On March 13, high ranking Nazi Herman Goring took the stand. Goring was maybe the most important Nazi remaining. Goring and Hitler were tight, Hitler was even the godfather of Goring’s only child. Goring’s trial was a big deal because of the magnitude of his position and because of the precedent it set for international justice. Thomas Dodd, US Prosecutor said of Goring’s trial, “press men rushed to get the word on the wires…We all felt it was a moment of historical importance. Goring was very calm and he began his testimony. The defendants all leaned forward in the dock…He is a charming rascal- a real buccaneer. He has said of himself, ‘I am out of the Renaissance’- and indeed he is.” Dodd also said, ““…he has made a most unusual witness, and I think quite a frank one. He admitted responsibility for many of the offenses and he is not cringing or crawling. He will go down fighting- somehow he makes me think of a captured lion. Of course I am not forgetting his part in all this business and much less am I unmindful of the facts that all of these top flight Nazis are spellbinders and fakers-that is how they did it- or part of how they did it anyway.”
Goring was a bit of an anomaly; he was not evasive or blame shifting but instead he took responsibility for his actions both during the war and on the witness stand, stating “each bullet which leaves the barrel of a police pistol now is my bullet. If one calls this murder, then I have murdered; I ordered all this and I back it up. I assume the responsibility, and I am not afraid to do so.” (3)
Goring was convicted of all crimes he was accused of and sentenced to death by hanging. He requested a shooting squad but was denied. Goring ended his own life by swallowing a cyanide tablet that he snuck past his guards before he could be hung.
2 Letters from Tom Dodd to his wife Grace. March 13 & 14, 1946, Nuremberg, Germany.
3 from The Individual Responsibility of the Defendant Herman Goering p.9: http://hdl.handle.net/11134/20002:1587
4 Hitler with his generals. Goring is in the light suit beside Hitler. http://hdl.handle.net/11134/20002:860046688