1920-1939 | Appeasing Hitler | Germany | Media propaganda

Barely a razed eyebrow after a Nazi salute at Buckingham Palace

Ribbentrop (centre front) gives the Nazi salute in Berlin.
Dad Bundesarchiv – Wikimedia.

4 February 1937

There was almost no diplomatic, media or public criticism when Hitler’s ambassador, Joachim von Ribbentrop, greeted King George VI at Buckingham Palace, on 4 February 1937, with a Nazi salute. The Morning Post reported that the king ‘showed no surprise.’1 The Times didn’t even make any mention of the gesture, noting only that ‘His Excellency Herr Joachim von Ribbentrop,’ along with 33 other named ambassadors, had attended the Court of St. James to present ‘to his Majesty their new letters of credence.’2 As for the Daily Telegraph, it did acknowledge the gesture, but in the most cryptic and diplomatic way possible, explaining that there had been a ‘variation introduced on Thursday by Herr von Ribbentrop into the accepted ceremonial form of presenting diplomatic credentials to the king,’ and promptly adding that ‘there is no desire in official circles to magnify the incident.’3


  1. The Morning Post quoted in ‘Nazi Salute to King’, the Northern Whig and Belfast Post, 5 February 1937 p. 8.
  2. ‘Court Circular – Buckingham Palace 4 February,’ The Times, 5 February 1937, p. 17 accessed online in The Times Digital Archives on 17 July 2017.
  3. The Daily Telegraph, 6 February 1937, p. 13.

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