Hermann Goering was born in Rosenheim, Upper Bavaria, on the 12th of January in 1893. His father was a cavalry officer who had a significant diplomatic career. As a young man Goering attended the cadet college at Karlsruhe. As soon as the First World War started, he served as an infantry lieutenant in Alsace-Lorraine, but was soon transferred to the Air Force as a fighter pilot. As a pilot Goering gained great fame, received numerous awards, and was a member of the combat group of pilots led by Baron Manfred von Richthofen, better known by the nickname Red Baron. The name of this combat group was Jagdgeschwader but it was often called The Richthofen’s Flying Circus. After the death of the Red Baron, Goering took over leadership of the group and remained on that position until the end of World War I.
Like many German officers, Goering struggled to get used to civilian life and he felt betrayed and disappointed by the outcome of the war, especially the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. For some time after the war he worked as a commercial pilot for Svenska Lufttraffik in Sweden, where he met his first wife Carin von Kantzow. After Carin divorced her previous husband, she married Goering in Munich. Thanks to Carin’s connections Goering met Adolf Hitler in the fall of 1922 and decided to join him and the Nazi Party. Hitler was particularly pleased with this since Goering was considered as a military hero and was quite wealthy. Hitler appointed him as a commander of the SA and Goering was with Hitler during the Beer-Hall Putsch in Munich when he was wounded. Although he was arrested, he escaped to Austria, and then traveled to Sweden and Italy. Goering returned to Germany in 1926 to rejoin the Nazi Party following Hitler's release from prison.
After his return to Germany he renewed his contacts with Hitler and was one of the first Nazis who were elected in 1928 as the members of the Reichstag, the German parliament. After the victory of the Nazis in the elections of 1932 he became the president of the Reichstag and had a significant role in the rise of Hitler to power in 1933. After Hitler became Chancellor, Goering held various high level government positions. While he was Prussian Minister of the Interior, he founded the political police of Prussia that would later become part of the Gestapo and founded the first concentration camp at Oranienburg. In March of 1935 he became commander in chief of the Air Force and quickly organized a large production of aircrafts and pilot training. At that time he was, next to Hitler, the most important figure in Nazi Germany. He lived in Berlin in great luxury and after the death of his first wife he married for the second time with the actress Emmy Sonnemann.
As the Second World War approached, Goering took care of arming of Germany which he significantly accelerated. At the same time began to grow his personal wealth and art collection, which later was extended with robberies in the occupied countries that Germany invaded. He had a significant role in the unification of Germany and Austria in 1938 and up to the beginning of the Second World War organized persecution of Jews in Germany. Two days before the start of the Second World War, on the 30th of August in 1939, Hitler declared Goering as the Chairman of the Reich Council for National Defense and declared him as his successor in case he dies in the war. Goering was commander of the Luftwaffe, the German air force during the Blitzkrieg (lightning war) when Germans conquered Poland and France. Due to his great success in the field of aviation, in 1940 Goering received the title of Reichsmarschall.
Goering's luck changed during the Battle of Britain and its failure to establish complete air dominance over Britain influenced Hitler to abandon the land conquest of Britain. As the forces of allied aviation grew stronger, Goering's relationship with Hitler became worse and he began to lose influence in the Nazi Party. In his place, other prominent Nazi officials gained the trust of Hitler, including: Martin Bormann, Joseph Goebbels, and Henrich Himmler. After it became clear that the war was lost, on the 23rd of April in 1945 Goering demanded Hitler to hand him power. Hitler declared him as a traitor and placed him under house arrest in Obersalzberg. Bormann, because of Goering's huge popularity, on the radio issued a statement that Goering was pulled from all his positions due to the health reasons.
On April 26th, 1945 the Allies invaded the Obersalzberg and Goering was forced to flee. He was caught by American troops on May 9th 1945. Because of his crimes he was brought before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, also known as the Nuremberg Trials. He tried to position himself as a commander among the other inmates and demanded that everyone follow his orders. The court sentenced him with four counts: 1. Conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; 2. Crime against peace; 3. War Crimes; 4. Crimes against Humanity. As punishment he was sentenced to death and was scheduled to be hung on the 15th of October in 1946. However, two hours before the sentence was carried out, he ingested a cyanide pill in his cell that he has managed to conceal from prison guards. He was found dead in his cell. By the order of the court, his body was burned and the ashes were thrown into the last incinerator at Dachau, an infamous concentration camp that was part of the Holocaust.