10 May 1941 about 23 hours in the sky over Scotland, Hitler's deputy for Nazi affairs Rudolf Hess turned off his Messerschmitt-110 engine and jumped out of the cab with a parachute. Soon, under the protection of members of the local self-defense detachment, he was taken to the nearest farm. The estate of the Duke Dang Hamilton, who was one of the closest to the English King George VI and an active participant in the influential pro-fascist group in British political circles, where, as it turned out later, Hess reached, remained about 20 miles.
In the First World War, professional military man Rudolf Hess fought in the regiment of the future field marshal von List. He was wounded three times. Despite the severe injury, he realized his dream - he became a military pilot. In 1919, he was sentenced to death by the court of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, but he miraculously escaped punishment.
Soon military pilot Hess made a dizzying career in the Nazi party. After the National Socialists expelled Hitler from the party in 1921, publicly tearing up his membership card, he managed to convince them and to achieve the restoration of the future Fuhrer in the party ranks. Since then, Hess and Hitler became inseparable friends.
Hess enjoyed the virtually unlimited confidence of Hitler. So, 1 September 1939 of the year, on the day of the outbreak of the Second World War, Hitler declared in the Reichstag: “If something happens to me during this fight, then my first successor will be the party comrade Goering. If something happens to Goering, then Hess will be his successor. You will then be obliged to show the same blind trust and obedience towards them as to me. ”
In the circles of the Nazi Party of Germany, the dark-haired Hess was called Black Bert for his eyes. Under the same pseudonym, he appeared in the operational affairs of the Soviet foreign intelligence.
What actually happened on the May evening 1941 of the year in Scotland and what caused this event? Let us dwell on some versions that tried to explain him at that time and which are still in use today.
Officially, the leadership of the National Socialist Party reported only the 12 of May on the disappearance of Hess. The official communique said that “Hess 10 of May at 18 hours flew in an unknown direction on a plane from Augsburg and did not return to this time. The letter left by Hess testifies in view of his incoherence about the presence of signs of mental disorder, which makes one fear that Hess was a victim of insanity. " At the same time, Nazi propaganda began to actively promote the idea that Hess, being an idealist, "became a victim of an obsessive idea of achieving agreement between England and Germany."
In turn, the British press reported 13 on May about the landing of Hess in Scotland and put forward an assumption that was apparently also of a purely propaganda nature that "Hess escaped as a result of serious disagreements and divisions in the leadership of the National Socialists." Considerable attention to this issue was also given in the media of other countries.
Interest in the mysterious flight of Hess across the North Sea was also marked at the highest level. So, US President Franklin Roosevelt demanded from the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill additional information about the flight of a prominent Nazi leader. Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano, in his diary, admitted that "much remains unclear in this mysterious business."
FROM NACIST'S BIOGRAPHY
Who was Rudolf Hess, who caused universal commotion?
He was born 26 April 1894, in Alexandria. Until 14 years lived in Egypt with his parents. Then he went to Switzerland, where he graduated from a real school. Having moved to Munich, Hess got a job at a trade shop. During the First World War, he became a military pilot. After the war he graduated from the Faculty of Economics of the University of Munich. The university was a diligent student of Professor Karl Haushoffer - the father of the theory of "geopolitics", directly related to the ideology of Nazism. Under the influence of Professor Hess became a staunch revanchist, anti-communist and anti-Semite. In 1920, he became a member of the National Socialist Party, in which he later played a prominent role. And then followed the events of 1921 of the year, which we have already discussed above, and his rapprochement with Hitler. Hess was Hitler's right hand during the “beer putsch” in Munich in November 1923. After the defeat of the rebellion and the arrest of Hitler, Hess voluntarily surrendered to the authorities to be with him.
It should also be emphasized that, to a certain extent, Hess co-authored Hitler’s Mein Kampf book, which became the program of the Nazi movement, which they wrote together while in Landsberg Fortress. Although Hess typed the text mainly under the dictation of the Fuhrer, it was he who introduced the ideas of "geopolitics" into the book, which he had learned in his time from Professor Haushoffer.
Since 1925, Hess has been Hitler’s personal secretary, and since April 1933, he has been his party deputy and the third person in the official Nazi hierarchy. He often replaced Hitler at the official events of the Reich.
EXPLORATION INFORM THE KREMLIN
Naturally, the flight of such a person to the UK - to the enemy - during the war should have caused and, of course, caused a sensation.
Increased attention to news from London in this regard, and showed in the Kremlin. The Soviet leadership was well aware that England’s desperate situation in the Middle East, where the fate of the British Empire hung in the balance, opened up the opportunity for the Germans to start negotiations “from a position of strength” with the British, which could result in a deal at the expense of the USSR.
The foreign intelligence service of the Soviet state security agencies received the first report about the flight of Hitler’s deputy to England 14 in May 1941. It was brief, and it read as follows:
“According to Zenhen (the operational pseudonym of the Soviet intelligence officer, member of the Cambridge Five, Kim Philby. - V.A.), Hess, arriving in England, stated that he intended first of all to turn to Hamilton, who was familiar to him from joint participation in 1934 air competitions of the year. Kirkpatrik, the first “identifier” of the Hess official (at that time, the British Foreign Office was named in the secret intelligence intelligence correspondence. - V.A.), Hess noticed that he had brought peace proposals with him. The essence of the peace proposals is still unknown to us. ”
For Soviet intelligence, Kim Philby’s message was a signal that heralded the danger of a possible collusion between London and Berlin. The chief of foreign intelligence, Pavel Fitin, put a resolution on the cipher telegram: “Wire up to Berlin immediately, London, Stockholm, Rome, Washington. Try to find out the details of the proposals. ”
At the request of Moscow, one of the first again responded London residency. The message from 18 May, in particular, indicated:
“According to information received by Zenkhen in a personal conversation with his friend Tom Dupree, deputy head of the“ Hook ”department:
1. Hess until the evening of 14 in May did not give any valuable information to the British.
2. During the conversations of officers of the British military intelligence with Hess, he claimed that he had arrived in England to conclude a compromise peace, which should halt the increasing depletion of both warring parties and prevent the final destruction of the British Empire as a stabilizing force.
3. According to Hess, he continues to be loyal to Hitler.
4. Lord Beaverbrook and Anthony Eden visited Hess, but this is refuted by official reports.
5. In a conversation with Kirkpatrick, Hess said that the war between the two northern peoples is a crime. Hess believes that in England there is a strong anti-Churchillian party standing for peace, which, with his (Hess) arrival, will receive a powerful incentive in the struggle for peace.
When asked to ask Zenhen if he thought that the Anglo-German alliance against the USSR would be acceptable to Hess, Tom Dupri replied that this is exactly what Hess wants to achieve.
Senkhen believes that now the time of peace negotiations has not come, but in the process of further development of the war, Hess will probably become the center of intrigue for concluding a compromise peace and will be useful for the "peace party" in England and for Hitler. "
From a source in the US Department of State who was in touch with the agent group-leader of the NKVD residency in Washington Sound, Moscow received the following message: “Hess arrived in England with the full consent of Hitler to begin negotiations for a truce. Since it was impossible for Hitler to offer a truce openly without prejudice to German morality, he chose Hess as his secret emissary. ”
The source of the Berlin residency Yun said: "The head of the American Department of the Ministry of Propaganda Eisendorf said that Hess is in excellent condition, flew to England with certain tasks and proposals from the German government."
Another source (Frankfurt) reported from Berlin: "The Hess action is not a flight, but a mission with the peace proposal of England, undertaken with the knowledge of Hitler."
In the information received by the Berlin station from a reliable source Extern, it was emphasized:
"Hess is sent by Hitler for peace talks, and in the case of England’s consent, Germany will immediately oppose the USSR."
Thus, the Center developed a real picture of the fact that behind the “flight” of Hess lies the realization of the secret plan of the Nazi leadership to make peace with England on the eve of the attack on the Soviet Union and thereby avoid war on two fronts.
Recall that, despite the fact that Hitler disassociated himself from Hess and called him crazy, the English Foreign Minister Anthony Eden and Lord Beaverbrook visited the Nazi emissary and conducted a probe of his intentions. Although Churchill’s conservative cabinet did not respond to Hitler’s proposals to divide the territory of the USSR between both countries, Stalin did not rule out future collusion on an anti-Soviet basis. He drew attention to the fact that the British formally rejected the proposals of Berlin, but did not inform Moscow about their essence.
It should also be emphasized that soon any information about Hesse completely disappeared from the pages of British newspapers, and he himself, interned by the British authorities as a prisoner of war, was guarded better than the top officials of the kingdom.
Today, when we know from the declassified materials of the Third Reich and the outcome of the Nuremberg trials of the main Nazi criminals that Hitler really wanted to agree with England on a joint military campaign against the USSR, it becomes clear that Stalin could not trust England, whose pre-war policy was different in duplicity and hypocrisy . He didn’t trust Churchill either, because there were quite a few Munich residents in the British prime minister’s office who hated the USSR more than Germany.
This is evidenced in particular by the directive of the British leadership of British intelligence MI-6 from 23 in May of 1941, which became well-known to Soviet intelligence, to launch a disinformation campaign of the Soviet government using the Hess case. Thus, in ordering the British ambassador to the USSR, Stafford Krips, on this occasion, the task was to report through secret channels that “Hess’s flight is an indicator of growing disagreement due to Hitler’s cooperation policy with the Soviet Union ... and that he will be forced to abandon this course and break any promises to the Soviet Union that he may have already made. ”
Thus, information from trusted sources that came to Moscow from London and the capitals of other states could not help but increase the suspicion of the Soviet leadership, both in respect of Germany and in England.
At the same time, it is necessary to emphasize that another important version of the events under consideration is the version that the flight of Black Bertha to Scotland is the result of a rather clever operation of the British special services to lure the Deputy Fuhrer into a trap placed in front of him. And this operation was based on Hess's correspondence with Duke Dang Hamilton.
It should be noted that in the Nazi circles Rudolf Hess was known as an Anglophile. From a racial point of view, he considered the British "northern brothers of the Germans" by blood. The former chief of Nazi political intelligence, Walter Schellenberg, argued in his memoirs that for many years even an employee of the British special services was surrounded by Hess. In the prewar years, Hess, as one of the Nazi leaders, met with many prominent political figures in England: the newspaper king, Lord Rotemir, the Duke of Windsor, the adjutant of the English king, Captain Roy Feyers, the Duke of Hamilton. With the latter, Hess kept secret contacts even after the start of the Second World War.
Meanwhile, the London residency continued to clarify the secret of Hess even in the conditions of the Great Patriotic War. October 20 The 1942 of the year from the station received important information from a reliable source regarding the Hess flight to England. In particular, it stated:
“The popular belief that Hess flew to England unexpectedly is wrong. The correspondence on this issue between him and Hamilton began long before his flight. However, Hamilton himself did not participate in this matter, since the letters addressed to him by Hess fell into the Intelligence Service. The answers to them were also compiled by Intelligence Service, but on behalf of Hamilton. Thus, the British managed to deceive and lure Hess to England.
The source said that he personally saw the correspondence between Hess and Hamilton. The Germans wrote quite clearly about their military plans against the USSR, urging the British to end the war between Germany and England. There is written evidence of the guilt of Hess and other Nazi leaders in the preparation of an attack on the USSR. ”
On the basis of this information, an intelligence report was prepared by the Main Directorate of State Security of the NKVD of the USSR, sent to the leadership of the country.
Which of the above versions of the last flight of Black Bertha is true, still remains a mystery. As the content of the negotiations Hess with the British representatives.
Apparently, it is not by chance that the British authorities have classified archival materials related to the Hess flight for a long time. After more than 70 years after the flight of Black Bertha, they prefer to keep such information in the deepest secret. And it is possible that in the British intelligence itself, which prepared letters to Hess on behalf of the Duke Hamilton, there were people who played a very dangerous game in order to leave the Soviet Union alone in the upcoming fight with Hitler.
In conclusion, a few words about the fate of Black Bertha.
At the Nuremberg Trials of 1945 – 1946, Rudolf Hess was sentenced to life imprisonment, who was serving a sentence from 1946 in the Spandau prison in Berlin. From 1966, he remained in a huge prison alone, under the protection of a regularly changing guard of the soldiers of the four victorious powers. In the 1987 year, two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, 93-year-old Hess was discovered hanging in his cell.