According to a widely circulated if apocryphal contemporary story, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked an aide in the early months of World War II if Hungary, which had just declared war against the United States, was a kingdom or a republic. “A kingdom, Mr. President”, the aide replied. This dialogue followed:
FDR: What’s the King’s name?
Aide: Hungary doesn’t have a King.
FDR: Then who runs the kingdom?
Aide: A Regent by the name of Admiral Miklós Horthy.
FDR: Admiral? Then Hungary must have a powerful navy.
Aide: Hungary has no navy; it doesn’t even have access to the sea.
FDR: Wars are often fought for religious reasons. What’s the main religion there?
Aide: Catholicism, Mr. President. But Admiral Horthy is Protestant.
FDR: Did this admiral declare war on us because of territorial claims then?
Aide: Hungary’s territorial claims are against Romania.
FDR: In that case, did Hungary declare war on Romania?
Aide: No, Hungary and Romania are allies.
FDR: Let me get this straight. Hungary is a kingdom run by a Regent who’s an admiral without a navy, and it is allied with Romania against which it has territorial claims but it has declared war on the U.S. against which it doesn’t.
Aide: That’s right, Mr. President.”