Wednesday 21st October 1936
Germany’s various ex-servicemen’s associations were brought together into a single national body under the leadership of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg Gotha who combined august lineage with enthusiastic Nazism. He led the National Socialist Motor Corps. The amalgamation had been accomplished with the some curious assistance of Joachim von Ribbentrop, who had taken no previous interest in veterans’ affairs.
The explanation lay in the simultaneous announcement that a delegation of German ex-servicemen would visit England, resuming a practice interrupted by George V’s death. The diplomatic thinking behind this was not hard to decode. The Duke fancied himself as a link between Nazi Germany and his distant cousin Edward VIII. As Prince of Wales he had caused amazement and some outrage by calling publicly for the British Legion veterans' group to channel a friendly initiative towards Germany. Ribbentrop had just been appointed as the new ambassador to London.