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November ... , 1974
TRUE ARCHITECT OF NAZI AIR FORCE
RISE AND FALL OF THE LUFTWAFFE: TheLife of Field
Marsha1 Erhard Milch (David Irving: Little,
By Don Smith
HERMANN Goering is a name almost
everyone knows if he lived through World War II or
has done any reading about that era.
But Erhard Milch? Now, that's another
matter. Most probably never heard of Milch or don't
remember his name. And to those who do, he probably
exists primarily as one of those "other characters"
who populated the German hierarchy during the time
of the Third Reich.
AUTHOR David Irving a
British historian who has specialized in World War
II Germany, has another idea about Milch.
stocky round-faced, dynamic man -- basically a
civilian who rose to become senior field marshal in
the Luftwaffe behind Goering -- was the true
architect of the German air force.
The book is a biography of Milch, written from
personal interviews with the field marshal after
his release from 20 years in prison as a war
criminal, from official documents of the time, from
Milch's diary notes made at the time and from
interviews with associates.
Irving describes Milch's early life, including
his service as a fighter-squadron commander during
World War I, and his emergence as a business tycoon
after, at age 33, he became a director (and
eventually the driving force) behind the state
His organizational skills and drive rescued the
airline as it faltered toward collapse, and
attracted the attention of Goering and his
political god, Adolf Hitler.
In 1933, when the Nazis took over power in
Germany, Milch was plucked from his job as head of
Lufthansa and made Goering's state secretary for
From that post, he was responsible for the
creation and growth of the Luftwaffe into its
position as the world's premiere air force.
But men of Milch's drive and talent draw
opposition; and in the fratricidal atmosphere of
the Nazi party, the jealousies and efforts to seize
power behind Hitler were particularly vicious.
Despite these handicaps, and the problem of a boss,
Goering, who as time went by became more and more
withdrawn from actual direction of the Luftwaffe,
Milch built the air force. Despite having an
incompetent, misguided peer in charge of the
Luftwaffe's armament branch, Milch turned the
Luftwaffe into a great air arm.
AND DESPITE the
overwhelming air attacks by Allied bombers during
the war, and internal opposition, Milch more than
tripled aircraft production.
however, the internal fighting became too much for
him to handle and Milch fell from grace; his
friend, Albert Speer, absorbed Milch's
Luftwaffe production into his overall armaments and
war production ministry (and, incidentally,
according to author Irving, reaped the credit for
increased production that truthfully belonged to
Throughout it all, Milch remained a true Nazi.
He adopted party methods; he spoke the parity
language at times, he ruled his ministry in the
party way, by bluster and fear and threat. Even as
he stood in the dock at Nuremberg, he spoke of his
continuing unabated loyalty to the Fuehrer.
AUTHOR IRVING deals with
all of these aspects of Milch's life, and more,
with great care and in great detail. He combines a
scholarly approach with an easy-to-read, pleasant
style. The book moves swiftly through .the amazing
maze of Nazi Germany. And, even though he hints at
sensational disclosures about Milch's past and
never makes them, the book is wonderfully
It's an outstanding effort, a must book for
historians and World War II-minded readers
download of David Irving: The Rise & Fall of