Hermann Göring

Hermann Wilhelm Göring ( Rosenheim , December of January of 1893 – Nuremberg , 15 of October of 1946 ) was a prominent political and military German, member and prominent figure of the Nazi Party , lieutenant of Hitler and supreme commander of the Luftwaffe ,

Early years

Hermann Wilhelm Goering was born in Marienbad sanatorium ( Rosenheim , Bavaria ), fourth son of the marriage been between Heinrich Ernst Göring ( 31 of October of 1839 – 7 of December of 1913 ) and Franziska ” Fanny ” Tiefenbrunn, died in August 1923 . Göring had two brothers and two sisters: Albert and Karl Ernst Göring and Olga Therese Sophia and Paula Elisabeth Rosa Göring.

The Göring family was of aristocratic origins and had both Catholic and Protestant ancestors. His father, a professional soldier in the time of Otto von Bismarck , became the first governor of West German West Africa . He lived his childhood away from his family, when his father retired they went to live at first near Berlin. But most of the time they lived in Veldestein , near Nuremberg , in a medieval castle belonging to Hermann’s godfather and Albert’s father , Dr. Hermann Espenstein.

That romantic environment influenced his inclination for all kinds of dress. His results at school after a private boarding school were mediocre, but everything changed as soon as he was sent to the Karlsruhe cadet school and later, in 1910 , to the famous Gross Lichterfelde near Berlin . He literally loved the life of an aspiring Prussian officer and wore the uniform with pride. Later, when he went to Italy with his friends, he wrote his diary where he said that he admired the works of Leonardo Da Vinci , Rubens , Titian and Bellini ; That passion for painting would later make him one of Europe’s most accomplished collectors.

World War I

In World War I fought like fighter pilot, arriving to be in command of the famous Squadron Richthofen (of the Red Baron , Manfred von Richthofen ), obtaining a great recognition like ace of aviation .

In mid- 1915 Göring began his training as a pilot in Freiburg and was later assigned to a fighter squadron. Soon he was shot down and spent most of 1916 recovering from the wounds. When returning in November of 1916 returned to the same unit 26. In 1917 was decorated with the Pour le Mérite . After a long aerial battle, Göring demolished in June of 1917 to a rookie pilot Australian named Frank Slee. The battle is documented in a very bombastic way in “Ascent and fall of Hermann Göring”. Göring landed and met the Australian, to whom he presented his Iron Cross . Years later, he gave the Göring Iron Cross to a friend of his, who fell on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day . The 7 of July of 1918 , after the death of Wilhelm Reinhardt in plane crash, was named commander of “Jagdgeschwader Freiherr von Richthofen” ( “Jasta” 11). The war ended with 22 confirmed demolitions. Curiously, despite having obtained an ace figure, he was the only veteran of the “Jasta” 11 who was never invited to post-war squadron meetings.

After the war, Göring continued flying, working briefly in the Fokker , tried the aerial exhibitions, nevertheless his liking to the alcohol took more than one night to the dungeon. In 1920 he joined the Svenska Lufttrafik . He also figured among the officers of the Reichswehr , the German army after the First World War, and by 1933 had risen to be “Generalmajor”. In 1935 he was appointed Lieutenant General and, in that same year, General of the newly founded Luftwaffe (German Air Force). Göring was at this time a very attractive male for the feminine gender and had many romances before wishing to marry. In the castle of Rockelsta, in 1920 to the presentation of the count Von Rosen, knew Karin von Kantzow , a beautiful Swedish already married with an aristocrat. Despite everything, she fell madly in love with the ace, but did not divorce for fear of losing custody of her son Thomas Kantzow. Her social skills must have had their effect, since Niels Kantzow, Karin’s husband, invited Hermann to lunch, against the custom of the time to challenge him to a duel. The couple settled in an apartment on Odegatan Street (still retains the name) in Stockholm.

During the attempted coup coup in Munich Hermann was shot. Rescued from the hospital where he remained guarded and taken to Austria. The wound caused him severe pain, so he was given morphine, whose addiction could not resist. Back in Stockholm he was admitted to Langbro’s mental hospital. Years later he was freed from addiction and returned to work as a representative of a parachute company, as well as representing various aeronautical companies. The marriage did not last long since she passed away because of a heart problem in 1931, problems that dragged from the times of the putsch in 1924. Her castle-mansion was named Karinhall , in honor of her. After the death of Karin in 1931 (a very hard blow to the Nazi hierarch ) and after a short but publicized mourning, he married the German actress Emmy Sonnemann .

Beginnings in Nazism

In 1922 he joined the Nazi Party , initially taking the leadership of the SA as “Oberste SA-Fuhrer”. During the Beer Hall Putsch was seriously wounded [ citation needed ] by a bullet that came through the pelvis. Helped by a family of Jews, he and his wife Karin fled to Austria , where doctors administered heavy doses of morphine , which ended up being an addiction that Göring would depend on until 1945 . This addiction determined much of his decisions, giving him many times a surrealist perspective of thought and taking matters of vital importance lightly. Upon his return to Germany in 1928, it was very difficult for him to be accepted again among the members of the Party and failed to recover the SA Command , which had been assigned to Ernst Röhm , his greatest enemy within Nazism, although he was named “SA -Gruppenführer “(Lieutenant General), rank that maintained until 1945.

He was active in the Night of the long knives, especially in the fall of Ernst Röhm. He was promoted within the party until, in the middle of World War II , he became Prime Minister of Prussia and Minister of the Luftwaffe . In front of it and in the early years of World War II got great achievements, consolidating to the Luftwaffe as one of the key elements in the “Blitzkrieg” ( Blitzkrieg ), used as a tactic by the Germans and was instrumental in the Initial victories of the Third Reich. Hitler signed a secret decree in which he named Göring his successor in case of death. He was one of the first in a series of successors Hitler thought.

World War II

After the death of Paul von Hindenburg , president of Germany , and of Hitler’s ascent of the nation, Göring was promoted to General and Minister of the Air of the Luftwaffe . Later he aspired to be Minister of Defense , position occupied by Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg , and for this he used Reinhard Heydrich , Chief of the SD to obtain compromising information about Blomberg’s wife, Emma, ​​considerably smaller than the minister and Who had a dark past as a prostitute.

Before the possibility of scandal Blomberg resigned, but the portfolio of minister, instead of obtaining Göring, was assumed by the own Hitler , although to the unconditional Göring was given like consolation the rank of Marshal of Field . In 1941 he was promoted to Reichsmarschall ( Reich Marshal ) as well as successor to the Fuehrer , becoming the second most important person of the German National Socialist regime after Hitler; In the document certifying that, ensures that in case Hitler dies or is not fit to exercise as Reichsführer , the Reichsmarschall would assume power. Later Göring would try to enforce this decree. One of the most picturesque faculties and hobbies of the Nazi minister was to design uniforms for the different military branches, in fact, when Hitler commissioned him to create a powerful new Luftwaffe , he personally took charge of his uniforms, designing himself for Himself a lavish uniform of Minister of the Air, which was only replaced by the uniform of “Marshal of the Reich” (for this last charge Göring even designed a own military standard, “Leibstandarte Hermann Göring”).

He lived as a little Caesar in a village on the outskirts of Berlin called Karinhall (named after his first wife), where he was hunting on his private preserve. It was indirectly linked to the Jewish “reinstallation” program. He signed a decree that fined a billion DEM all Jews and also prevented insurance companies from paying compensation to those affected by the night of the broken glass . He came to utter a famous phrase abruptly in the face of the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler , on the subject of saving an acquaintance condemned to concentration camps:

– “I decide who is Jewish and who is not!” –

The well-known was none other than Melitta Gräfin Schenk von Stauffenberg , the famous aviator and test pilot of Stukas assigned to the Luftwaffe and that for its contributions in this field was cataloged as essential.

He was in charge of coordinating the German economy in times of war, for which he drew up a Four-Year Plan. In this regard, he tried with Martin Bormann and Heinrich Himmler to provoke the fall of the arms minister Albert Speer , mainly for its influence before Hitler , but without greater success. The management of Göring as director of the air operations was many times inoperative, because it promised many results that the Luftwaffe was not able to fulfill, which brought the discredit to him. Hitler did not have the courage to relieve him of his functions in honor of his former services and the fame he enjoyed in the German people.

Decline and Fall

After the failure of the Luftwaffe in the so-called Battle of England and once more known its addiction to morphine, the Marshal began to generate many doubts as to its effectiveness. In fact it was Joseph Goebbels who publicly questioned Göring’s suitability. He was the object of jokes and ridicule in German gatherings for their ineffectiveness and obesity. However, Hitler did not have the arrests to remove him by a subject of popular image. Slowly and inexorably the figure of Göring fell into disrepute.

Subsequently, when he promised to supply the 6th Army during the battle of Stalingrad with 500 tons a day to support the 250,000 troops, and he could not fulfill it, Hitler stopped taking it into consideration and began referring to him in disdain. In fact, Göring became a mere irrelevant figure, almost of operetta bufa, at the end of the war, discredit that very little mattered to him. Worried about his art collections, which included works that he had plundered from the most diverse private collections and European museums, he was nevertheless one of the first Nazi hierarchies to recognize that Hitler’s war was lost. While their pilots were beating to death in the skies, Göring was dedicated to living sumptuously thriving on the national treasury. Göring used to Martin Bormann like interlocutor before Hitler and in turn this one kept him informed of everything that happened in the surroundings of Hitler.

At the end of April 1945, Göring sent a telegram to Hitler suggesting the transfer of the executive power to his person, since Hitler, protected in the underground bunker under the Chancellery of the Reich, was no longer able to exercise The supreme power. Hitler, furious over what he believed to be an act of betrayal or disloyalty, revoked all his privileges and ordered his capture. Upon being surrounded, he surrendered to the American military near the Austrian border. In any case, Göring always maintained a wide power and authority among the Nazis, even after the defeat of the Third Reich. On the death of Hitler the 30 of April of 1945 the Admiral Karl Doenitz was named Reichspräsident of what remained of Nazi Germany .

Capture and judgment

At the end of the war, in 1945, Göring was captured by the conquering forces in the castle that served as a prison. Wanting to adopt the paper of maximum German figure, it organizes an interview with the allied press: even wanted to be received by the General American Dwight Eisenhower . He was not tolerated by the occupation authorities and after a last treatment of detoxification of morphine and a great weight loss, he was tried in the Nuremberg trials for an infinity of crimes, among them for crimes against humanity and conspiracy of a war of Aggression . 1

During the Nuremberg Trials , Göring was the first of the 24 defendants to take the bench. Göring also tried to subordinate the other convicts trying to establish himself as a leader of them, so he was separated from the rest. Already in the process of recovering from his drug addiction, he proved to be at his best and tried to rival the intelligence of Prosecutor Robert H. Jackson , achieving in the first days of the trial causing in the press a great impression of himself and becoming a Ideal Aryan emulating the rhetoric of Hitler. For a moment, Jackson thought of declaring himself incompetent. However, the prosecutor was gradually exhibiting documents and proofs (films), witness statements and finally managed to put Göring in check. Despite defending himself, as well as Nazism and the extinct Führer, the evidence exhibited and also recognized by the same Göring regarding conspiracy, promoting actions to favor war and crimes against humanity, were blunt. At the end of the trial, Göring was defeated and only responded with monosyllables, verbiage or pretended not to listen.

Finally he was sentenced to death by hanging , mainly for being promoter of crimes against humanity and also for being, for the victors, a prominent figure of Nazism that had to be eradicated at all costs of Germany. Göring, like Wilhelm Keitel , rejected the death by hanging because that penalty only was inflicted to the traitors in Germany and tried that it was executed by firing because of its high military rank, thing that was denied to him. Just two hours before executing the sentence, Goering committed suicide by swallowing a capsule of potassium cyanide the 15 of October of 1946 . In his cell he found a letter stating that he had been the owner of his own destiny. It was never known how cyanide came into their hands, and it is a mystery given the extreme vigilance to which the Nazi hierarchies were subjected. He suspected his wife Emmy and also bribed the guards.

Other theories are that Göring had hidden two capsules of cyanide in bottles of cream for the skin since he suffered from dermatitis . It has also been said that he befriended Lieutenant Jack G. Wheelis of the US Army who was guarding the prisoners during the Nuremberg trials, apparently Wheelis helped to obtain the poison that was hidden among the personal belongings of Göring that had been confiscated By the army. In 2005, former American privateer Herbert Lee Stivers, a member of the 26th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Division , said he gave Göring his “medicine”, hidden inside a fountain pen that was given to him by a German woman with whom He had gathered and flirted. Stivers claimed he did not know what “medicine” really was. His body was burned and his ashes were thrown into the river Isar , to prevent his tomb from becoming a place of neo-Nazi pilgrimage. 2


  1. Back to top↑ The trial of Nuremberg.
  2. Back to top↑ The executions of Nuremberg