In February 1938, Joachim Ribbentrop became foreign minister. After taking part in negotiations leading to the Munich pact of September 1938, which sealed the fate of Czechoslovakia, he negotiated the May 1939 pact that linked Germany and Italy in an alliance.

His most significant act was the conclusion of the Ribbentrop-Molotov nonaggression treaty in August 1939 that temporarily neutralized the Soviet Union, enabling Germany to invade Poland the following month. Later Ribbentrop made jokes about how he could paper his house wall to wall with all the treaties he signed and broke ...

In September 1940, he secured the tripartite Axis agreement with Italy and Japan.

During the war his influence declined, although he remained foreign minister until Hitler's death in April 1945.

Captured by British forces and convicted of War Crimes, he was hanged in Nuremberg on Oct. 16, 1946.