Fact Check: NO Evidence That Hermann Goering Ever Said Quote About Using Fear To Control People

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: NO Evidence That Hermann Goering Ever Said Quote About Using Fear To Control People No Evidence

Did Hermann Goering say that the only reason Nazism worked in Germany was because the government convinced the German people to be afraid? No, that's not true: A history professor says there is no evidence of Goering, a leader in Nazi Germany who was convicted of war crimes, saying this in the official transcripts during the Nuremberg Trials that followed World War II.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) where it was published on July 24, 2021. It read:

From the Nuremberg Trial (1945) Hermann Goering to the question "How did you convince the German people to accept all this?", he replied: "It was easy and has nothing to do with Nazism. The only thing a government needs to turn people into slaves is fear. If you can find something to scare them you can make them do anything you want."

The caption on the side read:

Fear is a powerful tool.

Here is the Facebook post at the time of writing:Screenshot 2021-07-26 at 13.33.22.png

Lead Stories emailed Peter Fritzsche, a professor of history at the University of Illinois and author of several books on Germany under Hitler's Third Reich, on July 26, 2021, to inquire about the validity of this quote.

Fritzsche replied:

The quote is widely attributed to Goering at the Nuremberg trials in 1945. However, there is no evidence in the official transcript. Of course, Goering spoke off the record to various psychologists at the time. In any case, there is no factual basis for the quote.

But let us say he said it. It would have been a total miscomprehension of the Nazi movement of which he was so central a part. A large portion of the German people voted for the Nazis, were enthusiastic about the regime change in January 1933, and participated energetically in its various projects. There is little evidence at all that most Germans felt frightened; rather they felt energized and mobilized. Obviously, resolute Communists and Social Democrats felt fear if they crossed certain lines. And at the very end, I'd say the last 4 weeks of the regime, there was a kind of arbitrary lawlessness which citizens could see. But Germans were neither cowed nor frightened into submission nor slaves. Those who had reason to fear and those who were actually made into slaves were not Germans but their victims: Jews, Poles, Slavs and others in the occupied territories.

So: no factual basis, but also illogical in terms of interpretation of political movements in the 20th century.

Other fact-checking organizations have also examined the quote, finding no evidence in the transcripts of the Nuremberg Trial that Goering said it there.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

Read more about or contact

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion