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This newspaper is a time machine, locked in around the time of two World Wars, one World Cup and a lost age when it was permissible to poke fun at Germans.
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29. 05. 11. - 10:00
A DOCUMENT found in a Russian archive suggests Nazi leader Adolf Hitler backed his deputy Rudolf Hess in his solo flight to Scotland 70 years ago to try to secure peace with the British.
It has always been accepted that Hess piloted a Messerschmitt to Scotland in a bid to negotiate between the Reich and Winston Churchill without the knowledge of his Fuehrer or other princes of the regime.
Now a 28 page notebook has been discovered in the files of the Russian Federation in Moscow indicating that Hitler was in on the mission of May 10 1941.
It was written in 1948 by Major Karlheinz Pintsch, the long-time adjutant to Fuehrer deputy Hess who was captured by the Soviets and spent years undergoing torture and interrogation at their hands.
In it he writes that Hitler hoped that an "agreement with the Englishmen would be successful". The prominent Nazi had with his flight "thereby the task; with all of his means to bring about, if not a not a
military alliance of Germany with England against Russia, then to bring about a neutralization of England" in the war.
Germany's Spiegel magazine broke the news of the document yesterday and it could mean a dramatic rewriting of what has been the accepted view ever since Hess landed alone all those years ago; that he was an unhinged individual acting without any authority from the regime
In some respects Hess' mission, if backed by Hitler, would have logic behind it. The Fuehrer was just five weeks away from launching the greatest land invasion of history - Operation Barbarossa, the assault
on the Soviet Union - when Hess landed in Scotland.
His Luftwaffe armadas had failed to bring about the defeat of Britain which stood as the only nation in western Europe not under the Nazi jackboot. If Britain was still in the fight on June 22 1941, the
launch date of Barbarossa, he would be faced with the nightmare prospect that haunted all military planners; war on two fronts.
If Pintsch's diary is correct then the Fuehrer's distancing himself from Hess after the peace mission failed looks to have been just a face-saving ploy.
The party line after Hess was picked up in Scotland was that he was deranged and had gone to Britain under his own steam to try to initiate peace negotiations with the Duke of Hamilton.
The deputy Fuhrer, who parachuted into Renfrewshire in May 1941, 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, forgettful, mentally ill figure that Hitler claimed after the abortive mission he truly was.
But the Pintsch diary, soon to be delivered to German historians for study, may suggest that that too was all an act.
Although an aide to Hess, Pintsch was also a trusted friend and adviser; one whom would have been privy to his master's secrets.
In the 60's James Leaser, an American, wrote a book called 'The Unwanted Envoy' chronicling the Hess adventure in which he posited that he was an emissary of Hitler on the mission.
He stated; "His plan was reasonable enough. Hitler did want peace with England. Earlier efforts to draw Churchill into negotiations had failed. The Führer probably knew what Hess was up to and tacitly
permitted it, carefully avoiding precise knowledge of the details to keep himself from implication if the mission failed. When it did fail, he followed the advice Hess left him in a parting letter and declared that Hess was the victim of 'hallucinations.'
" Moreover, in the spring of 1941, England was nearer to capitulation than anyone now likes to admit.Winston Churchill was so afraid of the effect the peace offer might have on British morale that his
representatives came to interview Hess disguised as psychiatrists, so that no word of continued government interest could possibly leak out."
It fell to Pintsch to tell Hitler of the failure of the Hess operation. Pintsch's interrogation transcripts found in the same archive in Moscow show that he "did not seem surprised, 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 onto 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.'
"Of course, that is what both Hitler and Churchill did later on. However, at the time, Hitler at least, still believed that a negotiated agreement was possible."
The following day Adolf Hitler knew that Winston Churchill had refused to do a deal and then the cover-up began. Pintsch was now a dangerous witness and he was arrested and was kept in solitary confinement until being sent to the Eastern Front in 1944.
He was captured by the Soviets and kept alive until being released in 1955, his hands never able to hold a knife or fork again because they were so badly broken during his torture.
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