Object: Bundesverdienstkreuz Medal
Collection: Martin J. Hillenbrand Papers
Martin J. Hillenbrand was born in Youngstown, Ohio on August 1, 1915. He entered the Foreign Service in 1939, holding offices in Zurich, Burma, India, Mozambique, and Paris -- where he rose to Embassy First Secretary in 1952. He served as the first post-war Ambassador to Hungary from 1967-69, returning to Washington to become Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs and in this capacity was heavily involved in the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin. His expertise in the Berlin Crisis and intimate understanding of America-German relations led to his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to West Germany from 1972 until his retirement in 1976.
In 1982 he became the first Dean Rusk Professor of International Relations at the University of Georgia. He went on to serve as the Director of the Center for Global Policy Studies and Co-Director of the Center for East-West Trade Policy (now the Center for International Trade and Security). Hillenbrand resided in Athens, Georgia until his death in 2005.Story Behind the Medal....
At the conclusion of his diplomatic service in Germany, Martin Hillenbrand was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz Medal for Distringuished Service of the Federal Republic of Germany, by Federal President Walter Scheel on October 14, 1976.
In a letter dated November 9, 1976 Assistant Secretary of State James G. Lowenstein described the award ceremony as "a tribute to Ambassador Hillenbrand's unceasing and successful efforts at strengthening the close ties which have been developing between the United States and the Federal Republic [of Germany]" particularly his, "deep knowledge of Germany, his extensive range of contacts with various elements of German official, economic, and cultural life, and his contribution to better mutual understanding through many public appearances, speeches and lectures."