The second in command in the Nazi regime from its inception in 1933, third in command after Göring from 1939. He joined the Nazi party in 1921 and took part in Hitler's failed putsch in 1923. He was Hitler's secretary and aide-de-camp in the early years. He was born in Alexandria in Egypt on 26 April 1894, the son of a German merchant. His date of death is unknown: either 1941 or 1987.

In 1941 Rudolf Hess flew from Germany in a small aircraft, on an unknown mission. There is reason to believe this was shot down over the North Sea on Göring's orders. A forthcoming book claims that the man who famously landed in Scotland to negotiate with the Duke of Hamilton, was tried for war crimes at Nuremberg, and spent the rest of his life the solitary prisoner in Spandau prison, in Berlin, was an impostor. Medical evidence appears to prove beyond any doubt that this was not Hess. In 1987 the impostor was probably murdered, perhaps by the British SAS, to forestall an imminent deal to release him. The secret documents relating to this are still classified until 2017.

As his son, Wolf Rüdiger Hess, said in 1992:

What really happened between June 1940 and May 10, 1941, the day my father took off in a Messerschmitt 110 to Scotland, is known only in outline because the relevant British documents still remain classified. The Hess papers that were released in Britain with great fanfare in June 1992 proved to be disappointing. Among these approximately two thousand pages was absolutely nothing of real substance about the secret contacts that existed between Britain and Germany, about the British peace group (which included members of the royal family) and its peace feelers to Germany, or about the role played by the British secret service prior to the flight. In short, these papers contained nothing that would show why my father seriously hoped that his mission might well turn out successfully.

German airfield records showed that Hess entered a Series D Messerschmitt with the fuselage identification NJC + 11, but this disappeared from radar screens about 40 km out. The one that landed in Scotland, carrying the man claiming to bear peace proposals, was a Series E 2 with the identification VJ + OQ. It was detected as it approached Britain and two Hurricanes were scrambled from RAF Aldergrove to intercept it. They were called back just as they had reached firing distance. (The ground controller's words were, "Stop action and return... It's not possible. You must return -- now.") No record of this sortie was entered in the squadron's log. The pilots were themselves interrogated after returning.

When "Hess" was taken into custody near Glasgow, Churchill sent a message to the doctor who had examined him, asking him to confirm the absence of chest wounds. Hess had been shot through the lung in the First World War. There was no trace of entry or exit wounds on the captured impostor; and on autopsy in 1987 it was confirmed that there was no trace of damage to the lung. Surgeon Hugh Thomas, who had first discovered the imposture in 1973, explained his pathological data to experts at the Royal College of Surgeons, who confirmed he was correct. Yet the British and American governments continued to deny it.

Hess was a healthy vegetarian teetotaller. The emaciated prisoner taken in Scotland readily took steak and whisky.

The prisoner in Spandau was allowed virtually no contact with the outside world. He was not allowed to touch family members, even after he agreed to see them, which for many years he had refused to do. He was not allowed to watch news programmes.

When Gorbachev made overtures about releasing him, suddenly on 17 August 1987 this frail 93-year-old man was found "hanged" with an electrical cord. Access to the area was highly restricted, yet when his body was found, as well as the highly upset regular guard, there were two strangers in US Army uniform, who did not seem disturbed. Internal inconsistencies in the supposed suicide note date it to 1969.

Hess's son, supported by autopsy evidence, accused the allied governments of murder; and the amateur historian Duff Hart-Davis wrote a book The Murder of Rudolf Hess in 1979. A new book Double Standards is to be published on the same theme in April 2001.

Four years on, I am disappointed that no-one ever accused me of this being an April Fool's Day joke. I did post it for that reason. It's not, but it was menat to look like one. I haven't made anything up: all the claims in this have really been made by other people, seriously; but I have no personal opinion about whether the conspiracy is true or not.

Rudolf Hess has long been fodder for conspiracy theorists.

In May 1991 the English tabloid newspaper, Sunday Sport, reported that the man who died as a prisoner in Spandau, supposedly Rudolf Hess, had in fact been an impostor paid to switch places with Hess. The switch was accomplished shortly before the end of the trial at Nuremberg, and Hess was still alive and living in Scotland. As evidence, the newspaper gave an account of an interview with a man who had met Hess at an international soccer match in San Marino. The newspaper also published a photograph of the crowd at the match, with part of it highlighted and magnified to show the presence of a man who looked very similar to how an aged Hess might appear.

The article in the sport began ;

He's as sieg as a parrot

NASTY Nazi Rudolph Hess has been sensationally spotted at an international football match - supporting SCOTLAND!

The evil War Crimes monster, who supposedly died in East Germany's notorious Spandau Prison, is alive and well living in a squalid tenement in Glasgow.

Sunday Sport can exclusively reveal that the ancient tyrant is believed to have swopped places with a look alike whom he duped into taking his place in jail.

Since parachuting into Scotland exactly 50 years ago in 1941, he has been living it up - feasting on venison and beef steaks at guest houses across the west coast.

The article went on to recount the meeting between a Highland pub owner and Hess at the soccer match and how they met again in Glasgow afterwards. The behaviour of Hess at his own local pub was described, as were his living conditions in Glasgow. A short biography of Hess was given, ending with his escape from Nuremberg and the information that he loved Scotland. His love of all things Scottish was presumably to explain why he chose to live in Glasgow.

The Sunday Sport is famous in England for concentrating almost exclusively on sex stories at the expense of real news. A typical headline nowadays would be ; BRITNEY SPEARS IN LIVE NUDE LESBIAN ORGY Anger at fake pictures however during the late 80s and early 90s it did give a large number of column inches over to fortean topics and conspiracy theories. This Hess story was typical of the time. Others included the story of how Hitler had really been a woman,and the discovery, on the moon, of a missing world war two bomber. All these were equally unbelievable.

There are several theories about what happened to Rudolph Hess, ranging from the obscure to the absurd:

Hess went mad and flew to England without any orders to do so in an insane belief he could stop the war (official story)

Hess was lured to England by British Intelligence, thinking that he was on a peace mission.

In a plot by British intelligence, and a high-ranking German officer, Hess was assassinated and and replaced by a double, who then flew to Scotland. It was planned that Hitler would then be assassinated and the double could assume command and negotiate peace from England, but Hitler survived.

Hess flew to Scotland under orders from Hitler, to find the holy grail, which was believed to have been hidden by the Knights Templar in a nearby Scottish chapel.

Hess was killed because he possesed the Nazi Polar File, which detailled a secret Nazi space base in the Antarctic.

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