Lot 4018

Leutnant Hermann Göring – 193 pages and seven sketches from his WWI journal dating from 1 August 1914 until 10 January 1915

Orders and Military Collectibles from 1919 onwards | A96r | Live auction | 133 Lots

Starting Price € 25,000

Countdown for bids : 16 days and 21 hours left



Two-part war journal, handwritten in pencil, in loose-leaf, lined notebooks with perforations on the left, printed pagination and probably three carbon copies (unlined). The pages include both the original, pencilled pages and the carbon copies with bluish writing, the sketches rendered in pencil, and in red and blue indelible ink. The presence of several copies may be explained on the one hand by the mutual exchange of journal pages with Bruno Lörzer (cf. 15 pages from Lörzer's journal from Göring's estate, Hermann Historica, 75th auction, lot 6280) and, on the other, by the fact that he sent his family a copy of the loose leaves of his journal (see Göring's letter to his half-brother Heinrich, dated 6 January 1915 (tr.): "Now you'll also receive the pages from my journal, which will give you insight into what we are doing here"). The pages damaged at the edges in places, some of the sketches more severely affected. (Tr.) "Notes on the first part of the campaign in which I participated in various capacities at the front" (1 to 10 August 1914). Written in retrospect probably during his hospital stay in Freiburg i.Br. to treat his rheumatoid arthritis, where he met his friend Bruno Lörzer, who was training to become a pilot. Göring describes the border controls of his Inf. Regt. 112 (8th Comp.), which was stationed in Mulhouse, the German aircraft reconnaissance to France on 4 August (Tr: "I had to ensure that our aircraft were not shot at by our own troops. Although I had instructed all the guards, shots rang out nonetheless as soon as they caught sight of the first machine over the city.") followed by armoured train patrols between Mülheim and Mulhouse. In great detail, he portrays his experiences and combat operations as commander of a bicycle patrol in the "Battle of Mulhouse on 9 and 10 August '14", which he reported to General Isbert, "He was incredulous that we had managed to advance that far and promised to nominate me for the 'Iron Cross'. (I was awarded it four days later, when the first medals were delivered.)". After Mulhouse was recaptured, Göring was permitted to drive "into Mulhouse at half past two [.] in the car with Exz. Isbert and the General Staff officer". A total of 18 pages, numbered by Göring at the top right from "1 - 17", as page "13" is assigned twice. The "2nd part of the campaign in which I am taking part as an aviation observation officer" begins with a hospital stay to treat his rheumatoid arthritis, where "the doctors are predicting that the disease will be of prolonged duration, declaring me unfit for field service for several months. Then my best friend and regimental comrade Leutnant Lörzer, who was training to be a pilot in Freiburg, came to my bedside and gave me the brilliant idea of flying with him as his observer." At length and in great detail, Göring narrates the journey he undertook with Lörzer to Stenay to Field Flyer Detachment 25 at Armee-Oberkommando V (Kronprinz), their first joint flight on 5 November 1914, when they were ordered to (tr.) "Drop the bombs over or near Verdun. Then reconnoitre the artillery positions around 'le Mort homme' and the railway line Révigny – Bar le Duc – Ligny – Commercy (whether any trains are running). Above all, however, get your bearings above the overall position on the west bank of the Meuse", his problems with the aircraft, "The plane had difficulties in ascending (excessively heavy fuel and warped). It took us an hour to get up to 1700 m", and the first bombardment, by the north-west forts of Verdun, among others. He reproduces his first report to the AOK V verbatim, signing off as "Göring - Lt. u. Beob.Offz.". On the following pages, he writes in his characteristic, eloquent style about the few flights that the weather conditions permitted, the daily routine in Stenay, requisitioning their accommodation, obtaining the necessary furniture and provisions, official trips to Brussels, for example ("In the evening, we attended several varieté shows, which were open until 11 pm, and marvelled at the high spirits of the audiences!") or the flooding of the airport by the Meuse. He names those he considers responsible for the outbreak of war: "The Crown Prince of Serbia (for his involvement in the assassination), Minister Pasitsch; Grand Duke Nikolaevich as well as Minister and General Rennekampf. Poincaré, Delcassé, Clemenceau, Iswolski and then the main culprits Lord Asquith, Curchill (sic), Grey, French, Kitschener, the former King Albert of Belgium and the mutton thief from Montenegro (the latter can be displayed as an attraction in the collection of curios)."He celebrates Hindenburg's triumphs in the east on 26 November 1914: "And now our recent great Hindenburg victory. It is simply splendid how he is thrashing the Russians (60000 prisoners)" (attack on the Russian south-western front, the Battle of Łódź). He spurs the Austrians on, saying "Overall, the situation is highly satisfactory, if only the Austrians could advance more quickly. [.] Their troops are outstanding, however, their leadership could do with a dash of German vigour", he rails against the English and the Italians, "For enemies, Italians and Englishmen, there is no reprieve, but only a cudgel, as if one were striking a mangy dog."Moreover, he gives a lengthy account of wartime Christmas 1914, when Lörzer and he received gifts from the Crown Prince: "Like his grandfather in 1870 before him, he presented every officer and NCO in his army with a pipe bearing his portrait, in remembrance." A few days later he also received "a magnificent cigarette case in silver". Overall, meetings and conversations with the Crown Prince are of the greatest importance for Göring and are only surpassed by his enthusiasm for flying. For example, Lörzer und Göring even propose undertaking a night flight to bombard a key strategic target in the hinterland of the front and are disappointed when the AOK V rejects their plan as too dangerous. Pages from a journal of historical significance, which not only provide insight into the personality of the then 21-year-old Göring, but also vividly portray the mood in the German army in the first months of the war, with euphoric rejoicing at every news of success and playing down any defeats as part of the big picture. Furthermore, with great precision he describes the trench warfare at Verdun with blasting of enemy trenches through sapper tunnels and the embittered artillery skirmishes on both sides (Göring and Lörzer met several times with the Bavarian Foot Artillery brigade, for example, to plan premeditated fire control from the air). It is intriguing to note that, while writing his journal, Göring frequently addresses his readers, who, in addition to Lörzer (with whom he exchanged the journal pages on a regular basis) presumably mainly include his family and future descendants ("I have to use the military abbreviations otherwise I'll be forced to scrawl excessively. Somebody in your circle of readers is bound to be familiar with them."). Excerpts from a complete copy of these journal pages (with the exception of a few words that cannot be deciphered) can be made available to serious purchasers.

Condition: II - Questions about the lot?

General Information

The post-auction sale to our "Orders and Military Collectibles from 1919 onwards" auction from May 12, 2023 has already started, and will run all the way through June 23, 2023. Until then you can purchase all unsold lots at the starting price plus the buyers premium.