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1939 was a glorious year for Hermann Goering. He spent it entertaining dignitaries visiting the Third Reich, attending galas, going on official visits, giving rousing speeches at factories and military parades, and indulging in his love of fine art, rich cuisine and sumptuous clothes and jewels. Ever vain, pompous and ambitious, in 1939 he attained the summit of his power and popularity when Hitler, speaking to a packed Reich Chancellery on 1 September, named him his successor.
Goering's rise was inseparable from that of his Luftwaffe. As commander-in-chief, he basked in the glory of the Condor Legion's victory in Spain in April 1939 and the Luftwaffe's decisive role in the Blitzkrieg of Poland in September. From these encounters, the Luftwaffe emerged as the world's most feared and respected air force-but beyond the trappings of victory, there were deep-seated flaws.
Fearing their exposure against a more powerful enemy, Goering did not want Germany to go to war with Great Britain and France. Hermann Goering: From Madrid to Warsaw and Beyond, 1939 is a photographic chronicle of a momentous year in the life of the Luftwaffe's commander-in-chief, showing him at his most happy and self-confident, and equally, at his most anxious about what the future might bring.
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