Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ribbentrop And Hitler

A rare color photograph of Joachim von Ribbentrop and Adolf Hitler. Otto Dietrich is visible in the background.

The photograph was almost certainly taken at Rastenburg Station. The occasion: Ribbentrop and Hitler awaiting the arrival of a foreign dignitary, or so I would presume.

From the visages, I would date the photograph from 1943.

By 1944, Ribbentrop was largely out of favor with Hitler, and seldom participated in such gatherings. In fact, in the final weeks of the Reich, Hitler refused to meet with his Foreign Minister, even turning Ribbentrop away on the Fuehrer’s birthday.


“Ribbentrop bought his name, married his money, and swindled his way into office.”—Joseph Goebbels, writing in his diary


Ribbentrop was not an intelligent man. Indeed, he was widely viewed, within Germany as well as outside Germany, as conspicuously stupid.

When he served as Ambassador to Britain from 1936 to 1938, his personal communiqués from London to Berlin were riddled with elementary spelling and grammatical errors.

At first, his staff cleaned up the errors. After a period, the Foreign Office instructed London embassy personnel to cease making corrections in Ribbentrop’s communiqués. The Foreign Office wanted Hitler to see what a fool he had selected for the important London post—and wanted to prevent Ribbentrop from being appointed Foreign Minister, an appointment the Ministry feared.

Ribbentrop, who made a complete hash of his work in London, nonetheless was named Foreign Minister upon his return to Berlin.

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