American Diplomacy
Letters from Readers

March 2012

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Mar 13, 2012

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my appreciation for Walter R. Roberts' article, "The Day Austria Disappeared From the Map"

This is a brilliant piece — a remarkable combination of incisive analysis with vivid eyewitness recollections. It is an artfully constructed and chilling account of Hitler's first foreign conquest: the almost forgotten occupation and absorption of his native Austria in 1938 into what at the time was being called "The Third Reich" by many Germans. The author's voice at 93 sounds as young as it might have 75 years ago.

This deserves a wide readership!

David Binder (correspondent, The New York Times, 1961-2004)


March 13, 2012


Re "The Day Austria Disappeared from the Map" by Walter R. Roberts (American Diplomacy February 2012)

Splendid essay, lucid, vivid, crisp, the way history ought to be written. It reads like an episode from Walter Cronkite's "You Were There."

James D. Conley
Foreign Service officer (ret.)


March 14, 2012

Sociologists say we live in an information age. The radio that wakes us in the morning — preset the evening before — does not play reveille; it gives us the news hot off the ticker. Driving to and from work the car radio keeps us up to date and in the evening we relax in front of the TV while listening to our favorite commentators. Since however a good portion of the news we get is packaged to conform to the producer's beliefs other sociologists say we live in an opinion age. The vast ocean of verbiage we are all subjected to may not be purposely altered but it will still reflect, however subtly, the opinions of the producers. In print journalism the line between the editorial page and the news pages, once highly esteemed and strictly followed, has been eroding steadily. True objectivity is difficult to achieve — some say impossible — and perhaps that is why it is being abandoned. But in the article "Austria" by Dr. Walter Roberts the elusive goal was clearly reached. The article was a delight to read, the prose clean and free of the argumentative and speculative clichés that often encumber opinion pieces and was I believe truly objective.

Of course objectivity is not the be-all and end-all of political writing but it is so refreshing to come across that its presence must not only be acknowledged but lauded. One hopes that future articles can use this as a model.

Sol Schindler
F.S.O. Retired


March 16, 2012

Dear Editor,

I recently read Walter Roberts' article on Austria, which I would characterize as superb, compelling, and informative. It was an eye-opener for me, probably for everyone who has the opportunity to read it. It is excellent for numerous reasons, among them: His writing style is a joy to read. It covered a critical piece of history with clarity and economy. AND, it had that personal touch that brings history to life.

I hope you will encourage him to keep on writing. Does the word memoir come to mind?

Barry Fulton
Senior Management Consultant, E-9 Corporation
Foreign Service Officer (ret.), former Associate Director, USIA


Mar 18, 2012

Dear Editor,

Having been referred to the article by a friend, I feel compelled to comment on Dr. Walter Roberts' recent essay regarding Austria and its invasion by Nazi Germany. I found it to be erudite, highly didactic and entertaining, a mix of very detailed historical fact interwoven with — and grounded by — poignant, personal reflection. Dr. Roberts managed, too, in my opinion, to intensely research the subject, and bring forth material that I am certain is unknown to many. Of particular interest to me was Mexico's reaction, as I cannot recall the last time that nation made such a bold statement on the world stage. I look forward with great interest to his follow-up article, which is slated to discuss the events that led to that fateful day in March 1938.


Kevin McQuaid
Business Editor
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Sarasota, Fla.

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