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Political Leaders & Diplomats

Article about: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fritz Kolbe was employed as a junior diplomat by the German foreign ministry before World War II and had post

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    Fritz Kolbe was employed as a junior diplomat by the German foreign ministry before World War II and had postings to Madrid and Cape Town, but his refusal to join the Nazi party led him to be assigned lowly clerical work in Berlin from 1939. He was influenced by the anti-Nazi surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch and around November 1941, became determined to actively help defeat the Nazis.

    It was not until 1943, however, that an opportunity arose when a fellow anti-Nazi in the ministry reassigned him to higher grade work as a diplomatic courier. On 19 August 1943, he was entrusted to travel to Berne in Switzerland with the diplomatic bag. While there, he tried to offer mimeographed secret documents to the British embassy. They rebuffed his approach, so he went to the Americans, who decided to take a chance on him. By 1944, they realised they had an agent of the highest quality. He was given the code name "George Wood". His US intelligence handler was Office of Strategic Services agent Allen Welsh Dulles. Altogether, by the end of the war, he passed along 2,600 documents. He was later described by the CIA as the most important spy of the war.



    He provided details of:

    German expectations of the site of the D-day landings,
    V-1 and V-2 rocket programs,
    the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter,
    Japanese plans in Southeast Asia,
    exposure of a German agent, Elyesa Bazna, working as a butler in the British embassy in Ankara.
    Kolbe’s reporting on the mood in Berlin and character analysis was particularly prized by the Americans, according to James Srodes, author of Allen Dulles: Master of Spies. "The information he brought, plus his personal insights were unique and powerful and intensely valuable," Srodes said.

    In 1949, Kolbe tried to settle in the U.S., but could not find suitable work. In 1951, he applied to return to work for the German Foreign Office, the AA. Its political director at that time, Herbert Blankenhorn, was a former Nazi, so he was refused. Kolbe finally found a living as a representative of an American power-saw manufacturer.

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    FEW VISITORS to Berlin's vast concrete and glass foreign ministry building take much notice of the brass plate bearing the name Fritz Kolbe, affixed just three weeks ago to the door of one of its elegant wood-panelled conference rooms. Most Germans have never heard of Fritz Kolbe.

    Yet the nameplate and a black and white photograph of a balding, impish- looking man with protruding ears on a wall inside the chamber have been reunited in Germany's attempt, 59 years on, to make amends for one of the shabbiest episodes in its post-war history.

    Kolbe was described by the CIA as the most important spy of the Second World War. As a bureaucrat in Adolf Hitler's foreign ministry, he smuggled 2,600 secret Nazi documents to American intelligence in Switzerland from 1943 onwards, continuing his task undetected until the war ended.

    No other German damaged the Nazi regime to such an extent. Kolbe supplied the Americans with vital information about where the Germans expected the allies to land in Normandy, crucial facts about the Nazi V1 and V2 rockets and Japanese military plans in south-east Asia. He even exposed a butler working in the British embassy in Istanbul as a German spy.

    "My aim was to help shorten the war for my unfortunate countrymen and to help concentration camp inmates avoid further suffering," Kolbe wrote from his home in Switzerland in 1965. He never accepted money for his work as a spy.

    Yet after the war, Kolbe was dismissed as a traitor by successive German governments. His attempts to rejoin the foreign ministry were repeatedly rejected and he was forced to end his days working as a salesman for an American chainsaw company, until his death in Switzerland in 1971.

    "The risks Kolbe took were incalculable," wrote Allan Dulles, Kolbe's American intelligence minder in Switzerland after the war. "I just hope that the injustice done to him will be reversed one day and that his country recognises his true role."

    Kolbe's name is still not mentioned in German history books. But the German government's decision earlier this month to award him a posthumous honour by naming a foreign ministry conference room after him represents an attempt to do justice to his memory.

    "It is very late, but not too late to pay tribute to Fritz Kolbe," admitted Joschka Fischer, the German Foreign Minister, at a ceremony in Berlin earlier this month. "The honour is long overdue. It was not a glorious page in our foreign ministry's history," he said.

    Kolbe's rehabilitation has been inspired by the release of his private letters and CIA documents relating to his case that were declassified only four years ago. The information was used as a basis for a new book entitled Fritz Kolbe, the Second World War's Most Important Spy, by the French historian Lucas Delattre.

    More than 30 years after Kolbe's death, Delattre's book has managed to provoke some serious soul searching in Germany. "Kolbe's story demonstrates that ordinary Germans could do something to fight Hitler's madness - and post-war Germany treated him like a leper because of his actions," remarked Stern magazine.

    Kolbe was recruited by the foreign ministry as a junior diplomat at the age of 25. His career took him to Madrid and Cape Town, before he was ignominiously ordered back to Berlin in 1939, having repeatedly refused to join other German diplomats and become a paid up member of the Nazi party.

    His refusal to join the party barred him from taking interesting jobs abroad and Kolbe was given lowly work stamping passports and visas in Von Ribbentrop's foreign ministry. For the first three years of the war, Kolbe spent his time railing against the Nazis with like- minded friends in the back room of a Berlin pub and occasionally dumping anti-Nazi leaflets in telephone boxes.

    Kolbe felt impotent as the increasing barbarity of the Nazis became more apparent. But in November 1941, at a soiree of the renowned and discreetly anti-Nazi surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch, he underwent something of a conversion. Kolbe was visibly distressed to hear an account of the Nazis' programme to systematically murder thousands of mentally ill patients, regarded as "people with lives useless" to the Reich. Out of his horror sprung a fervent determination to take on the mission to fight the Nazis.

    He was painfully aware that the files and documents which passed over his desk every day could be of paramount importance to the Allies in their war against the regime. The only question was how to provide them with it.

    He had to wait nearly three years before he was given the chance. It came when a superior foreign office employee and fellow Nazi critic agreed to put Kolbe on the list of officials privileged to act as diplomatic couriers for the Third Reich.

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    Default Re: Political Leaders & Diplomats

    I saw an Enlisted diplomat bayonet... what was their job?

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    Default Re: Political Leaders & Diplomats

    The Early Years
    The Pope was born in 1876 in Rome as Eugenio Pacelli. He studied philosophy at the Gregorian University, learned theology at Sant Apollinare and was ordained in 1899. He entered the Secretariat of State for the Vatican in 1901, became a cardinal in 1929 and was appointed Secretary of State in 1930.
    Pacelli lived in Germany from 1917, when he was appointed Papal Nuncio in Bavaria, until 1929. He knew what the Nazi party stood for, and was elected Pope in 1939 having said very little about Adolf Hitler’s ideology beyond a 1935 speech describing the Nazis as “miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel.” Pacelli told 250,000 pilgrims at Lourdes on April 28, “It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of the social revolution, whether they are guided by a false conception of the world and of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult.”
    Even as Cardinal, Pacelli's actions regarding Hitler were controversial. Hitler took power on January 30, 1933. On July 20 that same year, Pacelli and German diplomat FRANZ Von PAPEN signed a concordat that granted freedom of practice to the Roman Catholic Church. In return, the Church agreed to separate religion from politics. This diminished the influence of the Catholic Center Party and the Catholic Labor unions. The concordat was generally viewed as a diplomatic victory for Hitler.
    Pacelli was elected Pope on March 2, 1939, and took the name Pius XII. As Pope, he had three official positions. He was head of his church and was in direct communication with bishops everywhere. He was chief of state of the Vatican, with his own diplomatic corps. He was also the Bishop of Rome. In theory, at least, his views could influence 400 million Catholics, including those in all the occupied eastern territories - the Poles, Baltics, Croatians, Slovaks and others.
    As soon as he was appointed Pope, Pacelli did speak out against the 1938 Italian racial laws that dealt with mixed marriages and children of mixed marriages. However, he issued no such condemnation of Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass) which occurred in November 1938, and which recent evidence shows he was informed of by Berlin's papal nuncio. As the security of the Jewish population became more precarious, Pius XII did intervene the month he was elected Pope, March 1939, and obtained 3,000 visas to enter Brazil for European Jews who had been baptized and converted to Catholicism. Two-thirds of these were later revoked, however, because of "improper conduct," probably meaning that the Jews started practicing Judaism once in Brazil. At that time, the Pope did nothing to save practicing Jews.

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    Hey Colty, Great History....

    Sebastien.

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    Default Re: Political Leaders & Diplomats

    Sebastien , he never joined the nazi party& never took money for his information.. Fritz Kolbe had a lot of eyes trying to catch him,, a very smart double agent!

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    Default Re: Political Leaders & Diplomats

    All political leaders, not only the Schulungsleiter, should consider the development of life rituals to be an important task. This includes cell and block leaders. They should all see the goal that we want to reach in the future, and work toward it. All local group leaders must be aware of it as well. The circle of political leaders who can conduct life rituals must constantly grow. Thus these guidelines will be passed from the counties to local groups. The counties have in the past had almost exclusive responsibility for life rituals, but this must be increasingly transferred to local groups. The local groups must grow into their new leadership task and take on the organization and carrying out of life rituals. The local group's Schulungsleiter needs to be supported and assisted. During the transition, the support of the county office (Kreisschulungsamt) is still essential. And of course the guidelines may be given to party members involved in or interested in life rituals as well.
    All political leaders, particularly local group leaders, should be familiar with the comprehensive material on weddings and registry office formalities so that they can be implemented in their area as rapidly as possible. A special printing of a condensed version will by sent by the communal department to all mayors and registry office officials throughout the Gau to ensure uniform implementation.

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