Skip to content

Hermann Göring

Herman Goring

1893-1946

Hermann Wilhelm Göring was a member of the Nazi Party from its earliest days. He was wounded in 1923 during the failed coup known as the Beer Hall Putsch. He became addicted to morphine after being treated with the drug for his injuries. Later he helped Hitler take power in 1933, and became the second-most powerful man in Germany. He founded the Gestapo in 1933, and later gave command of it to Heinrich Himmler. Göring was appointed commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force) in 1935. In 1941, Hitler promoted him to the rank of Reichsmarschall, which made him senior to all other  commanders. Shortly after, Hitler designated him as his successor.

In 1942, Göring’s standing with Hitler diminished when the Luftwaffe failed to fulfill its commitments and the German war effort was failing. At that time Göring diverted his attentions from the military and focused on the acquisition of property and artwork most of which was stolen from Jewish victims of the Holocaust. In 1945, informed that Hitler intended to commit suicide, Göring sent a telegram to Hitler requesting permission to assume control of the Reich. Hitler considered that an act of treason, 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. He cheated the hangman by ingesting cyanide the night before the sentence was to be carried out.