||Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring
Hermann Wilhelm G?ring (often spelled Goering in
English) (January 12, 1893 - October 15, 1946) was a
prominent and early member of the Nazi party, founder of
the Gestapo, and one of the main architects of Nazi
During World War I he flew in the Luftwaffe together with
Manfred von Richthofen, the famous "Red Baron".
He was the last commander of the Richthofen Fighter
Squadron and finished the war as an 'ace', with
twenty-two confirmed kills and the medals Pour le M?rite
and the Iron Cross.
As early as 1922, G?ring joined the NSDAP and initially
took over the SA leadership. Having been a member of the
Reichstag since 1928, he was its president in 1932/33 and
one of the key figures in the process of Gleichschaltung
that established the Nazi dictatorship. In its early
years, he served as minister in various key positions at
both the Reich level and in Prussia, being responsible
for the economy as well as the build-up of the German
military in preparation for the war. Among others, he was
appointed Reichsluftfahrtminister in 1935, head of the
Luftwaffe (German Air Force); in a decree on June 29,
1941, Hitler even appointed G?ring his formal successor.
G?ring was known for his extravagant tastes and garish
clothing. As the only major Nazi with a prominent World
War I record, he was a key connection between the former
corporal Hitler and the traditional military elite.
G?ring, married to a Swedish baroness, exulted in
aristocratic trappings and built up a considerable estate
in Prussia during the Nazi period. Handsome and athletic
in his youth, a painful injury sustained during the Beer
Hall Putsch left G?ring dependant on narcotic pain
killers, and contributed to his obesity.
After World War II started, G?ring was the driving force
behind the failed attempt to force Britain's surrender
(or at least acquiescence) by air battle at the Battle of
Britain. After that campaign he lost much of his
influence in the Nazi hierarchy, exacerbated by the
Luftwaffe's failings in Russia and against the Allied
bomber raids. His reputation for extravagance made him
particularly unpopular as ordinary Germans began to
suffer deep privations.
G?ring also sponsored a ground combat unit, the
eponymous Hermann G?ring Division, which fought on
various fronts with mixed success.
G?ring was also placed in charge of bringing into use
the vast industrial resources captured during the war,
particularly in the USSR. This proved to be an almost
total disaster and little of the potential available was
effectively harnessed for the service of the German
military machine. However, G?ring became notorious among
the Nazi elite for his pilfering of art and other
valuables from occupied Europe.
In his political testament just before his own suicide,
Hitler expelled G?ring and Heinrich Himmler from the
party and from all offices of State for disloyalty to him
and negotiations with the enemy without his knowledge and
against his wishes, and for illegally attempting to seize
power in the State for themselves. This referred to a
telegram which G?ring sent from Berchtesgaden to Hitler
in Berlin on April 23, 1945, in which he offered to take
command of the Reich as Hitler's designated successor.
Hitler accused G?ring of high treason, stripped him of
all his offices, and had him placed under arrest by the
SS on April 25.
Goring was captured by American troops on May 8/9, 1945
in Austria and taken before the Nuremberg Trials for war
crimes. Though he defended himself vigorously, he was
sentenced to death; the judgement stated that "his
guilt is unique in its enormity". He managed to
commit suicide with a smuggled cyanide capsule the night
before he was supposed to be hanged. He was cremated and
his ashes were thrown in the Isar river.
The following quote is held to be oft-stated by G?ring:
"When I hear the word culture, I reach for my
Browning (a gun)". Whether he used this phrase often
or not, he did not originate it. The quote comes from
German playwright Hans Johst's play Schlageter,
"Wenn ich Kultur h?re ... entsichere ich meinen
Browning," "Whenever I hear the word culture...
I release the safety-catch of my Browning!" (Act 1,
Another famous quote, said by Goring during his trial in
''Why of course the people don't want war. Why should
some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war
when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his
farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want
war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America,
nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is
the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it
is always a simple matter to drag the people along,
whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or
a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no
voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of
the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell
them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists
for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to
danger. It works the same in any country.
Prime Minister of Prussia
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