Hermann Göring

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Hermann Göring
January 12, 1893October 15, 1946
Image:Goring 2.gif
Hermann Göring.
Place of birth Marienbad, near Rosenheim, Bavaria
Place of death Nuremberg
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branch Luftstreitkräfte/Luftwaffe
Years of service 1912-1945
Rank Reichsmarschall
Unit World War I: Jagdstaffel 5, Jagdstaffel 7, Jagdstaffel 26
Commands World War I: Jagdstaffel 27, Jagdgeschwader 1
World War II: Luftwaffe
Awards Pour le Mérite, Grand Cross of the Iron Cross

Hermann Wilhelm Göring (listen ) (also Goering in English) (January 12, 1893October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader, a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, and commander of the Luftwaffe. He was tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials in 1945-1946 and sentenced to death by hanging, however, he escaped the hangman's noose around two hours before his scheduled execution by way of potassium cyanide. He was of aristocratic heritage and a war hero of World War I, having won the coveted Pour le Mérite.


Contents

[edit] Family background and relatives

Göring was born in the sanatorium Marienbad, near Rosenheim, Bavaria. His aristocratic father Heinrich Ernst Göring (October 31, 1839December 7, 1913) had among his patrician ancestors Eberle/Eberlin, a Swiss-German family of high bourgeoisie who were originally Jewish financiers who converted to Christianity in the 15th century and had huge progeny in German speaking countries. Göring was a relative of such Eberle/Eberlin descendant as a German aviation pioneer Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin; German romantic nationalist Hermann Grimm (1828-1901) an author of concept of the German hero as a mover of history, the Nazis claimed him as one of their ideological forerunners; the industrialist family Merck, the owners of pharmaceutical giant Merck; one of the world major Catholic writers and poets of the 20th century German Baroness Gertrud von LeFort whose works were largely inspired by her revulsion against Nazism; Swiss diplomat, historian and President of International Red Cross Carl J. Burckhardt). In an ironic coincident of history, among Göring's relatives throughout Eberle/Eberlin line was a great Swiss scholar of art and culture, and a major political and social thinker Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897), an opponent of nationalism and militarism, who rejected German claims of cultural and intellectual superiority, and predicted a cataclysmic 20th century, in which violent demagogues, whom he called "terrible simplifiers," would play central roles. (See, Wolfgang Paul, "Wer war Hermann Goring. Biographie," Esslingen: Bechtle Verlag, 1983, p. 33.) Göring's mother Franziska "Fanny" Tiefenbrunn (1859-July 15, 1923) came from Bavarian peasant family. The marriage of aristocrate to a woman from lower class (1885) occurred only because Heinrich Ernst Göring was a widower. Göring was one of five children, his brothers were Albert Göring and Karl Ernst Göring, his sisters were Olga Therese Sophia and Paula Elisabeth Rosa Göring, the last of whom were from his father's first marriage.[1] While anti-Semitism became rampant in Germany of that time, his parents were not anti-Semitic.

[edit] Early life/Ritter von Epenstein

Göring later claimed his given name was chosen to honor the Arminius who defeated the legions of Rome at Teutoburg Forest, but the name was far more likely chosen to honor his godfather, a very wealthy physician and businessman born Hermann Epenstein who was to be a major if not paternal influence on Göring's childhood. Much of Hermann's very early childhood, including a lengthy separation from his parents when his father took diplomatic posts in Africa and in Haiti (climates ruled too brutal for a young European child), was spent with governesses and with distant relatives. However, upon Heinrich Göring's retirement ca. 1898 his large family, supported solely on Heinrich's modest civil service pension, became for financially practical reasons the houseguests of their longtime friend and Göring's probable namesake, a man whose minor title (acquired through service and donation to the Crown) made him now known as Hermann, Ritter von Epenstein.

As with many social climbers and nouveau riche businessmen of the time, Ritter von Epenstein sought the trappings of German aristocracy as well as the titles. He acquired this in part through the purchase of two largely dilapidated castles, Burg Veldenstein in Bavaria and Schloss Mauterndorf near Salzburg, Austria, whose very expensive restorations were ongoing by the time of Hermann Göring's birth. Both castles were to be residences to the Göring family, their official "caretakers" until 1913, and both were to be tremendous influences on Göring's childhood and fascination with the military and romanticized notions of history. Both castles were also ultimately to be his property.

According to respected biographers of both Hermann Göring and his younger brother Albert Göring, soon after the family took residence in his castles von Epenstein began an adulterous relationship with Frau Göring that may in fact have resulted in Albert's birth. (Albert's physical resemblance to von Epenstein was noted even during his childhood and is even evident to the casual observer in photographs). Whatever the nature of von Epenstein's relationship with his mother, the young Hermann Göring enjoyed a particularly close relationship with his godfather. Though not enthusiastically religious by any standard and perhaps even a convert to Christianity, von Epenstein was of Jewish birth and ancestry, a fact which young Göring was unaware of until as a child at a prestigious Austrian boarding school (where his tuition was paid by von Epenstein) he wrote an essay in praise of his godfather and was mocked by the school's anti-Semitic headmaster for professing such admiration for a Jew. Göring initially denied the allegation but when confronted with proof in a book of German heraldry (Ritter von Epenstein had purchased his minor title and castles with wealth garnered from speculation and trade and was thus included in a less than complimentary reference work on German speaking nobility) Göring to his youthful credit remained steadfast in his devotion to his family's friend and patron, so adamantly so that he was expelled from the school. The action seems to have tightened the already considerable bond between godfather and godson.

Relations between the Göring family and von Epenstein became far more formal during Göring's adolescence (causing Mosley and other biographers to speculate that perhaps the theorized affair ended naturally or that the elderly Heinrich discovered he was a cuckold and threatened its exposure). By the time of Heinrich Göring's death the family no longer lived in a residence supplied by or seemed to have much contact at all with von Epenstein (though the family's comfortable circumstances indicate the Ritter may have given them some financial support. Late in his life Ritter von Epenstein wed a singer, Lily, who was half his age, bequeathing her his estate in his will but requesting that she in turn bequeath the castles at Mauterndorf and Veldenstein to his godson Hermann upon her own death.

[edit] World War I

WWI: Göring in cockpit of his Albatros D.III
WWI: Göring in cockpit of his Albatros D.III

Göring was sent to boarding school at Ansbach, Franconia and then attended the cadet institutes at Karlsruhe and the military college at Lichterfelde. Göring was commissioned in the Prussian army on 22 June 1912 in the Prinz Wilhelm Regiment No. 112.

During the first year of World War I Göring served with an infantry regiment in the Vosges region before he was hospitalized with rheumatoid arthritis. While recovering, his friend Bruno Loerzer convinced him to transfer to the Luftstreitkräfte. Later that year, he flew as Loerzer's observer. He flew reconnaissance and bombing missions as an observer before training to become a fighter pilot in June to October 1915.

On completing his pilot's training course he was posted to Jagdstaffel 5 in October 1915. He was soon shot down and spent most of 1916 recovering from his injuries. On his return in February 1917 he joined Jagdstaffel 26, before being given his first command Jasta 27, in May 1917. Serving with Jastas 7, 5, 26 and 27, he claimed 21 air victories, being awarded the coveted Pour le Mérite in June 1918. On 7 July 1918, after the death of Wilhelm Reinhard, the successor of Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen (The Red Baron), he was made commander of Jagdgeschwader Freiherr von Richthofen, Jagdgeschwader 1. He finished the war with 22 kills. His appointment as commander was not well received and he was the only veteran of Jagdgeschwader 1 never to have been invited to post-war reunions.[citation needed]

In June 1917, after a lengthy dogfight, Göring shot down a novice Australian pilot named Frank Slee. The battle is recounted flamboyantly in The Rise and Fall of Hermann Goering. Göring landed and met the Australian, and presented Slee with his Iron Cross. Years after, Slee gave Göring's Iron Cross to a friend, who later died on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.[citation needed]

Genuinely surprised (at least by his own account) at Germany's defeat in the First World War, Göring felt personally violated at the surrender, the Kaiser's abdication and the humiliating terms. Ordered to convey the planes in his squadron and surrender them to the Allies in December 1918, Göring and other pilots in his unit intentionally grounded the planes as violently as possible in order to cause as much damage as possible upon landing while still enabling them to live, an endeavor inspired by the scuttling of ships. Typical for the political climate of the day, he was not arrested or even officially reprimanded for his action.

[edit] Post World War I

He remained in flying after the war, worked briefly at Fokker, tried "barnstorming", and in 1920 he joined Svenska Lufttrafik. He was also listed on the officer rolls of the Reichswehr, the post-World War I peacetime army of Germany, and by 1933 had risen to the rank of Generalmajor. He was made a Generalleutnant in 1935 and then a General in the Luftwaffe (German air force) upon its founding later that year.

[edit] Married life

On 21 February 1920, while in Sweden, he met Carin von Kantzow (née Freiin von Fock, 1888–1931), who had been married for ten years and was mother of a son, Thomas von Kantzow (born 1913). Carin divorced her husband, Niels Gustav von Kantzow, in December 1922 and married Göring on January 3, 1923 in Stockholm. She died on October 17, 1931, aged 42, of consumption (tuberculosis).

During the early 1930s Göring was often in the company of actress Emmy Sonnemann (born 1893) from Hamburg. He proposed to her in Weimar in February 1935. The wedding took place on 10 April 1935 in Berlin and was celebrated like the marriage of an emperor. Together they had a daughter, Edda Göring (born 2 June 1938) who was then thought to be named after Countess Edda Ciano, eldest child of Benito Mussolini. Actually, Edda was named after a friend of her mother.[2]

In 1933 Göring started construction of Carinhall (named in memory of his wife) on his estate northwest of Berlin.

[edit] Political career

Hermann Göring as the SA Commander in 1923
Hermann Göring as the SA Commander in 1923

Göring joined the Nazi Party in 1922 and initially took over the SA leadership as the Oberste SA-Führer. After stepping down as SA Commander, he was appointed an SA-Gruppenführer (Lieutenant General) and held this rank on the SA rolls until 1945.

Having been a member of the Reichstag since 1928, he became the parliament's president from 1932 to 1933, and was one of the key figures in the process of Gleichschaltung that established the Nazi dictatorship. For example, in 1933 he banned all Roman Catholic newspapers in Germany, despite the support the Centre Party had given to Hitler's chancellorship.[3] In the regime's 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 other positions, in 1935 he was appointed Reichsluftfahrtminister, head of the Luftwaffe. In 1938, he became the first Luftwaffe Field Marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) and by a decree on 19 June 1940, Hitler appointed Göring his formal successor and promoted him to the rank of Reichsmarschall, the highest military rank of the Greater German Reich. Reichsmarschall was a special rank intended for Göring and which made him senior to all Army and Air Force Field Marshals.

Goering also "collected" several other offices like Reichsforst- und Jägermeister (Chief of forests and hunting of the Reich), for which he received high wages.

The Reichstag Fire, according to the Nuremberg testimony of General Franz Halder, was the handiwork of Göring, not of 'Communist instigators.' "At a luncheon on the birthday of Hitler in 1942..." Halder testifies, "[Göring said]...The only one who really knows about the Reichstag is I, because I set it on fire!" "With that," said Halder, "he slapped his thigh with the flat of his hand." Göring in his own Nuremberg testimony denied this story. It remains unclear whether or not Göring was responsible for the fire.

The following is a transcript excerpt from the Nuremburg Trials:

GOERING: This conversation did not take place and I request that I be confronted with Herr Halder. First of all I want to emphasize that what is written here is utter nonsense. It says, "The only one who really knows the Reichstag is I." The Reichstag was known to every representative in the Reichstag. The fire took place only in the general assembly room, and many hundreds or thousands of people knew this room as well as I did. A statement of this type is utter nonsense. How Herr Halder came to make that statement I do not know. Apparently that bad memory, which also let him down in military matters, is the only explanation.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know who Halder is?
GOERING: Only too well.
GOERING: That accusation that I had set fire to the Reichstag came from a certain foreign press. That could not bother me because it was not consistent with the facts. I had no reason or motive for setting fire to the Reichstag. From the artistic point of view I did not at all regret that the assembly chamber was burned- I hoped to build a better one. But I did regret very much that I was forced to find a new meeting place for the Reichstag and, not being able to find one, I had to give up my Kroll Opera House, that is, the second State Opera House, for that purpose. The opera seemed to me much more important than the Reichstag.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Have you ever boasted of burning the Reichstag building, even by way of joking?
GOERING: No. I made a joke, if that is the one you are referring to, when I said that, after this, I should be competing with Nero and that probably people would soon be saying that, dressed in a red toga and holding a lyre in my hand, I looked on at the fire and played while the Reichstag was burning. That was the joke. But the fact was that I almost perished in the flames, which would have been very unfortunate for the German people, but very fortunate for their enemies.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You never stated then that you burned the Reichstag?
GOERING: No. I know that Herr Rauschning said in the book which he wrote, and which has often been referred to here, that I had discussed this with him. I saw Herr Rauschning only twice in my life and only for a short time on each occasion. If I had set fire to the Reichstag, I would presumably have let that be known only to my closest circle of confidants, if at all. I would not have told it to a man whom I did not know and whose appearance I could not describe at all today. That is an absolute distortion of the truth.

The famous quotation, "When I hear the word culture, I reach for my Browning" is frequently attributed to Göring during the inter-war period. Whether or not he actually used this phrase, it did not originate with him. The line comes from Nazi playwright Hanns Johst's play Schlageter, "Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning," "Whenever I hear of culture... I release the safety-catch of my Browning!" (Act 1, Scene 1). Nor was Göring the only Nazi official to use this phrase: Rudolf Hess used it as well, and it was a popular cliché in Germany, often in the form: "Wenn ich "Kultur" höre, nehme ich meine Pistole".

After Hjalmar Schacht was removed as minister for the Economy, Göring effectively took over, becoming Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan in 1936 to better facilitate German rearmament; the vast steel plant Reichswerke Hermann Göring was named after him. This gave him great influence with Hitler (who placed a high value on rearmament). He never seemed to accept the Hitler Myth quite as much as Goebbels and Himmler did, but remained loyal nevertheless.

Göring was known for his extravagant tastes and garish clothing. Hans Rudel, the top Stuka pilot of the war, recalls in his war memoirs meeting Goering twice dressed in outlandish costumes: first a medieval hunting costume, practicing archery with his doctor, and second dressed in a russet toga fastened with a golden clasp, smoking an abnormally large pipe. As an aristocrat, he was a key connection between the former corporal Hitler and the traditional military elite. Göring, who had been married first to a Swedish baroness, built a vast Prussian estate, Carinhall, named after her. To avoid it falling into enemy hands, Göring had Carinhall blown up on April 20, 1945, immediately before attending Hitler's last birthday party. He exulted in aristocratic trappings, and after the Nazis conquered much of Europe, collected artworks looted from numerous museums, even some within Germany itself. Handsome and athletic in his youth, Göring sustained a painful injury during the Beer Hall Putsch, leaving him dependent on narcotic painkillers, particularly morphine. This addiction contributed to his later obesity. He would finally be cured of his addiction toward the end of his life during his imprisonment at Nuremberg.

[edit] World War II

Hitler and Göring studying the map
Hitler and Göring studying the map

Göring was skeptical and averse to the path of war. He believed Germany was not prepared to embark on a new conflict and, in particular, he believed that Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe, whose leadership was entrusted to his own hands, wasn't yet prepared to beat the RAF. However, once World War II started, Göring was determined to win at any cost.

Initially, decisive German victories followed quickly one after the other, Göring's modern Luftwaffe destroyed the Polish Air Force within two days and after the invasion of France, Hitler awarded Göring the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross for his successful leadership. Göring's political and military careers were at their peak.

Propaganda leaflet dropped by RAF Bomber Command over Germany in 1942. The leaflet comically shows Göring and his supposed reaction to the successes of the Luftwaffe under his leadership and its later failure to defend Germany against retaliatory RAF bombing of German cities
Propaganda leaflet dropped by RAF Bomber Command over Germany in 1942. The leaflet comically shows Göring and his supposed reaction to the successes of the Luftwaffe under his leadership and its later failure to defend Germany against retaliatory RAF bombing of German cities

The Luftwaffe's failure to gain control of the skies during the Battle of Britain marked Hitler's first defeat and put a stain on Göring's reputation. After that campaign he lost much of his influence in the Nazi hierarchy and faded briefly from the military scene, enjoying the pleasures of life as a wealthy and powerful man. His reputation for extravagance made him particularly unpopular as ordinary Germans began to suffer deprivation.

If Göring was skeptical about war on the western front, he was absolutely certain that a new campaign against Russia was doomed to be disastrous. After trying, completely in vain, to convince Hitler to give up operation Barbarossa, he embraced the campaign against Russia as a chance to redeem credit from the disastrous British attack. As he had foreseen, the war against the Soviet Union turned out to be Germany's most ignominious defeat. Göring's contribution, as the head of the Luftwaffe, did not match his outlandish promises, and, as a result, negatively affected his relationship with Hitler.

Göring also sponsored a ground combat unit, the eponymous Hermann Göring Division, an elite unit which fought on various fronts with success. His other units on the eastern front were not so successful. At the Oder front, he had 2 Fallschirmjäger (airborne) divisions, which were partially composed of Luftwaffe's officers without any ground combat experience. He's known to have said in one of the Hassleben's planning meetings: "When my both airborne divisions attack, the entire Red Army can be thrown to hell". When the Red Army attacked, Göring's German 9th Parachute Division collapsed first.

He was also Commander-in-Chief of Forschungsamt ("FA"), the Nazi underground monitoring services for telephone and radio communications. This was connected to SS, SD and Abwehr intelligence services.

Göring was also placed in charge of exploiting the vast industrial resources captured during the war, particularly in the Soviet Union. This proved to be an almost total disaster and little of the available potential was effectively harnessed for the service of the German military machine. However, Göring was notorious for his role as one of the Nazi plunderers of art and other valuables from occupied Europe.

Göring was the highest figure in the Nazi Hierarchy who had authorized on paper[4] the "final solution of the Jewish Question", when he issued a memo to SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich to organize the practical details, (which culminated in the Wannsee Conference). He wrote, "submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question." It is almost certain however that Hitler issued a verbal order to Göring in late 1941 to this effect.[citation needed]

Near the end of the war, as the Red Army closed in around the German capital on April 23, 1945, Göring sent a telegram from Berchtesgaden to Berlin in which he proposed to assume leadership of the Reich as Hitler's designated successor. Hitler considered this disloyalty and high treason, especially because Göring mentioned a time limit after which he would consider Hitler incapacitated. Hitler had Göring placed under arrest by Bernhard Frank on April 25 and in his political testament Hitler dismissed Göring from all his sundry offices and expelled him from the party Two days before ending his own life Hitler sent orders to Frank to execute Göring, his wife and their young daughter (Hitler's own goddaughter). A combination of Göring's considerable charm, Frank's confusion and terror at the last days of the war and perhaps common decency where the death of an innocent German child was concerned led to Frank's rejection of the order. Instead the Görings and their captors moved together, with little formality and no semblance of a captives and captors relationship, to the same Schloß Mauterndorf where Göring had spent much of his childhood and which he had inherited (along with Burg Veldenstein) from his godfather's widow upon her death in 1937. (Göring had arranged for preferential treatment for the woman after his rise to power, a consideration that guaranteed her immunity from the confiscation and arrest that may have been her fate as the widow of a wealthy Jew.)

Ironically, during World War II, Herman Göring's nephew, Capt. Werner G. Goering, piloted B-17 Flying Fortresses on 48 bombing missions against occupied Europe. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, the young Göring spoke fluent German. After an extensive background check, he was assigned to the 303rd Bombardment Group -- Hell's Angeles -- of the 8th Air Force, based at Molesworth, England. This fact was kept secret by the Army Air Force during the time that young Göring flew missions against Nazi Germany. However, the AAF still assigned him a "uniquely qualified" co-pilot -- First Lt. Jack P. Rencher. Rencher was given orders to shoot him if he ever tried to land in Germany. According to Rencher, however, the only time young Göring wasn't eager to rain destruction on Nazi Germany was when he had to bomb Cologne, where his grandmother lived. "He was neat, clean, a sharp dresser and in every sense military minded," Rencher said. "While I served with him he and I got along well together and I believe made an excellent team. I know of no one I would rather serve as copilot with."

[edit] Capture, trial and death

Göring  (first row, far left) at the Nuremberg Trials.
Göring (first row, far left) at the Nuremberg Trials.

Göring surrendered on May 8, 1945 in Austria. He was the second highest ranking Nazi official brought before the Nuremberg Trials, behind Reich President (former Admiral) Karl Dönitz. Göring's last days were spent with Gustave Gilbert, a Jewish German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail. Gilbert classified Göring as having an IQ of 138, the same as he ascribed to Karl Dönitz. He kept a journal of his observations of the proceedings and his conversations with the prisoners, which he later published in the book Nuremberg Diary. The following quotation was a part of a conversation Gilbert held with a dejected Göring in his cell on the evening of 18 April 1946, as the trials were halted for a three-day Easter recess.

"Sweating in his cell in the evening, Göring was defensive and deflated and not very happy over the turn the trial was taking. He said that he had no control over the actions or the defense of the others, and that he had never been anti-Semitic himself, had not believed these atrocities, and that several Jews had offered to testify in his behalf."

Despite claims that he was not anti-Semitic, while in the prison yard at Nuremberg, after hearing a remark about Jewish survivors in Hungary, Albert Speer reported overhearing Göring say, "So, there are still some there? I thought we had knocked off all of them. Somebody slipped up again."[5]

Göring dressed for display, along with the other war criminals, after committing suicide by cyanide.
Göring dressed for display, along with the other war criminals, after committing suicide by cyanide.

Though he defended himself vigorously, he was sentenced to death by hanging. The judgment stated that:[6]

"There is nothing to be said in mitigation. For Goering was often, indeed almost always, the moving force, second only to his leader. He was the leading war aggressor, both as political and as military leader; he was the director of the slave labour programme and the creator of the oppressive programme against the Jews and other races, at home and abroad. All of these crimes he has frankly admitted. On some specific cases there may be conflict of testimony, but in terms of the broad outline, his own admissions are more than sufficiently wide to be conclusive of his guilt. His guilt is unique in its enormity. The record discloses no excuses for this man."

Göring dispatched an appeal in which he said he would accept the court's death penalty if they allowed him to be shot as a soldier instead of hanged as a common criminal, but the court members refused to allow him this honor. Defying the sentence imposed by his captors, he committed suicide with a potassium cyanide capsule the night before he was supposed to be hanged. Where Göring obtained the cyanide, and how he had managed to hide it during his entire imprisonment at Nuremberg, remains unknown. In the 1950s, Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski claimed that he had given Göring the cyanide shortly before Göring's death. However, this claim is usually dismissed. Later theories speculate that Göring befriended U.S. Army Lieutenant Jack G. "Tex" Wheelis, who was stationed at the Nuremberg Trials and helped Göring obtain cyanide which had likely been hidden among Göring's personal effects when they were confiscated by the Army.[7] In 2005, former Army private Herbert Lee Stivers claimed he gave Göring "medicine" hidden inside a gift fountain pen from a German woman the private had met and flirted with. Stivers served in the U.S. 1st Infantry Division's 26th Regiment, who formed the honour guard for the Nuremberg Trials. Stivers claims to have been unaware of what the "medicine" he delivered actually was until after Göring's death. After his suicide, Hermann Göring was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Conwentzbach in Munich, which runs into the Isar river.

[edit] The personal standards of Hermann Göring

When Göring had been promoted to the unique rank of "Reichsmarschall" on July 19, 1940, he at once decided to choose a personal standard for himself. The design in the centre of the left side displayed a German eagle embroidered in gold-yellow thread and clutching in its talons a gold swastika standing on its point. Set behind the swastika was a pair of crossed marshal's batons. The right side displayed in the centre a large black Iron Cross. It was the unique "Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes" that was bestowed on him by Hitler. Set in each of the four sections of the field was a gold-yellow Luftwaffe eagle and swastika. The basic field was light blue on both sides, which indicated that he was also the Commander-In-Chief of the German Air Force. In February 1941 he made up his mind to modify the whole design in order to look more "fashionable". The standard was used for all purposes and was carried by a personal standard-bearer.

[edit] Quotations

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

Göring spoke about war and extreme nationalism during the Nuremberg trials in an interview with Gustave Gilbert, a Jewish German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail:

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.

On August 9, 1939, two days after meeting with British businessmen, assuring them "on his word of honour" that he would do everything in his power to avert war, Göring boasted "The Ruhr will not be subjected to a single bomb. If an enemy bomber reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Hermann Göring: you can call me Meier!" ("Meier" [Meierei = dairy-farm] is a common German surname, analogous to the English "Smith".) By the end of the war, Berlin's air raid sirens were bitterly known to the city's residents as "Meier's trumpets", or "Meier's hunting horns."

[edit] In film

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There has been talk about making a Göring biopic over the years, but there has been no major production, casting, scriptwriting, etc. Warren Beatty was interested in doing a Göring movie for years, but he signed on to play Dick Tracy. Many rumours suggest that Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro planned for several years to do a film with De Niro in the titular role with Scorsese directing, but nothing concrete came out of those planning years.

Footage of Göring has been included in many films, notably in the 1935 Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl. See his page at IMDb [2].

[edit] In fiction

In Frederic Raphael's The Glittering Prizes Adam Morris' roommate Donald Donaldson tells the group of friends that his uncle once went hunting with Goering, and that the uncle actually liked him.

In Philip José Farmer's Riverworld, a reincarnated Göring becomes a missionary for the Church of the Second Chance, which was a pacifist religion.

Philip K. Dick's 1962 science fiction alternate history novel The Man in the High Castle mentions Göring, who, by 1962 is aging, morbidly obese, and the subject of much rumor and speculation regarding his indulgent lifestyle (which is seen by some as akin to that of a corrupt Roman emperor). He resides in his large estate within the Alps. Göring also appears as a character in Dick's 1964 novel The Simulacra, which is set in a fictional America of the late 21st century. A time machine is used to pluck Göring out of 1944 and deposit him in the novel's "present" (his and our future).

Neal Stephenson's 1999 novel Cryptonomicon includes a florid portrait of the Reichsmarschall.

Göring, along with Adolf Hitler, was an early foe of Captain America.

Göring is represented by the character Emmanuel Giri in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht. The play is a parody of the rise of Hitler, largely written in exile (1941), with various scenes added afterwards. It has been translated into English by Ralph Manheim and published by Methuen modern plays.

More humorously, the character of "General Hering" stands in for Göring in Charlie Chaplin's 1940 film The Great Dictator.

In the BBC sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf, Göring is denounced on multiple occasions.

In The Winds of War, the pre-war half of Herman Wouk's pair of epic World War Two historical novels, the main character, a naval attaché in 1939 Berlin, attends a party at Göring's Carinhall palace and translates during a meeting between a secret American envoy, Göring, Ribbentrop and Hitler. Göring is described as grotesquely obese and dressed in ludicrous jewels and finery. Hitler is also described playing with Göring's young daughter before the meeting.

In the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Herr Meets Hare", Hermann Goring was depicted as a hunter trying to kill Bugs Bunny. Bugs tricks him by dressing up as Adolf Hitler in one scene.

The Daily Show in one sketch stated that the Republicans defeat in the 2006 Congressional elections was due to a number of Congressional scandals, including one GOP Congressmen actually having been discovered to be Hermann Göring.

In the Donald Duck cartoon Der Fuehrer's Face, Göring is marching with other Nazi figures in a procession at the beginning of the episode, who intrude Donald Duck in his sleep.

In A Matter of Honor by Jeffrey Archer, Hermann Göring's suicide is the cause of Adam Scott's father's downfall, as he was guarding Göring at the time. He is also the one who left the Czar's Icon to Scott.

[edit] Books about Göring

  • Frischauer, Willi (1951). The Rise and Fall of Hermann Goering. Ballantine Books. 
  • Excerpt from Germany Reborn, by Hermann Göring, 1934
  • Leffland, Ella (1990). The Knight, Death and the Devil. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0688058361. 
  • Maser, Werner (2000). Hitlers janusköpfiger Paladin: die politische Biographie. ISBN 38-6124-509-4. 
  • Mosley, Leonard (1974). The Reich Marshal: A Biography of Hermann Goering. New York: Dell. 
  • Overy, Richard J. (1984). Goering: The Iron Man. London: Routledge. 

[edit] Trivia

  • Werner G. Goering, Goering's American-born nephew, flew B-17s over Germany during WWII.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Erich Brandenburg "Die Nachkommen Karls des Grossen" originally published in 1935
  2. ^ Time magazine: "Lady of the Axis" published 24 July 1939.
  3. ^ February, 19, 1933
  4. ^ Göring's letter in German
  5. ^ Speer, Albert: Inside the Third Reich, The Macmillan Company, 1970, p. 605. ISBN 0684829495
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Taylor, Telford, The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials (New York: Knopf, 1992).

[edit] External links

Preceded by
Hans Ulrich Klintzsche
Leader of the SA
1923
Succeeded by
Post vacant from 1923-1925
Preceded by
Franz von Papen
(Reichskomissar)
Prime Minister of Prussia
1933–1945
Succeeded by
Prussia abolished
 
German Field Marshals (Generalfeldmarschall) of World War II (in alphabetical order)

Werner von Blomberg | Fedor von Bock | Walther von Brauchitsch | Ernst Busch | Hermann Göring | Robert Ritter von Greim | Wilhelm Keitel | Albert Kesselring | Ewald von Kleist | Günther von Kluge | Georg von Küchler | Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb | Wilhelm List | Erich von Manstein |Erhard Milch | Walter Model | Friedrich Paulus | Walther von Reichenau | Wolfram von Richthofen | Erwin Rommel | Gerd von Rundstedt | Ferdinand Schörner | Hugo Sperrle | Maximilian von Weichs | Erwin von Witzleben

Honorary: Eduard von Böhm-Ermolli

 
German Grand Admirals (Großadmiral) of World War II

Erich Raeder | Karl Dönitz