Hans Thomsen

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hans Thomsen (seated, center) at a reception at the Esplanade Hotel in Berlin (1930)

Hans Thomsen (born September 14, 1891 in Hamburg ; † October 31, 1968 there ) was a German diplomat .

Live and act

Education and early career

After attending school, Thomsen studied law . In 1910 he became a member of the Corps Guestphalia Heidelberg . 1913 doctorate he in Heidelberg for Dr. iur. In 1916 he passed the first state examination in law. He then joined the Foreign Service . In the same year he came to the German legation in Kristiania as a consultant in the trade department .

Weimar Republic

Shortly after the end of the First World War, Thomsen was transferred to the Foreign Office in 1919. From 1921 to 1923 he served as Vice Consul in Milan and later in Naples. One year after his return to the Foreign Office, he was transferred to the Legation Secretary in 1924. In 1926 he took part in the League of Nations conference in Geneva. In 1926 he was promoted to legation councilor.

In 1932 Thomsen was appointed to the senior government councilor in the Reich Chancellery as first class councilor, where, among other things, he was responsible for processing the chancellor's mail.

time of the nationalsocialism

Even after the National Socialist seizure of power, Thomsen remained in the Reich Chancellery. In the years 1933 to 1936 he held the rank of ministerial advisor as foreign policy advisor.

In 1936 Thomsen was transferred to the German embassy in Washington, DC as counselor. In November 1938 he took on the role of Chargé d'affaires there , which he was to retain - from 1940 in the rank of first class envoy - until the German declaration of war on the United States and the breakdown of diplomatic relations between the two countries on December 11, 1941.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Thomsen tried to prevent the Americans from entering the war by supporting the isolationist tendencies in the American population. He encouraged press representatives to make the isolationist stance appear necessary through appropriate articles. He also tried to strengthen the isolationists during the presidential election of 1940 by reinforcing the anti-war stance of the Republican Party . To this end, he suggested that influential congressmen should be paid to encourage them to win over as many colleagues as possible for the isolationist position. He also launched various anti-war newspaper articles through middlemen in the offices of US Congressmen, and published full-page advertisements in the New York Times and other newspapers written by George Sylvester Viereck .

During his time in Washington Thomsen also succeeded in finding out that the Americans had succeeded in deciphering the code of the Japanese cipher machine PURPLE , of which he informed the German government in April 1941. This passed the information on to the Japanese government without it using it for their warfare. Thomsen's time in the United States has also attracted research attention due to an attempt by William Donovan , head of the Office of the Coordinator of Information , to convince Thomsen to defecate shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor . Thomsen had previously provided American war opponents with information about the military strength of the German Reich and its allies. Thomsen warned the Americans on November 13, 1940 that the Japanese would be forced to attack the United States in the near future due to their geostrategic situation. He also let Lowell know that if Japan declared war on the United States, Germany would also make a declaration of war on the United States. Donovan's attempts to persuade Thomsen to publicly turn away from National Socialism with one million US dollars , however, was rejected; instead he returned to Germany after Germany, Japan and Italy declared war on the United States .

In 1943 Thomsen took over the post of German ambassador in Stockholm as the successor to Viktor Prinz von Wied , which he held until the end of World War II .

post war period

After the war, Thomsen was heard as a witness by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal . Unlike some high-ranking diplomats, he was not indicted in the Wilhelmsstrasse trial because the process economy also had to exclude other diplomats. In the early 1950s he appeared again as chairman of the Red Cross in Hamburg.


  • English and German check law , 1913. (Dissertation)


  • Johannes Hürter (Red.): Biographical Handbook of the German Foreign Service 1871–1945. 5. T – Z, supplements. Published by the Foreign Office, Historical Service. Volume 5: Bernd Isphording, Gerhard Keiper, Martin Kröger. Schöningh, Paderborn u. a. 2014, ISBN 978-3-506-71844-0 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Entry in the files of the Reich Chancellery .
  2. Kösener Corpslisten 1960, 64 , 1010
  3. ^ Conrad Black: Franklin Delano Roosevelt . Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 2003, ISBN 0-297-64631-1 , pp. 505 .
  4. ^ Michael C. Thomsett: The German Opposition to Hitler . McFarland, Jefferson / NC 1997, ISBN 0-7864-0372-1 , pp. 151 .
  5. David Stout: How Nazis Tried to Steer US Politics . In: New York Times . July 23, 1997, p. 17 ( nytimes.com [accessed October 31, 2009]).
  6. see also the mention of "Thomson" during the interrogation of Ernst Wilhelm Bohle in the Nuremberg trial of the main war criminals on March 25, 1946 zeno
  7. ^ David Kahn: The Codebreakers. The Story of Secret Writing . Scribner, New York 1996, ISBN 978-0-684-83130-5 . Text from the excerpt ( memento of the original from January 25, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , first chapter on the WNYC website @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.wnyc.org
  8. ^ Mark Fritz: Cryptic messages fuel debate about what, when, US knew of Pearl Harbor attack. (No longer available online.) In: WWW II. The Secret History. The Boston Globe, April 15, 2001, archived from the original on June 14, 2010 ; accessed on October 31, 2009 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / teaching.cs.uml.edu
  9. ^ Christof Mauch: The Shadow War Against Hitler . Columbia University Press, New York 2003, ISBN 0-231-12044-3 , pp. 33–34 (German: 0-231-12044-3 . Translated by Jeremiah Riemer).
predecessor Office successor
Hans-Heinrich Dieckhoff Chargé d'affaires of the German Reich in Washington
November 1938 to December 11, 1941
Heinz Krekeler
Viktor Prince of Wied Ambassador of the German Reich in Stockholm
Heinz Voigt