Leopold von Hoesch

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The grave of Giro, von Hoesch's dog, stands outside the former German Embassy in London.

Leopold von Hoesch (10 June 1881 – 10 April 1936) was a career German diplomat.[1] Hoesch began his political career in France as the chargé d'affaires in 1923. Following the recall of the German Ambassador in 1923 after the Ruhr crisis, Hoesch was appointed acting head of the German Embassy in Paris. While in Paris, Hoesch worked closely with Gustav Stresemann, then foreign minister of Germany. Hoesch played an important role in the Locarno Treaty of 1924, though the gravity of his role must not be exaggerated.

Leopold von Hoesch (on left), 1932

In 1932, Hoesch was transferred to the United Kingdom, where he would stay until his death in 1936.[2] Hoesch was well liked by most British statesmen, including Anthony Eden and Sir John Simon. His reputation among the British as a knowledgeable and able-minded statesman helped to enhance the Anglo-German relationship during the early 1930s.

With the Nazi takeover in 1933, little changed at first between Germany and the United Kingdom politically. However, by 1934, Hoesch was beginning to challenge Hitler indirectly, sending communiqués to Konstantin Neurath, Foreign Minister of Germany, detailing Hoesch's distrust of Joachim von Ribbentrop whom Hitler had appointed to serve as Commissioner of Disarmament Questions. The relationship between Hoesch and Hitler continued to sour as Ribbentrop gained more power within the German government. By 1936, Hoesch was quickly becoming a thorn in Hitler's side. When Hitler invaded the Rhineland on 7 March 1936, Hoesch wrote to Konstantin Neurath denouncing the act as an action designed to provoke the French and ultimately the British. Less than one month later, at 10 am 11 April 1936, von Hoesch died of a heart attack while dressing in his bedroom at the German Embassy. Following his death, von Hoesch was honoured with a large British-ordered funeral cortege in which his flag-draped coffin was escorted to Dover, where a 19-gun salute was fired as his body was transferred to the British destroyer HMS Scout for transport back to Germany.

His replacement was the notorious Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler's favourite foreign policy advisor, later to be hanged for war crimes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Siegfried Grundmann (2005). The Einstein dossiers: science and politics—Einstein's Berlin period with an appendix on Einstein's FBI file. Springer. pp. 165–. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Hajo Holborn. "Diplomats and Diplomacy in the Early Weimar Republic". In Gordon A. Craig, Felix Gilbert. The Diplomats, 1919–1939. Princeton University Press. pp. 151–. 


The grave of his dog "Giro" is used as a place to store rubbish
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Konstantin von Neurath
German Ambassador to the Court of St. James
1932–1936
Succeeded by
Joachim von Ribbentrop