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.[citation needed]

Leopold von Hoesch (on left), 1932

In November 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 occuipied 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.


  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–.

External links

  • "Ambassador von Hoesch", The New York Times. 12 April 1936. p. E8
  • "Von Hoesch dies; German diplomat; Ambassador to London, Under Strain Since Locarno Coup, Succumbs to Heart Attack", The New York Times. 11 April 1936. p. A7.
  • "Hoesch is honoured in British cortege; Eden in Procession With the Swastika-Draped Coffin of the German Ambassador", The New York Times. 15 April 1936. p. A8.
  • Newspaper clippings about Leopold von Hoesch in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW)
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Konstantin von Neurath
German Ambassador to the Court of St. James
Succeeded by
Joachim von Ribbentrop
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