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First Name: Harry

Last Name: Bandholtz

Birthplace: Constantine, MI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Hill

Date of Birth: 1864

Date of Death: 11 May 1925

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Harry Hill Bandholtz

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 0

•  Spanish-American War (1898)
•  Philippine-American War (1899 - 1902)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


Harry Hill Bandholtz
Major General, U.S. Army

Harry Hill Bandholtz was born in 1864 in Constantine, MI.

Bandholtz was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. He served in the Spanish-American War and with the Second U.S. Infantry Regiment during the Philippine-American War. Following the capture of insurrectionist Emilio Aguinaldo and the defeat of the Filipino forces, he served as Provincial Governor of Tayabas Province, which is now known as Quezon, in 1902-03, and as Assistant Chief of the Philippine Constabulary. As an Army Captain assigned in the Philippines, he became an early patron of Manuel Quezon.

He was promoted to Brigadier General and served as Chief of the Philippines Constabulary between 1907-13 supporting America's colonial government during a period where violent rebellion to American rule still smoldered in the Philippines. After his Philippines service ended in 1913, he returned to serve in the Infantry as a Major.

He served in NY as Chief of Staff of the 27th Infantry Division in the NY National Guard and went with it to the border in Mexico. In 1917 he became Commander of the 58th Brigade of the 29th Division. He went with his unit to France in June of that year and served with it for three months. On 27 September he was named Provost Marshal General to General John J. Pershing's American Expeditionary Force in France, serving through the end of hostilities and beyond.

Between August 1919 and 9 February 1920, he was Provost Marshal General and American representative to the Inter-Allied Supreme Command's Military Mission in Hungary. On 11 August 1919, Bandholtz arrived in Budapest as one of four generals to become the Inter-Allied Control Commission for Hungary, primarily to supervise the disengagement of Romanian troops from Hungary. According to his own accounts, he is said to have prevented the arresting of Hungarian Prime Minister István Friedrich by the Romanians. 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.

In 1920, when a rebellion among miners broke out in Mingo County, WV, after two mineworkers were assassinated on the McDowell County Courthouse steps, President Warren G. Harding sent Gen. Bandholtz and Gen. Billy Mitchell to control the situation. Bandholtz threatened marching mineworkers that they would be tried for treason. Mineworkers offered the compromise that they would stop fighting if federal troops would come and enforce the law evenhandedly but this was initially refused by Bandholtz. Eventually federal troops did deploy and the mine workers quickly ceased fighting. Several treason trials eventually were held, at private expense, but they failed to procure convictions and scandalized U.S. society.

Major General Bandholtz is widely considered to be the "father" of the U.S. Army's Military Police Corps.

Memorial in Budapest

A statue in honor of General Bandholtz was placed in front of the U.S. embassy in Budapest, Szabadság tér (Liberty Square) in 1936, with the following inscription in Bandholtz's own words:

"I simply carried out the instruction of my government, as I understood them, as an officer and a gentleman of the United States Army."

The statue, made by prominent Hungarian sculptor Miklós Ligeti, depicts Bandholtz with his famous riding-whip in his hand. According to the popular legend, he bundled off the robbing soldiers with this whip, although Bandholtz didn't mention this detail in his autobiography. Today the whip is on display in the Hungarian National Museum.

The memorial caused diplomatic troubles in the Hungarian-Romanian relationship. Romania asked the U.S. Ambassador in Budapest not to be present on the inauguration ceremony but American diplomats in lesser rank were there.

After World War II, the statue was repaired but in 1949 it was removed by the new Communist government. In 1985, at the request of Ambassador Nicolas Salgo, it was moved from a statue boneyard to the garden of the U.S. Ambassador's residence. It was placed back on its original place before the U.S. Embassy on 6 July 1989, one day before the historic visit of President George H. W. Bush in Budapest. The inscription with the humble sentence was only restored in 1993.

Death and Burial

Major General Harry Hill Bandholtz died on 11 May 1925. He is buried at Constantine Township Cemetery in Constantine, MI.

Honoree ID: 2094   Created by: MHOH




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