Hungarian politician and admiral. Leader of the counter-revolutionary White government, he became regent in 1920 on the overthrow of the communist Bela Kun regime by Romanian and Czechoslovak intervention. He represented the conservative and military class, and retained power until World War II, trying (although allied to Hitler) to retain independence of action. In 1944 he tried to negotiate a surrender to the USSR but Hungary was taken over by the Nazis and he was deported to Germany. He was released from German captivity the same year by the Western Allies. He was not tried at Nuremberg, however, but instead allowed to go to Portugal, where he died.
Horthy's relations with Germany were somewhat ambivalent. He ordered Hungarian forces to invade Yugoslavia in August 1941 in support of Hitler's aims in the region and the following month formally declared an anti-Soviet alliance with Germany. In November 1940 he joined the Tripartite Pact. In April 1941 Hungarian forces took part in the German attack on Yugoslavia. Horthy declared war with the USSR in June 1941, and with the USA in December 1941. However, he refused to send more troops to the Eastern Front in May 1943 and went further in 1944, demanding the return of Hungarian troops from Germany and an end to the use of Hungary as a supply base, and attempting to halt the deportation of Hungarian Jews. He backed down on all these points when Hitler threatened to occupy Hungary and from then on began trying to remove Hungary from the war.