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Hermann Göring

(January 12, 1893 - October 15, 1946)

Early Life to Beginning of WWI

  • Born January 12, 1893 in Rosenheim, Upper Bavaria
  • Hermann Wilhelm Göring (named after family friend)
  • Fourth of five children
  • Parents were Heinrich Ernst (d. 1913) and Franziska (Fanny) (d. August 1923) Göring
  • Only a couple of months old, mother weaned him and left him for three years with a surrogate family
  • 1904 sent to boarding school at Ansbach, Franconia
  • Attended the cadet institutes at Karlsruhe and then to the military college at Lichterfelde
  • Given a commission in the Prinz Wilhelm Regiment No. 112

World War I

  • Participated in infantry when World War I began
  • Became ill with rheumatic fever
  • October 1914 became flying observer
  • Received Iron Cross, First Class
  • June 1915 began course to become a pilot
  • October 1915 posted to Jagdstaffel 5
  • Hit by bullet in thigh
  • Summer 1916 sent home on convalescent leave
  • Formally asked Marianne Mauser's father for his approval of marriage - allowed to get secretly engaged
  • November 3, 1916 reported back for duty; attached to Jagdstaffel 26
  • Made commander of a new squadron - Jagdstaffel 27
  • 1917 awarded the Ordre Pour le Merite
  • July 7, 1918 appointed Kommandeur of Jagdgeschwader Freiherr von Richthofen No. 1 (the Red Baron's squadron - the "Flying Circus")
  • Disobeyed orders to disarm the squadron's planes and fly them to the French headquarters at Strasbourg; instead, he sent five planes to France and ordered the rest flown to Darmstadt, Germany and destroyed

End of WWI to 1933

  • Worked at Fokker Aircraft Works for two years
  • Became a stunt pilot and then a commercial pilot for Svenska Lufttraffik in Sweden
  • Met Carin von Kantzow (nee von Fock) while she was married to Captain Nils von Kantzow (Carin also had a son, Thomas, from this marriage)
  • 1922 enrolled in the university at Munich
  • Fall of 1922 heard Hitler speak
  • 1922 joined NSDAP
  • Immediately after oath of allegiance to Hitler (December 1922), Hitler appointed him commander of the SA
  • February 3, 1923 married Carin von Kantzow (she had finally become divorced from her husband)
  • August 1923, mother died
  • November 1923 participated in the Beer Hall Putsch, injured in groin and hip, fled to Austria; became addicted to the morphine that he was given to alleviate the pain from his injuries
  • September 1925 admitted to the Langbro Asylum in Sweden (he says here he kicked his morphine addiction)
  • 1926 returned to Germany after amnesty
  • 1928 elected to Reichstag
  • 1930 reelected to Reichstag
  • October 17, 1931 Carin (wife) died of tuberculosis
  • 1932 became President of the Reichstag

1933 to the End

  • Held many posts including: Reich Minister without Portfolio, Prussian Minister President, Reich Commissioner for Air, and Prussian Minister of the Interior
  • Some believe he was involved with the Reichstag Fire on February 27, 1933
  • March 1, 1935 named Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe (commander in chief of the Air Force)
  • April 10, 1935 married Emmy Sonnemann (1893-1973)
  • Appointed by Hitler as Plenipotentiary for the Implementation of the Four-Year Plan
  • September 1, 1939 Hitler appointed him his first successor
  • June 19, 1940 was made Reichsmarschall (Reich marshal)
  • Began to lose favor with Hitler during the Battle of Britain because of the decreased effectiveness of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force)
  • May 9, 1945 captured by U.S. troops
  • Tried at the Nuremberg Trials
  • Found guilty on all four counts: conspiracy to commit crimes alleged in other counts, crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity
  • October 15, 1946, two hours before his scheduled execution, he committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule he smuggled into prison.

Portrait of Hermann Göring.


Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat.
---Hermann Göring (1936)

I am what I have always been: the last Renaissance man, if I may be allowed to say so.

---Hermann Göring

I joined the party because I was a revolutionary, not because of any ideological nonsense.

---Herman Göring

Pompous and on the verge of ridiculous, he was a mixture of condottiere and sybarite. He was as vain, cunning and brutal as any other follower of Hitler, and yet he was more popular than any of them and for a time actually more popular than Hitler himself.

---Joachim C. Fest in The Face of the Third Reich, Page 111

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