|Rudolph Hess, 1894 - 1987|
Rudolph Hess (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 www.amzn.com/0061228605).
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|
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, 2012.www.amzn.com/0316023744)
|Tower of London, Hess' first British Prison|
|Queen's House, Tower of London|
Hess spent four days here in 1941
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 http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n1p24_Hess.html).
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 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14232768). 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...?