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WATCH: Hermann Göring captured, self-indulgent, he changed his uniform five times a day

Ian Smith

GöringDetentionReport

Göring’s standing with Hitler was reduced by the beginning of 1943, when the Luftwaffe failed to stop the Allied bombing of German cities and was unable to resupply German forces trapped in the Battle of Stalingrad. Göring largely withdrew from the military and political scene and focused on the acquisition of property and artwork, much of which was taken from Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Informed on 22 April 1945 that Hitler intended to commit suicide, Göring sent a telegram to Hitler requesting permission to assume control of the Reich. Considering it an act of treason, Hitler removed Göring from all his positions, expelled him from the party, and ordered his arrest.

Goering was an early member of the Nazi Party and was wounded in the failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. That wound would have long-term effects; Goering became increasingly addicted to painkillers. Not long after Hitler’s accession to power, Goering was instrumental in creating concentration camps for political enemies. Ostentatious and self-indulgent, he changed his uniform five times a day and was notorious for flaunting his decorations, jewelry, and stolen artwork.

It was Goering who ordered the purging of German Jews from the economy following the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, initiating an “Aryanization” policy that confiscated Jewish property and businesses. As the Soviets approached Berlin, Hitler’s efforts to organize the defence of the city became ever more meaningless and futile. His last birthday, celebrated at the Führerbunker in Berlin on 20 April 1945, was the occasion for leave-taking for many top Nazis, Göring included.

By this time, Carinhall had been evacuated, the building destroyed, and its art treasures moved to Berchtesgaden and elsewhere. Göring arrived at his estate at Obersalzberg on 22 April, the same day that Hitler, in a lengthy diatribe against his generals, first publicly admitted that the war was lost and that he intended to remain in Berlin to the end and then commit suicide. He also stated that Göring was in a better position to negotiate a peace settlement. In 1941—a week after the start of the Soviet invasion—Hitler had issued a decree naming Göring his successor in the event of his death

After World War II, Göring was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but committed suicide by ingesting cyanide the night before the sentence was to be carried out.

Take a look at this rare color footage of the end of WWII: