Conflict Humor: Hungary’s Declaration of War on the USA in 1941

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.”


About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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