Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Why Is An American General's Statue in Budapest?

General Bandholtz
The statue in the center of the park on Szabadság tér, facing the Embassy, is that of Harry Hill Bandholtz (1864–1925), Bg. General, U.S. Army, who was Provost Marshal to General Pershing at the end of World War I. A West Pointer, Bandholtz had seen much service in the Philippines and originally deployed to France as a brigade commander for the 29th Division.

On 11 August5 1919, General Bandholtz arrived in Budapest as one of four generals (English, French, Italian, American) to become the Inter-Allied Control Commission for Hungary, primarily to supervise the disengagement of Romanian troops from Hungary.

He became famous when, on the night of 5 October 1919, as president of the Day of the Commission, mainly through bluff, armed only with a riding crop, he prevented a group of Romanian soldiers from removing Transylvanian treasures from the National Museum.

The statue was erected in 1936, and stood throughout World War II with the inscription, in English,

“I simply carried out the instructions of my Government, as I understood them, as an officer and a gentleman of the United States Army.”

In the late 1940s the statue was removed “for repair.” It lay in a statue boneyard until the 1980s, at which time it was placed in the garden of the U.S. ambassador’s residence, at the request of then-ambassador Salgo. It was re-placed in Szabadság tér at its original location in July 1989, just a few days before the visit of President Bush.

The new inscription on the back reads:

“General Harry Hill Bandholtz, head of the American Military Mission, who on October 5, 1919 blocked the removal of the treasures of the National Museum to Romania.”

Source:  U.S. Embassy, Budapest, Hungary

1 comment:

  1. Interesting to see how the statue reflects Hungary's 20th-century fortunes.