Rudolf Hess was born in Alexandria, Egypt on 26 April 1894 to a wealthy German merchant. He was educated in Germany from the age of twelve at Godesberg.
Later on, he joined his father’s business in Hamsburg. In August 1914, Hess joined the German army. He served in First Bavarian Infantry Regiment during World War I. He eventually went on to become the official pilot in the Germany Army Air Service in 1918.
Hess was extremely inspired by the teachings of Karl Haushofer who wrote that the state is a biological organism and in its struggle for space the stronger organism takes land from the week. This inspired Hess to write his prize-winning essay “How must the man be constructed who will lead Germany back to her old heights?”
In December 1932, Hess was appointed the head of the Central Political Committee after making his way up the Nazi hierarchy. The entire world was on the brink of war and by 1933 when Hitler became the chancellor, the Nazis only had a third of the seats in the Reichstag. This lead Hitler to doubt Hess’s abilities as Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels were gaining popularity.
There is evidence to suggest that Hess was playing a secret role in the government of Hitler. On 22 May 1940, 250 German tanks were advancing along the French coast at Dunkirk, sealing of the British escape route. Then just six miles from the town they stopped as Hitler had ordered them to hold their position for three days. The order was decoded and the British knew they could escape.
It is possible that there was a deal between Germany and Britain. Peace talks were in progression in June 1940. And Churchill was under considerable pressure to finish the talks that had been started by Neville Chamberlain. On 10 September 1940 Karl Haushofer sent a letter to his son Albrecht. It discussed the secret peace talks going on with Britain. He mentioned middlemen such as the Duke of Hamilton, Ian Hamilton and Viola Roberts. Haushofer was arrested by the Allies in October 1945. He told them that Hess flew to England when his son called him to Augsburg. This was 1941. On 10th May 1941, Hess took a Me 110 to Scotland. He was arrested by David McLean of the Home Guard. A long rigmarole of espionage and secrecy followed in which the major leaders of Britain and Germany were involved. The Duke of Hamilton told his son that he was forced to take the blame for Hess’s arrival in Scotland to protect people more powerful than him.
Stalin raised a toast to the British Intelligence Services for unveiling the true nature of Hess’s position but there are still many questions unanswered. Did Hess come to England because Chrchill and Hitler had called off the air attacks? Nobody is yet sure about this!
Hess was located in the Tower of London and remained imprisoned for several years. Four decades later he was found dead on 17th August 1987 in Spandau Prison. His tale is a strange one and testament to the fact that terrible things happened when you get embroiled in totalitarianism.