Constantin von Neurath

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Constantin von Neurath (1873-1956) was a German career diplomat, who rose to Foreign Minister in the government of Franz von Papen in 1932 and the Kurt von Schleicher government and continued under the Nazis until he objected to their expansionist policies. He advised Adolf Hitler on rearmament and withdrawing from the League of Nations.

He was replaced as Foreign Minister by Joachim von Ribbentrop, and accepted the post of Protector of Bohemia and Moravia (i.e., occupied Czechoslovakia) He and von Papen strongly disapproved of Ribbentrop while he was Ambassador to the United Kingdom. They said it was a violation of diplomatic usage for an ambassador, accredited to one country, to negotiate unrelated major agreements with another country. [1]

Retaining the status of Minister without Portfolio, while Protector, he implemented the Nuremberg Laws, abolished political parties, trade unions and a free press, aware, in the opinion of the International Military Tribunal, that the territory served as a base for aggression. He accepted SS rank, but Hitler replaced him with Reinhard Heydrich because he felt von Neurath was too easy on the Czech resistannce.

The Trial of the Major War Criminals sentenced him to 15 years.

References

  1. G.M. Gilbert (1947), Nuremberg Diary, Farrar, Strauss, pp. 225-226