Hermann Goering

By: Adrian Caruana 10L

Hermann Goering (1893–1946) was the highest-ranking Nazi official tried at Nuremberg. A decorated fighter pilot during World War I, Goering joined the Nazi party in 1923 in which he played a prominent role in organizing the Nazi police state in Germany and established concentration camps for the "corrective treatment" of individuals.

Personal/Family History

Goering was born (January 12, 1893) in Rosenheim, Bavaria. His father Heinrich Ernst Goering was a professional soldier who rose to be the first governor of German West Africa. His mother Franziska Tiefenbrunn came from a peasant family. Hermann Goering was one of five children; his brothers were Albert and Karl and his sisters were Olga and Paula. While anti-Semitism became widespread in Germany during that time, his parents were not anti-Semitic.
Goering grew up in friends' homes and in military schools while his parents were away. Historians and psycho-analysts have attributed Goering's adult evil to his childhood without parental love. Goering was sent to boarding school at Ansbach, Franconia and then attended the cadet institutes at Karlsruhe and the military college at Berlin. Though he had a reckless childhood it is said that he fit into the rigid structure of military life.

Involvement in WW1

Goering entered the army in 1914 as an Infantry Lieutenant, before being transferred to the air force as a combat pilot in which he served as a pilot and acquired the status of a fighter ace, shooting down 22 enemy aircraft. He won the Iron Cross, First Class, for reconnaissance work and ended the war a much decorated pilot and war hero.

Wednesday, Jan. 3rd 1923 at 12am


After the war, Göring worked as a commercial pilot in Denmark and Sweden, where he met Swedish Carin von Kantzow, who promptly divorced her estranged husband and married Göring in January 1923. In delicate health, she had died of tuberculosis in 1931.

Their activities in the 1930s

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

Relationship with Hitler

In the 1920's Goering met Adolf Hitler and eventually found his way into the inner circles of Nazi power to became a leader of the Nazi Party in the 1930's. After gaining power in Germany, Hitler appointed Hermann Goering as minister of aviation (Reichsluftfahrtminister), and commander-in-chief of the air force (Luftwaffe). In 1936 he gained virtually dictatorial control over the German economy. He became the second most powerful man in the Third Reich and was awarded the rank of Reichsmarschall, outranking all field marshals in German armed forces. In 1938, it was Goering who ordered the elimination of Jews from the German economy, and their exclusion from society.

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In 1934, Goering's Gestapo and the Nazis' parliamentary regiments carried out what has become known as the "Night of the Long Knives," in which 85 members of the political opposition were assassinated to consolidate Nazi power and quieting any further dissent. Goering's association with Hitler helped him rise to power alongside the Führer.

Involvement with WW2

Goering learned that Hitler had publicly admitted in Berlin that the war is lost. He was scared that Martin Bormann (Hitler’s personal secretary) will take power of the country if Hitler killed himself, so he activated a plan to takeover. This plan was based on the fact that Hitler, back in 1941, appointed Goering as his successor in case he dies or becomes unable to perform his duties. Goering, sent to Berlin a telegram in which he said that he was ready to take over the power from Hitler in case it was necessary. He added that if the wire is not responded by 22:00 on that day, he will take over the position of Reich leader. Martin Bormann intercepted the telegram, and presented it to Hitler as if Goering had betrayed the Führer. Goering was dismissed and was shortly arrested. Hitler appointed Goebbels as the new chancellor, and Admiral Donitz as his successor as head of state.

What happened to them after the war

While awaiting trial as a war criminal, Goering defended himself before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg which he was charged on all four counts (crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity). Goering denied any involvement in the regime's but was condemned to death nonetheless. He pleaded to be shot instead of hanged, but the tribunal refused his request. On October 15, 1946, the night that his execution was ordered—and a year and a half after Adolf Hitler had committed suicide in his own bunker—Hermann Goering took a cyanide capsule and died in his cell.