- Historical event:
- 14 August 1958
- It is important to note that Baron von Neurath became the Foreign Minister before Hitler came to power in Germany. However, Hitler kept him on that position for five years, and von Neurath’s international prestige was of great use to Hitler’s regime.
Nazi politician Baron Konstantin von Neurath died on this day.
He is best-known for being the Third Reich’s foreign minister from 1932 until 1938. As the head of the German diplomacy, von Neurath gave a considerable contribution to the early phase of spreading Hitler’s influence in Europe. It is important to note that von Neurath had become the foreign minister before Hitler came to power in Germany. However, Hitler kept him on that position for five years, and von Neurath’s international prestige was of great use to Hitler’s regime.
Baron Konstantin von Neurath was born northwest of Stuttgart, in an aristocratic family with a right to bear the hereditary title of baron. His grandfather was the foreign minister of the Kingdom of Württemberg (a former German state whose capital was located in Stuttgart). Therefore, Baron Konstantin inherited his grandfather’s prestige, and began working as a diplomat. On this note, we can also mention another important baronial family from Württemberg – the barons von Weizsäcker – who later also played an important role in German politics.
Despite the fact that von Neurath brought him international prestige, Hitler considered him too soft and replaced him with the more belligerent von Ribbentrop in 1938. Baron von Neurath was given the high position of “Reichsprotektor” of Bohemia and Moravia. However, von Neurath remained insufficiently zealous in Hitler’s eyes, so his post became a mere formality – real power in Bohemia and Moravia was handed over to the notorious Reinhard Heydrich, who was officially von Neurath’s deputy.
After World War II, von Neurath was arrested and stood trial in Nuremberg, despite not belonging among the bloodiest Nazis. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, which was relatively mild in comparison to the other Nazi leaders. He served his time in Spandau Prison, and was released in 1954 due to poor health. He died near Stuttgart on this day in 1958, at the age of 84.