In September 1961, the power blocs of the East and West vied to control the vast mineral resources of the former Belgian colony The Congo. The CIA, working with British, French and Belgian Secret Services feared that this newly independent African country had fallen under Soviet influence.
So the Secret Services funded a rebellion in the mineral-rich Province of Katanga -and installed a puppet President, Moishe Tchombe, whose first act was to call back Belgian troops and fund an army of white mercenaries to fight the central government.
Dag Hammarskjöld, the Swedish Secretary General of the United Nations flew there to prove the United Nations could be a mediating, independent, force in such conflicts. Still in its infancy, the ideals of the UN were untried, and Dag Hammarskjöld –the poet, philosopher, and idealist –sent in UN troops to quell the rebellion. For the first time in the UN’s history, blue helmets were engaged in military action. But the UN’s western delegates were infuriated by Hammarskjöld’s initiative, and on his way to a ceasefire conference, his plane would crash in the African bush in mysterious circumstances. A Film by Hans-Rüdiger Minow.