Goering's charmed life

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by bobbysocks, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    one thing that has perplexed me over the years was how old herm was able to keep favorite son status with hitler. during the war good generals were sacked and replaced because they failed to meet expectations. yet for all his broken promises goering was able to retain control over the LW....which was probably one of the biggest mistakes adolf made imo. there were issues and rumors of drug use and sexual inclinations that didnt fit into the role model aryan race mold. in the back stabbing, climb your way to the top on the bones of your enemy, world of politics that even baffles me more if these were true it wasnt his downfall...as that makes him a security risk or at risk of being compromised....yet he out lived his fuhrer. how the hell did he do that?
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    He was a yes man.

    Of course in the end he did lose his status with Hitler.
     
  3. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Hard to say, yeah, he was a yes man and any one who was a threat to Hitler's judgement was dismissed - people like von Ribbensnob, Bormann, Goebbels, Hess all were yes men, so I guess that goes some way to answering the question. Obviously Hitler turned a blind eye to his Reichsmarschall's little infidelities, including his addiction to prescription drugs, but he did throw a wild party. Hitler's favourite son from early on was actually young Albert Speer, the artist's mind who became the Reich's favoured architect and eventually Minister for Armaments. Long after Hitler felt his henchmen had abandoned him, he still felt a kin ship with Speer, until, that is, Speer renegged on Hitler's "Scorched Earth" policy toward the crumbling Reich.

    It's interesting that Hitler's attitude toward the Luftwaffe wasn't so fractious as it was with Raeder's Kreigsmarine, despite a number of reversals of fortune for the Germans as a result of Goering's failings; German aviation provided many plusses as well of its fair share of minusses, but of course, Hitler might not have heard of ALL the reversals of the LW - also, the LW's biggest reversal, the Battle of Britain, the impact of which was probably ignored by Hitler because of his keenness to get on with invading Russia. He didn't see the impact the BoB had on the LW, greater than Goering was perhaps prepared to admit to. Goering wasn't going to allow himself to look culpable, even though he was. I guess Hitler's view of the LW was very much one of it's role in supporting the Wehrmacht; he, nor could Hermann the Germann, could not see the benefits of greater support for the Kriegsmarine, so when the army failed on the ground, the LW tended to undergo a reshuffle, as was normal after a defeat, but generally things were left in Goering's chubby little hands.
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It's not that they were yes men. They were all members of the old party. Two you list had taken part in the so called "Beer Hall Putsch". These were nazi "alte kamfer",old fighters. Hitler was loyal to the men who had gone through the struggle for power with him and they were loyal to him.The same applied to all the old party Gauleiters,many of whom were little more than over-promoted thugs. However incompetent some of them may have been they were invariably indulged by Hitler. Some of these men,whose names are largely forgotten,were amongst a very few who could address Hitler using the familiar "du". In 1930s Germany,and in modern usage of the German language today,that is significant.

    The old boys were not untouchable. There was only one transgression for which they could be held to account and that was disloyalty. Any challenge to the Fuerher's power or authority could be fatal as in the case of Roehm and,in a theoretical way at least,Goering.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  5. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    I think Steve got it right. However, Hitler's mind worked in strange ways, and the absolute truth of the matter can never be known. Loyalty to old comrades, the fact that "Der Dickie" told him what he wanted to hear, and Goerings popularity with the average German, (at least in the early years) probably all played a part. That Hitler did turn on him when Goering sent that message in the last days is telling, IMHO.
     
  6. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #6 nuuumannn, Sep 18, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
    yes, I have to agree with what you're saying Steve, but I still think these guys were yes men - most certainly von Ribbentrop, Goebbels, Hess and Bormann were - their positions were safe until they were disloyal (Hess in this group) - as you pointed out, but by and large they did carry out the definition of yes men: "one who endorses or supports without criticism every opinion or proposal of an associate or superior". As you pointed out, "Any challenge to the Fuerher's power or authority could be fatal"

    My understanding was that none - apart from the aforementioned Roehm - actually refered to Hitler as 'du' - certainly not those guys I listed. Roehm was also the only one who could call Hitler 'Adolf'; for the rest it was 'Mein Fuhrer'.

    'Tis an interesting one, Meatloaf, very true about what exactly went on in Hitler's noggin; he was a strange bird and let very few in.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Goering wasn't just a general. He wore a bunch of hats. Head of the German Four Year Plan was probably the most important.

    "Wages of Destruction" notwithstanding, the German economy delivered outstanding performance with Goering in charge. GDP continued to increase and people had enough to eat despite Allied blockade and massive bombing. Unlike WWI where the German economy shrank and people went hungry despite a looser blockade and no bombing.

    It was unfortunate for Germany that Goering was also head of the Luftwaffe and tasked by Hitler to establish a national art collection. One man cannot be everywhere at once. The Luftwaffe needed a full time commander.
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    von Ribbentrop,at least according to post war testimony,was not well liked by anybody. He was certainly seen by the old guard as an arriviste and shameless opportunist.

    Hess was one of Hitler's oldest comrades,a real old fighter. He spent time in prison with Hitler after the failed putsch. The official nazi response to his flight to Scotland was equivocal to say the least. It remains something of a mystery to this day.

    Bormann is a different case. He had no empire to run within the Third Reich. His power stemmed entirely from his relationship to Hitler. He controlled access to Hitler. Speer wrote that he alone could by-pass this guard dog. That kind of position excercises a power of its own. Even the high and mighty nazi paladins had to toady to Bormann.

    Steve
     
  9. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    They Germans had enough to eat because they were starving the people in their conquered territories, not exactly a accomplishment to be proud of.
     
  10. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Goering lasted because he was of the same psychotic mindset. I think the Nuremberg trials amply demonstrated that aspect in his and his prison psychologist's testimony. Roehm, he just didn't fit in, and Hitler knew that, early on. When you don't fit into the asylum, you go, Jackson, I don't care who you are. Hitler's SS suspected Rommel before Rommel even had reason to suspect himself. That's just how sick that inner bunch was. How did it happen? Never forget, all you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people.
     
  11. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    During WWI Goring was a very capable and daring pilot with over twenty air combat victories. After –not immediately- the death of Richthofen, Goring took command of Jagdgeschwader 1. He met Hitler during 1921 and, as a war hero, gained Hitler’s notice. Goring became an early head of the SA. When Hitler came to power during 1933, Goring was his number two. He was instrumental in forming the clandestine beginning of the LW. Until the BoB he was head of the LW and produced rather good results.

    While after the BoB he maintained his position in the LW, the LW lost standing with Hitler such that Goring was not able to obtain the needed support and replacement equipment. After about mid 1943, Hitler was openly hostile towards the LW, except for bombers which never materialized. As a generality that’s generally true, I would say that Goring did not keep his good position but was a bit of a failed outcast like Grudarian. It’s just that he was cast out along with the LW. Of course along the way he became a petty and disfunctional nonleader.
     
  12. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #12 nuuumannn, Sep 18, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
    Yes Steve, I remember reading that Bormann was not liked at all; even other ranking nazis cynically claimed he was a yes man behind his back. Meanwhile, Ribbensnob was ridiculed by the others, partly because the gentrified 'von' was something he liked to be referred to as, but did not earn - he wasn't of the landed gentry.

    Hitler's attitude to the LW was changeable, but even he realised that it was entirely necessary to achieve the surprise attack of the Soviet Union.

    Hmmm, Guderian, I think we are lucky that Hitler lost favour with him. As for the rest of the mad house (or mad haus), we can also be glad they were as dysfunctional as they were!
     
  13. R Pope

    R Pope Member

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    Hero worship played a part in Der Dicke's position. Hitler wanted to be Goring, at least when they first met. An Aryan flying ace from a "good" background, he was everything Adolf wasn't.
     
  14. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    That depends on which version of supposed events you read! I once met the current Duke of Hamilton (Angus - he has the first production Scottish Aviation Bulldog as he did the test flying of it) in Scotland and he lent me a copy of his father's book called "The truth about Hess", which is regarded as one of the best examinations of the Hess issue - it also reiterates the claim that the previous Duke, Douglas Douglas-Hamilton did not actually meet Hess at any stage, despite the latter claiming they did meet. Hess saw him talk pre-war about his flying adventures - he was the first to fly over Everest.

    The After the Battle magazine about the movements of Hess once in the UK is also an excellent examination of the Hess story. I also met a chap who went on to write a godawful appraisal of the Hess situation, which involved the whole story about him dying on the Sunderland that the Duke of Kent perished on in Scotland and that the Spandau Hess was a doppelganger! A load of... well, you know...

    A bit of thread drift...
     
  15. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Goering was not even an example of an "Aryan"...
     
  16. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Maybe 22 confirmed victories in WWI had something to do with his success later? That is definitely an air Ace, whether or not he could lead or determine strategy.

    The Ace status was probably enough to recommend him for leader of air operations, assuming he was the only WWI Ace who supported Adolph Hitler when he needed the support in the 1930's.

    Politics is a matter of influence, not competence. Goering was competent to fly, kill enemies, and be a politician, but not to lead an Air Force. He proved that.

    He WAS a good politician and could shift blame very well, about as well as any other major Nazi leader. Hitler definitely promoted distrust and back-stabbing among his leaders; he let them fight it out ... that was a major downfall of his and caused his defeat along with a couple of other MAJOR mistakes discussed at length well before now.
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #17 stona, Sep 19, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
    Goering did come from a relatively well to do background,unlike most nazi leaders. Whether someone is Aryan or not is a nonsense anyway,except to a nazi. It's a term properly applicable to a group of languages not a mythical race of people.

    Goering was a competent politician and one of the brighter of the nazi leadership. He was one of the parties most successful organisers in the inter war years.
    His performance at Nuremberg,once clean,particularly against the first (US) prosecutor,Jackson,was impressive whether we like or not.
    I've read transcripts of the trials. It is boring,laborious and not recommended :)

    Transcripts of Goering's cross examination are here for those who want to read what he actually said in his defence.

    Goering Transcript

    The discussion about disclosure at the start of the second transcript would make any modern day lawyer uncomfortable. The prosecution has done away with one of the foundation stones of all legal systems based on English Common Law.

    Part 4,with the British prosecutor,covers the execution of the Great Escapees.

    You don't have to like the man or what he stood for. I certainly don't,but to dismiss his entire carreer in terms of the drug addled "fat man" of popular propaganda is not a useful way of understanding how the nazis came to and excercised power with such dreadful consequences for all of us. Battering your way through the transcripts of these trials is.

    Steve
     
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  18. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    How do you rationally judge a man in an irrational situation? Save for Hitler, my impression of Goering is that he would have made a decent middle executive in perhaps an automotive company. IMO Hitler was a raging romantic with an uneven talent –or more likely a knack- for detail and tactics, but was unable to even spell strategy or logistics. He was quite ready to take Germany down as it failed to attain his objectives. He largely succeeded but was frustrated by intervention by those refusing his orders.

    Germany’s strength was bottom up. Workers, military other than the SS, scientists, etc. were world class and at least initially carried the day despite dysfunctional leaders. Goering was a glad hander that told Hitler what he wanted to hear and demanded the impossible from those below, i.e. a politician. He was the frangible link between Hitler and reality. Whether he primarily broke under the pressure of inevitable failure or was at heart immoral and materialistic isn’t clear. Where he started and where he ended are two extremes of a wide spectrum
     
  19. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    Why didn't Goering get appointed Chancellor rather then Hitler?
     
  20. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #20 stona, Sep 19, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
    Essentially because he joined a nazi party of which Hitler was already the leader in the early 20s (I'd have to look up the year). Many of these nazis seem to have seen a messianic quality in Hitler which impressed them. He was somehow the leader they were waiting for. It's difficult to understand today,I certainly don't get it.

    He was something of a propaganda coup for the young party. He was a nationally known hero (Pour Le Merite etc) of WWI. He was given the SA to knock into shape which he did extremely effevtively. He also got the first of his many nice uniforms :)

    Steve
     
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