The New York Times said of Józef Hieronim Retinger that he was on intimate terms with most leading statesmen of the Western World, including presidents of the United States. He has been repeatedly acknowledged as one of the principle architects of the movement for European unity after the World War II, and one of the outstanding creative political influences of the post war period. He has also been credited with being the dark master behind the so-called "Bilderberg Group," described variously as an organization of idealistic internationalists, and a malevolent global conspiracy.
Before that, Retinger involved himself in intelligence activities during World War II and, given the covert and semi-covert nature of many of his activities, it is little wonder that no biography has appeared about him. This book draws on a broad range of international archives to rectify that.
Table of Contents
1 The Formative Years, 1888-1914
2 The World War, 1914-1918
3 From Europe to Mexico
4 "I got religion"
5 The War Begins
6 First Steps towards Federation: the Czech Frustration
7 A Wider Federation
8 Retinger and Polish-Soviet Relations
9 The Collapse of Poland’s International Position
10 Retinger’s Most Controversial Episode: the Mission to Poland, 1944
11 "In twenty years Europe will be united, together with Poland." Retinger and the Federal Movement in European History
12 Retinger and the Building of a United Europe
13 The Congress of Europe, 1948
14 The Bilderbergs
M. B. B. Biskupski holds the S. A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish History at Central Connecticut State University, USA.
"Finally, we’ve lived to see a reliable and comprehensive work on the life and activities of Joseph Retinger – a Polish politician with incredible connections and influence in the Western world, the Godfather of the European Union, founder of the Bilderberg Group, and author of many initiatives of international importance that shaped the political image of the world in the twentieth century. The author of this book made use of a broad base of sources, including sources not presented so far, which shed new light on the activities of this extremely interesting character. The work of Biskupski has high scientific value and the efficient narrative makes pleasant reading."
Andrzej Pieczewski, University of Lodz, Poland
"The mystery of Europe's notorious éminence grise is finally unveiled in a fascinating deconstruction of the myth of Joseph H. Retinger, international agent of Polish origin. Did Retinger really influence the results of both world wars, revolution in Mexico and the creation of the European Union? Was he a Jesuit, free-mason or Soviet spy? Biskupski’s brilliant life’s work provides the thoroughly documented answers."
Władysław Bułhak, specialist in the field of intelligence studies, Warsaw, Poland
"Józef Retinger was a key figure in the Polish government-in-exile during the Second World War, often referred to as General Sikorski’s eminence grise. His political career, before the war, in this government and as one of the founders of the movement for European integration has been the subject of much speculation and mystification. This well-researched and highly readable biography provides a definitive account of his political career and is essential reading for all interested in the history of World War II and of the post-war years."
Antony Polonsky, Emeritus professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University and Chief historian, POLIN museum of the history of Polish Jews, Warsaw, Poland
"This is a detailed study for experts on Polish and European diplomacy."
Sheldon Anderson, Miami University, Ohio