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Rudolf Hess

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Hess

Rudolf Hess (April 26th, 1894 – August 17th, 1987) was a neutral evil man, prominent politician in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Fuher to Adolf Hitler in 1933, he served in this position until 1941, when he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom during World War II. He was taken prisoner and eventually was tried for war crimes, serving a life sentence.

Hess enlisted in the 7th Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment as an infantryman at the outbreak of World War I.  He was wounded several times over the course of the war, and won the Iron Cross, second class, in 1915. Shortly before the war ended, Hess enrolled to train as an aviator, but he saw no combat in this role. He left the armed forces in December 1918 with the rank of Leutnant der Reserve.

In autumn 1919 Hess enrolled in the University of Munich, where he studied geopolitics under Karl Haushofer, a proponent of the concept of Lebensraum ("living space"), which later became one of the pillars of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party; NSDAP) ideology. Hess joined the NSDAP on 1 July 1920, and was at Hitler's side on 8 November 1923 for the Beer Hall Putsch, a failed Nazi attempt to seize control of the government of Germany. Whilst serving time in jail for this attempted coup, Hess helped Hitler write his opus, Mein Kampf, which became a foundation of the political platform of the NSDAP.

After the Nazi took power in 1933, Hess was appointed Deputy Führer of the NSDAP and received a post in Hitler's cabinet. In addition to appearing on Hitler's behalf at speaking engagements and rallies, Hess signed into law much of the legislation, including the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, that stripped the Jews of Germany of their rights in the lead-up to the Holocaust.

Hess continued to be interested in aviation, learning to fly the more advanced aircraft that were coming into development at the start of World War II. On May 10th, 1941 he undertook a solo flight to Scotland, where he hoped to arrange peace talks with Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton, whom he believed was prominent in opposition to the British government. Hess was immediately arrested on his arrival and was held in British custody until the end of the war, when he was returned to Germany to stand trial in the Nuremberg Trials of major war criminals in 1946. Throughout much of the trial, he claimed to be suffering from amnesia, but later admitted this was a ruse. Hess was convicted of crimes against peace and conspiracy with other German leaders to commit crimes and was transferred to Spandau Prison in 1947, where he served a life sentence. Repeated attempts by family members and prominent politicians to win him early release were blocked by the Soviet Union, and he committed suicide, still in custody in Spandau, in 1987 at the age of 93 making him the last surviving defendant of the Nuremberg Trials

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