Ernst Udet : the fall of an eagle

Discussion in 'Stories' started by Maestro, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Greetings ladies and gentlemen.

    Okay, I know it was Udet's biography title, but I thought it fitted well to this thread.

    It's amazing how this man went from national hero to Luftwaffe's zero. Mainly due to Goering acting like an ass... as he always did !

    Taken from : Ernst Udet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

     
  2. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Interesting. And yes....Goering was an overblown pompous ass.
     
  3. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    :shock:and a morphine addict...
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #4 stona, Oct 4, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2009
    And a great WW1 fighter pilot, twenty two victories, whether we like it or not.
     
  5. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I always wondered if Udet having greatly outscored him was one of the reason why he hated him so much.
     
  6. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    Do we know that Goering hated Udet? I always assumed that they may have had their personality clashes (both of them being "larger then life" characters), but I always assumed that that Udets problems with Goering really stemmed from Goerings "self centered priority's"...:?:
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    An interesting idea. Goering is a conundrum. He was an outstanding pilot during the first war and stood out amongst the rather mediocre men that made up the nazi leadership before the second war. His behaviour during that war and his loss of touch with reality ( he was indeed a pompous ass) is hard to explain just by his drug problem. Interestingly after the war at Nuremberg and free from his addiction he was the nazi leader who most impressed the British and U.S prosecuters, with the possible exception of Speer. The prisoners formed two distinct "camps" one around Goering and the other around Speer. Speer accepted a sort of corporate responsibility for the regime (his deputy was executed) whilst (incredibly) denying any personal knowledge. Goering was completely unapologetic and by intelligent argument raised serious legal doubts about the validity of the entire Nuremberg trial process. He saw the process as a series of show trials, an argument a little too close to the truth for the British and U.S. teams. The Russians had no such qualms and wanted them all executed a.s.a.p. They saw Speer as one that got away. I don't suppose anyone was too bothered when Goering killed himself.
    I am not an apologist for the nazis but seeing them as a group of carpet biting mad men is not helpful. Some were, in their own way, talented men. Many were over promoted thugs of little ability. It is a shame that they all willingly loaned their talents to the repulsive regime that the nazi government was.
    Steve
     
  8. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    You're dead on about Udets feelings towards Goering.

    However Goering did blame him (to Hitler) for the BOB defeat and he also wanted to court martial him posthumously. Personally I always wonder if Udet actually committed suicide.
     
  9. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    Ya, I know what you mean about the "suicide"...at the very least it seems like one of those scenarios you see in the old films. "Save us the time and money, and spare your family the heart ache...take the manly way out."


    I tend to disagree about his drug addiction...long term morphine addiction can lead to paranoia and loss of reality judgment. I'm not sure that we know how much morphine he took daily, but one can assume that by the time he became a Nazi leader he had close to unlimited access to the drug. Goering was apparently the "weakest" kind of addict, as he had to be committed (in a strait jacket) for violent addiction to the drug.
    All this being said...the problem of drug addiction is frequently a symptom of an preexisting underlying philological problem. Depression, megalomania, Psychopathy, paranoia...take your pick.
     
  10. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Wasn't questioning his skills in WWI, just his grasp on reality during WWII. Being a great pilot does not necessarily make one a great leader of pilots, much less a great head of your country's air forces.
     
  11. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

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    Not to justify Herr Goering, but his addiction to morphine was related to a never healed wound that caused him unbearable pain (he was hit by a bullet in the groin during the 1923 'putsch', the wound also made him impotent)
    Morphine-based medications were needed to have some relief, and lead him to total addiction.
    The drug and (probably) also the psychological burden of his impotence can explain his often irrational behavior and disconnection to reality.

    What is incredible is that Hitler, who knew perfectly Goering's situation, never removed him from the commend position.
     
  12. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    Hitler had one testicle and Goering was shot in the "nuts"...I think that "someone" was over compensating. The two "heads" of the Nazi party had genitalia issues...NO WONDER they hated Sigmund Freud so much. :crazy::crazyeyes::crazy:
     
  13. Guns'n'Props

    Guns'n'Props Member

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    Don't you think this parallels General Oberst Hans Jeschonnek ?
    Jeschonnek like Udet was forced to take his life because of Goering's shortcomings.
     
  14. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    In fact Goering was hated by most of his squad mates during WWI. He is the only member of his group who was never invited to JG 1 veteran meetings between the wars.

    The reason Udet (and other pilots under his command) hated him so much was mainly because of his character... As a commander, he was rarely flying with his squad mates and was very self-important (unlike Richthofen, his predessessor).
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    William Pitt (the elder) in 1770
    "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who posses it"

    More famously, Lord Acton in 1887
    "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men"

    Not sure that the last phrase applies to Goering! Bad,yes but great,I think not.
     
  16. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    Its not really "on topic", but has anyone seen the movie "The Great Waldo Pepper"? Bo Brundin plays a disillusioned WW1 flying Ace (German) turned stunt pilot by the name of "Ernst Kessler". The character of Kessler (seems to me) is based on Udet... The way Brundin playes the charecter of Kessler has always "tainted" the way I imagined Udet must have been near the end.

    A video link to a clip from the movie showing Brundin some great flying (ya, I know Redford is in the movie)....

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlQT6m7StAY

    And here is the REAL Udet doing some stunt flying...

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2CBx7x5GCI
     
  17. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    I think I read somewhere that Kessler was based on Udet. Now, was it real or not, I don't know.
     
  18. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Here's a question.... Would Udet have made a better Luftwaffe Chief?
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Yes, anywhere but nazi Germany. The senior positions were, for the most part, held by men who were part of Hitler's old "gang", people to whom Hitler was always indulgentl. Who else would choose Hess as a deputy, certainly no threat I suppose. Speer was often frustrated at Hitler's unwillingness to move against the Gauleiters most of whom were old comrades. Himmler made barely veiled threats to the same group who immediately complained to Hitler using their old party apparatus (Boormann). It was who you knew, where you were during the Munich putsch, what you had done in the early days of the party,definitely not a meritocracy!
     
  20. Guns'n'Props

    Guns'n'Props Member

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    I could be wrong but I have the impression that Udet was not all that comfortable "flying an office either", but at least he was a much more realistic person and was aware of his limitations. He was probably easier to work with so in sum I would say YES.

    Back to Goering - let us say he rose much further than his level of competence. Also the death of Gunther Rall brought me back to the LW Fighter Pilot's Revolt of '45. I can't even imagine how one could call men like Trautloft, Graf, Priller, Lutzow et al a bunch of cowards and blame them for the reversals of the war
    when they had done an incredible amount of fighting and were some of the highest decorated men in the regime. Again Udet would probably have been much more understanding.
     
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