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Carl von Horn (1903–1989)

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Birth name  Carl C:son von Horn
Rank  Major General
Name  Carl Horn
Died  March 13, 1989
Service/branch  Swedish Army
Years of service  1923–1963
Battles/wars  Congo Crisis
Role  1903–1989
Battles and wars  Congo Crisis
Born  15 July 1903 Vittskovle, Sweden (1903-07-15)
Buried at  Kallstorp cemetery, Trelleborg Municipality
Commands held  United Nations Truce Supervision Organization

Carl C:son von Horn (15 July 1903 – 13 March 1989) was a Swedish Army major general known for his service in various UN missions. He was the chief of United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in Palestine, the Supreme Commander of the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC) during the Congo Crisis and commander of United Nations Yemen Observation Mission (UNYOM) in Yemen.



von Horn was born in Vittskövle, Sweden and was the son of cavalry captain Carl von Horn and Martha Stjernswärd. The younger brother Jan von Horn also chose a military career and eventually became a colonel and military attaché in London and The Hague. von Horn became an officer in the cavalry regiment Livgardet till häst (K 1) in 1923. He was promoted to captain of the General Staff in 1935 and served in the train in 1939. von Horn was promoted to major of the General Staff and the Defence Staff in 1942 and was chief of bureau at the Royal Railway Board's military bureau.

During World War II he helped organizing prisoner exchange between the Germans and the Allies, but also had to work with the Swedish extradition of Baltic soldiers. As a military man with a strong Anglo-Saxon ethos he called this "the most humiliating moment in modern Swedish history." von Horn was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1945 when he also became chief of the Defence Staff's Communication Department. In 1947, von Horn was appointed military attaché in Oslo, and the following year he moved to Copenhagen where he had received a similar appointment. In 1949 he returned to Sweden and took a position at the Northern Småland Regiment (I 12) and the following year he was promoted to colonel and commander of Kronoberg Regiment (I 11) in Växjö. He stayed there for seven years; in 1957, he was appointed commander of Malmö defence area.

UN career

In early 1958, von Horn was appointed chief of United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in Palestine by Dag Hammarskjöld, and was then promoted to major general. At first he allowed himself "to be optimistic" and he wrote in his memoirs that "instead of fully armed troops, tanks and artillery or even the threat of sanctions, Dag's moral support and my own determination was everything I had." In 1960 he became with short notice the Supreme Commander of the UN Force in the Congo during the beginning of what was to develop into the Congo Crisis, a mission, however, he was dismissed from six months later. von Horn then returned to work for the UN in Palestine. In 1963 he was sent to lead the UN observatory group United Nations Yemen Observation Mission (UNYOM) in Yemen where fighting continued between government troops and rebels.

von Horn has been described as an arrogant leader, and also during the mission in Yemen, he quarreled with his superiors. von Horn suddenly resigned in protest and accused the UN not to provide enough resources for the mission, accusations that the Secretary-General U Thant described as "irresponsible and reckless". von Horn had refused to abide by the UN organization's demands for policy adjustments and opposed when politicians wanted to aggravate the situation in the field.

Personal life

von Horn was married three times. In the first marriage 1925–1944 he was married to baroness Maud von Otter (1904–1974), the daughter of major, baron Carl-Gustaf von Otter and Elisabeth (née Krook). He married a second time in 1945 to Britt (Bibi) Englund (1919–1962), the daughter of the wholesaler Ernst Englund and Ebba (née Wistrand). He married a third time in 1964 to Elisabeth Liljeroth (born 1932). von Horn died in 1989 and was buried in Källstorp cemetery in Trelleborg Municipality.

Awards and decorations

  • Commander 1st Class of the Order of the Sword
  • Knight of the Order of the Polar Star
  • Knight of the Order of Vasa
  • Commander of the Order of St. Olav
  • Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • Knight of the Order of Leopold II
  • Order of the Cross of Liberty, 4th Class with swords
  • King Christian X's Liberty Medal
  • King Haakon VII Freedom Cross
  • Gold Medal of the Kronoberg Officers (Education) League (Kronobergs befäls(utbildnings)förbunds guldmedalj)
  • Gold Medal of the Kronoberg Shooting Federation (Kronobergs skytteförbunds guldmedalj)
  • Swedish Red Cross's silver medal
  • Silver Medal of the Central Association for Officer Training (Centralförbundet för befälsutbildnings silvermedalj)
  • United Nations Emergency Force Medal
  • References

    Carl von Horn (1903–1989) Wikipedia