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Joachim von Ribbentrop

Ribbentrop, Joachim von (yōˈaäkhĭm fən rĭbˈəntrôp) [key], 1893–1946, German foreign minister (1938–45). After World War I he became a wealthy champagne merchant. He joined the National Socialist party in 1932 and impressed Adolf Hitler with his knowledge of foreign languages and countries; he soon became Hitler's foreign policy expert and set up his own office on foreign affairs, which often superseded the foreign office. At the same time, he was German ambassador at large (1935–36) and ambassador to Great Britain (1936–38), returning a violent Anglophobe. In 1938 he succeeded Constantin Neurath as foreign minister. He was influential in the formation of the Rome-Berlin Axis (1936), in the conclusion of the Russo-German nonaggression pact of Aug., 1939, and in planning the attack on Poland that set off World War II. As foreign minister, he was subservient to Hitler. He was dismissed by Admiral Karl Doenitz after Hitler's death. At the war crimes trials at Nuremberg he was convicted as a war criminal and hanged.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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