aspiration which grew out of his deep interest in that country.

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