Hermann Wilhelm Göring was born on January 12, 1893 in Rosenheim (Germany) into an aristocratic family. He did not particularly excel in his early studies, but it was at the Military Academy that he really showed he had a future.
With the advent of World War I, he was stationed at the front as a member of the German Air Force. His career as a pilot began in 1915. He won a large number of medals and decorations, achieving recognition as “ace of aviation” and the military merit medal “Pour Le Mérite.”
However, Göring also forged a history within the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP). In 1922 he joined the party and was given the leadership of the newly created Storm Troopers (SA). However, in the Munich Putsch he was seriously wounded and fled to Austria. There he was treated with morphine and it would be the beginning of his addiction to this substance. When he returned to Germany, he was not welcomed with open arms, but was replaced at the head of the SA.
In the 1930s he was once again in the limelight. He took part in the “Night of the Long Knives” and was promoted within the party. The reputation he began to earn among the Nazis culminated in his appointment as Prime Minister of Prussia and Minister of the Luftwaffe (Air Force). His contribution was the reform he carried out on German aviation, making it one of the key pieces of the Blitzkrieg and, ultimately, of Germany’s first triumphs over the Allies. During the war he was also in charge of the German economy, creating a four-year plan.
Apart from his political career, Hermann Göring maintained his military career and was promoted to the position of “Reichsmarschall” (Reich Marshal). This occupation made him the number two in the Nazi state. In case the Führer was unable to exercise his responsibilities, Göring would be in charge of leading the country. In addition, he was the commander-in-chief of German aviation.
As a figure, Göring was rather peculiar. His addiction to morphine already mentioned, as well as his passion for design and art, made him an eccentric aristocrat. He lived on the outskirts of Berlin in his own personal palace and had a few run-ins with Nazi leaders of the stature of Heinrich Himmler.
After the failure of the Battle of Britain, Göring, who was seen as an obese drug addict incapable of making sound decisions, began to be mocked and jeered at by the rest of the Nazi leadership. Hitler could not dismiss him, because of the respect and admiration the German people had for the Marshal, but he was removed from any real responsibility. He was kept on the sidelines and even ordered to be arrested in early 1945.
In 1945 he surrendered to the Allied forces, who captured him and brought him to justice at the Nuremberg Trials. He was considered the highest-ranking Nazi officer and leader still alive. Although his conviction was delayed, several crimes were attributed to him, including crimes against humanity and conspiracy to wage a war of aggression. After learning of the court’s sentence, he committed suicide in his cell on October 15, 1946, just one day before his execution would have taken place.