For your information…
– Hitler ‘gave go-ahead to Rudolf Hess mission to secure peace with Winston Churchill’ (Daily Mail, 29th May, 2011):
Rudolf Hess’s flight to Britain during World War Two in a bizarre attempt to secure peace was backed by Adolf Hitler, fresh documents claim.
History has long recorded that the Nazi number three was acting alone when he piloted a Messerschmitt to Scotland in May 1941.
He parachuted out over Renfrewshire and was arrested by a farmhand with a pitchfork.
Hess was, apparently, trying to contact the Duke of Hamilton to set peace talks with Winston Churchill in motion under his own initiative.
Hitler was even supposed to have scrambled aircraft to try to stop Hess, his deputy, from leaving Germany.
But a 28-page notebook discovered in a Russian archive disputes this theory and indicates that Hitler was in on the mission. It was written in 1948 by Major Karlheinz Pintsch, a long-time adjutant to Hess.
He was captured by the Soviets and spent years undergoing torture and interrogation at their hands.
In the notebook he writes that Hitler hoped that an ‘agreement with the Englishmen would be successful’.
Pintsch notes that Hess’s task – five weeks before Germany launched its invasion of Russia – was to ‘bring about, if not a military alliance of Germany with England against Russia, then to bring about a neutralisation of England’.
Pintsch’s interrogation transcripts found in the same archive in Moscow show that Hitler was not surprised when news came through of Hess’s capture.
The relevant section reads: ‘Nor did he rant and rave about what Hess had done. Instead, he replied calmly: “At this particular moment in the war that could be a most hazardous escapade”.
‘Hitler then went on to read a letter that Hess had sent him.
‘He read the following significant passage out aloud: “And if this project . . . ends in failure . . . it will always be possible for you to deny all responsibility. Simply say I was out of my mind”.’
This is what happened, with both Hitler and Churchill claiming Hess was deranged.
The allegations surfaced in Der Spiegel magazine in Germany over the weekend.
Hess survived the war and was tried at Nuremberg for war crimes.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment and spent more time behind bars than any other Third Reich leaders before taking his own life in Spandau Prison near Berlin in 1987, aged 93.
At Nuremberg Hess appeared to be the delusional, forgetful, mentally ill figure that Hitler claimed he was after the abortive mission.
But the Pintsch diary, soon to be delivered to German historians for study, may suggest that this was an act.
Although an aide to Hess, Pintsch was also a trusted friend and adviser, who would have been privy to his master’s secrets.
It fell to Pintsch to tell Hitler of the failure of the Hess operation.
Pintsch was now a dangerous witness and he was arrested and kept in solitary confinement until being sent to the Eastern Front in 1944.
He was captured by the Soviets and released in 1955. He was never able to hold a knife or fork again because his hands were so badly broken during his torture.