- Hermann Goering was a Nazi political and military leader and in effect, Hitler's second in command
- In 1935, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, a position he held until the end of the regime
- The images are in Blaine Taylor's new book, Hermann Goering: Blumenkrieg, from Vienna to Prague 1938-39
The images, which illustrate the Nazi's last year in power before the war broke out, are featured in American author Blaine Taylor's new book, Hermann Goering: Blumenkrieg, from Vienna to Prague 1938-39.
In 1935, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force), a position he held until the final days of the regime.
The year 1938-39 was when Hitler set out on the road of pre-war bloodless conquests, which led to the actual shooting combat over Poland in September 1939.
Both willing and unwilling, Goering was his main acolyte in achieving the peaceful military occupations of Austria and the Czech-German Sudetenland in 1938, followed by that of Bohemia and Moravia.
As minister in charge of the Four Year Plan, Goering became concerned with the lack of natural resources in Germany, and began pushing for Austria to be incorporated into the Reich.
Hitler had always been in favour of a takeover of Austria, his native country. He met on February 12, 1938 with Austrian chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg, threatening invasion if peaceful unification was not forthcoming.
Accomplished archer Goering draws back his bow in aim, wearing protective leather gloves and forearm gauntlets, plus an all-leather outfit from top to bottom (left). Cigar in hand, the Nazi yachtsman (right) gives a good-natured wave to his photographer as they pass through the Rhine-Herne Canal on 20 July 1939. He holds a copy of the Illustrated Times magazine, with another title on the sofa at bottom
Goering (third from left, left hand on sword hilt) hugs a young admirer, possibly his nephew and the brother of his Austrian niece, Roswitha Huber. Smiling also from left is Dr Gritzbach in SS black, and the man in charge of Hermann's rail travel, Fritz Görnnert. At far right is seen a smiling Kurt Daluege, the chief of the national uniformed Ordnungspolizei of Nazi Germany. The man in the jaunty hat to his right is unknown, as is also the SS man at center rear. By 1935, Lufthansa, of which Goering as aviation minister was also responsible, had extended its overseas lines beyond the Atlantic Ocean, and also to both the Near and Far East
Goering's front man in securing peace rather than war at Munich was his former guest Italian Premier Benito Mussolini (1883-1945). Here, Goering at left renders a casual backhanded Nazi salute and not a wave to Mussolini at centre in formal morning coat, returning Hermann's greeting
On 16 January 1938, Goering as Commander-in-Chief of the German Air Force (second from right) stands between two Luftwaffe sentries with rifles at Shoulder Arms at the main entrance to his country estate 35 miles from Berlin, Carinhall, named in honor of his first wife, Swedish Countess Carin von Fock Goering (1888-1931)
The Nazi party was made legal in Austria to gain a power base, and a referendum on reunification was scheduled for March.
When Hitler did not approve of the wording of the plebiscite, Goering telephoned Schuschnigg and Austrian head of state Wilhelm Miklas to demand Schuschnigg's resignation, threatening invasion by German troops and civil unrest by the Austrian Nazi Party members.
Schuschnigg resigned on March 11 and the plebiscite was cancelled. By 5.30 the next morning, German troops that had been massing on the border marched into Austria, meeting no resistance.
Many welcomed the coming of the Nazis as liberators and the troops were greeted by cheering German-Austrians citizens with Nazi salutes, flags and flowers.
As a result, the Nazi annexing of Austria is sometimes called the Blumenkrieg (war of flowers), though the official name was Unternehmen Otto. For the Germans, it was seen as the first big test of their war machine although as it turned out, no actual fighting took place.
The Italian delegation to the Four-Power Munich Conference leaving the train station at rear, 29 September 1938. From left to right: Goering, Italian Fascist Foreign Minister since 1936 Count Ciano, Hitler, Mussolini, and an unknown German Army officer giving a military hand salute. The officer third from right in the back row is Hitler's Army Personnel Officer and military adjutant Col. Rudolf Schmundt, while second from right is Army Gen. Keitel
A frontal view of the same speaker's lectern and stand. Gauleiter Eigruber is seen in right facial profile at left rear of the podium, while the man at far left is fellow Gauleiter Josef Burckel of Vienna, a German sent to rule over Austrians. Stiff international air races for trophies like the prestigious Schneider Cup soon showed that the biplane of the First World War was an aircraft of the past, and that of the future was the monoplane instead. At Linz, Goering thundered: 'We have great plans for Austria. There will be power stations, a new autobahn, armament works, new industries, harbors, and social measures'
Reichstag President Goering in Air Force dress uniform presides on 18 March 1938 above and behind Hitler underneath an enormous German eagle with outstretched wingspan whose talons clutch a laurel leaf-enclosed swastika. As the Führer delivers his speech on the Austrian annexation, seated at left is Reich Chancellery State Secretary Dr Hans Heinrich Lammers (1879-1962), and at right, Press Chief Dr Otto Dietrich. The epicenter of Hermann's world was one man only: Adolf Hitler, on whom his sun rose and set. 'This bond was the single most important key to political survival' in Nazi Germany, as Overy among many others declared
The VIPs review a Luftwaffe honor guard with rifles and bayonets at Present Arms on 26 March 1938 at Aspern Airport. From left to right: the reviewers are Löhr, Sperrle, Goering, and Bodenschatz, with the officer at center behind them unknown
The Nazis had won their first battle without a bullet being fired and Goering received huge credit and adulation for his success.
'As the fateful year of 1938 opened, Hermann Goering was well and truly master of all his domains, both personal and political,' wrote Taylor in the book's introduction.
'His closest associates-such as his former press secretary Martin Sommerfeldt-had been amazed at the change in his personality all for the worse after but one year in office, January 1933-January 1934.
'Indeed, on his forty-fifth birthday on 12 January 1938 - a date also fateful in another connection, as we shall see -the annual practice of enforced gift-giving and outright graft to him from both Nazi Party and German State offices began that continued unabated right into the final period of the regime in 1945.
The Armée de l'Air courtesy return visit to Nazi Germany in August 1938 featured a gala reception for the Gallic aerial delegation hosted by Goering (center) at Carinhall, once again resplendent in dazzling Luftwaffe summer uniform whites. From left to right: Interpreter Dr Schmidt, this time decked out in Air Force blue on Goering's command, although he was not an airman; Armée de l'Air officer with hand in pocket; Gen. Vuillemin looking into the lens; French Ambassador to the Third Reich André François-Poncet (1887-1978); Goering with cigar; and six blue-clad Armée de l'Air officers. Second from right with cigar is French Embassy AF attaché Col. Paul Stehlin, a post-war Armée de l'Air C-in-C, whom Bodenschatz used as 'an informed source' before, during, and after the Sudeten crisis of 1938. Note the pair of outdoor lampposts and the log motif serving as a backdrop
The smile that warmed a war criminal's heart: Mrs Emmy Sonnemann Goering (1893-1973) attired in natty sailor suit and cap. Note the anchor on her blouse at center, taken on 17 June 1936, when she was aged thirty-nine. By all accounts, Emmy was a simple, unaffected woman whom most people liked, even if they found her a bit naïve regarding the harsh world of Nazi politics. Years later, Hitler remembered fondly that she 'was the first woman to congratulate' him upon his appointment as Reich Chancellor by President von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933, the same day that her husband took office. Ever the opportunist, Hermann put her up to it: 'Go and take some flowers to Hitler early tomorrow morning. He will certainly be pleased!' He was. As a stage actress, Emmy well knew what she was doing
Field Marshal Goering salutes a happy crowd in Austria on 25 March 1938. His electoral swing through Austria took place during 25 March to 2 April 1938 and included Wels, Linz, Vienna, Wiener-Neustadt, Eisenerz, Graz, Bleiberg, Tamswegg, Mautenberg, Mauterndorf, and Salzburg
Hermann holds aloft the symbol of his power, his boast of earlier years to his friends now having come true: 'None of you chaps will ever be field marshals!' Keitel is seen at rear just over Goeringís right shoulder. Dr Gritzbach noted: 'When he travels, he is just as busy! Official tours are not holiday trips. Goering is always on duty. There are always things to be dealt with as the day's work goes on, and after a journey he returns to find a desk with papers awaiting him'
On 25 March 1938, Goering officially received the handover of the former Austrian Air Force to Germany by its commander under both countries, Gen. Alexander Löhr, saluting hand to cap at far right. Note the hastily mounted German Air Force wings on his cap! The man saluting at center is an unidentified German Air Force officer. Gen. Löhr went on to hold important Air Force commands during the Second World War under his new chief, Goering.
To celebrate the Third Reich's bloodless reoccupation of the former German Rhineland, Goering embarked on a combined automobile Rhine River cruise on 17 March 1936. Here just under the overhead banner that reads 'A victory hail for Our Hermann' he stands at center in the lead vehicle of the motorcade of at least a dozen cars
A major factor in making the Allies back down to Germany at the infamous Munich Pact Conference, Goering's Luftwaffe was the key bargaining chip that gained these unprecedented territorial acquisitions for Hitler - all without a shot being fired.
He also helped achieve alliances with Fascist Slovakia and Italy. The year 1938 also witnessed Goering's role in the aftermath of the Kristallnacht action against German Jews that was a notable way station on the road to the Holocaust.
In the pre-war years, Goering enjoyed widespread personal popularity among the German public because of his perceived sociability, colour and humour.
Hermann Goering: Blumenkrieg, from Vienna to Prague 1938-39, by Blaine Taylor and published by Fonthill Media is available now. RRP £25.
Two political opposites ignore each other: French Premier Édouard Daladier and a bloated Goering, now decked out in Luftwaffe summer whites. Trying to cheer up the glum French pol, Our Hermann simply jumped into the latter's assigned car, uninvited. The ploy failed, 30 September 1938
Goering and the Four-Year Plan during 1938-39: Here he is seen displaying the common touch in miner's suit, lamp, and hard hat helmet at center as he prepares to descend a German coal mine shaft to visit workers, accompanied by Reich Sport Leader Hans von Tschammer und Osten, also in miner's kit
The former Austrian Army parades past a saluting Goering at left on Vienna's famous Heldenplatz. They had Nazi eagles sewn onto their uniform jackets on the left breast, 27 March 1938. The men appear to be executing a sort of modified goose step. In a speech given at Vienna, Goering reportedly asserted that 'the Jew must clearly understand one thing at once: he must get out!' In March 1935, when the Luftwaffe was officially unveiled, its strength was 1,888 airplanes of all types, staffed by 20,000 officers and enlisted men, supported by thirty to forty airframe and engine manufacturers
Another scene from Hermann's forty-fifth birthday at Berlin, 12 January 1938. From left to right: a caped Goering, Körner, the RFSS, Daluege looking away from the lens, and SD chief SS Gen. Reinhard Heydrich. Goering, Daluege, and Heydrich all took part in the post-Kristallnacht economic conference at the Reich Air Ministry Building of 12 November 1938