Monday, January 7, 2013

Rudolph Hess

Rudolph Hess,  1894 - 1987

Rudolph Hess ( was natural born conspirator and the Hess Peace Overture was the greatest conspiracy of World War II.  He was born to wealthy German parents in Alexandria, Egypt, a British colony at the time  He would summer in Germany during his youth while attending school in Egypt.  He served in the Kaiser's Army in the First World War where he also critically learned to fly.  After the war, he met and became an early supporter of Adolph Hitler.  He participated in the famous Beerhall putsch in Munich.  He helped to transcribe and edit Hitler's infamous testament Mein Kampf.  He later rose to become the Deputy Fuhrer in the 3rd Reich -- the number #3 ranked Nazi leader.  Historian andrew Roberts identifies him as "an ideological Nazi from the earliest days, he did not believe that Britain and Germany should be at war and so, unbeknown to Hitler, he conceived a daring -- if unhinged -- plan to make peace between the Anglo-Saxon races."  (Source: The Storm of War, Andrew Roberts, 2009

The war in Europe began with the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939.  In short order Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France fell under the boot of Nazi occupation.  In 1941 Yugoslavia and Greece would also fall.

It was in the spring of 1941 that a very strange thing happened with Rudolph Hess.  May of 1941 was a major inflection point in world history.  The Germans had experienced nothing but triumph at this point in the war.  Hitler, in an address at the Reichstag, had proclaimed that the National Socialist state would "last for a thousand years."  The Fuhrer had decreed that Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union would be launched in the summer of 1941.  This Hess must have known.  Sensing perhaps a turn in fortune, Hess decided to flee Germany.

Fuselage of Hess' Bf 110, Imperial War Museum, London
On May 10, 1941 Rudolph "Hess took off in a Messerschmitt 110 without warning anyone in Berlin.  He flew to Scotland by the light of a full moon and baled out, but broke his ankle on landing.  Astrologers has convinced him that he could arrange peace with Britain.  Although slightly deranged, Hess clearly sensed like Ribbentrop that the invasion of the Soviet Union might proved disastrous.  But his self-appointed peace mission was doomed to ignominious failure.

Hess's bizarre mission caused embarrassment in London, consternation in Germany and deep distrust in Moscow.  The British government mishandled the whole episode.  It should have announced straight away that Hitler has tried to make a peace overture, and it had rejected it outright.  Instead, Stalin was convinced that Hess's aircraft had been guided in by British Secret Intelligence Service.  He had long suspected Churchill of trying to provoke Hitler into attacking the Soviet Union.  He now wondered whether that arch anti-Bolshevik Churchill was plotting with Germany." Source: The Second World War, Anthony Beevor,

Tower of London, Hess' first British Prison
"Hess was interviewed by Lord Beaverbrook and the Lord Chancellor, Lord Simon, among others, and it quickly became clear to him that eh Churchill government had no intention of listening to any kind of peace terms.  Real or feigned amnesia, as well as the onset of other psychological disorders -- including paranoid -- seem to have descended upon Hess from that point onwards, and stayed with him to a greater or lesser degree for the rest of his life.  Although Hitler was furious with him for his 'treachery', and German propaganda explained the embarrassment in terms of mental illness, Hess did not betray the secret of Barbarossa.  He was interned in the Tower of London for some of the war, after which he was found guilty at Nuremberg of conspiring against peace, but crucially not of war crimes, and was thus given life imprisonment rather than the death penalty that he would assuredly have received had he not flown to Scotland.  Owing to Soviet intransigence -- Moscow had wanted him hanged in 1945 -- Hess stayed in Spandau Prison until his suicide aged ninety-two in 1987."  (Source: The Storm of War, Andrew Roberts, 2009,

Queen's House, Tower of London
Hess spent four days here in 1941
Or did he?  Hess was actually 93 years old at the time of his death on August 17, 1987 when he was found with a electrical cord wrapped around his neck.  Some wondered whether a 93 year old man would have had the arm strength to strangle himself in such a manner.  Did some government wish to silence Hess before a possible parole allowed him the chance to speak publicly?  Did some government want to make sure that he did not die a natural death?

Moreover, did Hess really keep Hitler's secret about Barbarossa?  What were the details of his peace overture to Britain?  All we know for certain is that this possible leak did not slow Hitler down in his plans to attack the Soviet Union in any way.  His son, Wolf Rudiger Hess, has maintained that the British government has secret files on Hess's peace proposal that will not be released until 2017

His body was buried by his family in Bavaria.  A monument inscribed "Hab's Gewagt" ("I dared") was placed on his tomb.  This became a shrine of pilgrimage for Neo-nazis and a major embarrassment for the little town of Wunsiedel in Bavaria.

Even long after his death the strange case of Rudolph Hess continues to make news.  In 2011 his body was exhumed, his remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered to the sea much like the treatment that Osama Bin Laden's corpse received for much the same reason (  Even his tombstone was shattered and destroyed.

In 2013 Rudolph Hess has still not lost the power to provoke and to raise questions.  Perhaps more revelations will follow in 2017...?

Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades, is now available

and on

1 comment:

P Scott Cummins said...

As best as I can tell, the "reason" Hess' son gives for his fathers murder at the hands of the SAS is this statement:
"The murder of Reich Minister Rudolf Hess had become necessary because the government of the USSR inted (sic) to release the prisoner in July 1987 [in connection with German President von Weizscker's forthcoming visit to Moscow], but President von Weizscker was able to negotiate an extension with the head of the Soviet government, Gorbachev, until November 1987, the next Soviet period in the guard cycle."
Not your usual stuff of murder conspiracies! Why Hess should not be released forty two years after VE Day, what secrets he might spill, or what egregiousness would require hit squad executive action on a doddering nonagenarian - gosh, can't wait to find out!