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Cudahy was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Patrick Cudahy the meat packing industrialist and Anna Cudahy. He graduated from Harvard University and then attended the University of Wisconsin Law School.
He served during World War I as a Lieutenant in Company B of the U.S. Army's 339th Infantry Regiment. This Regiment was part of the Polar Bear Expedition which was sent to North Russia to intervene on behalf of the anti-communist forces in the Russian Civil War. On November 14, 1918, Lt. Cudahy led the counter-attack that succeeded in breaking through and routing the 1,000 Bolshevik troops that on November 11 [Armistice Day] had encircled and attacked the 600 American, Canadian, and Royal Scots soldiers who were holding the village of Toulgas on the Northern Dvina River. However, his eventual disillusionment with the campaign in North Russia led him to write (under a pseudonym) the book Archangel: The American War with Russia.
In the turbulent times leading up to World War II, Cudahy served the United States as ambassador to a handful of European nations.
From September 6, 1933 until April 23, 1937, Cudahy served as the American ambassador to Poland. His time in Poland was marked by a militarily backed government under Józef Piłsudski and continued tensions between Poland and Germany under Adolf Hitler.
From August 23, 1937 to January 15, 1940 Cudahy served as ambassador to Ireland.
From January 17 to July 18, 1940, Cudahy served as ambassador to both Belgium (1939–1940) and Luxembourg. He was forced to leave his post after Germany occupied Belgium and Luxembourg on May 10, 1940, and the nations set up governments-in-exile. Before he left, Cudahy personally interviewed Hitler and wrote the book The Armies March.
Death and descendants
- Halliday, E.M. (2000). "When Hell Froze Over". New York City, NY, ibooks, inc., 2000, pp 13–14.
- The Case for the King of the Belgians. Privately published, New York City, 1940.