Discussing Hitler: Advisers of U.S. Diplomacy in Central Europe, 1934-1941

Discussing Hitler: Advisers of U.S. Diplomacy in Central Europe, 1934-1941

Discussing Hitler: Advisers of U.S. Diplomacy in Central Europe, 1934-1941

Discussing Hitler: Advisers of U.S. Diplomacy in Central Europe, 1934-1941

Synopsis

"This book promises to illuminate the foreign policy of the Roosevelt administration during the rise of Hitler's Germany. It is based on the heretofore unpublished notes of J. F. Montgomery (1878-1954), U. S. ambassador ("Minister") to Hungary before World War II. In Budapest, Montgomery quickly made friends with nearly everyone who mattered in the critical years of Hitler's takeover and preparation for World War II. His circle included Admiral Horthy, the Regent of Hungary, subsequent prime ministers, foreign ministers, members of both houses of parliament, as well as fellow diplomats from all over Europe. In addition, as an avid player of golf and bridge, he had an active social life that was interconnected with a large circle of influential friends in the United States." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

As a visiting professor of history, I taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, on and off for the ten years between 1987 and 1997. Perhaps the most memorable experience of those years was Hungarian Spring 1991, a major cultural festival focusing on intellectual and artistic achievements in the early decades of the 20 century. Assisted by a group of local enthusiasts, I organized the festival as a symbol of Hungary’s spiritual renewal after long decades of Soviet domination, by way of remembering the rich 20 century spring in Hungary’s cultural history. Excellent people such as Yehudi Menuhin came together for the occasion to remind the world of what Hungarian culture had been and could possibly become again. Some twenty-eight events were organized, exhibitions, concerts, conferences, and as a Fulbright visiting professor I also offered university courses on Hungary. Santa Barbara’s main street boasted of fifty-eight Hungarian national flags, each sponsored by a different person or family.

It was there and then that I met Ms. Sally Arthur. “My grandfather was U.S. minister to Hungary,” she said, “he was fond of Hungary so very much.” “Do you have his papers?” I asked eagerly, as I had been attempting to find Minister Montgomery’s papers for many years. “I think my mother may have some of them; she lives in Washington, D.C. and in Vermont in the summer. Why don’t you write her — I will also talk to her” — she responded encouragingly.

By the time I could make all the necessary arrangements to meet Jean Montgomery-Riddell, Montgomery’s daughter, it was January 1993. After some correspondence back and forth, she graciously invited me to her lovely apartment in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. She was a fine, elderly lady who remembered Hungary vividly. “My mother was often sick and stayed at home in the U.S. I frequently stood in for her in an effort to help my father and it was there, at the Budapest legation, that I met my future husband who served as my father’s secretary. I spent memorable years at Lovas út 32.” She pronounced the address of the former legation in perfect Hungarian. Ms. Montgomery-Riddell was extremely helpful: she had located her father’s papers long stored in Vermont and brought them to Washington for me to see. “How would you like to use them?” she asked. I told her . . .

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