Instead he was imprisoned, and by the night of June 16, the obvious failure of his mission left Hess so mentally shattered that he attempted suicide by hurling himself down a flight of stairs. 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. Hess was transferred back to Nuremberg for the post-war trials in October, , 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. But Hess's death didn't end the questions.
Had he really come alone? News of Hess's flight was a bombshell in Berlin, and Nazi authorities quickly moved to disassociate him from the regime. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist who knew much about such tactics, feared that the British would use Hess as part of a devastating campaign targeting German morale.
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But the furor gradually died down. Though Hess held a powerful title, his actual influence in the Nazi hierarchy had waned dramatically by , so much so that some have speculated that his flight was born of hopes to regain Hitler's favor by delivering him an agreement with the British. Instead his departure simply consolidated the power of his ambitious and manipulative former deputy Martin Bormann.
Yet a persistent theory has suggested that Hess's ill-fated peace mission was actually carried out with Hitler's knowledge—and the understanding that he'd be disavowed as insane if it failed. Hess's adjutant, Karlheinz Pintsch, had handed Hitler an explanatory letter from Hess on the morning after the flight, and Uhl discovered a report featuring Pintsch's description of that encounter in the State Archive of the Russian Federation. Pintsch claimed that the Hitler received his report calmly. This version aligns well with Soviet claims dating back to Stalin himself that British intelligence services had been touch with Hess and duped him into the flight.
In fact they may align too well, for the statement was produced during the decade when Pintsch was an often-tortured Soviet prisoner and its language smacks of Cold War propaganda terminology—suggesting the Soviets coerced the version from Pintsch. Indeed other witnesses reported a very different reaction from Hitler. Speer discussed the flight with Hess himself 25 years later when both were incarcerated in Spandau. It had also been one of Hitler's recurrent formulas before and occasionally even during the war. As with much of the Hess affair definitive evidence is lacking but a few tantalizing possibilities exist.
The official records that have been made available, perhaps not surprisingly, reveal no such role for the British intelligence services. The most plausible motivation for such a plot, were it ever to have existed, was that the British hoped it would convince Hitler to scrap or at least postpone an invasion of Britain; a peace settlement would make such a drastic and dangerous step unnecessary and free him to focus on the battle against his most hated enemy—the Soviet Union.
MI5 files declassified in suggest that Hess did have his adviser Albrecht Haushofer pen a letter to Hamilton in , suggesting that a neutral site meeting could advance secret peace talks. However those files are far from complete. Some of the intelligence files on the Hess affair are known to have been 'weeded,' or destroyed.
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Whatever information they held is lost—but other classified files remain and have yet to be released. In recent years a few other secret files have emerged. In a U. They had been missing ever since. In one of the digitized documents, Hess described his interview with Hamilton on the morning after his flight in a passage that perhaps provides the best window into the workings of the mind that conceived this unusual attempt. But the rulers of Great Britain were convinced of no such thing. This, of course, was not to last.
Hitler followed the history of the Armenian massacres closely and often referred to them in the years before the Second World War. Rural Muslim Turkish and Kurdish communities far from the sophistication of Istanbul or Smyrna might have more easily accepted the first brutalities; they were certainly to participate in them.
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Nor were the Croatians ordered by Berlin to slaughter their Serbian neighbours after Germany occupied Yugoslavia in ; they did so without orders from Berlin. The roots of their genocidal racism already existed. Does this apply to Rwanda, where up to a million Tutsi and moderate Hutus — including 70 per cent of the Tutsi population — were massacred in the genocide?
This was centrally organised and planned, but the execution of these crimes against humanity was in the hands of Hutus across the entire country, where neighbours killed neighbours. And in their persecution and murder of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, Isis — which included Muslims from around the world — may not have been specifically aided by the local population; but while Arabs tried to protect their neighbours, others systematically looted their homes and property after Isis had slaughtered or deported the owners. Hebrew University of Jerusalem lecturer Umit Kurt studied the dispossession and killing of Armenians in the southern city of Aintab and found that local Turkish Muslims freely and willingly participated in the crimes.
What he discovered was that a genocidal government must have the local support of every branch of respectable society: tax officials, judges, magistrates, junior police officers, clergymen, lawyers, bankers and, most painfully, the neighbours of the victims. Not to mention the governors. In other words, leaders do not commit genocide, not on their own.
Ordinary people do.
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source url Voucher Codes. Just Eat. National Trust. Premium Articles. Subscription offers. Subscription sign in. Read latest edition. In Canada they were once again interned. As official paranoia abated somewhat, Roland Hess jumped at the chance to volunteer for service in the British Armed Forces. After returning to Britain, and a short time in the non-combatant Pioneer Corps, he joined the Highland Light Infantry in early , changing his name to the more English-sounding Roland Hill because of his affection, as a one-time stamp collector, for Rowland Hill, the inventor of the penny postage.
After crossing over to Normandy on June 18 , 12 days after D-Day, he took part in the campaigns in Belgium, Holland and Germany, where he subsequently became a member of the press section of the British army of occupation. In he wrote the first German biography of Margaret Thatcher, winning favourable reviews in the British press and earning a letter of thanks from the lady herself. In Hill married Amelia Nathan, who died in There were no children of the marriage, but he is survived by a daughter from a previous relationship..
Populist Right-wing former Mayor of Toronto whose drunken antics scandalised his fellow citizens. Terms and Conditions. Style Book.