Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Martin Luther (diplomat)
- For other people named Martin Luther see: Martin Luther (disambiguation)
Dr. Martin Luther (1895–1945) was a German diplomat, and an early member of the National Socialist Party. He served as an advisor to Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, first in the Dienststelle Ribbentrop (Ribbentrop Bureau ), then in the Auswartiges Amt (Foreign Ministry) when von Ribbentrop replaced Konstantin von Neurath.
Luther ran a furniture removal and interior decorating business. He was hired by Ribbentrop to move his furniture from Berlin when was sent to London as Ambassador in 1936. Luther was then by employed by the Ribbentrop and his wife to do the interior decorating on the new German Embassy that Ribbentrop had built in London. Luther was an master schemer and plotter, and these qualities lead Ribbentrop to offer him an position in his own foreign policy organization, the Ribbentrop Bureau. Luther accepted and henceforwards became one of Ribbentrop's favorite hachet men.
In May 1940, he was appointed the position of Foreign Ministry liaison to the SS. He represented the Foreign Ministry at the Wannsee Conference, which was convened by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich in order to work out the details of the 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question'. At this conference, he voiced concern about the large-scale 'resettlement' required throughout occupied Europe, which seemed to indicate that he did not fully understand what was being planned.
After January 1942, Luther's principle task was to persuade or pressure German satellites and allies to hand over their Jewish populations for deportation to the death camps, a job that Luther performed with considerable aplomb. Bizarrely enough, Luther continued during this period to work as an interior decorator for Frau Ribbentrop, helping her with the design of her various houses and her clothes. Luther resented having to work for Ribbentrop's wife, stating that she treated like him one of her household servants. This was the origin of the break between Luther and the Ribbentrops.
Late in the war, he tried to supplant von Ribbentrop as Foreign Minister, but he was thwarted and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He was freed by Soviet troops in May 1945, but died shortly after. Thoroughly amoral and opportunist, Luther’s driving principle was sheer careerism.
- Browning, Christopher R. The final solution and the German Foreign Office : a study of Referat D III of Abteilung Deutschland, 1940-43 New York: Holmes & Meier, 1978
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