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Hermann Wilhelm Göring was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). A veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, he was a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as the "Blue Max". He was the last commander of Jagdgeschwader 1, the fighter wing once led by Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron". A member of the NSDAP from its early days, Göring was wounded in 1923 during the failed coup known as the Beer Hall Putsch. He became permanently addicted to morphine after being treated with the drug for his injuries. He founded the Gestapo in 1933. Göring was appointed commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe (air force) in 1935, a position he held until the final days of World War II.By 1940 he was at the peak of his power and influence; as minister in charge of the Four Year Plan, he was responsible for much of the functioning of the German economy in the build-up to World War II. Adolf Hitler promoted him to the rank of Reichsmarschall, a rank senior to all other Wehrmacht commanders, and in 1941 Hitler designated him as his successor and deputy in all his offices.

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