The Controversial Flight and Capture of Rudolf Hess

The Controversial Flight and Capture of Rudolf Hess : The History and Legacy of the Deputy Fuhrer's Mysterious Peace Mission to Britain

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*Includes pictures *Discusses the mystery surrounding the mission and conspiracy theories *Includes a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "Even if I could, I would not wish to expunge this time from my life. I am happy to know that I have done my duty toward my people, my duty as a German, as National Socialist, as loyal follower of my Fuehrer. I regret nothing." - Rudolf Hess during the Nuremberg Trials Stars glittered over the restlessly undulating waters of the North Sea late on the evening of May 10th, 1941, as a lone twin-propeller Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighter bearing the Iron Cross emblem of the Nazi Luftwaffe came in sight of the low, dark line of land along the horizon that marked where Scotland lay. Far to the south, waves of similar aircraft and Junkers JU 88 "fast bombers" were roaring through the fire-streaked skies over London, pounding the luckless metropolis with a heavy attack that killed over 3,000 British civilians in about an hour and setting the Houses of Parliament on fire. Given a clear view of their targets by the bright moonlight shining over the "Sceptered Isle," the German pilots created immense havoc in which at least one observer found a certain hellish beauty: The Anglo-Irish poet Louis MacNeice had arranged to spend the night in the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral. He wrote that soon after the raiders appeared, "great tawny clouds of smoke, rolling in sumptuous Baroque exuberance, had hidden the river completely and there we were on the dome, a Classical island in a more than Romantic Inferno. It was far and away the most astonishing spectacle I have ever seen." (Manchester, 2012, 350). However, the solitary Messerschmitt 110 several hundred miles to the north was not on a combat mission. Instead, it bore extra 900-liter (237 gallon) fuel tanks greatly increasing its range - designed for jettison using a control toggle in the cockpit - and its principle payload was the man piloting the two-seat fighter alone. The man in the cockpit was Rudolf Hess, Deputy Fuhrer of Hitler's Third Reich, and he was on a mission to bring peace terms to the British. It is even possible he hoped to convince them to join with Hitler's Thousand-Year Reich in its great crusade against the Soviet Union, due to be launched in the very near future. Though he did not know it, he was actually on a forlorn journey into enemy territory, one that doomed him to a lifetime of solitary confinement in Spandau Prison before dying by his own hand as the last and loneliest of the Nazi overlords in 1987. Most of the evidence suggests Hess' flight was not a practical plan carefully designed and mulled by the Nazi supreme command. Rather, it was likely a quixotic adventure conceived mostly in Hess' own mind and carried out with a strange sort of naive daring by Hitler's faithful secretary and biographer. It was also "his desperate attempt to regain his master's trust and confidence. After all, Hitler's 'peace offensives' following the defeat of Poland and the fall of France had failed abysmally. It would have amounted to an unparalleled triumph had Hess succeeded where everyone else had failed. His zealotry had got the better of him." (Stafford, 2014, Introduction). The plan was incredibly bold and daring, but it was also utterly useless. It was not for nothing that there was "a remark made in New York by Brenden Bracken who [...] dismissed Hess as an 'overgrown Boy Scout'" (Stafford, 2014, Chapter 1). Amid all the dramatic incidents of the war, it remained one of the most remarkable yet most fruitless and empty. That said, the botched handling of the matter by the British (against the wiser council of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill) accidentally caused one tangible result of Hess' mission: confusing Stalin and the Soviets for a few crucial weeks and thus giving Hitler the chance to launch a preemptive invasion.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 44 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 2.54mm | 117.93g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508511659
  • 9781508511656

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