Hermann Wilhelm Göring (or Goering; German ; 12 January 1893 – 15 October 1946), was a German politician, military leader, and 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”.
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 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. 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.
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.
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Hermann Göring in white tunic.
Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring at the Demonstration of the Hetzer.
Hermann Göring, Wilhelm Keitel, Karl Dönitz, Heinrich Himmler, and Adolf Hitler.
Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring at Führerhauptquartier.
Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring with his Luftwaffe and Italian officers.
Hermann Göring on what appears to be a subsequent day after his surrendered, sitting down with Major Paul Kubala from U.S. forces.
Göring at the Nuremberg Trials.
Edda and her mother receive a letter from Herman during the Nuremburg Trials.
Hermann Göring in hunting uniform.
Modern Day Photos
Gold-plated Walther PPK semiautomatic pistol was once owned by notorious Nazi leader Hermann Göring up for bid.
Göring’s uniform on display at the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr.
Göring’s Reichsmarschall baton and Smith & Wesson revolver. To the left is the silver-bound guest book from Carinhall, West Point Museum.
Standard, on display at the Musée de la Guerre in Les Invalides, Paris.
Göring’s July 1941 letter to Reinhard Heydrich.
Black and White Photos
Nazi leader Hermann Göring, the right hand man of Adolf Hitler, collected jewelry, art and other precious objects looted from Jews during the Holocaust.
Göring in 1907, at about age 14.
Göring in 1932, wearing the Pour le Mérite.
Hermann Goring with a lion cub.
Göring (left) stands in front of Hitler at a Nazi rally in Nuremberg (c. 1928).
Göring in Berlin, 1937.
The architects of the purge: Hitler, Göring, Goebbels, and Hess. Only Himmler and Heydrich are missing.
Schirach (right) with Hitler, Bormann and Göring at the Obersalzberg.
Bouhler with Adolf Hitler, Baldur von Schirach, Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Göring; Munich, October 1938.
Hitler and Goring.
Adolf Hitler awards Hanna Reitsch the Iron Cross 2nd Class in March 1941.
Hitler, President of the Croatian Independent State Ante Pavelic and Hermann Goering in Tyskland, 1941.
Hitler meeting Reich Commissioner Robert Ley, automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche and Reichsminister Hermann Göring at the Wolfschanze in 1942.
Göring with Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer, 10 August 1943.
The Führer, Adolf Hitler, nursing a sore arm after an attempt on his life on July 20, 1944. With him are (from left) Wilhelm Keitel, armed forces chief of staff; Hermann Göring, air force commander in chief; and Martin Bormann, Hitler’s personal secretary.
Hermann Göring speaking at Lent’s funeral.
Herman Goring inspecting the Wolf’s Lair conference room soon after the explosion.
Eddy and Edda at Nuremburg for the trials.
Göring (first row, far left) at the Nuremberg Trials.
Göring at the Nuremberg Trials.
Some of the defendants at Nuremberg. Front row, from left to right: Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel. Back row from left to right: Karl Döwnitz, Erich Raeder, Baldur von Schirach, Fritz Sauckel, Alfred Jodl.