Ribbentrop, Joachim von, 1893-1946

Ribbentrop became HITLER’s Foreign Minister in 1938 because he had impressed the Fuhrer with his veneer of social graces. In fact his arrogant airs made him many enemies within Germany and abroad. CIANO, Italy’s Foreign Minister, despised him and said he was ‘vain, frivolous and loquacious.’ He laid the foundations for the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact partitioning Poland, which he signed with MOLOTOV in August 1939. However Ribbentrop warned Hitler that the invasion of Poland would probably lead to war with England and he was proved right. His influence declined steadily during the war but Hitler retained him; however in 1943 Ribbentrop had secret discussions with Molotov at Kirovograd about ending the war on the Eastern Front. The discussions faltered on the question of where to draw a new frontier. Ribbentrop maintained a low profile throughout the war and disappeared after the fall of Berlin. He was captured by the Allies, put on trial at Nuremberg and hanged as a war criminal.

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