Hermann Wilhelm Goering (sometimes Göring) is remembered as a member of the German High Command and second only to Adolf Hitler in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Goering was a WWI air ace and ended the war in command of the legendary Richthofen Fighter Squadron. Goering was credited with 22 victories over allied craft and won the Iron Cross (First Class).
His first association with Hitler came when he was recruited to command the SA Brownshirts, but this didn't last long. Goering was severely wounded in the infamous Beer-Hall putsch, and fled Germany. During his recovery, Goering became addicted to morphine.
Goering returned to Germany in 1927 and became part of Hitler's rise to power. He was key in the organizing of the Gestapo, and is suspected of involvement in the Reichstag fire, which he followed up quickly with a series of emergency declarations that effectively ended civil rights in Hitler's Germany. He was a key figure in organising Kristallnacht.
Goering was made Reich Marshal in 1940, and promised to "drive the RAF from the skies." His failure to destroy the RAF air bases and defenses during the Battle of Britain led to defeat of the German air forces and the collapse of Operation Sea Lion.
Goering sank into drug abuse and paranoia, and lost his leadership posts in 1943. At the end of the war Goering was captured by the American Seventh Army, the only high-ranking Nazi official to be captured.
He went on trial at Nuremberg in 1946. Goering defended himself passionately at the trial, refusing to grovel or apologize. He was found guilty of conspiracy to wage war, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to the noose. Goering committed suicide by poison before the sentence could be carried out.
Goering appears as a major character in Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series.
Compiled from several sources including http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/goering.html