Hermann Göring, the “bon vivant” Nazi who founded the Gestapo

Hermann Göring is possibly one of the most famous and also the most hated characters of Nazism. The supreme commander of the Luftwaffe, the feared German air force, combined in equal parts inordinate ambition with his passion for art (in addition to his well-known orgies). goering He was a member of the National Socialist party since 1922, and Adolph Hitler put him in charge of the fearsome Assault Sections (SA). He also actively participated together with the Nazi leader in his failed coup, the famous putschwhich started in a Munich brewery in 1923.

His invaluable help was vital to the rise to power of Adolf Hitler who, in return, offered him the post of Prussian Minister of the Interior in 1933. Hermann Göring is also responsible for the creation of the fearsome Gestapo and the construction of the first concentration camps, which were used as a weapon of repression against the Jews and against anyone the party considered a danger to the State. Subsequently He was appointed Minister of the Air and that position allowed him to be the promoter of one of the most important weapons of the German army in the early years of the Second World War: the mighty Luftwaffe.

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Born January 12, 1893 in RosenheimBavaria, Hermann Wilhelm Göring was the fourth of five children that Heinrich Ernst Göring, a former cavalry officer and former Governor General of the German Protectorate of South West Africa (present-day Namibia) had with his second wife, Franziska Tiefenbrunn. His godfather was Hermann Epenstein, a wealthy Jewish doctor and businessman. whom his father had met during his stay in Africa. When the Göring family returned to Germany, Epenstein offered them a castle of his own near Nuremberg where they could live comfortably, since Heinrich’s salary was not enough to maintain the lifestyle they were used to (it was then that the Göring’s mother became Epenstein’s mistress). The young Hermann very early showed interest in a military career; From a very young age he liked to dress in the Boer uniform that his father had given him. Thus, at the age of sixteen, the young man entered a military academy in Lichterfelde, in Berlin, where he graduated with honors.

The young Hermann very early showed interest in a military career; From a very young age he liked to dress in the Boer uniform that his father had given him.

imagen de hermann goring con 14

Photograph of Hermann Göring when he was 14 years old dressed in military uniform.

Photo: German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv)

Hermann Goring joined the embryonic German air force becomingon the death of the national hero Manfred von Richthofen, the famous Red Baron, in commander of the famous squadron the Flying Circus. Göring was awarded several Iron Crosses and different distinctions during the First World War. Accustomed to leading a martial life, when the conflict ended, and after the capitulation of Germany, Göring’s return to civilian life was, like that of many others, traumatic. Despite holding the honorary rank of captain, he decided to leave the country and he worked for a time as a commercial pilot in Denmark and Sweden. At that time he met the Swedish Baroness Carin von Kantzow, who separated from her husband to marry him on February 3, 1923.

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Göring and the “nonsense” of Nazism

Adolf Hitler would enter the life of Hermann Göring in 1921. He joined the then still minority National Socialist German Workers Party at the end of 1922. As he himself would later admit, he did not join Nazism because of its ideology. (“those nonsense never interested me”), but for his fighting spirit (“the struggle itself was my ideology”). As a former army officer, Hitler gave Göring command of the fearsome Stormtroopers (SA) and also participated in the failed coup (putsch) of November 1923. Göring was wounded in the hip in the subsequent clashes, and after the authorities ordered his arrest he escaped to Austria from where he was able to reach Sweden. There he would later be admitted to a sanatorium due to his addiction to morphine, which he took to calm the terrible pain caused by his wounds.

As a former army officer, he was given command of the fearsome Storm Troopers (SA) and took part in the failed putsch of November 1923.

imagen de hermann goring tomada en 1918 cuando era piloto de

Image of Hermann Göring taken in 1918 when he was a fighter pilot.

Photo: PS

During his stay in Sweden, Göring moved away from the Nazi party, something that was frowned upon by several of its members and his reincorporation would not take place until his contacts in German industry led him back to the party leadership. In 1928 he held one of the twelve seats won by the Nazis in the elections, becoming one of its leaders thanks to his undeniable diplomatic skills and his contacts in certain social circles. But despite the power that Göring was achieving within the party, Hitler never gave him back the long-awaited control of the SA, which he gave to his eternal rival, Ernst Röhm. In any case, Göring took advantage of his new position as interior minister in Prussia to “Nazify” the Prussian police with the addition of some members of the SA, SS and Stalhelma nationalist paramilitary organization dedicated to persecuting the opposition and interning its members in the first concentration camps. In the end, that police group would end up becoming something much more powerful: the Gestapothe secret police of Nazism.

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The Lord of the Luftwaffe

Over time, Goring (who had been widowed from Carin in 1931 and would contract a new marriage in 1934 with the actress Emma Sonnemann) became Hitler’s most loyal supporterand he accumulated positions almost without ceasing: he was Reich commissioner for aviation and head of the newly created German air force, the Luftwaffe. Göring also participated in the purge of the leaders of the SA in June 1934, year that he handed over his position as head of Reich security to Heinrich Himmler, with which he thought to free himself from his responsibilities in the Gestapo and in the management of concentration camps. Curiously, and despite his somber character, Göring was one of the most popular leaders of the Nazi party and not only among the population, but also among ambassadors and foreign diplomats. There is no doubt that he was a man who knew how to take advantage of the situation, and used his position to enrich himself and to lead the economic plunder of the Jews and all the territories that fell under the German yoke.

Göring was one of the most popular leaders of the Nazi party and not only among the population, but also among ambassadors and foreign diplomats.

ficha policial de hermann goring tras su arresto por los

Hermann Göring’s mugshot after his arrest by the allies.

Photo: PS

Yet while Göring may have been sincere in wanting to avoid or postpone war, as his failed 1939 negotiations with a group of British businessmen led by the Swedish industrialist Birger Dahlerus seem to suggest, it would be the Luftwaffe that he directed the force that would crush the Polish resistance and those of the rest of the conquered countries. But despite his apparent strength, Göring was not prepared to withstand the rigors of war, much less to oppose Hitler when he insisted on continuing with bombers instead of manufacturing fighter planes, which is what Göring wanted. Thus, the capacity of the Luftwaffe was diminishing as Hitler’s battle fronts were expanding, and Göring definitely lost his prestige when the Luftwaffe failed to win the Battle of Britain or when it was unable to prevent the Allied bombing of Germany.

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Herman Göring’s addiction

Finally, withdrawn from political life as much as Hitler allowed him, Göring dedicated himself to enjoying a life of luxury, the works of art looted from the Jews and the museums of the occupied cities, and also the many gifts he received. of those who sought his favors. But his health suffered. His increasing obesity was caused by a hormonal disease and an excessive consumption of codeine tablets. (a mild derivative of morphine), to which he was addicted. This dangerous addiction, from which he would have tried to detox on several occasions throughout his life, would end up affecting both his character and his physical appearance. Sometimes he was elated and other times depressed, he was self-centered and vain and dressed extravagantly, wearing decorations and ornate jewelry. Despite everything, Hitler continued to trust him and named him his successor in 1939 as well as Reichsmarschall des Grossdeutschen Reiches (Marshal of the Empire) in 1940.

His increasing obesity was caused by a hormonal disease and an excessive consumption of codeine tablets.

hermann goring en el banquillo de los acusados de

Hermann Göring in the Nuremberg prisoner’s dock.

Photo: Cordon Press

At the end of the war, when the Soviet troops were about to enter Berlin and after Hitler’s suicide, Göring expected to be treated by the Americans with the respect that came with his position, but it would not be so. When he was finally cured of his addiction during his captivity while awaiting trial as a war criminal, Göring defended himself skillfully in front of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. His megalomania made him consider himself the star defendant and a historical figure, and denied any type of complicity in the crimes committed by the Nazis, affirming that everything had been the work of Himmler. But none of that freed him from a death sentence. After hearing the verdict, Göring told the soldier guarding him: “Well, at the end of the day, I take the maximum penalty.” Göring died in Nuremberg prison on October 15, 1946., the night before the sentence was completed, after ingesting a cyanide capsule. How did the Nazi leader get that capsule? That is something that still remains a mystery.

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Hermann Göring, the “bon vivant” Nazi who founded the Gestapo

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