Goring, Hermann

(1893-1946)
   politician; elected Reichstag* Presi-dent in August 1932. Born in Rosenheim in Upper Bavaria, he was raised in a conservative, middle-class family. His father, a colonial official, convinced him to attend cadet school; thus, when war was declared, he joined an infantry regiment in Mühlhausen in Alsace as a second lieutenant. After rheumatism forced a medical leave, he was reassigned in 1915 to a flying corps. Among Germany's premier pilots, he was awarded the Pour le Merite (Germany's high-est decoration) and the Iron Cross (First Class). He served as the last commander of the legendary squadron of Freiherr von Richthofen.
   After the war Goring was a pilot in Sweden; he returned to Munich in 1921 and joined the NSDAP. A vague interest in political science had led him to take some courses at the university and attend a Nazi beerhall meeting. Hitler,* who was seeking a well-known personality, captivated him. While Hitler treasured Goring's social connections and the status he brought the NSDAP as a decorated war hero, the latter was groping for a leader to ensure Germany s salvation. In 1922 Hitler made him leader of the SA.* Seriously wounded in the Beerhall Putsch* of November 1923, he was smuggled through Austria* to Sweden. He recovered only slowly from his wounds and became addicted to morphine in the process.
   An amnesty enabled Goring's return to Germany in 1927. Settling in Berlin,* he soon rejoined the NSDAP and was elected in 1928 to the Reichstag. His prominence steadily increased. Maintaining a distance from the Nazis in his daily life, he was nonetheless Hitler s connection in Berlin; never competing with Hitler, he was satisfied with being "the second man." He nurtured contacts with powerful conservatives, with key businessmen, with military circles, and among monarchists and foreign diplomats. He enjoyed ties with Italian Fascists and also made Mussolini s acquaintance. He sustained a pompous lifestyle and was, in many respects, Hitler's opposite: no political genius and harboring little interest in ideology, he was a Party warrior prized chiefly for his loyalty.
   Goring was chosen deputy faction chairman in 1930 and became Reichstag President in 1932. In the negotiations that brought Hitler to power, his conser-vative contacts proved crucial. He was initially a Minister without Portfolio, but soon assumed Franz von Papen's* position as Prussian Prime Minister. Goring is sometimes deemed a moderating influence; however, as head of Prussia's* Interior Ministry, he created both the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) and Ger-many's first concentration camps. Eventually named Reichsluftfahrtkommissar (National Air Commissar) and Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan, he con-tinued collecting offices until Luftwaffe failures in the Battle of Britain and "Barbarossa led to his partial eclipse. Condemned to death at Nuremberg for war crimes, he committed suicide on 15 October 1946.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Davidson, Trial of the Ger-mans; Fest, Face of the Third Reich; NDB, vol. 6.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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