The year 1938–39 was when Hitler set out on the road of pre-war bloodless conquests, which led to the actual shooting combat over Poland in September 1939. Both willing and unwilling, Hermann Goering was his main acolyte in achieving the peaceful military occupations of Austria and the Czech–German Sudetenland in 1938, followed by that of Bohemia and Moravia.
Prior to this, Goering played perhaps the key role in the Nazi overthrow of the Third Reich’s conservative military and foreign services, being named field marshal as his reward. A major factor in making the Allies back down to Germany at the infamous Munich Pact Conference, Goering’s Luftwaffe was the key bargaining chip that gained these unprecedented territorial acquisitions for Hitler—all without a shot being fired. He also helped achieve alliances with Fascist Slovakia and Italy. The year 1938 also witnessed Goering’s role in the aftermath of the Kristallnacht action against German Jews that was a notable way station on the road to the Holocaust.