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Quote: "He remained - officially at least - the second man of the Third Reich until Hitler had him arrested for high treason in the last week of his regime in May 1945. Göring was dismissed on account of his having planned to contact western Allied authorities with a view to securing a ceasefire before the Soviets overran Berlin".
Contrary to the information that i have read, it was Himmler who was dismissed for the above reason. I am aware of the fact that Göring had been involved in many international diplomatic deals, earlier. But at that point in time during the last week of April 1945, did he try to contact the Western Allies? As far as my knowledge goes, Göring had come across a letter describing him as a successor to Hitler and when he sent the message to the Führer-Bunker, it was misrepresented by Bormann to Hitler, describing it as a coup, and hence Hitler dismissed him .
Can someone clarify this please?
Thanks in Advance!
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He "declared" his position to Hitler on the 23rd of April....and after two days chewing the carpet with rage, Hitler sent him a telegram in reply telling him that he had committed "high treason" and gave him the option of resigning all of his offices in exchange for his life. Two days isn't very long for Göring to attempt to contact the Allies with any kind of offer!
However...he had left for Berchtesgaden some time before that; it was there that karl Koller caught up with him and told him of Hitler's decision to stay in the capital...triggering Göring's "misunderstanding" (? ) that as Hitler would be incommunicado - in keeping Hitler's secret decree of 1941, which clearly stated that Göring was not only Hitler's designated successor, but was to act as his deputy if Hitler ever became "incapacitated" - that he was now to assume power!
There is also some hint that Koller brought him word from the Chancellery that Hitler, who had by this time conceded that Germany had lost, had suggested that Göring would be better suited to negotiate peace terms This too hinted to Göring that HE was to take charge...
So it's possible that Lepage conflated all that.
Himmler - on the other hand...in the U.S., A reuters correspondent on the West Coast had got a hint of Himmler's negotiating with the Allies, and published the news on the radio there IIRC. This was picked up by other news agencies, and then a telegram arrived in the Chancellery from Sweden reporting that according to a BBC broadcast of a dispatch from Stockholm, Sweden, "Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler had negotiated with Count Folke Bernadotte, head of the Swedish Red Cross, and offered to surrender the German armies in the west to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied supreme commander".
Hanna Reitsch, in the Bunker when this was heard, reported that the news of Himmler's treachery -
(WWII History magazine)...struck “a death blow to the entire assembly. Men and women alike screamed with rage, fear, and desperation, all mixed into one emotional spasm.” Hitler, who had never doubted Himmler’s loyalty, raged like a madman and then sank into a stupor. Eva Braun confided to Hanna, “Poor, poor Adolf, deserted by everyone, betrayed by all. Better that 10,000 others die than that he be lost to Germany.”
...and previously to this, on the 27th, the disappearance and subsequent arrest of Gruppenführer Fegelein had already cast some doubt on Himmler's position immediately before the Stockholm telegram arrived on the 28th. It was then that Hitler ordered Ritter von Greim to fly with her to Rechlin...and then, after giving orders there for the remnants of the Luftwaffe at Rechlin to privide support for Wenck's attempted breakthrough to Berlin, fly onwards to Admiral Dönitz’s headquarters at Plön and arrest Himmler as a traitor.
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...
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Lepage failed to mention that Göring was taken into custody by the US Army's 36th Infantry Division.
Given that a secret 1941 decree by Hitler designated Göring as successor in the event of Hitler's death or inability to carry out his duties, if Soviet troops had sneaked into the Wolf's Lair on the day of the failed July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler and arrested Hitler, putting him on trial for war crimes and the Holocaust, then Göring might have not only taken control of the Third Reich but also ordered the death camps in Poland shut down and production of the Me 163, Ar 234, and Me 262 to be escalated at a rate of 20 aircraft per month.