Herbert von Dirksen

Herbert von Dirksen was born in Berlin, Germany, on 2nd April, 1882. After studying law he worked as a barrister and a assistant judge. He fought in the First World War where he won the Iron Cross.

After the war Dirksen joined the diplomatic service and served in Kiev (1918-19), Warsaw (1920-21), before becoming Consul-General in Danzig (1923-25). He was made head of the East European Division of the Foreign Office (1925-28) before becoming Germany's ambassador in Moscow (1928-33) and Tokyo (1933-38) before replacing Joachim von Ribbentrop as ambassador in London (1938-39).

On the outbreak of war he returned to Germany where he retired. Dirksen was a member of the Nazi Party but in June 1947 was cleared of being responsible for any of the atrocities committed under Adolf Hitler. His memoirs, Moscow, Tokyo, London was published in 1951. Herbert von Dirksen died in 1955.

Primary Sources

(1) In March, 1939 Herbert von Dirksen, sent a telegram to Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German Foreign Minister. The telegram commented on the talks between Lord Halifax, the British Foreign Minister, and Joseph Goebbels, the German Minister of Propaganda, that had taken place in Berlin.

On his return to England he (Lord Halifax) had done his best to prevent excesses in the Press; he had had discussions with two well-known cartoonists, one of them the notorious Low, and with a number of eminent representatives of the Press, and had tried to bring influence to bear on them.

He (Lord Halifax) had been successful up to a point. It was extremely regrettable that numerous lapses were again to be noted in recent months. Lord Halifax promised to do everything possible to prevent such insults to the Fuehrer in the future.