Who was Hermann Göring, the Nazi criminal who created the Gestapo and the concentration camps – La Tercera

He opted for a capsule to end his days. On the night of October 15, 1946, who was designated in life as the successor of Adolf Hitler, and commander of the Luftwaffe, ingested a cyanide pill hours before the day on which, according to the sentence of the Nuremberg court, he should die on the gallows

In the trials held in the German city after the end of World War II, Göring faced a series of criminal charges for the acts he committed in the German high leadership of those years. Attention was focused on him for having been one of the highest and most brutal leaders of Nazi Germany.

Unexpectedly, Göring gained prominence in the last hours in our country, after El Mercurio published a profile of him that triggered the claims of the Jewish community and the German embassy in Chile, as well as articles on the case in various European media. like The Guardian.

In his history, he had served as an aviator during the First World War, and his role was awarded with the Iron Cross, first class, in 1915. After the end of the conflict, and as it happened to several unemployed veterans who wandered without much future , and without being able to work in anything other than carrying weapons, he had joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, the Nazi party, in 1922. From there he began an ascending career. Like most of those who were active in the community, he was persecuted after the failed brewery putsch in 1923, and had to go into exile. But with the release of Hitler, the following year, he returned to his country.

Hitler and Goring.

With the coming to power of the Nazi party in 1933, Göring first held the position of Minister of the Interior of Prussia. It was not minor, since it was the largest state of those that made up Germany. Upon taking office on January 31, 1933, he immediately showed his teeth. “Göring gathered all the employees of his ministry for an introductory harangue. Reminding them that his father had been a high-ranking public official, he spoke of the ‘new patriotic spirit’ that they must represent, telling them that his first duty was to eradicate any trace of communism among them. He invited whoever he thought could not work with him to resign at that time, ”says Anthony Read in his book The Devil’s Disciples – Hitler’s Inner Circle (Ocean, 2003).

From that position, Göring began to consolidate an idea: to form an auxiliary police force, which would be made up of members of the SA, the SS and the Stalhelm. “Göring’s new force would be independent of the judicial police, would respond solely to his orders, and would have the power to perform ‘executive functions’ such as searches and arrests. He called it the Geheime Staatspolizei, (Federal Secret Police), a name that, in the usual German way, was contracted into Gestapo,” explains Read.

With the Gestapo, Göring was increasing his power. In fact, as he himself indicated in a document where he gave the orientations to the new body -which Read cites- the idea was simply to repress, even using bullets, whenever and however. “The activities of organizations hostile to the State must be stopped with the most energetic measures. With terrorism and communist attacks there must be no consideration and, when necessary, revolvers must be used without considering the consequences. Police officers who fire their revolvers in the line of duty will be protected by me regardless of the consequences of using their weapons. Instead, officers who refrain from doing so, by failing to consider the consequences, need to know that disciplinary action will be taken against them. […]. No agent should lose sight of the fact that not adopting an action is more shameful than making mistakes in its application”.

The effectiveness of the Gestapo in the eyes of Hitler was such that it soon began to operate not only in Prussia, but throughout Germany. After the burning of the Reichtag (the German Parliament), in February 1933, Hitler suspended constitutional guarantees in pursuit -as he argued- “of national security”. In those days, Göring gave a speech where he defended his repressive ideology: “My measures will not be invalidated by legal considerations. I don’t have to worry about justice; my mission is only to destroy and exterminate. Nothing more! […]. You can be sure that I will use the power of the State and the police to the maximum, my dear communists, so do not draw false conclusions, but the fight to the death, in which my fist will catch you by the neck, I will fight with those who see there: the brown shirts!”

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Hitler and Goring.

Commanding the Gestapo, Göring persecuted opposition to the Nazi regime. But the number was so growing that the prisons and police stations simply could not cope. Given this, it was Göring who proposed a solution, as Read explains in his book. Special jails to house prisoners, as well as ‘concentration camps’. (Konzentrationslager), based on those created by the British in South Africa to contain civilian prisoners during the Anglo-Boer War at the beginning of the century; Years later, Göring would always do his best to point out that, although he had created those fields, it was not he who invented their name.

Strictly speaking, what Göring did was the first step for the infamous concentration and extermination camps, in the face of the so-called “final solution”, the euphemism with which the Nazi regime called the Holocaust. Somehow, he was the one who gave a kind of “structure” to one of the most reprehensible tragedies in modern history.

In his defense before the Nuremberg court, the obese hierarch acknowledged that there were “excesses”, but that he had not ordered them.

“Of course, at the beginning there were excesses; of course innocents were also affected here and there; Of course there were beatings here and there and acts of brutality committed, but compared to everything that has happened in the past and the magnitude of events, this German libertarian revolution is the least bloody and most disciplined of all the revolutions known to the public. history […]. Naturally, I gave instructions that such things were not to happen […]. I always pointed out that those things shouldn’t happen, because it was important to me to win some of those people over to our side and re-educate them.”

Although Göring was not content with just going out to distribute beatings and imprison opponents. It was also necessary to spy on them. To that end, in March 1933 he created the Forschungsamt (Investigation Office), known as the FA. It was an organism that directly listened to telephone calls. “This was one of the most efficient and effective sources of intelligence of the time, since it tapped not only German telephone lines, but also each of the many international cables that crisscrossed the country or passed under its coastal waters, and maintained an obsessive reserve. that was never broken,” says Anthony Read.

The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, had limited Germany’s military capabilities. Among other things, he was not allowed to have a war plane. However, from the beginning, Hitler set out to carry out the complete rearmament of the Armed Forces of the Third Reich.

“On March 10, 1935, Göring announced the existence of a German air force and on March 16 Hitler ordered the implementation of compulsory military service,” explains historian RAC Parker in his book The 20th century: Europe 1918-1945 (21st Century, 2007). Simply put: Nazi Germany was violating the treaty.

Under his command in the Luftwaffe, and with the support of his former comrade-in-arms, Ernst Udet, Göring commissioned the design of a new fighter aircraft, the Stuka, which had an innovation suggested by himself. He “suggested that the psychological effect of the plane would be even greater if it made a more terrifying noise than the howl of its engine as it fell on its prey. Udet agreed to add a siren, so that it ‘roars like a demon out of hell as it swoops down’”.

Already in the Second World War, and even before the conflict, Göring had begun to accumulate works of art as an obsessive. In fact, using his power, he plundered what he could from the property of Jewish citizens. Information from the Art Looting Investigation Unit of the OSS (predecessor of the CIA), indicates that he acquired works of art for himself in the countries occupied by the Axis, although the details of the report are not online.

In 1942, Count Ciano, one of those close to Mussolini, was able to meet with him and in his testimony – quoted in Read’s book – he expressed Göring’s taste for sumptuary objects. “During dinner, Göring hardly spoke of anything other than the jewels he owned. In fact, he wore beautiful rings on his fingers. He explained that he had bought them for a relatively small sum in Holland, after all the jewels were confiscated in Germany. I am told that he plays with his gems like a child with his marbles. During the trip he became nervous, so his assistants brought him a small vase full of diamonds. He put them on the table and counted them, lined them up, shuffled them and was happy again. One of his senior officers said last night: ‘He has two loves: beautiful objects and war.’ Both were expensive hobbies. Arriving at the station, he was wearing a sumptuous sable coat, something between what car drivers wore in 1906 and what a posh prostitute wears to the opera.”

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Göring -thinner- at the Nuremberg trials.

With the advance of World War II, the failure of the Luftwaffe’s operations became apparent. Although he had led a series of bombings, especially in the main English cities (in the middle of the bombing of Liverpool, on October 9, 1940, John Lennon was born, according to Philip Norman’s biography). However, Göring did not mention that the English had good defenses, so he could not completely break them and that soon another fat man, Winston Churchill, would hit him on the chin.

By March 1942, the Royal Air Force (RAF) had carried out a series of bombing raids on German cities, including medieval Lübeck, north of Hamburg, and then on Rostock, Essen, Hamburg and Dortmund. Göring ordered a counteroffensive against the English cities of Exeter, Bath, Canterbury, Norwich, and York.

But on May 31, Göring’s phone rang. Across the line, Adolf Hitler himself began to berate him. The RAF had bombed Cologne, and the reports spoke of 200 or 300 British planes, but Göring lowered the profile and said that there were no more than 60. “However, the true number of attackers had not been in the hundreds, but almost. thousand, as Churchill himself announced in London”, explains Read.

The fact greatly infuriated Hitler, “he personally blamed him for his failure to protect the Reich, complaining to his aide, Nicolaus von Below, that the Luftwaffe had never given anti-aircraft defenses the attention they deserved. ‘That was the first time I heard him criticize Göring,’ Below would later write,” says Read. There would be no turning back, and the fat man lost the Führer’s trust forever.

Already in 1945, with the Soviet invasion of German territory completed and defeat imminent, Hitler took refuge in his bunker in Berlin. Given that, and after a long meditation, Göring decided to take advantage of his condition as number 2 of the Nazi regime and take command. He did so on April 23, 1945, sending the letter to Hitler, arguing that the leader had incapacitated himself to govern by locking himself up. Strictly speaking, he asked her permission to assume the position of Führer of all Germany and remarked that he would act as a substitute. In response, Hitler dismissed him from all charges and sent him to prison.

Days later, on May 5, he was liberated by a Luftwaffe unit, and seeing that there was nothing he could do, he decided to surrender to the United States forces stationed in Radstadt. He was then taken to Nuremberg to stand trial. The charges presented by the prosecution were: conspiracy, waging a war of aggression, war crimes (referring to the looting of works of art and other property) and crimes against humanity, where the concentration camps were framed.

His corpse, like that of Mussolini, was exposed to public ridicule along with the other hanged leaders. He was later cremated and his ashes thrown into the Isar River.

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Who was Hermann Göring, the Nazi criminal who created the Gestapo and the concentration camps – La Tercera


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