World War II German Field Marshal. He first rose to prominence in World War I as one of Germany's premier flying fighter Aces. During the course of the war he amassed a total of 28 aerial victories and was awarded the "Pour le Merite" medal (also known as the "Blue Max") as well as the Bavarian "Orden Max-Josef". The latter of these two awards conferred upon him the title of "Knight" thus allowing the addition of "Ritter" (Knight) and "von" to his name. During the 1930s he helped to secretly rebuild the German Air Force (the "Luftwaffe") under the direction of then Luftwaffe Chief Hermann Goering. During the early days of World War II he was given command of the Luftwaffe Department of Research and was active in the planning of the aerial assaults of "The Battle of Britain" and "Operation Barbarossa" (the Russian campaign). It was in this time that he was awarded the prestigious Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. In the closing days of World War II General von Greim attempted to help Adolph Hitler escape the Berlin bunker while the area was under direct attack by Soviet forces. In the midst of battle General von Greim and famed female ace Hanna Reitsch flew into Berlin in an attempt to rescue the Fuerher. Hitler refused to evacuate and instead promoted General von Greim to Field Marshall of the Luftwafe (a position left vacant after Goering's failed peace initiative to Britain). This made him only the second man to hold this post. General von Greim fled the city and was captured on May 8, 1945. He was transferred to Soviet custody in a prisoner exchange and, fearing torture stemming from his part in "Barbarossa", committed suicide while in Soviet custody in Salzburg on May 24, 1945. His final words spoken before ingesting a capsule of potassium cyanide were "I am head of the Luftwaffe with no Luftwaffe".
Bio by: Mark S