Tuesday, September 28, 2010

herman goering

Hermann Goering

The military is a career that awards hard work and courage.  To move up in the ranks you must be determined, self-motivated, and willing.  Some people drop out quickly; many others only serve a term, however there are the few that go beyond that, making the military their livelihood.  As an infantryman, pilot, general and leader, Hermann Goering’s military career is defiantly one of the most successful examples of the ideal soldier.
            January 12, 1893 at the Marienbad sanatorium, Goering was born to Heinrich Goering and Franziska Tiefenbrunn.  His mother, Fanziska, was a Bavarian peasant and Heinrich’s second wife.  Heinrich was the first governor-general of the German territory of South Africa.  (Where Namibia is today) This post obviously brought Heinrich away from his family for months at a time, therefore Hermann Goering saw very little of his father. 
            With the absence of his dad, Goering was greatly influenced by his godfather, Ritter von Epenstein.  Von Epenstein is considered Goering's major father figure throughout his life.  Ethnically, Von Epenstein was a Jew, however he was a practicing Christian.  Growing up with a Jew, Goering was critical of anti-Semitism, greatly contrasting his actions as a Nazi.[1] Paid for by von Epenstein, Hermann was sent to a prestigious and expensive boarding school, which began a long stint of schooling.  He later enrolled in a cadet institute at Karlsruhe.  Finally, he joined a military college at Berlin-Lichterfelde.
            These preparations made him an easy pick up for the Prussian military.  On the 22nd of June 1912, Goering was enlisted to the Prinz Wilhelm regiment, 112th infantry.  He served in the Vosges area, but was hospitalized with rheumatism, due to the damp trenches.  This hospitalization might not have been a bad thing; in fact it is the very reason Goering was part of the Luftstreitkrafte (air force).  His friend, Bruno Loerzer met him in the hospital and convinced him to apply.  Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful; Goering’s application was turned down.
            Like most military men, a simple ‘no’ wouldn’t stop Goering.  He used a backdoor way of joining the air force: he observed for Loerzer in his FFA 25.[2] The punishment for this transfer was 3 weeks confinement to barracks, however it was never administered.  By the time he was caught his application to the crown princes 5th army.[3] They flew bombing missions and ran reconnaissance.  Although he was still an observer for Loerzer, they both got awarded the Iron Cross first class by the crown prince.  This marked the end of Goering's pilot training; he was soon to be a full-fledged pilot.

            Becoming a pilot began a short period of unprecedented and extreme success for Goering.  With two victories under his belt from observing, Goering was posted into the FFA25 in October 1915.  As a pilot, his first kill occurred on the 16th of November 1915.  Later he was assigned to Jagstaffel 5 in February 1917, but was quickly promoted and assigned to command Jasta 27 on May 1917.  Together with Jastas 5, 26, and 27 he got 21 air victories.  He also had 22 confirmed kills.[4] He was said to also have been a good competitor.  "It was part of Goering's creed to admire a good enemy”[5] With the traits of a good competitor, and the skill of an amazing soldier, it isn’t hard to imagine that Goering was dissatisfied by the German defeat.  As a loyal German, when told that he would have to give his planes to the allies he and his men crashed them.[6] To him the German surrender was “a betrayal”.
            After the First World War, Goering stayed in aviation.  For a while he worked for a Swedish airline, however he was quick to learn that his place was in the military.  He Applied to Reichswehr, Germany’s peaceful army after the war.  Just like before, he rose through the ranks.  By 1933 he was a General Major, and by 1935 he was a General Lieutenant.  Late in 1935, Goering was made the general of the Luftwaffe; soon to be one of the most powerful air forces in the world. 
            The Luftwaffe was precarious in its creation.  The Treaty of Versailles banned anything like the Luftwaffe, however, Goering was the head of the Civil Air Transport.  Their job was to screen for excess military aviary machines, so he looked the other way whenever the Luftwaffe came into question.  When Hitler took the treaty away, the Luftwaffe was revealed, with Goering as the field marshal.  This made Goering the highest-ranking officer in Germany.[7] Also, the Luftwaffe was the strongest weapon Germany had at the beginning of World War Two, a valuable resource.  By 1939 the Luftwaffe was one of the most powerful air forces in the world.
            In 1922 Goering joined one of the most powerful political parties of the day, Nazism.  His attitude to the party he later said was, “political love at first sight”.  Very quickly he rose in the ranks of the Nazi regime and took leadership of the Sturmabteilung, also called brownshirts or stormtroopers.  They were a major part in Hitler’s rise to power, a small regiment assigned to protect Hitler from revenge attacks, by preemptive strike or reaction.  Not only did Goering rise in the Nazi party, but also with Hitler.  After having associated with Goering, Hitler accounted his experience thus, “I liked him.  I made him the head of my S.A.  He is the only one of its heads that ran the S.A.  properly.  I gave him a disheveled rabble.  In a very short time he had organized a division of 11,000 men.[8] Goering was with the Nazi leader during the beer hall Putsch, the unsuccessful coup d’etat by the Nazis. 
            Goering was a key component in later Nazi affairs.  He was a driving force in the Gleichschaltung (forceful establishment of Nazi dictatorship).  By banning newspapers that were spouting negative propaganda, and using his secret police “the Gestapo” Goering made it possible for the Gleichschaltung to happen.  Goering was the head of the Forschungsamt, which monitored telephones.  Goering also led the Anschluss, which required political brazenness the likes of Danton or Bismarck.  Goering contacted Schuschnigg (The Austrian Chancellor), and stated his intent to annex Austria.  With the threat of war and major skills in intimidation, the Germans walked into Austria without resistance.
            The beginning of World War Two brought Goering a lot of power, money and success.  September 1st, 1939 Hitler declared Goering his successor if he was unable to fulfill his duties.  This made Goering Hitler’s right hand man.  The Luftwaffe was extremely successful in the beginning of the war, beating polish air forces in 2 weeks.  “Leave it to my Luftwaffe” was Goering's go-to line when good news came in, and when a problem needed solved that’s exactly what he would do: leave it to his Luftwaffe.  On July 19, 1940 Hitler made Goering Reichsmarschall des Grossdeutschen Reiches (Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich), which made him higher ranking than ell the other
Army commanders.  On September 30th, 1939 Goering was awarded with the knights cross of the iron cross.
            The latter parts of World War Two were horrible for Goering, he lost his dignity, his position, and his rank.  The British were Goering's antithesis throughout the entire war, even with his Luftwaffe.  Goering promised Hitler victory over the British, however it was not so.  Hitler saw his first loss; ‘leave it to my Luftwaffe’ wasn’t good enough anymore.  It was a similar story in the bomb war, in the beginning; Goering was so confident that he said, “The Ruhr will not be subjected to a single bomb.  If an enemy bomber reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Hermann Goering: you can call me Meier!”[9] Again the British set Goering straight.  Two cities were destroyed completely by bombings, and many others were damaged.  Goering's bomb sirens were starting to be known as “Meier’s trumpets” ", or "Meier's hunting horns."
            The end of the war was Goering's death sentence.  Goering was told that he was to negotiate the peace treaty, because Hitler was unable to do so.  Being cautious, he telegraphed Hitler asking – ‘should I take power over the Reich? If you do not respond by 10 pm I will assume that you are incapacitated and I will assume control’ however the telegraph was not taken lightly.  Instead it was seen as a coup d’etat and Goering was arrested on April 25, 1945.  Hitler had his ranks stripped away and his position of power removed.  His Trial looked good in the beginning, a quick tongue, and a few loyal friends seemed to be just enough to get Goering out of the death sentence, however it fell short.  He was sentenced to death by hanging.  When he asked to be shot like a soldier, instead of hung like a common criminal, he was turned down.  October 15th, 1946, the day before he was to be hanged, Goering committed suicide by ingesting potassium cyanide pills.[10] He died a wealthy, fat, and successful man, just one who fell apart in the end.
            Many choose the Military as a job, few make it a career.  To be successful you have to be a courageous, skilled, hard working soldier.  Hermann Goering’s military career was a successful one.  He ended his life an infantryman, pilot, general, leader, and politician.  He was wealthy and donned coveted medals such as the Pour le Me’rit.  He even created his own flag.  Herman Goering's Military career is the perfect example for the ideal soldier. 

[1] When he was little it has been said that Goering wrote a paper to his very anti-Semitic schoolmaster, fighting for the Jews.   He was hit with a ruler so many times that he had to go to the hospital to they could drain the blood blisters on his hands.
[2] Feld flieger abteilung 25
[3] "Though it seems that they had to steal a plane in order to qualify."- Manvell, Roger (2006).   Goering.   London: Greenhill Books.   p.   29.   ISBN 1853676128.
[4] German kills were scored much more strictly than any other country.   Kills were only awarded to one person, except in the case of a dual seated plane, where they would award a point to the observer.   If a group of planes took an enemy plane down, the victory was awarded to the group, which had their own separate score.   Every kill needed verification.   This was easy if the plane landed on friendly soil, because the kill could be seen on the ground, however over enemy soil it would have needed to be observed by a fellow pilot or an observer.   Once verified the kill would be sent to the commander who would look it over for authenticity, from then on it would be shaken up the ranks, all the way to the top.   If all went well, then the point would be awarded.   This process of scoring made sure each kill was appreciated to its fullest extent, greatly raising morale whenever one came in.   Other countries were much less strict.   Britain, for instance, would award kills made by groups to every member who was there, and needed much less verification for the point to be awarded.   Enemy planes that were forced to land or fly away were also awarded a point.   In France, they didn’t start counting kills until much later in the war.   The stringency that was the scoring system for Germany was unique from the rest of the world.
[5] One story shows this in particular.   Called “The Rise and Fall of Hermann Goering” it begins in 1917.   After a long dogfight, Goering shot down the Austrian Frank Slee.   Herman landed to meet his opponent and gave him his iron cross.   The memento was passed to a friend who died with on the beaches of Normandy.- Manvell, Roger (2006).   Goering.   London: Greenhill Books.   p.   37.   ISBN 1853676128
[6] “If Germany cant have these planes no one can!”
[7] The Luftwaffe did have their own ground forces, however the domination of aviary significance drove the infantry out of the Luftwaffe.   These men became Goering's own personal army, paid for by the government.
[8] Hitler, Adolf (1988).   Hitler's Table Talk, 1941–1944.   Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press.   p.   168.   ISBN 0192851802.
[9] A common German saying.   Akin to saying, “if I can’t do this, my name isn’t Charlie!” Meier is one of the most common names in Germany.
[10] The day he was to be hanged, they laid his body by the gallows so the people knew he had died.

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