William C. Bullitt

William C. Bullitt books and biography


William Bullitt


William Christian Bullitt, Jr. (born January 25, 1891 in Philadelphia; February 15, 1967, Neuilly) was an American diplomat, journalist, novelist and outspoken anticommunist. Working for Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference Bullitt was a strong supporter of legalistic internationalism, subsequently known as Wilsonianism. Prior to the negotiation of the Versailles accords, Bullitt engaged, along with journalist Lincoln Steffens, in what they thought a special mission to Soviet Russia together with the Swedish Communist Karl Kilbom, to negotiate diplomatic relations between the Bolshevik regime and the Supreme Council. Having failed to convince Wilson to support establishment of relations with the Bolsheviks, Bullitt resigned from Wilson's staff.

He later returned to the United States and testified in the United State Senate against the Treaty of Versailles, having his report from his Russian trip placed into the record.

In 1924 he married Louise Bryant, widow of journalist John Reed, with whom he had a daughter, Anne. They divorced in 1930.

He later took a post as ambassador to Russia that lasted from 1933 to 1936 making him the first ambassador to what was by then the Soviet Union. Bullitt was re-posted to France in 1936 as Ambassador. Abandoning his earlier pro-Bolshevik stance, he became an outspoken anti-communist. In 1939 Prime Minister Édouard Daladier informed him French intelligence knew Alger Hiss and Donald Hiss in the United States Department of State were both working for Soviet intelligence.

After the Nazi invasion of France in 1940 he returned to America and unsuccessfully ran for the position of Mayor of Philadelphia. After his political defeat, Bullitt joined the Free French Forces to oppose Nazi and Vichy government control over France and her colonial holdings. This period was likely the most productive from a literary standpoint.

Between 1941 and 1945 Bullitt wrote volumes of stories and social commentary on the dangers of fascism and communism.

Bullitt and Freud

Bullitt had been psychoanalyzed by Sigmund Freud in Vienna in the 1920s. The patient and the analyst became such good friends that they decided to write a book together, a psychobiographical study of Woodrow Wilson. This was quite exceptional, as Freud very rarely cooperated with other authors. The book, first published in Europe in the 1930's did not appear until 1967 in the U.S. When it did, many psychoanalysts doubted that Freud had had much to do with it. Recent research indicates, however, that Freud was an active co-writer. The book nevertheless received an almost unanimously hostile reception, renowned historian A.J.P. Taylor calling it a "disgrace," and concluding with the question: "How did anyone ever manage to take Freud seriously?"

Freud's view of Wilson was that of a naive American politician whose foreign policy ideas were driven by religious fanaticism. Bullitt had been dismissed by Wilson late in the battle for the League of Nations, and Bullitt never forgave the slight. It is not clear how much of the book was really written by Bullitt as he was skilled in several languages, Freud wrote only in German and had died by the time it was published. Several references that are attributed to Freud are uniquely American, such as his introduction in which he compared Wilson's naiveté to Christian Science.

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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