Abstract

This article provides an in-depth examination of the U.S. government's role in the case of Raoul Wallenberg, the courageous Swedish envoy who died mysteriously in the Soviet Union after being arrested by Soviet occupation forces at the end of World War II for unknown reasons. The article recounts how U.S. officials, particularly the diplomat Herschel V. Johnson, tried to alleviate the plight of Hungarian Jews after German forces occupied Hungary in 1944. A key part of this policy was their effort to work with Sweden in enlisting Wallenberg's help. The U.S.-Swedish relationship was never particularly close, and the mistrust that officials in each country felt toward the other side impeded any coordinated action. The article discusses the bureaucratic impediments on the U.S. side and highlights some of the obstacles that Johnson strove to overcome. The article builds on the report produced by the Eliasson Commission documenting the Swedish government's handling of the Wallenberg case. Although the Swedish authorities bore by far the greatest amount of blame for doing nothing in the face of Soviet stonewalling, Matz argues that U.S. officials also made significant misjudgments that may have exacerbated the situation.

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