October 24, 1939 – a little more than a month since the War in Europe got started and Nazi Germany was flushed with victories. On this date, Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop addressed members of the Nazi Party veterans league in Danzig. In his speech, he declared that all traces of the Versailles Treaty and its consequences had now been “removed’ and, “with the exception of this last revision” the Reich had attained all revisions without bloodshed. Never had Hitler even touched the vital interests of the Western democracies, but over and over again his efforts were opposed by Great Britain and the other Western Democracies. Von Ribbentrop went on to assert that the recent events proved that the alliance between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia was a sincere friendship, the same as was the case with Japan and Italy.
Continuing his address, he stressed that Germany had absolutely no interests in the American continent, except those of trade and that all the current conflicts were imposed by Britain and that even France was reluctant to go to war.
What was interesting about this address is that von Ribbentrop was accusing Great Britain of those very issues they themselves were accused of and that the British government was responsible, through propaganda, of giving false impressions of Germany’s invasion of Poland. Painting Germany’s actions
It’s often said that perpetrators of crimes portray themselves as victims and that the real perpetrators are the ones quick to place blame. So, according to von Ribbentrop, it was Germany who came to the aid of Poland, rather than invade it – but that Britain was the real culprit in forcing Germany into a war it didn’t want.
See how that works?
And 79 years later, the air of familiarity is heady.
As background – here is a thumbnail bio on Joachim von Ribbentrop via Wikipedia:
Joachim von Ribbentrop first came to Adolf Hitler’s notice as a well-travelled businessman with more knowledge of the outside world than most senior Nazis and as an authority on world affairs. He offered his house for the secret meetings in January 1933 that resulted in Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor of Germany. He became a close confidant of Hitler, to the disgust of some party members, who thought him superficial and lacking in talent. He was appointed Ambassador to the Court Of St James’s (for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) in 1936 and then Foreign Minister of Germany in February 1938.
Before World War II, he played a key role in brokering the Pact of Steel (an alliance with Fascist Italy) and the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact). He favoured retaining good relations with the Soviets, and opposed the invasion of the Soviet Union. In the autumn of 1941, due to American aid to Britain and the increasingly frequent “incidents” in the North Atlantic between U-boats and American warships guarding convoys to Britain, Ribbentrop worked for the failure of the Japanese-American talks in Washington and for Japan to attack the United States. He did his utmost to support a declaration of war on the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After 1941, Ribbentrop’s influence declined.
Arrested in June 1945, Ribbentrop was tried at the Nuremberg trials and convicted for his role in starting World War II in Europe and enabling the Holocaust. On 16 October 1946, he became the first of those sentenced to death by hanging to be executed.
Here is a 45 minute excerpt from that address from Danzig, with simultaneous translation into English by the Mutual Network for October 24, 1939.