The Crimes of Rudolf Hess

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British Free Corps
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Post by British Free Corps » 20 Jul 2003 20:42

Prisoner of peace? What kind of Nazi self love fest have you been attending?
Whoa, hold on now. Rudolf Hess was imprisoned for attempting to salvage a peace accord between Great Britain and Germany in early May 1941. After his Me-110 landed in the Scottish Highlands, he was captured by the British authorities and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was to remain there until his trial at Nuremburg, which resulted in his life sentencing at Spandau prison.
On the evening of May 10, 1941, the Deputy Führer of the Third Reich set out on a secret mission that was to be his last and most important. Under cover of darkness, Rudolf Hess took off in an unarmed Messerschmidt 110 fighter-bomber from an Augsburg airfield and headed across the North Sea toward Britain. His plan was to negotiate peace between Germany and Britain.

Four hours later, after successfully evading British anti-aircraft fire and a pursuing Spitfire, Hess parachuted, for the first time in his life, and sprained his ankle landing in a Scottish farm field. An astonished farmer found the injured pilot and turned him over to the local Home Guard unit. (note 1)

Winston Churchill promptly rejected Hess' peace offer and jailed him as a prisoner of war, even though he had arrived unarmed and of his own free will. Rudolf Hess, ambassador of peace, was to remain a prisoner until his death in August 1987 at the age of 93.

For many, the passing of the one-time Deputy Führer and last surviving member of Hitler's inner circle simply marked the welcome of a terrible era. But his true legacy is something far different. He spent 46 years -- half his life -- behind bars, a victim of a cruel victor's justice. More than any other man, Rudolf Hess symbolizes the vindictiveness and hypocrisy of the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Hess was imprisoned on counts of attempting to incite aggressive warfare against Poland, but for me, this does not hold water. Hess was a figurehead, whose role as Deputy Fuehrer was ceremonial. Endless footage has been shown of many of Hitler's military conferences throughout World War II. Have you seen Rudolf Hess in any one of them? I haven't.

A J P Taylor sums the whole ordeal up quite nicely.
Hess came to this country in 1941 as an ambassador of peace. He came with the ... intention of restoring peace between Great Britain and Germany.

He acted in good faith. He fell into our hands and was quite unjustly treated as a prisoner of war. After the war, we could have released him.

No crime has ever been proven against Hess ... As far as the records show, he was never at even one of the secret discussions at which Hitler explained his war plans.

He was of course a leading member of the Nazi Party. But he was no more guilty than any other Nazi or, if you wish, any other German. All the Nazis, all the Germans, were carrying on the war. But they were not all condemned because of this.

That Rudolf Hess -- the only one at Nuremberg who had risked his life for peace -- was found guilty of "crimes against peace" was certainly the Tribunal's most ironic perversion of justice.


David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 20 Jul 2003 21:47

British Free Corps -- The jurists of the International Military Tribunal acquitted Hess of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but found him guilty of conspiracy and crimes against peace:

"He joined the Nazi Party in 1920 and participated in the Munich Putsch on 9 November 1923. He was imprisoned with Hitler in the Landsberg fortress in 1924 2nd became Hitler's closest personal confidant, a relationship which lasted until Hess' flight to the British Isles. On 21 April 1933, he was appointed Deputy to the Fuehrer, and on 1 December 1933 was made Reich Minister without Portfolio. He was appointed member of the Secret Cabinet Council on 4 February 1938, and a member of the Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich on 31 August 1939. In September 1939, Hess was officially announced by Hitler as successor designate to the Fuehrer after Goering. On 10 May 1941, he flew from Germany to Scotland.

Crimes against Peace

As Deputy to the Fuehrer, Hess was the top man in the Nazi Party with responsibility for handling all Party matters and authority to make decisions in Hitler's name on all questions of Party leadership. As Reich Minister without Portfolio he had the authority to approve all legislation suggested by the different Reich Ministers before it could be enacted as law. In these positions, Hess was an active supporter of preparations for war. His signature appears on the law of 16 March 1935, establishing compulsory military service. Throughout the years he supported Hitler's policy of vigorous rearmament in many speeches. He told the people that they must sacrifice for armaments, repeating the phrase, "Guns instead of butter." It is true that between 1933 and 1937 Hess made speeches in which he expressed a desire for peace and advocated international economic co-operation. But nothing which they contained can alter the fact that of all the defendants none knew better than Hess how determined Hitler was to realize his ambitions, how fanatical and violent a man he was, and how little likely he was to refrain from resort to force, if this was the only way in which he could achieve his aims.

Hess was an informed and willing participant in German aggression against Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. He was in touch with the illegal Nazi Party in Austria throughout the entire period between the murder of Dollfuss and the Anschluss and gave instructions to it during that period. Hess was in Vienna on 12 March 1938, when the German troops moved in; and 'on 13 March 1938 he signed the law for the reunion of Austria within the German Reich. A law of 10 June 1939 provided for his participation in the administration of Austria. On 24 July 1938, he made a speech in commemoration of the unsuccessful Putsch by Austrian National Socialists which had been attempted 4 years before, praising the steps leading up to the Anschluss and defending the occupation of Austria by Germany.

In the summer of 1938 Hess was in active touch with Henlein, Chief of the Sudeten German Party in Czechoslovakia. On 27 September 1939, at the time of the Munich crisis, he arranged with Keitel to carry out the instructions of Hitler to make the machinery of the Nazi Party available for a secret mobilization. On 14 April 1939, Hess signed a decree setting up the Government of the Sudetenland as an integral part of the Reich; and an ordinance of 10 June 1939 provided for his participation in the administration of the Sudetenland. On 7 November 1938, Hess absorbed Henlein's Sudeten German Party into the Nazi Party and made a speech in which he emphasized that Hitler had been prepared to resort to war if this had been necessary to acquire the Sudetenland.

On 27 August 1939, when the attack on Poland had been temporarily postponed in an attempt to induce Great Britain to abandon its guarantee to Poland, Hess publicly praised Hitler's "magnanimous offer" to Poland and attacked Poland for agitating for war and England for being responsible for Poland's attitude. After the invasion of Poland Hess signed decrees incorporating Danzig and certain Polish territories into the Reich and setting up the Government General (Poland).

These specific steps which this defendant took in support of Hitler's plans for aggressive action do not indicate the full extent of his responsibility. Until his flight to England, Hess was Hitler's closest personal confidant. Their relationship was such that Hess must have been informed of Hitler's aggressive plans when they came into existence. And he took action to carry out these plans whenever action was necessary.

With him on his flight to England, Hess carried certain peace proposals which he alleged Hitler was prepared to accept. It is significant to note that this flight took place only 10 days after the date on which Hitler fixed 22 June 1941 as the time for attacking the Soviet Union. In conversations carried on after his arrival in England, Hess wholeheartedly supported all Germany's aggressive actions up to that time and attempted to justify Germany's action in connection with Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He blamed England and France for the war.

War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity

There is evidence showing the participation of the Party Chancellery, under, Hess, in the distribution of orders connected with the commission of War Crimes; that Hess may have had knowledge of, even if he did not participate in, the crimes that were being committed in the East, and proposed laws discriminating against Jews and Poles; and that he signed decrees forcing certain groups of Poles to accept German citizenship. The Tribunal, however, does not find that the evidence sufficiently connects Hess with these crimes to sustain a finding of guilt.

As previously indicated the Tribunal found, after a full medical examination of and report on the condition of this defendant, that he should be tried, without any postponement of his case. Since that time further motions have been made that he should again be examined. These the Tribunal denied, after having had a report from the prison psychologist. That Hess acts in an abnormal manner, suffers from loss of memory, and has mentally deteriorated during this Trial, may be true. But there is nothing to show that he does not realize the nature of the charges against him, or is incapable of defending himself. He was ably represented at the Trial by counsel, appointed for that purpose by the Tribunal. There is no suggestion that Hess was not completely sane when the acts charged against him were committed."

(The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School: Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 22 - Tuesday, 1 October 1946, pps. 526-9); at:

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