Shortly after the start of “Operation Barbarossa” in the early morning hours of June 22, 1941, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop confronted representatives of the Soviet government with a fait accompli: the German Reich had invaded the Soviet Union. Ribbentrop claimed that the USSR had repeatedly violated the various German-Soviet treaties and had joined Great Britain in acts of sabotage, terrorism, and espionage against Germany. Hitler, Ribbentrop said, had ordered military “counter-measures” against the allegedly imminent invasion of the Reich by the Soviets. At the same time, German ambassador Schulenberg delivered news of the war to Molotov in Moscow.

Reich Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop Delivers the Foreign Ministry’s Declaration to the Soviet Union (June 22, 1941)

  • Heinrich Hoffmann (1885-1957)


Source: Reich Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop announces the note from the Foreign Office in Berlin to the Soviet government. Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann.
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© bpk / Heinrich Hoffmann