The former King Edward VIII was begged by a high-ranking Nazi to provide corroborating evidence in his favor at the Nuremberg War Trials, according to a newly rediscovered letter.
The letter was written in January 1946 by Joachim von Ribbentrop, Adolf Hitler’s foreign minister.
In the letter he recalled a meeting with Edward in 1936 where they agreed to work on the “closest possible relationship” between England and Nazi Germany.
Ribbentrop helped orchestrate the Holocaust and was instrumental in the Nazi invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland that sparked the start of World War II. He also encouraged the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor.
After the war he was arrested and tried for war crimes in Nuremberg.
He made a desperate attempt to improve his situation by appealing to the Duke of Windsor, a suspected Nazi sympathizer, to appear as a witness on his behalf.
The Nazi monster tried to use the Prince’s evidence to disprove counts one and two, of crimes against peace, and deliberately planning a war of aggression, of which he had been accused.
Von Ribbentrop was found guilty and was the first Nazi defendant to be executed by hanging.
The former King Edward VIII was asked by a high-ranking Nazi to provide corroborating evidence in his favor at the Nuremberg War Trials. Pictured: Edward flanked by Nazi officers as they exit a car factory after a visit to Nazi Germany in 1937
The letter from Joachim von Ribbentrop, Adolf Hitler’s foreign minister, asking former King Edward VIII to testify in his favor at the Nuremberg Trials. Dated January 25, 1946
Russian leader Joseph Stalin (left) shakes hands with Joachim von Ribbentrop (right), Germany’s foreign minister, in Moscow during talks about developments in Poland that led to the formation of the Nazi-Soviet pact
The five-page letter, written on behalf of Ribbentrop by his legal team, is now up for auction.
The letter reads: ‘When Ribbentrop presented his credentials in 1936, he expressed to the then King Edward VIII the wish of the Reich Chancellor (Hitler) for closer cooperation between Germany and England.
“During this audience, King Edward VIII declared that he too considered such cooperation necessary.”
The letter was kept by Dr. Hans Werner, responsible for directing the printing of the report of the trial of major war criminals in 42 volumes.
Tipped to sell for £2,600 on International Autograph Auctions of Malaga, Spain.
Richard Davie, a specialist with the auctioneers, said: ‘King Edward VIII’s views on Adolf Hitler and the Nazis have long been the subject of speculation.
Many historians have suggested that Hitler was willing to reinstate the Duke of Windsor as king in the hopes of establishing a fascist puppet government in Britain after Operation Sealion, the secret Nazi plan to invade the UK.
It is widely believed that before and during World War II, the Duke and Duchess sympathized with fascism and moved to the Bahamas to minimize their chances of acting on their feelings.
“Reading the document gives you an idea of Ribbentrop’s desperation. He was desperately trying to do something to get out of his situation.
“He tried to shirk responsibility – a pattern we see time and again with defendants in Nuremberg.
“It also suggests how deluded he was – the idea of a member of the royal family showing up as his best man at Nuremberg is quite remarkable.”
In 1937, just two years before World War II, the Duke of Windsor (pictured giving a Nazi salute) and his American wife, Wallis Simpson, toured Nazi Germany
Defendants in the dock on the first day of the trial of prominent Nazi figures for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg, Germany, November 20, 1945. Second row from back, left to right: Karl Dönitz, Erich Raeder, Baldur von Schirach, Fritz Sauckel, Alfred Jodl, Franz von Papen, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Albert Speer, Konstantin von Neurath and Hans Fritzsche. Third row from back, left to right: Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Julius Streicher, Walther Funk and Dr. Hjalmar Schacht
Edward VIII was king for less than a year before he abdicated in December 1936.
In 1937, just two years before World War II, he toured Nazi Germany with his American wife, Wallis Simpson.
The Nazis rolled out the red carpet for the royal couple and scheduled a private meeting with Adolf Hitler during his Berchtesgaden retreat.
The Duke of Windsor declared the Nazi economic model to be a ‘miracle’ and was infamously photographed during the trip giving the Nazi salute.
His ties to the Nazi high command were detailed in the top secret Marburg files signed by Ribbentrop, whose discovery in Germany by American soldiers at the end of the war was famously depicted in season two of the Netflix hit series The Crown .
In the show, Edward tries to return to public life in England from France, but is rebuffed by Queen Elizabeth, who berates him for his ‘betrayal’.
During the war, Edward was initially stationed in France, but after the fall he was appointed Governor of the Bahamas.
The German version of Ribbentrop’s letter to King Edward VIII
Ribbentrop was convicted of crimes against peace, deliberate planning of aggressive war, war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Military Tribunal of the Allies in Nuremberg.
According to his sentence, he was ‘actively involved’ in planning the invasions of Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland and the ‘Final Solution’, the Nazi term for the systematic murder of Jews.
As early as 1942, he had ordered German diplomats in Axis countries to speed up the process of sending Jews to death camps in the East.
During the trial, Ribbentrop repeatedly argued that Hitler had made all the important decisions and that he had been ‘deceived’ by the Führer’s claims that he ‘wanted nothing but peace’.
On October 16, 1946, Ribbentrop became the first of the Nuremberg death row inmates to be hanged, after Herman Göring committed suicide.
The letter will be sold on November 30.