The Final Hours: The Luftwaffe Plot Against Göring
Fighter ace Col. Johannes Steinhoff commanded an elite group of pilots trained to fly the first jet aircraft employed in combat, the famous Messerschmitt Me-262, at a time when Reich Marshal Hermann Goring, by then out of favor with Hitler for his failure to stop the Allied bombing raids, denounced his own pilots as cowards. After Goring refused to deploy the Me-262 as a fighter, the role for which it was designed, and instead ordered its use as a bomber, Steinhoff and other senior air leaders devised a plot to depose Goring from his command of the Luftwaffe in the futile hope of staving off final defeat in the air. The pilots' long-standing disgust with their Reich Marshal's military incompetence and technical dilettantism led to their dangerous intrigue in the fall of 1944. There was an added element of risk as their desperate gamble came in the wake of the July 20 plot against Hitler, the onrushing Allied onslaught, and the general disintegration of the German military and its war effort. Johannes Steinhoff was a colonel in the Luftwaffe during World War II and a high-scoring fighter ace. After the war, he served as the chief of staff of the West German Air Force and as chairman of NATO's Military Committee. He died in 1994.
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