Joachim von Ribbentrop

From Kaiserreich


Secretary von Ribbentrop

Joachim von Ribbentrop (born Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim Ribbentrop on April, 30 1893 in Wesel, Germany) is a German businessman and colonial administrator. After his champagne trade firm went bankrupt, he emigrated to the Freistaat Mittelafrika, where he currently serves as Secretary for Relations with Germany.


Born in Wesel, Rhenish Prussia, Ribbentrop saw his father, an Army officer, cashiered from the Army in 1908 because he made disparaging remarks about the sexuality of Kaiser Wilhelm II, making the Ribbentrop family often short of money. Educated somewhat irregularly until his mid-teens at private schools in Germany and Switzerland, fluent in French and English, Ribbentrop lived at various times in Grenoble and London, before traveling to Canada in 1910, where he worked in various places. Following a brief stint in New York City and Boston as a journalist and a period of rest recuperating from tuberculosis in his native Germany, he returned to Canada and set up a small business in Ottawa importing German wine and champagne. Participing to a ice-skating team, Ribbentrop fled from Canada, now at war with the German Empire, at the outbreak of the Weltkrieg, joining the 125th Regiment of the Hussars.

Ribbentrop reached the rank of first lieutenant and was awarded the Iron Cross. He served on the Eastern Front , and then the Western Front. In 1918 Ribbentrop was stationed in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire, as a staff officer. Ribbentrop remained there until the end of the war, befriending another officer named Franz von Papen), the future Reichskanzler himself. Critcized for his snobbish and social-climbing behaviour, Ribbentrop persuaded his aunt Gertrud von Ribbentrop –whose husband had been knighted– to adopt him on May 15, 1925, allowing him to add the aristocratic von to his name.

In 1928, due to the difficult trade conditions between Germany and America, and as Mitteleuropa consumers from Eastern Europe had poor interest to champagne, Ribbentrop's firm quickly went bankrupt. Using his professional relations, he however managed to obtain a post in the remote Freistaat Mittelafrika, bringing his whole family with him in Daresalaam. Helped by his aristocratic but snobbish manners, he quickly arose in the colonial bureaucracy, being named Secretary for Relations with Germany by then Statthalter Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck in 1933. Ribbentrop later welcomed Lettow-Vorbeck's successor, Hermann Göring, sharing his nationalist views and also encouraging Göring's dreams of establishing a warlord-like rule in its colonial demesne. For Ribbentrop, it's however more a manner to promote his place in the court of an almost-absolute ruler than a political choice, even if Berlin secretly counts on him to avoid Göring goes too far in his megalomaniac wills...


Ribbentrop married Anna Elisabeth Henkell, also known as Annelies, the daughter of wealthy champagne producer Otto Henkell, on July 5, 1920, in Wiesbaden. Mrs. von Ribbentrop is said to have strong influence over her husband, while their marriage gave birth to four children: Rudolf (born 1921), Bettina (born 1922), Ursula (born 1932) and Adolf (born 1935).

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