Heinrich Georg Stahmer
From left to right: Chief of the Reich Chancellery Hans Lammers, Japanese Foreign Minister Yōsuke Matsuoka, Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel and Stahmer at a meeting in Berlin on 28 March 1941.
BornMay 3, 1892
DiedJune 13, 1978 (aged 86)
Years active1936–1945
Military career
Allegiance German Empire
Service/branchImperial German Army
UnitFlying Corps
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsIron Cross

Heinrich Georg Stahmer (3 May 1892 in Hamburg, Germany – 13 June 1978 in Vaduz, Liechtenstein) was a German diplomat and economist by training who was in charge of German–Japanese relations at the German Foreign Ministry. He was an aide to Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop (1938–1940), special envoy to Japan and ambassador to the pro-Japanese Reorganized National Government of China in occupied Nanjing (1940–1943), before becoming German Ambassador to Japan (1943–1945).

A native of Hamburg, Stahmer fought during World War I and earned both classes of Iron Cross.

Diplomatic career

In 1936, Stahmer took part in the negotiations for the Anti Comintern Pact between the German and the Japanese governments.

Throughout 1940, he worked for a German-Japanese alliance, and on August 13, 1940, he was able to notify the Japanese embassy in Berlin about the decision to conclude such a treaty.[1] In September 1940, he took part in the negotiations leading to the conclusion of the Tripartite Pact.[2] After the conclusion of the pact, Stahmer was sent to his next mission in Tokyo.

Stahmer with Wang Jingwei, the president of the pro-Japanese Nanjing regime.
Stahmer with Wang Jingwei, the president of the pro-Japanese Nanjing regime.

In October 1941, Stahmer was appointed as German ambassador to the collaborationist Chinese reorganised national government under Wang Jingwei, established in Nanjing by the Japanese occupation,[3] and remained in that position until late 1942. According to Japanese diplomatic cables, Stahmer was "excited" for his new posting as ambassador to China, a posting that was confirmed by Hitler, and that he would seek to act in accordance with the interests of both Germany and Japan during his tenure in China.[4]

In January 1943, he was appointed ambassador to Japan, and arrived in Tokyo from Nanjing on January 28, 1943. He remained in that position until the end of the war.

On May 5, 1945, as the German surrender was approaching, Stahmer was handed an official protest by Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo, accusing the German government of betraying its Japanese ally.[5] After the surrender of the German government, the Japanese government broke off diplomatic relations with the German Reich on May 15, 1945, and Stahmer was interned and kept under arrest in the Fujiya Hotel in Hakone near Tokyo until the Japanese surrender in August 1945.[6]

On September 10, 1945, following the Japanese surrender, he was placed under arrest by US authorities in Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, and in September 1947, he was returned to Germany, where he was interned until September 1948.

After his release, Stahmer became involved in business with Japanese companies. He died in 1978 at Vaduz, Liechtenstein.


  1. ^ "Department of History". wfu.edu. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  2. ^ US Ambassador to Japan (Joseph C. Grew) to the Secretary of State, September 19, 1940 Foreign Relations of the United States 1940, vol. I, pp. 647–648. For a brief postwar US intelligence report on Stahmer, US Political Adviser in Japan (George Atcheson Jr.) to the Secretary of State, May 31, 1946 Foreign Relations of the United States 1946, Vol. VIII, pp. 432–434
  3. ^ US Consul in Shanghai to the Secretary of State, November 9, 1941 Foreign Relations of the United States 1941, vol. V, pp. 870–872
  4. ^ The MAGIC Background of Pearl Harbor. Department of Defense, Volume 3, pp. A-557–A-559
  5. ^ Togo Shigenori, The Cause of Japan, translated and edited by Togo Fumihiko and Ben Bruce Blakeney, (New York, 1956) p. 275
  6. ^ George H. Johnston, "150 Axis Diplomats in Tokyo" The Argus, September 11, 1945 (Australian newspaper that appeared in Melbourne)

Further reading

Diplomatic posts Preceded byEugen Ott German Ambassador to Japan 1943–1945 Succeeded byposition terminated following German surrender Preceded byRecognition transferred to the Nanjing regimeOskar Trautmann (Chiang Kai-shek's government) German Ambassador to China(Nanjing regime) 1941–1943 Succeeded byErnst Wörmann