Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Rudolf Walter Richard Hess

Rudolf Walter Richard Hess


Branch: Government
Born: 26 April 1894 in Alexandria, Khedivate of Egypt.
Died: 17 August 1987 in Spandau, West Berlin, West Germany.

Deputy Führer 21 April 1933 to 12 May 1941


Personal Information:

Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was born on 26 April 1894 in Alexandria, Khedivate of Egypt and was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the National Socialist Party during the 1930s and early 1940s. On the eve of war with the Soviet Union, he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom, but was arrested and became a prisoner of war. Rudolf Hess was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to life imprisonment, which he served at Spandau Prison, Berlin, where he died in 1987. There have been conspiracy theories linked to Rudolf Hess. After World War II Winston Churchill wrote of Rudolf Hess, He was a medical and not a criminal case, and should be so regarded.

On 27 to 28 September 2007, British news services published descriptions of disagreement between his Western and Soviet captors over his treatment and how the Soviet captors were steadfast in denying his release. In July 2011, the remains of Rudolf Hess were exhumed from a grave in Bavaria after it became a focus of a pilgrimage for neo-Nazis.

Rudolf Hess, the eldest of four children, was born in Alexandria, Egypt to Fritz H. Rudolf Hess, a prosperous German Lutheran importer/exporter from Bavaria, and Clara (née Münch). His mother was of Greek descent, of the Georgiadis family of Alexandria. The family lived in luxury on the Egyptian coast near Alexandria, and visited Germany often during the summers, allowing the Rudolf Hess children to learn the German language and to absorb German culture. The family moved back to Germany in 1908, where Rudolf Hess enrolled as a boarder at the Protestant School in Bad Godesberg. Rudolf Hess showed aptitude in science and mathematics, and expressed interest in becoming an astronomer. However, his father wished him to continue the family business, Rudolf Hess & Co., and in 1911 convinced Rudolf Hess to study business for a year in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce.

Rudolf Hess joined the Hamburg trading company Feldt, Stein & Co. as an apprentice in 1912. At the outbreak of World War I he enlisted in the 7th Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment, becoming an infantryman, and was awarded the Iron Cross, second class. He saw heavy action both on the Western Front (at Ypres and Verdun) and in the Carpathian Mountains. After being wounded on several occasions including a chest wound severe enough to prevent his return to the front as an infantryman he transferred to the Imperial Air Corps (after being rejected once). He underwent aeronautical training and was a pilot in an operational squadron, Jasta 35b (Bavarian), with the rank of lieutenant from 16 October 1918. He won no victories. The war ended on 11 November 1918.

On 20 December 1927, Rudolf Hess married 27-year-old Ilse Pröhl 22 June 1900 to 7 September 1995 from Hannover. They had a son, Wolf Rüdiger Rudolf Hess 18 November 1937 to 24 October 2001.

After the war, the successful Rudolf Hess family business collapsed. Rudolf Hess went to Munich, and took a job at a textile importing firm. He joined the Freikorps. He also joined the Thule Society, a right-wing völkisch occult-mystical organization. After the end of the war, Bavaria suffered fierce infighting between right-wing groups and left-wing forces, some of which were Soviet-backed.

In autumn of 1919, Rudolf Hess left his job and enrolled in the University of Munich where he studied political science, history, geography, and geopolitics under Professor Karl Haushofer, whom he had first met in the summer of 1919 in a social setting. From their first meeting, Rudolf Hess became a disciple of Haushofer: the two became close friends, and their families also become close, with Rudolf Hess and Haushofer's son Albrecht developing a strong friendship.

After hearing Adolf Hitler, a powerful orator, speak for the first time in May 1920 at a Munich rally, Rudolf Hess became completely devoted to him, and spent much of his time and effort for the next several years organizing for Adolf Hitler at the local level in Bavaria. Rudolf Hess joined the fledgling National Socialist Party in 1920 as one of its first members. Rudolf Hess introduced Haushofer to Adolf Hitler in the spring of 1921, following a rally at a beerhall. This was a critical and vital development in the Nazi rise to power. Haushofer and Adolf Hitler connected immediately on a personal level. Haushofer's geopolitical theories found a strong convert in Adolf Hitler, who used this material to form the basis of his plans for the rebuilding of Germany Adolf Hitler soon began using Haushofer's material in his speeches, which drew ever-larger audiences and attention. Haushofer became a close adviser to Adolf Hitler, and assumed prominence in Germany with Adolf Hitler's rise.

Rudolf Hess commanded an SA battalion during the Adolf Hitler led Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, which failed. Rudolf Hess served seven and a half months in Landsberg Prison Adolf Hitler was sentenced to five years in the same prison, but served just nine months. Acting as Adolf Hitler's private secretary in prison, Rudolf Hess transcribed and partially edited Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf. While in prison, Adolf Hitler and Rudolf Hess were frequently visited and tutored by Haushofer. Rudolf Hess also introduced Adolf Hitler at early National Socialist Party rallies.

Rudolf Hess retained his interest in flying after the end of his active military career, and competed successfully in several races during the 1920s and 1930s latterly in a BFW M35b monoplane. He also flew the Messerschmitt Bf 108 and Messerschmitt Bf 110, which he learned to fly under the tutelage of the company chief test pilot Willi Stör.

Writing in Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler said, 'under the old regime there was Prince Eulenburg, under the new, there is Rudolf Hess'. Anton Drexler (known for being Adolf Hitler's mentor during his early days in politics) and his group resented Rudolf Hess, considering him 'too intellectual'.

Rudolf Hess became the third-most-powerful man in Germany, behind Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring. Soon after Adolf Hitler assumed dictatorial powers, beginning in early 1933, Rudolf Hess was named Deputy to the Führer. Rudolf Hess had a privileged position as Adolf Hitler's deputy in the early years of the Nazi movement and in the early years of the Third Reich. For instance, he had the power to take merciless action against any defendant that he thought got off too lightly, especially for those found guilty of attacking the party, Adolf Hitler or the state. Rudolf Hess also played a prominent part in the creation of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935. Adolf Hitler's biographer John Toland described Rudolf Hess's political insight and abilities as somewhat limited.

Rudolf Hess had extensive dealings with senior leaders of major European nations during the 1930s. His education, family man image, high office, and calm, forthright manner all served to make him a more respectful and respectable representative of the often otherwise crude and vulgar Nazis. Compared with other Nazi leaders, Rudolf Hess had a good reputation among foreign leaders.

Within Germany, Rudolf Hess was somewhat marginalized as the 1930s progressed, as foreign policy took greater prominence. His alienation increased during the early years of the war, as attention and glory were focused on military leaders and Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler. Those three Nazi leaders in particular had much higher profiles than Rudolf Hess. Though Rudolf Hess worshipped Adolf Hitler more than the others, he was not nakedly ambitious and did not crave power in the same manner that they did. However, as the Deputy Führer, he was definitely not a figurehead. Rudolf Hess held as much power as the other Nazi leaders, if not more, under Adolf Hitler. He controlled who could get an audience with the Führer, as well as passing and vetoing proposed bills, and managing party activities. Adolf Hitler appointed Rudolf Hess as Minister Without Portfolio.

On 1 September 1939, the day Germany invaded Poland and launched World War II, Adolf Hitler announced that should anything happen to both him and Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess would be next in the line of succession.

Like Joseph Goebbels, Rudolf Hess was privately distressed by the war with the United Kingdom because he, influenced by his academic advisor and in line with earlier statements by Adolf Hitler, hoped that Britain would accept Germany as an ally. Rudolf Hess may have hoped to score a diplomatic victory by sealing a peace between the Third Reich and Britain, using the contact his adviser Albrecht Haushofer had made in Nazi Germany, just before the war, with Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton.

On 10 May 1941 at about 18:00, Rudolf Hess took off from Augsburg in a Messerschmitt Bf 110 (radio code VJ+OQ) that he had equipped with drop tanks to increase its range. Goering ordered the General of the Fighter Arm to stop him but squadron leaders were ordered to scramble only one or two fighters, since Rudolf Hess's particular aircraft could not be distinguished from others and he was soon out of their range over the North Sea.

Rudolf Hess flew from Augsburg via Darmstadt and Bonn towards the Zuider Zee and then towards the Shetland Islands. At 22:08 Rudolf Hess's aircraft was first detected by radar from RAF Station Ouston, north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, when he was 70 mi (110 km) off the coast of Scotland, headed in a north-westerly direction towards the island of Lindisfarne. His flight was designated HOSTILE RAID 42J.

The Messerschmitt Bf 110 dived to lose altitude after crossing the coast and was sighted by a Royal Observer Corps post near Chatton in Northumberland (12.5 mi (20.1 km) inland) at 22:25, flying at only 50 ft (15 m).

At 22:35 two 602 Squadron Spitfires were scrambled from Heathfield (Ayr). Within 90 seconds Flight Lieutenant Al Deere DFC was vectored towards the track of Raid 42. An RAF Defiant nightfighter was scrambled from RAF Prestwick at 22:35 on an unsuccessful interception course towards Kilmarnock. The Messerschmitt Bf 110 flew well below radar sweeps and after 45 minutes in the air Flt Lt Deere was ordered back to Ayr. The Bf 110 flew low over Kilmarnock, climbed over the Firth of Clyde, then headed inland over the Fenwick Moor. Turnhouse Ops Room reported at 23:09 that the intruder had crashed south of Glasgow. Rudolf Hess parachuted from the Messerschmitt Bf 110 and landed near the village of Eaglesham, injuring his ankle on landing.

Rudolf Hess landed near Floors Farm, Eaglesham, where he was discovered removing his parachute harness by local ploughman David McLean. Rudolf Hess identified himself as Hauptmann Alfred Horn, and said that he had an important message for the Duke of Hamilton. McLean helped Rudolf Hess to his home nearby then contacted the local Home Guard unit. Rudolf Hess was then escorted under guard to the local Home Guard headquarters in Busby, East Renfrewshire, and from there to the Battalion HQ in Giffnock, where he arrived shortly after midnight. At Giffnock he was briefly questioned by Major Donald, the Assistant Group Officer of the Glasgow Royal Observer Corps. Rudolf Hess gave a short description of his flight and repeated that he had a secret and vital message for the Duke of Hamilton and that he must see him immediately. The message was described as being in the highest interest of the British Air Force, but Rudolf Hess declined to go into any detail.

Rudolf Hess was handed over to the Army and taken to Maryhill Barracks, Glasgow, where he again requested that the Duke should speak to him alone. Hamilton was informed of the prisoner and visited him, whereupon he revealed his true identity. Shortly afterwards, Hamilton summarised their conversation in a report to Winston Churchill, dictated at RAF Turnhouse. Hamilton stated that, based on Press photographs and a description of Rudolf Hess given by Albrecht Haushofer, that this prisoner was indeed Rudolf Hess himself. Hamilton then flew to RAF Northolt, and on to Kidlington near Oxford, from where he was taken by car to meet Churchill at Ditchley Park.

The flight of Rudolf Hess, but not his destination or fate, was first announced by Munich Radio in Germany on the evening of Monday 12 May. Rudolf Hess's capture was reported at the time in the British and international media and McLean claimed to have arrested Rudolf Hess with his pitchfork.

The wreckage of the aircraft was salvaged by 63 Maintenance Unit between 11 and 16 May 1941. The aeroplane was found to be armed with machine guns in the nose but there was no ammunition on board.

Records released by the UK's National Archives confirm that Rudolf Hess was on a peace mission. In early 1941 Germany tried to negotiate peace with Britain through diplomatic communications via Sweden. The Duke of Hamilton commenced libel action in 1941/42 and wanted Rudolf Hess in court as a witness. There is no evidence to implicate the Duke of Hamilton. National Archives files relating to Rudolf Hess and concerning the nature and range of German peace feelers in early 1941 (C1687G, C1954, C2785G) were formerly closed until 2017, but were released in 2007.

In May 1943, the American Mercury magazine published a story from an anonymous source that indicated the British Secret Service lured Rudolf Hess to Scotland to meet the Duke of Hamilton, a member of the Anglo-German Fellowship and that Rudolf Hess was on a peace mission this was denied by Adolf Hitler. The Queen's Lost Uncle, a television programme broadcast in November 2003 and March 2005 on Britain's Channel 4, indicated involvement of Prince George, Duke of Kent. It appears that Rudolf Hess was tricked into thinking he was in communication with the Duke of Hamilton, whom Rudolf Hess was led to believe was an opponent of Winston Churchill.

Rudolf Hess was quoted by his wife as saying:

My coming to England in this way is, as I realise, so unusual that nobody will easily understand it. I was confronted by a very hard decision. I do not think I could have arrived at my final choice unless I had continually kept before my eyes the vision of an endless line of children's coffins with weeping mothers behind them, both English and German, and another line of coffins of mothers with mourning children.
Adolf Hitler granted Rudolf Hess's wife a pension but stripped Rudolf Hess of all of his party and state offices, and privately ordered him shot on sight if he ever returned to Germany. Martin Bormann succeeded Rudolf Hess as deputy under a newly-created title.

Rudolf Hess's flight raised suspicions with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin that secret discussions were under way between Britain and Germany to attack the Soviet Union. Later, in a meeting with Stalin, Churchill addressed the topic and found Stalin still believed secret agreements were discussed with Rudolf Hess. When I make a statement of facts within my knowledge I expect it to be accepted, Churchill responded to Stalin, again denying that the incident resulted in any communications with Nazi Germany. Files at The National Archives dated 1942 include Moscow Embassy correspondence concerning Rudolf Hess some pages are subject to non-disclosure under statute.

According to data published in a book about Wilhelm Canaris, a number of contacts between Britain and Germany were kept during the war.

Churchill sent Rudolf Hess initially to the Tower of London, making Rudolf Hess the last in the long line of prominent people to be held in the 900-year-old fortress. Churchill gave orders that Rudolf Hess was to be strictly isolated, but treated with dignity. He remained in the Tower until 20 May 1941. After being held in the Maryhill army barracks, he was transferred to Mytchett Place near Aldershot. He was kept under close guard. Frank Foley and two other MI6 officers were given the job of debriefing him or Jonathan, as he was now known. Churchill's instructions were that Rudolf Hess should be strictly isolated, and that every effort should be taken to get any information out of him that might be useful.

During his time as a prisoner of war Rudolf Hess was confined at Maindiff Court Military Hospital, Abergavenny, Wales for treatment for insanity. He was treated well and enjoyed painting.

At the time of his capture, official London sources had claimed Rudolf Hess was sane and healthy and had not brought any peace message. However, the Nazis claimed he had left behind a letter which showed clearly traces of mental disorder which led to fears that Party Comrade Rudolf Hess was a victim of hallucinations. In an official report to President Franklin Roosevelt A Former Naval Person wrote: Rudolf Hess seems in good health and not excited, and no ordinary signs of insanity can be detected.

On 15 October 1941, Rudolf Hess made his first suicide attempt by throwing himself over the rail of the first floor balcony, but he only broke his leg.

Rudolf Hess was interviewed by psychiatrist John Rawlings Rees, who had worked at the Tavistock Clinic prior to becoming a Brigadier in the British Army. Rees concluded that he was not insane, but certainly mentally ill and suffering from depression probably due to the failure of his mission. Rudolf Hess's diaries from his imprisonment in Britain after 1941 make many references to visits from Rees, whom he did not like and accused of poisoning him and mesmerizing him. Rees took part in the Nuremberg Trials of 1945.

Rudolf Hess was in captivity for almost four years of the war and thus he was absent from most of it, in contrast to the others who stood accused at Nuremberg. British government files released by The National Archives include a note concerning Rudolf Hess's war crimes trial in which Judge Jackson considered whether Rudolf Hess should be certified as insane. His case was considered by the Attorney-General.

Rudolf Hess became a defendant at the Nuremberg Trials of the International Military Tribunal, on the insistence of the Soviet Union, despite his being in a state of almost complete forgetfulness. He was flown to Nuremberg in October 1945. Rudolf Hess regained his memory for a short period and was declared fit to stand trial. Partial memory loss returned and he went back into amnesia. He spent his time in court reading, occasionally laughing. In the British view, Rudolf Hess was of unsound mind. Some of his last words before the tribunal were I regret nothing.

In 1946, Rudolf Hess was found guilty on two of four counts: crimes against peace (planning and preparation of aggressive war), and conspiracy with other German leaders to commit crimes. He was found not guilty of war crimes or crimes against humanity. He was given a life sentence.

Following the release in 1966 of Baldur von Schirach and Albert Speer, Rudolf Hess was the sole remaining inmate of Spandau Prison, partly at the insistence of the Soviets. Guards reportedly said he degenerated mentally and lost most of his memory. For the next eight years, his main companion was warden Eugene K. Bird, with whom he formed a close friendship. Bird wrote a 1974 book titled The Loneliest Man in the World, The Inside Story of the 30-Year Imprisonment of Rudolf Hess about his relationship with Rudolf Hess. Frank Keller, a former guard at Spandau, said that Rudolf Hess would march by himself in the jail courtyard every day.

In the third volume of his book The Second World War Winston Churchill wrote.

Reflecting upon the whole of the story, I am glad not to be responsible for the way in which Rudolf Hess has been and is being treated. Whatever may be the moral guilt of a German who stood near to Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess had, in my view, atoned for this by his completely devoted and frantic deed of lunatic benevolence. He came to us of his own free will, and, though without authority, had something of the quality of an envoy. He was a medical and not a criminal case, and should be so regarded.

In the early 1970s, the U.S., British and French governments approached the Soviet government to propose that Rudolf Hess be released on humanitarian grounds due to his age. The Soviet official response was apparently to reject these attempts and reportedly refused to consider any reduction in Rudolf Hess's life sentence. U.S. President Richard Nixon was in favour of releasing Rudolf Hess and stated that the U.S., Britain and France should continue to entreat the Soviet Union for his release.

In 1977, Britain's chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Sir Hartley Shawcross, characterised Rudolf Hess's continued imprisonment as a scandal. In 1987, the new Soviet leadership agreed that Rudolf Hess should be set free on humanitarian grounds.

The restrictions of communication in prison for Rudolf Hess were strict. Family visits were restricted to a half-hour visit once a month he considered this degrading and refused such short visits until 1968. In the 1970s he was visited by members of his family once a month, and later in the 1970s on humanitarian grounds visitation rights were extended to one hour per month. Rudolf Hess was never allowed to discuss anything related to the period of World War II or to the National Socialist Regime.

Rudolf Hess's letters and all communication were subject to censorship. British government files released by The National Archives detail a disagreement between the western powers and the Soviet Union regarding rights, especially censorship. The Soviet governor argued that uncensored letters to Rudolf Hess's wife could be used to construct a propagandist essay.

British government files opened on 28 September 2007 by The National Archives from the period 6 May to 6 August 1974 contain a report of an altercation between Rudolf Hess and a Soviet warder. The western governors raise issues of Soviet policy towards Rudolf Hess, for example taking away Rudolf Hess's glasses before lights out, destroying his notebooks, increasing the strictness of censorship and blocking visits by his lawyer.

On 17 August 1987, Rudolf Hess died while under Four-Power imprisonment at Spandau Prison in West Berlin, at the age of 93. He was found in a summer house in a garden in a secure area of the prison with an electrical cord wrapped around his neck. His death was ruled a suicide by asphyxiation. He was buried at Wunsiedel in a family plot sold to his family by the Vetters of the Sechsämtertropfen bitter liquor company of Wunsiedel. Spandau Prison was demolished to prevent it from becoming a shrine.

Rudolf Hess was the last surviving member of Adolf Hitler's cabinet.

Neo-Nazis from Germany and Europe held gatherings in Wunsiedel for a memorial march and similar demonstrations took place every year around the anniversary of Rudolf Hess's death. These gatherings were banned from 1991 to 2000 and neo-Nazis tried to assemble in other cities, and countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark. Demonstrations in Wunsiedel were legalized in 2001. After stricter German legislation regarding demonstrations by neo-Nazis was enacted in March 2005, the demonstrations were banned again.

With the grave's lease due to expire in October 2011, the Rudolf Hess family applied for a 20-year extension, which was denied. We decided not to extend the lease because of all the unrest and disturbances, said parish council chairman Peter Seisser. After negotiations between the church's chaplin and Rudolf Hess's granddaughter, the family agreed to remove his remains from the town. Rudolf Hess's grave was re-opened on the morning of 20 July 2011 and his remains exhumed, then cremated. Soon afterward his ashes were scattered at sea the gravestone, which bore the epitaph Ich hab's gewagt (I dared), was destroyed.

Rudolf Hess ordered a mapping of all the ley lines in the Third Reich. There is speculation that Rudolf Hess was questioned by the British about Nazi interest in the occult.

There have been conspiracy theories concerning his death, mainly from Wolf Rüdiger Rudolf Hess.

Wolfgang Spann, who was in charge of the second autopsy, stated that we can't prove a third hand participated in the death of Rudolf Hess.

In 2008 Abdallah Melaouhi, a Tunisian who acted as Rudolf Hess's medical caretaker in Spandau prison from 1984 to 1987, was dismissed from his position in his local German district parliament's advisory board for integration after he wrote a book, I Looked into the Murderer's Eyes. He had claimed in the book that his patient was murdered by MI6 the British Secret Intelligence Service.

According to Hugh Thomas's book The Murder of Rudolf Hess 1979, the prisoner tried at Nuremberg and incarcerated in Spandau as Rudolf Hess was an imposter. Dutch author At Voorhorst contradicts Thomas's allegations with his study in which he compares biometric features of the prisoner in Spandau prison and deputy of Adolf Hitler in the Second World War.


Rudolf Walter Richard Hess picture 1

Rudolf Walter Richard Hess picture 2

Rudolf Walter Richard Hess picture 3

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