A investigation carried out by MI5 in Germany, and made public in , concluded that Hess had flown on his own initiative and without orders from Hitler. It confirmed that Hess had left a letter for Hitler stating his intention to obtain a last-minute understanding with Britain before the German offensive on the USSR in June In the same way that RAF aircraft could fly over Britain, aircraft with German markings could fly unhindered almost anywhere over their own territory.
There would be certain prohibited areas, such as major cities, or ports, but aircraft would not be challenged if they kept clear of these, especially as at any one time there could be hundreds of aircraft over the country, on operational or training flights. Unlike the Royal Observer Corps, the Germans did not have a civilian network of posts to make visual sightings of aircraft. Instead, a huge anti-aircraft organisation known as the Flak Fligerabwehrkanone , trained rigorously in aircraft recognition, would be on the lookout, but they would not have fired on one of their own aircraft unless specifically ordered to do so.
In a report written when he left the Netherlands in August, James H. Lord, American Consul in Amsterdam, stated that Hess landed at Schiphol airport to have his Bf refuelled, following a request by phone from Augsburg. There is no mention of Hess or the plane in control tower log books from Schiphol on 10 May , and there was intensive security at the airport at the time following an escape five days earlier by two Dutchmen in a twin-engined Fokker G-1 long-range fighter intended for delivery to the Luftwaffe. In any case, a diversion from his plan could have endangered the mission.
Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet published a report on 23 May stating that Hess had not set off from Augsburg, or from Germany at all, but had rather taken off from Calais. The information is said to have originated from London but both British and German records can verify that no such statement was ever issued from official sources. However, no German records exist to substantiate the theory that Heydrich escorted Hess for any part of his flight or that he flew over the North Sea that day.
Public records show that three Spitfires and a Defiant were ordered to attack, not escort, the approaching enemy aircraft. Fires were started on both sides of the Thames and the number of casualties was high, estimated at more than 1, killed and 2, injured, stretching the emergency services to the limit. There are claims that 33 German raiders were shot down, but German figures indicate that only 10 failed to return. Hess crossed the English coast miles to the north of London at There was no air raid alert at London until Numerous appeals for Hess's release were launched by his lawyer, Dr Alfred Seidl, beginning as early as These were denied, mainly because the Soviets repeatedly vetoed the proposal.
Spandau was located in West Berlin, and its existence gave the Soviets a foothold in that sector of the city. Additionally, Soviet officials believed Hess must have known in that an attack on their country was imminent. Hess died on 17 August at age 93 in a summer house that had been set up in the prison garden as a reading room.
He took an extension cord from one of the lamps, strung it over a window latch, and hanged himself. Death occurred by asphyxiation. A short note to his family was found in his pocket, thanking them for all that they had done. The Four Powers released a statement on 17 September ruling the death a suicide. He was initially buried at a secret location to avoid media attention or demonstrations by Nazi sympathisers, but was re-interred in a family plot at Wunsiedel on 17 March ; his wife was buried beside him in Alfred Seidl felt that he was too old and frail to have managed to kill himself.
Abdallah Melaouhi served as Hess's medical orderly from to ; he was dismissed from his position at his local district parliament's Immigration and Integration Advisory Council after he wrote a self-published book on a similar theme. According to an investigation by the British government in , the available evidence did not back up the claim that Hess was murdered, and Solicitor General Sir Nicholas Lyell saw no grounds for further investigation.
Historian Peter Padfield claims that the suicide note found on the body appears to have been written when Hess was hospitalised in The town of Wunsiedel became a destination for pilgrimages and neo-Nazi demonstrations every August on the date of Hess's death.
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To put a stop to neo-Nazi pilgrimages, the parish council decided not to allow an extension on the grave site's lease when it expired in His remains were cremated and the ashes scattered at sea by family members. The gravestone, which bore the epitaph "Ich hab's gewagt" "I have dared" , was destroyed. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 19 September For the Californian artist, see Rudolf Hess artist.
The Astonishing Flight of Rudolf Hess ..
Nazism outside of Germany. The Loneliest Man in the World. Chesler, Caren 1 October Retrieved 4 September A History of Nazi Germany. The Second World War.
The Rudolf Hess flight: 10 conspiracies
Dowling, Siobhan 21 July Retrieved 26 February The Coming of the Third Reich. The Third Reich in Power. The Third Reich at War. Handwerk, Brian 10 May Retrieved 28 August My Father Rudolf Hess. Greenwald, John; Freeman, Clive 31 August The Inmate of Spandau's Last Wish". Archived from the original on 6 December Retrieved 27 February Manvell, Roger ; Fraenkel, Heinrich Milmo, Cahal 10 September Retrieved 10 September Nesbit, Roy Conyers; van Acker, Georges .
The Flight of Rudolf Hess: The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind: Hitler, Hess, and the Analysts. Retrieved 21 June Sereny, Gitta . His Battle With Truth. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Smith, Michael 27 December Telegraph Media Group Limited. Speer, Albert .
The remarkable tale of insanity, espionage, and conspiracies remains unanswered after 75 years
Inside the Third Reich. Staff 24 July Archived from the original on 23 January Staff 21 October Retrieved 29 August Staff 5 June Staff 31 May Staff 21 July Zwar, Desmond 16 June Talking to Rudolf Hess. The Crown and the Swastika: Hitler, Hess, and the Duke of Windsor. Boyes, Roger 7 June Australian journalist Desmond Zwar explains". Ten Days that Saved the West. Motive for a Mission: Journal of Intelligence History. Hess, Rudolf; Hess, Ilse Hutton, Joseph Bernard The Man and His Mission.
Le Tissier, Tony The Case of Rudolf Hess: A Problem in Diagnosis and Forensic Psychiatry. The Murder of Rudolf Hess. Members of the Hitler Cabinet. Konstantin von Neurath Joachim von Ribbentrop. Wilhelm Frick Heinrich Himmler. Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk.
Werner von Blomberg Wilhelm Keitel. Minister for Food and Agriculture. Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Minister for Science and Education. Hanns Kerrl Hermann Muhs. Fritz Todt Albert Speer. Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. Minister of State for Bohemia and Moravia.
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Major defendants at the Nuremberg trials. Remains discovered in Berlin in and conclusively identified in ; confirmed to have committed suicide on 2 May 2 Committed suicide on 15 October before sentence could be carried out 3 Found unfit to stand trial 4 Committed suicide on 25 October Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote. Providence, Hitler pointed out, had given Germany just the man-Walter Richard Rudolf Hess, Nazi Number Three, who in addition to fulfilling the other qualifications had grown up in the English quarter of Alexandria, spoke fluent English and "understood the British mind.
After Hitler transmitted his supreme and final offer-to send his own Deputy and closest friend directly to England-there was a long delay in replying. Possibly the imperturbable British required some time to recover from their astonishment. But finally Adolf's intuition was justified -- an acceptance of the proposal came through, details were arranged, and on May 10 Hess flew into the twilight.
Four months of intricate negotiations had preceded the flight. The Germans had pushed their proposal in the name of peace and Nordic friendship. Their British "friends" were co-operative without being too eager or too optimistic -- there was no use overlooking the difficulties. As was only natural, progress was made slowly; there were ups and downs in the fortunes of the enterprise.
The one thing the Germans did not know was that they were negotiating with agents of the British Secret Service using the names -- and the handwriting -- of the Duke of Hamilton and other gentry of the Anglo-German Fellowship Association! The fact is that the initial communication, in January, brought personally by an eminent diplomat, never reached its destination, having been intercepted by the Secret Service. From then on the correspondence was handled entirely by astute British agents. Replies designed to whet the German appetite, replies encouraging the supposition that Britain was seeking a way out of its military difficulties, were sent to Berlin.
The hook was carefully baited that caught the third largest fish in the Nazi lake. It was perhaps his perverted love of Wagnerian contrast that led Hitler to choose the night of his Deputy's fateful flight for unloading five hundred tons of noisy death on London. The heaviest Nazi bomber force ever sent to Britain was pounding the capital, and new waves of planes were crossing the coast every fifteen minutes. When a report from an outlying radiolocation station on the Scottish coast announced the approach of an unidentified plane, the receiving operator at Fighter Command checked it off as "one of ours" and promptly forgot it.
On the tail of the first report came a second: Methodically, as one immune to surprises, the operator sent his flash to the plotting room and a hostile plane was pinpointed far up on the eastern coast of Scotland with an arrow to indicate that it was moving west. By now inland stations were also picking up the mystery plane, obviously a fighter from its speed, although Scotland was far beyond the normal cruising range of any fighter. Consulted, the commanding officer at Fighter Command reacted in a manner that Fighter Command personnel still discuss with varying degrees of puzzlement.
While the small red arrows on the plotting table crept across Scotland, high officers at Fighter Command watched with absorbed interest. Near the tiny village of Paisley, almost on the west coast, they stopped. In Lanarkshire, Scotland, David McLean, a farmer, watched a figure parachute into his field, and by the time the man had disentangled himself from the shrouds of his parachute, Farmer McLean was standing over him with a pitchfork.
Helped into the farmer's kitchen, he announced that his name was Alfred Horn and that he had come to see the Duke of Hamilton, laird of the great Dungavel estate ten miles away. The man talked freely, and to local Home Guardsmen Jack Paterson and Robert Gibson, who had arrived in the meantime, he admitted that he had come from Germany and was hunting the private aerodrome on Hamilton's estate when his fuel gave out and he had to bail out.
With their instinctive distrust of aristocracy, the canny Scots became suspicious of the whole situation, and the parachutist was bundled off to the local Home Guard headquarters, where an excited, argumentative crowd soon gathered. Meanwhile, a kind of official reception committee composed of Military Intelligence officers and Secret Service agents was waiting at the private aerodrome on the Hamilton estate.
The forced landing ten miles from the prearranged rendezvous was the only hitch in the plan. It was the hitch, presumably, which broke to the whole world sensational news which otherwise might have been kept on ice for a while if not for the duration. When the "reception committee" heard of the accident and finally found their visitor, he was being guarded by over a dozen defiant Home Guardsmen who were determined not to relinquish him. It took lengthy assurances that the man would remain safe in their custody, plus the arrival of Army reinforcements under instructions to co-operate with the "committee," to persuade the Guardsmen to give up their prisoner.
Still declaring that his name was Alfred Horn, Hess was placed in a military motorcar and driven to Maryhill Barracks near Glasgow. There he changed his story. His identity checked, Hess was taken to a military hospital to have his ankle treated, and with a Scots Guardsman on duty outside his door, spent his first night in the British Isles.
In the village of Paisley and many other parts of the Highlands, Scotsmen divided into factions-Scots nationalists and British loyalists, royalists and socialists-and throughout that night and for several days broke heads and knuckles over the issue of the German who came to Scotland. The loyalists and socialists suspected that either the Scots nationalists or royalists had been guilty of some treasonable skullduggery. Hess passed a good night, and when his nurse brought breakfast on a tray the next morning at 8 a.
She left the tray and departed, while he went back to sleep.
The Inside Story of the Hess Flight
When she returned at nine for the tray, the breakfast had not been touched, so she removed it, with the result that Hess spent his first morning in Britain without breakfast. Thereafter he breakfasted at eight.
Hitler's friend and deputy had come prepared for an indirect approach to the British Government through the Anglo-German Fellowship Association, to which a surprising number of prominent Britons adhered before the war. The actual approach, as planned by Winston Churchill, was exceedingly direct. Ivone Kirkpatrick, an astute super-spy in World War I and Councillor at the Berlin Embassy during the intervening years, flew to Scotland to receive the Hess plan for direct transmission to the British Government.
Even Hitler could have asked no greater co-operation. Despite the absence of the Duke of Hamilton, Hess at this stage was still convinced that he was dealing with the Fellowship intermediaries. It was to Kirkpatrick that the Nazi first poured out the details of Hitler's armistice and peace proposals.
He was enthusiastic and voluble -- the stenographic report filled many notebooks. His tone throughout was that of a munificent enemy offering a reprieve to a foe whose doom was otherwise sealed. The terms of Hitler's peace proposal have been discussed up and down England not only in well-informed political circles but in pubs, bomb shelters and Pall Mall clubs. It was too elaborate a secret to be kept.