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Rudolf Hess - why was he held in Captivity - 1941-1987 for so long?

Nebuchadnezzar

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Because Hitler was preparing for the largest military operation in history in spring 1941. If the British were making peace approaches at the same time it might be inferred they were doing so in order to encourage him along the path of attacking the USSR.
This was over two months before Barabarossa. Obviously Britain and the USSR were not allies at the time. In fact given the USSRs support for Germany they were indirect adversaries.
 

Talk Back

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Unfortunately you continually exhibit the knee jerk and delusional paranoia exhibited by English press anytime the word Hitler or Nazi is used.
Any peace settlement between warring countries requires give and take.
Britain rejected every single reasonable proposal presented by the German govt to either resolve the Polish question or the situation arising after Britain’s declaration of war on Germany.
You have the nerve to criticise Germany when the war declarations that caused world wars one and two wer both presented and generated by Britain.

Your arrogance is breataking and out Hitlers Hitler.
So says the troll who likes to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds when it suits.
 

Black Azrael

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....and back to Hess. Given that peace approaches were made and publically rejected in mid 1940 when things were at their bleakest why would an official peace offer via Hess in 1941 be suppressed for so long? The acceptance of a deal in 1940 would at least have been more understandable than acceptance in 1941.. The theory that he was incarcerated for many decades and then assassinated to keep such a peace offer secret makes no sense. [As amended by post #171]
Nebuchadnezzar is re-opening one of the most enduring arguments over that grim epoch. It amounts to: did the appeasement of Chamberlain & co. ever go away?

We (or, more accurately, "I") have spent some time, perhaps too much, on Sidney Aster"s detailed account of 1939. My impression is Aster awards the Chamberlain government more consistency and determination than the events show. The Ironside Diaries have, for 10 July 1939:
Chamberlain said that no undertakings by Hitler would be any use. We must have some definite practical guarantee that with Danzig in the Reich, Poland would have practical rights equal to those she had now. [page 77]​
That can only imply that Chamberlain was back to his pre-March position, prepared to sacrifice Danzig to Hitler, provided some cashable (perhaps that should be 'face-saving') guarantee was on offer. If we refer to Aster, on 9 August, we find Halifax telling Herbert von Dirksen (the professional diplomat who succeeded Ribbentrop as German Ambassador in London):
that the "signal" from Hitler would be awaited. The, given a period of calm, the British government would still be interested "to discuss appeasement questions". [ p. 258]​

Then we have Halder's diary. The meeting of the OKW with Hitler (14 August 1939) shows Hitler highly sceptical of British support for Poland: Britain had given the Poles aid only to buy British armaments, the British were 'beginning to back down' and 'continuously putting on the brakes'. Hitler was determined to proceed to a war, and the problem wasn't that the British were taking a hard line on Poland, but that they would prevaricate with further concessions:
Führer is concerned lest England hamper showdown by last-minute efforts. [pages 553-555]​
Halifax was still looking for rapprochement even after Fall Weiss. On 2 September, after the declaration of war, he is telling Ciano (and this is in the British National Records Office, see also Woodward & Butler, p.519):
it would still be possible to get back to the original basis of negotiations.
 

The Potato Mystic

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Hess was saved from the death penalty by the US and the French.

The Soviets wanted him to hang predictably - but so did the Brits strikingly.

Interesting.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Because Hitler was preparing for the largest military operation in history in spring 1941. If the British were making peace approaches at the same time it might be inferred they were doing so in order to encourage him along the path of attacking the USSR.
And the previous November the Soviets were in negotiations with Germany concerning the USSR joining the Axis. Stalin’s price being territories in the Balkans, Iran and Iraq.

So why would the British be so embarrassed by any such peace negotiations given that what Soviets had been negotiating was not just a peace agreement but rather an alliance with Nazi germany?
 

Black Azrael

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Hess was saved from the death penalty by the US and the French.

The Soviets wanted him to hang predictably - but so did the Brits strikingly.
Sorry: I don't understand that post. Perhaps The Potato Mystic can clarify.

It seems the poster hasn't distinguished the prosecution from the judges.

So who are 'the Brits' here?
That sorted (as if!), we'd need firm evidence that there was unanimity on the British side that Hess should hang. I've already (see above) quoted the Tusas (pp. 460-461): from that — and at the cost of repetition:
The French [i.e. Judge Henri Donnedieu de Vabres with Robert Falco] thought twenty years was an adequate sentence for Hess. No one else agreed. As ever, the Russians [Nikitchenko with Volchkov] wanted a hanging — in this case they added to their general principle the national prejudice that Hess's flight to Scotland had been an attempt to win Germany a free hand against Russia. They also argued that Hess's signature on the Nuremberg Decrees made him guilt of the deaths of millions of Jews; that his signature of the documents incorporating conquered territories and his establishment of compulsory military service made him at least as culpable as Frick; that his uniquely close relationship with Hitler and vigorous public support for all his policies put him in the same category as Goering; his detailed knowledge of all aggressive planning put him in the same category as many of the defenders who were to hang. These arguments convinced the other judges that Hess deserved a heavy sentence. But they had also to put in the balance the fact that Hess had left Germany in 1941; only after that dated the worst of the atrocities occur. In a three to one vote against the Russians they found Hess guilt on Counts One and Two only; after a three to one vote against the French, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
So, contradictory evidence to discredit that summary, please.
 
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The Potato Mystic

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Sorry: I don't understand that post. Perhaps The Potato Mystic can clarify.

It seems the poster hasn't distinguished the prosecution from the judges.

So who are 'the Brits' here?
That sorted (as if!), we'd need firm evidence that there was unanimity on the British side that Hess should hang. I've already (see above) quoted the Tusas (pp. 460-461): from that — and at the cost of repetition:
The French [i.e. Judge Henri Donnedieu de Vabres with Robert Falco] thought twenty years was an adequate sentence for Hess. No one else agreed. As ever, the Russians [Nikitchenko with Volchkov] wanted a hanging — in this case they added to their general principle the national prejudice that Hess's flight to Scotland had been an attempt to win Germany a free hand against Russia. They also argued that Hess's signature on the Nuremberg Decrees made him guilt of the deaths of millions of Jews; that his signature of the documents incorporating conquered territories and his establishment of compulsory military service made him at least as culpable as Frick; that his uniquely close relationship with Hitler and vigorous public support for all his policies put him in the same category as Goering; his detailed knowledge of all aggressive planning put him in the same category as many of the defenders who were to hang. These arguments convinced the other judges that Hess deserved a heavy sentence. But they had also to put in the balance the fact that Hess had left Germany in 1941; only after that dated the worst of the atrocities occur. In a three to one vote against the Russians they found Hess guilt on Counts One and Two only; after a three to one vote against the French, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
So, contradictory evidence to discredit that summary, please.
Lawrence and Nikitschenko wanted him guilty on the four counts. The French and the US dissented on two counts.

If Hess had been declared guilty on four accounts he would've probably been hanged, particularly given that a much lesser figure like Streicher got the noose and he was far more prominent than von Neurath (the only guy to escape a four count guilty judgment).

The source is Telford Taylor's book. I haven't seen that book in a long time.

 

parentheses

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And the previous November the Soviets were in negotiations with Germany concerning the USSR joining the Axis. Stalin’s price being territories in the Balkans, Iran and Iraq.

So why would the British be so embarrassed by any such peace negotiations given that what Soviets had been negotiating was not just a peace agreement but rather an alliance with Nazi germany?
Because such "negotiations" could be seen as having encouraged the Germans to attack the USSR.
 

Black Azrael

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Lawrence and Nikitschenko wanted him guilty on the four counts. The French and the US dissented on two counts.
Which is what I said in post #186.
If Hess had been declared guilty on four accounts he would've probably been hanged, ...
Arguably so. It would have needed Four-Power agreement. I'm dealing here with provable historical facts, not with the 'what-ifs' of alternative history.
... and he was far more prominent than von Neurath (the only guy to escape a four count guilty judgment).
Not so. Hess was guilty on two charges. Beyond that twenty-four were on the original charge list, twenty-one were charged, of whom three were acquitted: Schacht, von Papen and Hans Frische.
 

The Potato Mystic

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Which is what I said in post #186.

Arguably so. It would have needed Four-Power agreement. I'm dealing here with provable historical facts, not with the 'what-ifs' of alternative history.

Not so. Hess was guilty on two charges. Beyond that twenty-four were on the original charge list, twenty-one were charged, of whom three were acquitted: Schacht, von Papen and Hans Frische.
von Neurath was the only guy who got a four count guilty judgment but escaped the noose. Everybody else that got a 4 count guilty judgement got hanged. von Neurath was far less prominent than Hess. So, yes so.
 

colm from clonmel

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'Moarlity'? As in moar! More!

Oh, and illustrated with a pretty-piccy, Janet-and-John-on-wikipedia, graphic, too! Which shows the Dominions (including, as it was from 1938, Éire...a sovereign, independent, democratic state) as parts of British Empire? Obviously news takes a long while to reach Clonmel.

I don't see how that post #169 advances any argument relevant to this thread. It's main application is the EA Poe subscript.

However, in 1938:
  • the word 'decolonisation' was in use;
  • a significant tranche of the British commentariat and of public opinion was looking to losing those remaining ties of empire; and
  • there was a regular rail service from Cairo to Jerusalem, via Gaza.
Not quite "Happy days', but the penny was dropping.

Meanwhile, in 1938, with the full support of Rudolf Hess as Hitler's deputy:
The German occupiers of the Sudeten region treated the Czechs spitefully. Families who had lived in the same house for many
generations were expelled without household goods or farm animals. SS Einsatzkommandos — a newly formed unit which later, in occupied regions of Poland and the USSR, organized mass murders were manning the checkpoints to be sure the Czechs took nothing with them. When Hitler, on a tour of inspection, noticed Czech refugees being given bread and soup from German field kitchens he asked General Reichenau: "Why do we waste good German bread on those pigs?" In fact the bread was good Czech bread. [page 148]​
"Why do we waste good German bread on those pigs?

Sounds like banter by the Fuhrer.

Do you not consider the geo-political landscape changed after 1945 with the defeat of National Socialism? Considering Ireland was neutral during ww2 and both Hyde and De Valera offered condolences to the German Embassy in Dublin.

Looking around europe now do you see any problems or issues that maybe would not have existed had National Socialism prevailed?

What's your thoughts on Vatican ii?

Or the Bolsheviks?

Why did european aristocracy support Hitler?
 

Black Azrael

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von Neurath was the only guy who got a four count guilty judgment but escaped the noose. Everybody else that got a 4 count guilty judgement got hanged. von Neurath was far less prominent than Hess. So, yes so.
Here we have a name to ponder on: Colonel Murray C. Bernays, a New York lawyer who had spent a quite-comfortable War in the Special Projects Branch of the War Department. Come the aftermath, Henry Montgenthau passed the parcel down the line, until it became Bernays. And it was bernays who constructed the American concept of the Tribunal. Being of sound and logical legal mind, Bernays intended not only individual Nazis but all the Nazi organisations be put on trial. Then he extended the notion of Nazi criminality back to the very start of the Nazi regime. And all that, the whole Nuremberg structure, ethos and method, on just eight pages of typescript.

Which made von Neurath a tasty morsel for the Tribunal to chew on. For Constantin Freiherr von Neurath, a career diplomat who joined the Nazi Party as late as 1937, represented the conservatives selling-out to Hitler.

There were, in truth, only two blackest marks on von Neurath's record:
☛ his participation in the conference of November 1937, preserved in the notes of Colonel Hossbach, where Hitler discoursed on his foreign policy intentions. Thee included Lebensraum, the 'conquest' of 'agriculturally useful space', the forced migrations of peoples, the assumption that France and Britain had already factored in the take-over of Czechoslovakia, that Poland would be averse to war with the Soviets on their other flank. Hitler's punch-line was:
The German question can be solved only by way of force.
☛ his period as Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia. His real authority lasted only from his appointment (March 1939) until Heydrich was drafted in to take a harsher line (September 1941). Neurath's rule was moderate, by Nazi standards. Even so, his crack-down on protesting students (1,200 sent to concentration camps, nine executed) and imposition of the Nuremberg Laws on Jews were counted against him.

Without referring in detail to documentation, I'd accept that was an anomaly in von Neurath being the one convicted on all four counts, but receiving less than a capital sentence. Here, I think, we'd be poking at the Judges' doubts over the conspiracy count. With von Neurath the sentence reflects;
  • he was not a major player;;
  • his heart attacks after the November 1937 conference might be taken as shock;
  • his regime in Bohemia and Moravia was not benign, but does not stand comparison with (and his sentence pointed up the excesses of) Seyss-Inquart, Rosenberg and Frank.
 
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