Joachim von Ribbentrop
Ribbentrop first came to Adolf Hitler's notice as a well-travelled businessman with more knowledge of the outside world than most senior Nazis and as a perceived authority on foreign affairs. He offered his house Schloss Fuschl for the secret meetings in January 1933 that resulted in Hitler's appointment as Chancellor of Germany. He became a close confidant of Hitler, to the disgust of some party members, who thought him superficial and lacking in talent. He was appointed ambassador to the Court of St James's, the royal court of the United Kingdom, in 1936 and then Foreign Minister of Germany in February 1938. Arrested in June 1945, Ribbentrop was convicted and sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials. On 16 October 1946, he became the first of the Nuremberg defendants to be executed by hanging.
- God protect Germany. God have mercy on my soul. My final wish is that Germany should recover her unity and that, for the sake of peace, there should be an understanding between East and West. I wish peace to the world.
- Last words as quoted in The Execution of Nazi War Criminals (1946) by Kingsbury Smith of the International News Service
- Death, death. Now I won't be able to write my beautiful memoirs.
- To Dr. G. M. Gilbert, after receiving the death sentence. Quoted in "Nuremberg Diary" - by G. M. Gilbert - History - 1995
- I think the only way one can arrive at an understanding of his anti-Semitism growing all the time is because in America your Mr. Roosevelt had his brain trust which was made up of so many Jews, Felix Frankfurter, Claude Pepper - was it Pepper? I can't recall the other names. Oh yes, Morgenthau. It made Hitler feel more and more that an international conspiracy had caused the war, with the Jews behind it.
- To Leon Goldensohn (January 27, 1946), from The Nuremberg Interviews by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
- I rather liked Stalin and Molotov, got along fine with them.
- To Leon Goldensohn (February 16, 1946), from The Nuremberg Interviews by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
- I don't mean that it is important whether a few of us like Goering, myself, or the others are sentenced to death or hard labor or whatever, but to the German people we will always remain their leaders, right or wrong, and in a few years even you Americans and the rest of the world will see this trial as a mistake. The German people will learn to hate the Americans, distrust the British and French, and unfortunately, perhaps be taken in by the Russians. That will be the worst calamity of all. I hate to think of Moscow ruling Germany or Germany becoming a territorial possession of the Soviet Union. The Allies should take the attitude, now that the war is over, that mistakes have been made on both sides, that those of us here on trial are German patriots, and that though we may have been misled and gone too far with Hitler, we did it in good faith and as German citizens. Furthermore, the German people will always regard our condemnation by a foreign court as unjust and will consider us martyrs.
- To Leon Goldensohn (June 23, 1946), from The Nuremberg Interviews by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
- I was truly under Hitler's spell, that cannot be denied. I was impressed with him from the moment I first met him, in 1932. He had terrific power, especially in his eyes. Now the tribunal accuses us of conspiracy. I say, how can one have a conspiracy in a dictatorship government? One man and one man only made all the crucial decisions. That was the Fuhrer. In all my dealings with him I never discussed the exterminations or anything of that sort. What I shall never comprehend is that six weeks before the end of the war he assured me we'd win by a nose. I left his presence then and said that from that time forth I was completely at a loss — that I didn't understand a thing. Hitler always, until the end, and even now, had a strange fascination over me. Would you call it abnormal of me? Sometimes, in his presence, when he spoke of all his plans, the good things he would do for the Volk, vacations, highways, new buildings, cultural advantages and so forth, tears would come to my eyes. Would that be because I'm a hysterical weak man?
- To Leon Goldensohn (July 15, 1946), from The Nuremberg Interviews by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
- I know for a fact that this idea of the Jews causing the war and the Jews being so all important is nonsense. But that was Hitler's idea, and... was pure fantasy. As I say, Hitler is a riddle to me and will always remain so.
- To Leon Goldensohn. From The Nuremberg Interviews by Leon Goldensohn, p. 190
- Tell them in Moscow that I was against this attack.
Quotes about Ribbentrop
- Vain, arrogant and shallow, Joachim von Ribbentrop had been trying to foster ties between the British and the Nazis since 1933. Born into the officer class of the old Wilhelmine Germany – though without the ‘von’, which he later bought – he had made his fortune by marrying the daughter of the largest German producer of sparkling wine, before going on to become the agent for such well-known brands as Green and Yellow Chartreuse, Johnnie Walker whisky and Pommery champagne. Having played a minor role in Hitler’s accession to power, the highly ambitious and, by now, devoted Ribbentrop managed to carve a niche for himself, in the early years of the Third Reich, as the Führer’s unofficial emissary and propagandist abroad. Initially, his political efforts were unsuccessful. Sir John Simon responded coolly to his advances, while other Government figures, such as Ramsay MacDonald and Neville Chamberlain, regarded him as an interfering parvenu. He was, however, favoured by a number of leading hostesses, including Lady Londonderry and ‘Emerald’ Cunard, and in 1935 successfully negotiated the Anglo-German Naval Agreement.
- Tim Bouverie Appeasing Hitler (2019)
- On 24 July 1936, Hitler rewarded him by appointing him Ambassador to the Court of St James, though not, as Ribbentrop had hoped, State Secretary.According to Frau von Ribbentrop, the Führer’s parting words to her husband were: ‘Ribbentrop, bring me the English alliance.’ This was not to be. Although the newspapers put a brave face on it, Ribbentrop’s tenure in London was, as many predicted, a disaster. Arriving at Victoria station on 26 October 1936, he shocked political opinion by breaking with protocol and making a bombastic speech on the platform. He astounded the congregation in Durham Cathedral by giving the Nazi salute during the hymn "Glorious things of Thee are spoken" – which can employ the same Haydn melody as "Deutschland über Alles" – while the repetition of this gesture to King George VI, in February 1937, became infamous. Soon the object of ridicule, he was christened ‘Ambassador Brickendrop’ and even the pro-appeasement Nancy Astor accused him, to his face, of being a ‘damned bad Ambassador’. Before this reputation was cemented, however, Ribbentrop enjoyed a certain amount of social if not political success, while, at the same time, the Nazis benefited from a series of propaganda coups.
- Tim Bouverie, Appeasing Hitler (2019)
- When apprehensions abroad threatened the success of the Nazi regime for conquest, it was the duplicitous Ribbentrop, the salesman of deception, who was detailed to pour wine on the troubled waters of suspicion by preaching the gospel of limited and peaceful intentions.
- Prosecution speech at Nuremberg Trials