One of the wartime events in Nazi Germany still considered mysterious is the infamous solo flight of Rudolf Hess (then deputy Führer of the Third Reich) to Great Britain on May 10th, 1941.
In reality, there was nothing mysterious about this flight as this sudden decision of the Reichsleiter and the SS-Obergruppenführer (he had SS membership number of 50 and loved to wear black SS uniform) can be easily explained by his dependence on the occult (especially on the predictive astrology) in making key decisions.
Like Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was born outside of Germany, but much, much farther away – in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, where his father Fritz had a prosperous merchant business.
Given his subsequent broad and deep interest in the occult, it is highly likely (although not supported by any witness statements or documentary evidence) that he and his family have been introduced to Egyptian occult teachings.
Unlike Hitler (and most Nazi leaders), Hess came from a Protestant family and until the age of 14 attended a German Protestant school in Alexandria. In 1908 he was sent back to Germany to study at a boarding school in Bad Godesberg.
He demonstrated an aptitude for science and mathematics, but his father wished him to join the family business, Heß & Co., so he sent him in 1911 to study at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. After a year there, Heß took an apprenticeship at a trading company in Hamburg.
Being raised as a patriot, he enlisted in German army immediately after the outbreak of the Great War. He initially served as an officer in the same 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment as his future boss and idol Adolf Hitler, but they have never met during the war.
Hess was wounded twice and while recovering from his wounds got so interested in aviation that he applied for the fighter pilot training school. He was accepted and thus received the necessary training that almost three decades later allowed him to make that fateful flight.
He was assigned to Jagdstaffel 35b, a Bavarian fighter squadron equipped with Fokker D.VII biplanes. However, he saw no combat action as the war ended before he had an opportunity to engage in combat.
After he returned to Munich, he almost immediately joined the Thule society – the founder of DAP – the precursor of NSDAP (the Nazi party). However, unlike Hitler who paid little (if any) attention to occult teachings, Hess got deeply and seriously interested in the occult – primarily in clairvoyance and predictive astrology.
Both are a bunch of bunk (from the scientific perspective) and have been proven to predict the future no better than a random guess (and thus are either a fraud or a mental disorder).
However some seemingly rational individuals for some strange reason still fall for this nonsense. And Rudolf Hess, alas, was one of these individuals, but for him the consequences of this monumental mistakes were horrible indeed – his belief in these delusions landed him in jail for the rest of his natural life. For whopping forty-six years.
He surrounded himself with astrologers, clairvoyants and other occultists and even became an amateur astrologer himself. And, alas, began to take their prophecies way too seriously.
One of his astrologer friends (most likely, Karl Ernst Krafft) prophesized that in order to win the war, Nazi Germany had to sign peace treaty with Britain before the end of June 1941.
He also claimed that May 10th, 1941 was the ideal day to start negotiations with the British, although Hess – a bit of astrologer himself – did his own calculations which apparently yielded the same result.
It appears that Hess became aware of these prophesies months earlier – in the fall of 1940, because he sent a letter to the Duke of Hamilton – the fellow aviator whom he mistakenly believed to be the leader of the pro-German opposition party in Britain.
The letter was intercepted by MI-5 (British counter-intelligence service) so Hess never received a reply. However, he so deeply believed in the abovementioned prophesies that he decided to go ahead with his plan to travel to Britain to seek meetings with the British government officials regardless.
He began training on the Messerschmitt Bf 110, a two-seater twin-engine aircraft, in October 1940 under instructor Wilhelm Stör, the chief test pilot at Messerschmitt.
He continued to practice, including logging many cross-country flights, and found a specific aircraft that handled well—a Bf 110E-1/N—which was from then on held in reserve for his personal use.
He asked for a radio compass, modifications to the oxygen delivery system, and large long-range fuel tanks to be installed on this plane, and these requests were granted by March 1941
Apparently May 10th was not the only ideal day to fly to Britain because prior to that fateful day captain Hess (his Luftwaffe rank) made several attempts to execute this plan. All had to be called off due to either bad weather or the mechanical problems.
He managed to avoid RAF fighter patrols, but failed to spot his destination – the Dungavel House (at that time as the home of the Duke of Hamilton). After he almost ran out of fuel, he had no other choice but to bail out of the aircraft and parachute down.
Hess landed at Floors Farm, Eaglesham, south of Glasgow, where he was discovered, promptly arrested by the local police and sent to jail where he would spent the rest of his life (albeit in different prisons). Which became another proof that all this clairvoyance and “predictive astrology” was, indeed, a total bunk.
Before his departure from Germany, Hess had given his adjutant, Karlheinz Pintsch, a letter addressed to Hitler that detailed his intentions to open peace negotiations with the British. Pintsch delivered the letter to Hitler at his Berghof residence at around noon on May 11th.
After reading the letter, Hitler let loose an outcry heard throughout the entire Berghof – an undeniable proof that he had no idea that his deputy could attempt such a coup.
Hitler (understandably) worried that his allies, Italy and Japan, would perceive Hess’s act as an attempt by Hitler to secretly open peace negotiations with the British. So Hitler contacted Mussolini immediately specifically to reassure him otherwise.
Hitler stripped Hess of all of his party and state offices, and secretly ordered him shot on sight if he ever returned to Germany. He abolished the post of Deputy Führer, assigning Hess’s former duties to Bormann, with the title of Head of the Party Chancellery.
The Gestapo charged with investigating actions of Hess (which in Hitler’s opinion were high treason – plain and simple) quickly discovered his notes on prophesies and astrological calculations.
Not surprisingly, Hitler got so enraged that he immediately ordered Aktion Hess, a flurry ds of arrests of hundreds of astrologers, faith healers and occultists. Over 600 astrologers, clairvoyants and other occultists were arrested and thrown into concentration camps where most of them died (looks like they failed to predict even their own future).
Including Karl Ernst Krafft who, although released in about a year, was subsequently rearrested and died on January 8th, 1945 en route to the Buchenwald concentration camp.