January 12, 1893
Hermann Göring is born in Marienbad, in the German state of Bavaria.
Göring attends military academy.
Göring serves in the German air force as a fighter pilot. Both wounded and decorated, by the end of the war, he is one of the best-known German air force war heroes.
Göring begins university studies in history and political science in Munich.
Göring meets Adolf Hitler at a Nazi Party rally and will subsequently join the Nazi Party.
November 9, 1923
Göring marches with Hitler during the Beer Hall Putsch against the German government. He is seriously wounded in the hip during the putsch.
Göring's wife, Carin, smuggles the wounded Göring out of Germany via Austria to Italy. In 1925, Göring and his wife go to Sweden to live with her family. After the German government declares a general amnesty for political refugees in 1927, Göring will return to Germany.
Göring becomes one of 11 Nazis to obtain a parliamentary seat in the Reichstag (German Parliament) after the Nazis receive 2.6% of the vote in the parliamentary elections.
Hitler appoints Göring as his political representative in Berlin, choosing him to lead the Nazi Party Reichstag delegation.
Göring's wife, Carin, dies of a heart attack.
Göring becomes president of the Reichstag after the second Nazi electoral surge makes the Nazi Party the largest in Germany.
The Nazis obtain control of the German state with the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor.
Göring receives a cabinet post (Minister without Portfolio) in the Nazi-Nationalist coalition government). Göring is also appointed acting commissar for the Prussian Ministry of the Interior.
Göring authorizes the appointment of SA (Sturmabteilungen; Assault Detachments) and SS (Schutzstaffel; Protection Squadrons) personnel as auxiliary police personnel.
April 11, 1933
Göring persuades Hitler to confirm him as permanent Minister-President and Minister of the Interior of Prussia.
April 26, 1933
Göring announces the formation of the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei; Secret State Police).
May 5, 1933
Hitler appoints Göring Reich Minister for Aviation.
Göring negotiates an alliance with Reichsführer-SS (SS chief) Heinrich Himmler. Göring gives up control over the Gestapo and supports SS independence from the SA in July 1934, in return for SS help in removing SA chief of staff Ernst Röhm.
The Prussian Ministry of the Interior is incorporated into the Reich Ministry of the Interior.
A secret Hitler decree secures Göring's position as successor to Hitler in the event of Hitler's death or inability to carry out his duties.
Göring becomes commander-in-chief of the new German Air Force (Luftwaffe). Göring will hold this position until April 29, 1945.
April 10, 1935
Göring marries the theater actress Emmy Sonnemann.
April 4, 1936
Hitler appoints Göring Commissar for Raw Materials and Foreign Currency.
October 18, 1936
Göring becomes Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan. This appointment, as well as that of Commissar for Raw Materials and Foreign Currency, gives Göring a great deal of influence over the German economy. Between 1937 and 1941, Göring exercises nearly absolute power over the country's economy.
March 1, 1938
Hitler promotes Göring to Field Marshal General (Generalfeldmarschall).
November 9-10, 1938
The Nazi Party leadership uses the excuse of the murder of a German diplomat in Paris by a Jewish youth to unleash a nationwide pogrom (Kristallnacht; Night of Broken Glass) against Jews in the German Reich. During the pogrom, the Nazis and some of their followers burn synagogues, loot Jewish homes and businesses, and kill at least 91 Jews.
November 12, 1938
Göring calls a conference of Nazi government officials and SS and police leaders in the Air Force Ministry. Subjects discussed include the imposition of a one billion Reichsmark fine on the Jewish communities of the Reich as "punishment" for the murder of the German diplomat and the future course of legislation aimed at removing the Jews from the German economy.
January 24, 1939
Göring, acting in his capacity as chief of the Four-Year Plan, authorizes Reinhard Heydrich to establish a national and central Agency for Jewish Emigration in Berlin to accelerate the "solution" to the Jewish "question" in the Reich through emigration and expulsion.
August 30, 1939
Hitler appoints Göring Chairman of the Reich Defense Council.
July 19, 1940
After the German victory in France, Hitler names Göring Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich (Reishmarschall des großdeutschen Reiches).
Göring's reputation with his colleagues in the Nazi regime is tarnished after the German Air Force fails to defeat the British Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain.
July 31, 1941
Göring authorizes Reinhard Heydrich to coordinate resources of the Reich for a "solution of the Jewish Question" throughout Europe.
Hitler begins to harshly criticize the German Air Force's failure to completely eliminate the Soviet air force and to adequately supply troops engaged deep in the Soviet Union.
December 19, 1941
Hitler takes direct control over the German Armed Forces. The German Air Force is subsequently reduced to a support service for the Army.
Hitler blames Göring when the British offensive creates extensive damage and destruction in the Ruhr industrial region of Germany.
April 23, 1945
When Hitler is cut off in Berlin as Soviet troops encircle the capital, Göring sends a telegram to Hitler requesting authorization to take over as Hitler's successor. Hitler denounces Göring as a traitor, strips him of all his offices, and orders his arrest.
May 7, 1945
Germany surrenders to the Allies. Göring is arrested by US troops southeast of Salzburg, Austria.
October 1, 1946
The judges of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg sentence Göring to death by hanging.
October 15, 1946
The night before he is scheduled to be hanged, Göring commits suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill.
Critical Thinking Questions
- Across Europe, the Nazis found countless willing helpers who collaborated or were complicit in their crimes. What motives and pressures led so many individuals to persecute, to murder, or to abandon their fellow human beings?