October 24, 2012

The Mystery Surrounding Rudolf Hess and His Flight to Britain

On May 10, 1941 Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess parachuted into a field near the village of Eaglesham- Scotland. Was he after a diplomatic victory when he took off from Augsburg in his Messerschmidt or had he completely gone mad? 

It is said that Hess didn’t like Germany being at war with the United Kingdom so he flew there in order to negotiate a peace between Germany and Great Britain.
As his interrogation went on, Hess’s mental instability became evident, therefore the British concluded that he was a lunatic and represented no one but himself. Hess’s generous peace offer was turned down and eventually he was sent to prison by direct orders from Churchill. Hitler declared Hess insane and he was immediately disowned by the Nazi Party. Hess’s dramatic attempt for coup caused Hitler and the Nazis great embarrasment while they struggled to give reasons for his nonsensical actions.

When the war was over Hess was tried in Nuremberg and was sentenced to life in prison despite being mentally ill.

The British treated Hess very strangely. There was almost no evidence to connect him with Nazi war-crimes. In fact he was in prison in England during the Holocaust in Europe. While several high rank Nazis were treated generously, the British insisted Hess be kept in prison until he died.

According to Gordon Thomas (Journey into Madness), Allen W. Dulles, had a meeting with Dr. Donald Cameron, the American psychiatrist, before he examined Hess: “Dulles first swore Dr Cameron to secrecy, and then told him an astounding story. He had reason to believe that the man Dr Cameron was to examine was not Rudolf Hess but an impostor; that the real Deputy Führer had been secretly executed on Churchill’s orders. Dulles had explained that Dr Cameron could prove the point by a simple physical examination of the man’s torso. If he was the genuine Hess, there should be scar tissue over his left lung, a legacy from the day the young Hess had been wounded in the First World War.”


The theory that the man in Spandau was not Hess but a doppelganger is yet to be proven. However, there is an interesting angle to this mystery, that is; a British doctor who examined Hess in 1973, claimed that he saw no evidence of chest scars on Hess’s body.

“Herr Speer, I have my memory back!”

Hess’s major trouble was amnesia. He did not remember the existence of his son or his Nazi comrades whom he sat with during the Nuremberg trials. Once he asked Göring: “Who are you?”

All the prisoners who were sentenced to death were executed except
Herman Göring. He beat the hangman by taking a cyanide capsule in his cell. The question of who provided the capsule to Göring is still unanswered. There were rumours that Göring had become friends with an American guard who was impressed by the Nazi leader and that this prison guard gave him the capsule. It is equally strange that a man as conceited as Göring died in his cell before he could make a final statement to the court.

Shortly before his suicide, Göring said something very intriguing about Hess. During the recess of the trial he said to Hess: “By the way, Hess, when are you going to let us in on your great secret?”

By “secret” Göring might have implied that Hess was actually an impostor or maybe he meant something completely different. Regardless, it is beyond any doubt that the
history of Nazi Germany is full of secrets.

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