Rudolf Hess, in full Walter Richard Rudolf Hess, (born April 26, 1894, Alexandria, Egypt—died August 17, 1987, West Berlin, West Germany), German National Socialist who was Adolf Hitler’s deputy as party leader.
The son of a merchant, Hess served in the German army during World War I. After the war, he studied at the University of Munich, where he engaged in nationalist propaganda. Hess joined the fledgling Nazi Party in 1920 and quickly became Hitler’s friend and confidant. After participating in the abortive November 1923 Munich (Beer Hall) Putsch, he escaped to Austria but returned voluntarily to Landsberg prison, where he took down and edited much of Hitler’s dictation for Mein Kampf. Promoted to Hitler’s private secretary, Hess was charged with creating a new centralized party organization after the defection of the leftist followers of Gregor Strasser (1932). In April 1933 Hess became deputy party leader and in December entered the cabinet. In 1939 Hitler declared him second to Hermann Göring in the line of succession. Hess had a reputation for absolute loyalty to Hitler. During the later 1930s and the first years of World War II, however, when military and foreign policy preoccupied Hitler, Hess’s power waned, and his influence was further undermined by Martin Bormann and other top Nazi leaders. Hess decided in the spring of 1941 to bring the continuing military struggle between Germany and Britain to an end by means of a spectacular coup and thereby restore his flagging prestige.
On the night of May 10, 1941, a Scottish farmer named David McLean found a German Messerschmitt aeroplane ablaze in his field and a parachutist who identified himself as Captain Alfred Horn. McLean’s mum was soon serving him a cup of tea by the cottage fireside, but their surprise guest was no ordinary Luftwaffe pilot. Incredibly, he was Rudolf Hess, a long time Hitler loyalist, to say the least. Hess joined the Nazi party in 1920, stood with his friend Adolf Hitler at the Beer Hall Putsch, and served in Landsberg prison — where he took dictation for much of Mein Kampf. As deputy Führer, Hess was positioned behind only Hermann Goering in the succession hierarchy of the Nazi regime that had Europe firmly under the heel of its jackboot.
The Hess flight was remarkable in itself. He left an airfield near Munich in a small Messerschmitt fighter-bomber a little before 6 p.m., flying up the Rhine and across the North Sea. Hess displayed considerable skill by navigating such a course alone, using only charts and maps, on a foggy dark night over largely unfamiliar terrain—all while avoiding being shot down by British air defences. By 10:30, Hess was over Scotland, out of fuel, and forced to bail out just 12 miles (ca. 19 km) from his destination.
That unlikely site was Dungavel House, home of the Duke of Hamilton. Hess hoped to make contact with one of the highly placed British figures who, unlike Churchill, were willing to make peace with the Nazis on Hitler’s terms. Hess believed that Hamilton headed a faction of such people and immediately asked his captors to be taken to him. But Hess was misinformed. Hamilton, who wasn’t home that night but on duty commanding an RAF air base, was committed to his country and to its fight against Germany.
He is mad. And his actions does a lot of damage to Third Reich. I don’t want to hear his name any more.Adolf Hitler
Hess spent the war in British hands, confined in various locales including (briefly) the Tower of London and a military hospital at which he was even allowed guarded drives in the country. He was visited frequently by intelligence officers eager for secrets and by psychiatrists eager to plumb the Nazi mind—which in Hess’s case increasingly showed serious signs of mental illness. The psychiatric examinations were rooted less in concern for Hess’s mental health than in the hope that this fanatically devoted Nazi could provide them valuable insights about how the criminals ruling Germany, including Hitler himself, thought.
Hess was transferred back to Nuremberg for the post-war trials in October 1945, where he escaped the hangman but was sentenced to life in prison. He spent the rest of his long life, 46 years, as Prisoner Number 7 in Spandau where he lingered long after the other Nazis were freed. Hess was the facility’s only prisoner for more than 20 years, his term ending only when the 93-year-old was found hanging from a lamp cord in a garden building in August 1987. The suicide was denounced as a murder by those, including Hess’s own son, who suspected he’d been silenced.
I want to thank you, Britannica, for share documents of this event with me for publish this post