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Defiant Diplomacy

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Defiant Diplomacy: Henrik Kauffmann, Denmark, and the United States in World War II and the Cold War 1939–1958

“A stirring and entertaining narrative about an adventurous character who seized the opportunity to become immortal by turning the wheel of history.”

 ––Berlingske Tidende, a major Copenhagen morning paper

Defiant Diplomacy depicts the extraordinary life of diplomat Henrik de Kauffmann (1888–1963), a major figure in U.S.-Danish relations during World War II and the first decades of the Cold War as Denmark’s envoy to Washington.

The book highlights the dramatic story of Kauffmann’s courageous decision, after Nazi Germany seized his homeland in April 1940, to carry on as Free Denmark’s minister to Washington. As one result, President Roosevelt in early 1941 concluded an agreement with Kauffmann to establish military bases in Denmark’s colony of Greenland, a crucial stepping-stone between the United States and Europe during World War II and a strategic focal point in the Cold War. By granting America base rights in Greenland, Kauffmann won unique status as a virtual one-man government-in-exile. His defiant diplomacy exposed him to Copenhagen’s anger and an indictment for high treason; it also made him a legend in Denmark.

A longer, Danish version of the book, published by Samleren in 1996, earned the author national and international honors. In Denmark, the book enjoyed a sold-out first day, four new printings within a month, and eighteen weeks heading the bestseller list!

BO LIDEGAARD is a Danish diplomat and scholar.