One of the great mysteries of World War II is the flight of Hitler’s deputy and secretary, Rudolf Hess. I was in middle school when I first learned about it. Hess flew to Britain against Hitler’s will to negotiate peace. Because Hitler was hell-bent on conquering Britain, the NSDAP disowned Hess and claimed he was insane.
Hess’ behavior at the Nuremberg Trials of 1946 seem to corroborate this narrative. He complained incessantly about his food being drugged. He claimed that he couldn’t remember anything, and the subject of whether he had faked memory loss was one of great debate among the prosecutors. Toward the end of the trial he then claimed that his memory loss was ‘tactical,’ and that he really remembered everything.
That’s the narrative from British intelligence, who had custody of Hess since 1941. A cursory look at the British narrative reveals just how dubious it is. First, Hitler didn’t want all-out war with Britain. In fact, he reached out peace feelers after the Fall Of France during his July 19th, 1940 victory speech. That Hitler would suddenly want conquest at all costs in 1941 is doubtful. Even in Mein Kampf Hitler stated that he’d prefer some kind of alliance with Britain.
Many of Hess’ family believed that Hitler had actually sent Hess to Britain, and that Hess’ peace offer was an official one. Sure enough,uncovered archives from Russia basically confirm this theory, and yet the ramifications are never discussed.
The idea that Hess was actually sent by Hitler to England changes everything. Think about it for a sec. Churchill had every interest in suppressing from the public the fact that Hess was acting as an envoy from Germany. Had the British public known that the Germans were actively offering peace at that time, it could have easily spelled the end of Winston Churchill’s career as a politician. Churchill was the pro-war politician in a Britain that tired of the bombing. In 1941, the British public probably would have accepted an honorable peace if they were offered one. Churchill would have lost his job, and history would look at him today much differently than we do.
At the Nuremberg Trial Hess’ memory was foggy and he recalled very little. Given what we know now, Hess’ memory loss is quite convenient for the narrative, isn’t it? His claims of being drugged were dismissed and brushed off. Should they be? In the decades that followed, we know that the CIA experimented with on-command memory loss in Operation Monarch and MK Ultra, and drug use was heavily used in these experiments. Back when the CIA was the OSS, the fledgling clandestine service was trained by the British MI-6 all throughout the 1950s. Could the CIA have picked up MI-6’s mantle in setting up MK Ultra? Could Rudolf Hess have been one of the first ‘guinea pigs?’
The most suspicious circumstances revolve around Hess’ “suicide.” After he was sentenced to life in prison in 1946, Hess was sent to Spandau Prison, a prison guarded by Soviet, British and American forces in what became Soviet-occupied Berlin. Hess was the last prisoner to be released, and toward the mid-80s he was the only prisoner left in that lonely edifice.
Mikhail Gorbachev in February of 1987 told German journalists that he was ready to release Rudolf Hess to his family members. What if all the drugs hadn’t worked on Hess? What if he remembered and spilled the beans? That might look awfully inconvenient for the British narrative and the legacy of Winston Churchill, wouldn’t it?
Guess who blocked his release? Margaret Thatcher, of course. And according to the Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet Office at that time, Gorbachev told Thatcher that he would ‘expose British hypocrisy’ and withdraw guards from Spandau Prison.
Rudolf Hess was found dead a few months later. Officially he “committed suicide” by hanging himself. How a 93 year-old man with arthritis could hang himself with an electrical extension cord is beyond me. Through contact with his family, Hess also knew that there was an increasing possibility that he would be released. Why, then, would he hang himself after all these years? Like a lot of murky mysteries of our time, the official story of Rudolf Hess just doesn’t make any sense.