Ernst Wilhelm Bohle was the leader of the Foreign Organization of the German Nazi Party (NSDAP) from 1933 until 1945.
Bohle was born in Bradford, England, the son of Hermann Bohle (1877–1943), a college teacher and engineer who emigrated to England. In 1906 Bohle came to Cape Town, where his father was appointed to a professorship of electrical engineering, and attended a high school there. Bohle studied political sciences and business administration in Cologne and Berlin and graduated in business management at the Handelshochschule, Berlin, in December 1923. He married Gertrud Bachmann on November 14, 1925. Bohle was employed as branch manager and agent in the import-export business for several enterprises in the Rheinland from 1924 until 1930 and established and thereafter directed a large automotive firm in Hamburg from 1930 to June 1933.
Bohle joined the NSDAP on March 1, 1932 (membership number 999.185) and on September 13, 1933 he entered additionally the SS (membership number 276.915) at the rank of SS Major General (German: SS-Brigadeführer). Bohle was promoted SS Lieutenant General (German: SS-Gruppenführer) on April 20, 1937 and SS General (German: SS-Obergruppenführer) on June 21, 1943.
In December 1931 he became a volunteer assistant of Hans Nieland, the leader of the Foreign Organisation of the NSDAP (German: NSDAP Auslands-Organisation (NSDAP/AO)), responsible for South and Southwest Africa and later North America. This organisational unit was founded on May 1, 1931, in Hamburg and Reich Organisation Leader Gregor Strasser appointed Nieland as the Chief. After Nieland resigned from office on May 8, 1933 (because he had become head of the Hamburg police authorities in the meantime and later on a member of the Hamburg provincial government), Bohle was charged with the leadership of the Auslands-Organisation in the party rank of a Gauleiter. Bohle's father Hermann was NSDAP/AO Landesgruppenleiter (English: Leader of the National Committee) in the Union of South Africa from 1932 until 1934 and he was president of the Berlin based Deutsch-Südafrikanischen Gesellschaft (English: German South-African Society).
From November 12, 1933, till the end of the Third Reich he was member of the Reichstag for the constituency "Württemberg" and from 1937 to 1945 he was State Secretary in the Foreign Office. He was also a confidant and staff of Rudolf Hess, the Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler until Hess' arrest and imprisonment by Britain after a failed peace mission in 1941.