ANGELS OF DEATH by Edwin P. Hoyt


Goering's Luftwaffe
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 Disregard the deceptive title. The prolific Hoyt (199 Days, The Last Kamikaze, etc.) offers an illuminating picture of the wide-ranging, if ultimately ineffectual, roles played by Hermann Wilhelm Goering in Nazi Germany's rise and fall. A WW I fighter pilot whose valor in aerial combat earned him a chestful of medals, the well-connected Goering was an early supporter of Adolf Hitler, providing access to the moneyed circles into which upstart National Socialists could not hope to be admitted on their own. In return, Hitler gave him high-profile posts. In addition to getting the Luftwaffe off the ground, Goering once headed the SA's storm troopers and (until supplanted by Albert Speer in 1942) was the Third Reich's economic tsar as well as its soothing front man during the years prior to WW II. As Hoyt makes clear, however, Goering was a can-do master of organization and tactics, not a visionary strategist. Absent a personal following within the Nazi Party, moreover, the corpulent Reichsmarschal relied almost entirely on the FÅhrer's favor for whatever power he wielded. While Goering's star climbed with Germany's European conquests, it dimmed in the wake of subsequent setbacks on the Eastern front, his air force's failure to win the Battle of Britain, and the Allies' relentless raids on a fatherland stripped of substantive defense against bombers. Reduced to a figurehead as Hitler assumed personal control of the country's battered, sputtering industrial war machine, Goering effectively marked time until he cheated the victors' justice by taking his own life in 1947. A revelatory appraisal of an Axis kingpin whose sociopolitical career has been accorded far less attention than that of the madman he served so loyally. (Photos)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-85668-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994


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