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The Reich Minister for Aviation [Luftfahrt], General of the Airmen, Goering, in his talk with the special correspondent of the Daily Mail, Ward Price, expressed himself on the subject of the German Air-Force. S I 10.3.35
General Goering said:
In the extension of our national defense, [Sicherheit] it was necessary, as we repeatedly told the world, to take care of defense in the air. As far as that is concerned I restricted myself to those measures absolutely necessary. The guiding line of my actions was, not the creation of an aggressive force which would threaten other nations, but merely the completion of a military aviation [Luftfahrt] which would be strong enough to repel, at any time, attacks on Germany.
Until the present moment, this has been accomplished on a general basis, as so far we have been discussing airmen in general only without making any definite distinction from the military point of view. The British government, among other proposals, asked Germany to join an Air-Pact, whose object is to take joint action in the air against an aggressor who disturbs the peace, i.e. to put our own Air Force at the disposal of the threatened country. This is the British demand. Germany, trying to do everything and trying to collaborate everywhere where peace can be ensured, replied by a Note expressing her agreement with such an effective protection as is represented by the air-convention.
In this Note Germany expressed to Britain the view that Germany would be prepared to send her Air Force to the help of the threatened country.
After the German government expressed willingness to help, it became necessary to make a clear demarcation within German aviation, namely in this respect: which air force will be able to be made available? This situation brought about the decision as to those of the German aviation who will in future belong to the Air Force and those who will in future remain in civil aviation or in sport aviation. It was necessary to mark this separation also outwardly, so that the members of the German Air Force became soldiers according to the law and their leaders became officers. This involves only a part of the persons who up to the present moment have worked in the common German aviation. Therefore the difference between our Air Force and our civilian aviation shows itself clearly and distinctly in the various badges of rank and in the designation of rank.
I sum up: Our willingness to share in the effective defense of world peace, our assent to hasten with help to the hard pressed country, made the creation of a military aviation imperative, if our assent should not remain merely an empty phrase.
Answering the correspondent's question about the hierarchy in the new Air Force, its uniforms and its ranks the general said: "The Air Force is under the orders of the Reich Minister for Aviation who controls also civil aviation. His military rank is General of the Airmen [General der Flieger]. The uniform remains similar to the uniform of the sport aviation organization but outwardly it will be marked clearly by military badges of rank. Similarly the names of rank correspond with the military designation of rank from Lieutenant upwards to General of the Airmen." To the question concerning the nomination of German Air-attaches in foreign missions General Goering replied that the preparations for it were pending. Also about the numerical strength of the Air Force he said that he could not yet give final figures. As far as the percentage ratio to the Air Force of other powers is concerned, every sensible and decent man ought to realize that Germany, being particularly threatened, needed such figures as would guarantee the absolute safety of the German people. Asked about the role of the Air Force within the Armed Forces, General Goering stated that at the present moment, it was impossible to make a clear appreciation of the situation. But that it was definite that the Air Force must be an integral part of any defense and that without an Air Force the Army and Navy, no matter how strong, were useless.
In conclusion, the correspondent asked whether the German Air Force will be capable of repelling attacks on Germany. General Goering replied to that exactly as follows: "The German Air Force is just as passionately permeated with the will to defend the Fatherland to the last as it is convinced, on the other hand, that it will never be employed to threaten the peace of other nations."
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946