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Leaders of the Third Reich

Hermann Wilhelm Göring

Göring was born on 12 January, 1893 in Bavaria. His father Heinrich Göring had been the first Governor-General of the German protectorate of South West Africa Namibia, and a cavalry officer. His mother Franziska Tiefenbrunn came from a Bavarian working class family.

At a young age he was sent to a boarding school to prepare himself for military college and then entrance to the Imperial German Army.

He initially served with an infantry regiment in World War 1, but then transferred to the new air combat group of the Army. By the end of the war he had 22 confirmed “kills”, had been made commander of the famed “Flying Circus”; and been awarded many medals including the “The Blue Max”.

Göring became a member of the Nazi Party in 1922 and took over leadership of the Sturmabteilung (SA). Göring was with Hitler in the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich on 9 November 1923. While marching beside Hitler at the march was broken up by gunfire, and consequently Göring was seriously wounded.

Deemed a wanted man he escaped to Austria and then later travelled to Sweden and Italy, although now he had become addicted to morphine

In 1933 he was welcomed back in Germany and Goring was given the position of Prussian Interior Minister, that allowed him to take control of the largest police force in Germany, and shortly later helped the organisation of the feared Gestapo.

Goring became committed with Heinrich Himmler the leader of the SS (Schutzstaffel) to help crush the leadership of the Nazi SA (Sturmabteilung) organization. Once this was achieved Göring and Himmler never totally trusted each other.

Göring very much enjoyed the wealth and offices that had been bestowed upon him and some of his favorite offices included being head of both the hunting and forestry organisations.

He was also very fond of edged weapons to include daggers and swords. Period images have shown him wearing the 1934 pattern Fliegerschwert (Luftwaffe Sword), a 2nd pattern Luftwaffe Generals Sword (Fligerdegen), a number of unique presentation swords/daggers presented by European and domestic dignitaries as well as the well know “Wedding Sword”.

Apart from swords/degens/daggers, he also enjoyed high quality items such as cars, uniforms, arts and antiques.

In 1936, Göring at Hitler’s direction sent aircraft along with supporting air and ground crew crew, to assist the Nationalists in Spain.

By 1939 the Luftwaffe was one of the most advanced and powerful air forces in the world that had learnt a lot of lessons form the Spanish campaign.

From the early successes in the early years of World War 2, German citizens and their cities were being bombed, a fact that Göring could not hide from. Also the failure of the Luftwaffe to destroy the RAF at the Battle Of Britain, caused doubt to be formed in the minds of the Third Reich military structure.

By the end of the Stalingrad disaster where the encircled men of the 6th Army in Russia were supposed to be supplied by the Luftwaffe, but were eventually forced to surrender due to lack of food and ammunition; Göring’s prestige in the eyes of Hitler had waned irrecoverably.

By the nearing of the end of the War, Göring left Berlin with many wagon loads of looted treasures for the relative safety of the Berchtesgaden, an alpine area that partially remains today.

With total confusion on Berlin, Hitler was angered by Göring making an assumed suggestion that he should take over what was left of the Third Reich, and therefore ordered the SS bodyguard at Berchtesgaden to kill Göring

Göring surrendered on 9 May 1945 in Bavaria, and therefore faced the Nuremberg Trials.

Although well able to defend himself, he was found guilty and to be sentenced to death by hanging due to his role as a military and political leader that directly and indirectly led to involvement in slave labour programs.

Göring made an appeal, offering to accept the court’s death sentence if he were shot as a soldier, but the court refused.

The night before he was due to be hanged Göring committed suicide using potassium cyanide.

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