By Bob Gordon In October 1939, British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill famously described Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” The same could be said of Rudolf Hess, the Nazi leader and Nuremberg war criminal who spent the last four decades of his life in Spandau Prison in Berlin. In the 15 years following World War I, he rose from being a shy and introverted but brilliant university student to the height of power in Nazi Germany as deputy Führer, second only to Adolf Hitler himself. He ended his life at age 93, a feeble, captive, old codger. On May 10, 1941, only weeks before Operation Barbarossa, the planned German invasion of the Soviet Union, he flew from Augsburg to Scotland, apparently on a freelance diplomatic mission. He planned to make peace with Great Britain and avert the age-old German specter of a two-front war. Needless to say, he was singularly unsuccessful and imprisoned until transferred to Nuremberg for the war crimes trials held after the war. Since that fateful Saturday, the first anniversary of the German invasion of France, myths and misinformation have shrouded this undeniably eccentric Nazi. Hess's Obsession with Astrology, Ghosts, Telepathy, and Mesmerism His curious diplomatic mission is only the tip of the inexplicable iceberg that is Hess. Prior to his flight, his companions regarded him as extremely odd, even mentally unbalanced. Herman Göring described him as “mad,” and Hitler often mocked his re


$2 / Month

Subscribe now for only $3.99 $2 a month!

Unlimited Website Access, Thousands of Searchable Articles, Warfare Newsletter, and more.

Back to the issue this appears in