|“||Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the 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.||„|
|~ Hermann Göring|
Hermann Wilhelm Göring (January 12th, 1893 - October 15th, 1946) was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). A veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, he was a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as the "Blue Max". He was the last commander of Jagdgeschwader 1, the fighter wing once led by Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron". He also served as the president of the Reichstag during the Nazi regime and also headed the Luftwaffe (the Nazi air forces.)
A member of the NSDAP from its early days, Göring was wounded in 1923 during the failed coup known as the Beer Hall Putsch. He became permanently addicted to morphine after being treated with the drug for his injuries. He founded the Gestapo (which later became the official secret police force of the Nazi regime) in 1933. Göring was appointed commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force) in 1935, a position he held until the final days of World War II. He also served as the president of the Reichstag, the presiding officer of the German legislature, though this was more or less of a figurehead title as Hitler had stripped the Reichstag of most of its power with the Enabling Act of 1933.
Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler were far more antisemitic than Göring, who mainly adopted that attitude because party politics required him to do so. His deputy, Erhard Milch, had a Jewish parent. But Göring supported the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and later initiated economic measures unfavourable to Jews.
He required the registration of all Jewish property as part of the Four Year Plan, and at a meeting held after Kristallnacht was livid that the financial burden for the Jewish losses would have to be made good by German-owned insurance companies. He proposed that the Jews be fined one billion marks.
At the same meeting, options for the disposition of the Jews and their property were discussed. Jews would be segregated into ghettos or encouraged to emigrate, and their property would be seized in a programme of Aryanization. Compensation for seized property would be low, if any was given at all. Detailed minutes of this meeting and other documents were read out at the Nuremberg trial, proving his knowledge of and complicity with the persecution of the Jews. He told Gilbert that he would never have supported the anti-Jewish measures if he had known what was going to happen. "I only thought we would eliminate Jews from positions in big business and government", he claimed.
In July 1941, Göring issued a memo to Reinhard Heydrich ordering him to organise the practical details of the Final Solution to the "Jewish Question". By the time that this letter was written, many Jews and others had already been killed in Poland, Russia, and elsewhere. At the Wannsee Conference, held six months later, Heydrich formally announced that genocide of the Jews was now official Reich policy. Göring did not attend the conference, but he was present at other meetings where the number of people killed was discussed.
Göring directed anti-partisan operations by Luftwaffe security battalions in the Białowieża Forest between 1942 and 1944 that resulted in the murder of thousands of Jews and Polish civilians.
By 1940 he was at the peak of his power and influence; as minister in charge of the Four Year Plan, he was responsible for much of the functioning of the German economy in the build-up to World War II. Adolf Hitler promoted him to the rank of Reichsmarschall, a rank senior to all other Wehrmacht commanders, and in 1941 Hitler designated him as his successor and deputy in all his offices, replacing Rudolf Hess in that capacity.
Göring's standing with Hitler was greatly reduced by 1942, with the Luftwaffe unable to fulfill its commitments and the German war effort stumbling on both fronts. Göring largely withdrew from the military and political scene and focused on the acquisition of property and artwork, much of which was confiscated from Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Informed on 22 April 1945 that Hitler intended to commit suicide, Göring sent a telegram to Hitler asking to assume control of the Reich. Hitler then removed Göring from all his positions, expelled him from the party, and ordered his arrest. After World War II, Göring was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but committed suicide by ingesting cyanide the night before the sentence was to be carried out.
He was diagnosed as a narcissistic sociopath, and found to have the highest IQ among the Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials. Cruel, corrupt, and self-indulgent, he amassed enormous wealth at the expense of his country, during wartime. Neither did he give two shits about any National Socialist ideals — when they asked him why he joined the Nazi movement in the first place, his explanation boiled down to "It Amused Me" — i.e. he did it only to indulge in a decadent lifestyle. When his sentence was proclaimed he said he had no regrets... he lived like a king for over 10 years and that's all that mattered to him. His only real complaint was that he was sentenced to hang, he lobbied the Judges to go before a firing squad instead, since he saw hanging as a fate only fit for "common criminals". When they refused, he committed suicide to spite them.
And yet Göring also rescued several Jews and Jewish families from the Nazis, making sure they were able to get out of Germany, mostly because they'd showed him some kindness when he was poor or otherwise in a bad way. And by all accounts he really did love his daughter. His brother was an opponent of the Nazis who used Hermann's name to smuggle Jews out of Germany — Hermann knew about this, and turned a blind eye. He also deeply loved his first wife Karin — enough that he maintained a shrine in her honor after she died.
- His Nazi reputation notwithstanding, there is no evidence that Goering ever committed any atrocities as a World War One fighter pilot.
- In an extraordinary accord, Hermann Goering greenlighted an RAF operation to airdrop a new leg for the imprisoned Douglas Bader.
- He was the only recipient of the Grand Cross of The Iron Cross during WWII.
- He was given the nickname "Fatso Göring" by Allied soldiers.
- Because of his weight, the pilot who transported him for interrogation wanted a bigger aircraft because he was worried that the plane would have problems with the weight. It was decided that a larger aircraft would not fit the runway. Source
- Despite hating Martin Bormann, both men did not like Eva Braun.