Term Paper: Hermann Goering

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Hermann Goering was the second most important actor during the Third Reich as he was designated to be the successor of Hitler. He was the commander of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, and thus the military relevance of Hermann Goering is strongly connected to the Second World War.

Hermann Goering has played a major part during the Third Reich and he managed to gather several important distinctions during his military and political career. Besides Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, he was President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia, and the second man in the Third Reich, after Hitler. Although he was sentenced to death during the Nuremberg Trials (1945-1946) after he was found guilty for war crimes and crimes against humanity, the historical relevance of Goering's military and political career can not be overlooked.

Goering's involvement in the World Wars and his close relationship with Hitler makes him a character worth analyzing for a better understanding of the World Wars and of the German military machinery during the war. Goering is a highly important figure of the Third Reich, but not just in political terms but also in military ones as he was the commander of one of the world's most impressive air force.

Goering prepared for a military career as he studied at the cadet institutes at Karlsruhe and the military college at Lichterfelde. He joined the Prussian army in 1914 as an infantry Lieutenant, but he was soon transferred to the air force. From here on his military career was filled with success as he eventually became the commander of the air forces and a leading figure during the World Wars.

Goering became a fighter pilot in 1915 but he only managed to make himself noticed in 1917 as an injury kept him away from air for almost a year. However, as he returned as a fighter pilot in 1917, Goering distinguished himself as an air ace during the First World War. He was considered a war hero after the end of the war and he was awarded with several distinctions and medals for managing to win 21 air victories.

On July 7, 1918, Goering was made commander of the Jagdgeschwader 1, a fighter group also known as the JG 1 which was formed during the First World War. The fighter group was made up of four squadrons and was created in 1917 under the command of Manfred von Richthofen. Following his death, Wilhelm Reinhard became the commanding officer until his death when he was replaced by Goering. The JG 1 was known as the Flying Circus because of the bright colors of the airplanes and because they traveled by train to any fighting ground. The JG 1 claimed that during its existence until November 1918 destroyed 644 Allied aircrafts. However, despite the glory of the JG 1, Goering was not very appreciated as a commander because of his well-known arrogance.

As the German army lost the war, Goering was very much affected by his need to surrender. Due to his proud character the surrender of the JG 1 aircrafts to the Allied forces seemed almost unbearable to Goering so he ordered the pilots under his command to land their planes when giving them to the Allied forces as hard as possible, so that they destroy the planes but still save their lives. Such a behavior proves that Goering was very proud and that he had problems dealing with losing.

After the war, Goering briefly worked at Fokker, a Dutch aircraft manufacturer, and at a Swedish airline company named Svenska Lufttrafik. Continuing his military career, Goering joined the Reichswehr, the German army in the interwar period. By 1933, Goering managed to follow his dream of having a successful military career and had risen to the rank of General Major and by 1935 he was appointed General Lieutenant.

Hermann Goering is often described as a man with great ambitions, very arrogant and eager to hold power. His speeches are a proof in this sense. His successes as a military commander are the result of his ambitions to become as powerful as possible in his career.

Goering was named General in the Luftwaffe, the German air force, in 1935 after the creation of the division. While holding this position, Goering managed to accomplish his leading goals as he was head of the air force after serving in several positions during his military career.

Goering did not only have a great military career, but he also managed to become a leading figure of the Nazi Party. He joined the party in 1922 and he was appointed Oberster SA-Fuhrer, the supreme commander of the Sturmabteilung (SA), a paramilitary organization of the German Nazi Party. Goering stepped down as supreme commander and was appointed Lieutenant General. Starting from 1930 Hitler was the Oberster SA-Fuhrer, Goering remaining the second in command.

Following his joining of the Nazi party, Goering became a close person to Hitler and has remained so until his death. Goering's ambition, organizational skills and leading abilities made a good impression on Hitler, proof being the important positions held by Goring during Hitler's rule.

Hermann Goering was a very strong leader with good organizational skills. However, the SA's march during the Beer Hall Putsch on November 9,1923, was a failure and both Goering and Hitler ended up with injuries. Due to the injuries suffered during this fight (a bullet wound), Goering remains with a morphine addiction. Due to this morphine addiction he even ends up in an asylum.

Following the Beer Hall Putsch, Goering becomes a wanted man in Germany and he manages to get out of the country and stay out until the autumn of 1927. In 1928 Goering becomes a member of the Reichstag and due to his appurtenance and leading position becomes the parliament's president from 1932 to 1933. Goering is one of the leading figures of the Nazi dictatorship as he played a very important part in the establishment of the Nazi totalitarianism, process also known as the Gleichschaltung.

Goering's part in the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship can not be overlooked. He was a minister in various key positions in the Reich and in Prussia as well and he played a very important part in the military build-up before the war. One of the most important positions he served in, as head of the Luftwaffe, was given to him in 1935, after successfully accomplishing his role as one of the important figures of the Reich. In fact, Goering managed to gain so much power that Hitler officially appointed him as his successor y a decree on June 19, 1940 and promoted him as Reichsmarschall, the greatest military rank in the Reich. In fact, this rank was especially created for Goering and was intended to make him commander over Army and Air Forces.

As proof of Goering's ambitious and proud personality, he also collected several distinctions that apparently had nothing to do with his military career. He was so eager to hold power and have as much control as possible, that he was named even Chief of forests and hunting of the Reich. Another reason for his desire to hold as many distinctions, ranks and positions as possible was that he was receiving even more money for it. Military ambitions were therefore not the only reasons behind his actions.

Goering was the creator of the secret police and together with Himmler and Heydrich, set up the early concentration camps for political opponents, showing formidable energy in terrorizing and crushing all resistance. Goering was also seen as responsible for the Reichstag fire, which was originally believed to be set by communists and following from which about 4000 communist leaders were arrested.

Although never proven, Goering's involvement in the Reichstag fire is seen as almost certain, proving the kind of man that Goering was. It is obvious that he was able to do whatever it took to accomplish his goals. His love for power, evil mind and high aspirations make Goering one of the main examples of how the Reich functioned.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Goering managed to organize and rebuilt an aircraft industry and to create training programs for pilots. He was very good in building military strategies, but as it turns out Goering used his military qualities outside the military.

Hermann Goering took over the ministry of economy in 1936, becoming Plenipotentiary of the Four-Year Plan. The plan was meant to better facilitate German rearmament and thus Goering held once again a very important position as rearmament was a very important part of Hitler's plan. The position held by Goering in the economic field granted him great power over the most important domain of the country and he used this influence for his own benefit, as his fortune continued to grow. "The creation of the state-owned Hermann Goering Works in 1937, a gigantic industrial nexus which employed 700,000 workers and amassed a capital of 400 million marks, enabled him to accumulate a huge fortune."


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