RUDOLF HESS: DEPUTY TO ADOLF HITLER  1894—1987

Acting as Hitler’s private secretary, he transcribed and partially edited Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, and eventually rose to deputy party leader and third in leadership of Germany, after Hitler and Hermann Göring. He would introduce Hitler at Nazi party rallies and held the official title of “Deputy Fuhrer”

Hess also played a prominent part in the creation of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935.

Like Goebbels, Hess was privately distressed by the war with Britain. Hess may have hoped to score a diplomatic victory by sealing a peace between the Third Reich and Britain

Hess parachuted over Renfrewshire, Scotland on 10 May and landed (breaking his ankle)

He was declared guilty of “crimes against peace” (“planning and preparation of aggressive war”) and “conspiracy” with other German leaders to commit crimes. Hess was found not guilty of “war crimes” or “crimes against humanity.”

On 17 August 1987, Hess died in Spandau Prison, West Berlin, at the age of 93. He was found in a summer house in a garden located in a secure area of the prison with an electrical cord wrapped around his neck. His death was ruled a suicide by self-asphyxiation.

Interesting Facts:

  • He wasn’t German! Born in Egypt!
  • Took a beer mug in the head meant for Hitler, during a speech.
  • He was a vegetarian and often brought his own meals to meetings.
  • From 1969 to 1987, Hess was the only prisoner in Spandau!
  • Suffered from “Prison Psychosis”
  • In 2004, over 9000 Neo-Nazis marched to commemorate Hess’ death outside Spandau Prison.

HEINRICH HIMMLER: RIECHSFÜHRER — SS.  1900—1945

As Reichsführer-SS he oversaw all police and security forces, including the Gestapo.

As overseer of concentration camps, extermination camps, and Einsatzgruppen (literally: task forces, often used as killing squads), Himmler coordinated the killing of millions of Jews

Himmler wanted to breed a master race of Nordic Aryans in Germany. His experience as a chicken farmer had taught him the rudimentary basics of animal breeding which he proposed to apply to humans. He believed that he could engineer the German populace, through selective breeding, to be entirely “Nordic” in appearance within several decades of the end of the war

He was the main architect of the Holocaust, using elements of mysticism and a fanatical belief in the racist Nazi ideology to justify the murder of millions of victims.

Himmler has been named Greatest Mass Murderer of All Time by German news magazine Der Spiegel.

Shortly before the end of the war, he offered to surrender to the Allies if he were spared from prosecution. After being arrested by British forces, he committed suicide before he could be questioned.

Interesting Facts:

  • Wanted to start his own chicken farm!
  • SS officers had to prove their German heritage for 6 generations
  • His own father called him a “born criminal”
  • His exact burial location is unknown.
  • Regarding his death, a British officer said:
  • “Let the worm go to the worms”

HERMANN GÖRING: HEAD OF LUFTWAFFE  1893—1946

Among many offices, he was Hitler’s designated successor and commander of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force).

Göring was with Hitler in the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich on 9 November 1923. He marched beside Hitler at the head of the SA. When the Bavarian police broke up the march with gunfire, Göring was seriously wounded in the groin.

Though he liked to be called “der Eiserne” (the Iron Man), the once-dashing and muscular fighter pilot had become flabby and obese. He was however one of the few Nazi leaders who did not take offense at hearing jokes about himself, “no matter how rude,” taking them as a sign of his popularity.

Göring’s prestige, reputation, and influence with Hitler all declined, especially after the Stalingrad debacle.

In his last will and testament, Hitler dismissed Göring from all his offices and expelled him from the Nazi Party.

Following the end of the Second World War, Göring was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials. He was sentenced to death by hanging, but committed suicide the night before he was due to be hanged.

Interesting Facts:

  • He was addicted to morphine & officially declared insane!
  • He worked for BMW for a short time
  • Had one of the most valuable art collections in the world. (stolen)
  • His nick name was “Iron Fatty”!
  • Awarded the “Blue Max” in World War One

ALBERT SPEER: MINISTER OF ARMAMENTS  1905—1981

Speer was Adolf Hitler’s chief architect before assuming ministerial office.

Speer joined the Nazi Party in 1931. His architectural skills made him increasingly prominent within the Party and he became a member of Hitler’s inner circle. The dictator commissioned him to design and construct a number of structures, including the Reich Chancellery and the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg where Party rallies were held. Speer also made plans to reconstruct Berlin on a grand scale, with huge buildings, wide boulevards, and a reorganized transportation system.

As Hitler’s Minister of Armaments and War Production, Speer was so successful that Germany’s war production continued to increase despite massive and devastating Allied bombing. After the war, he was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the Nazi regime, principally for the use of forced labour. He served most of his sentence at Spandau Prison in West Berlin.

Following his release from Spandau in 1966, Speer published two bestselling autobiographical works, Inside the Third Reich and Spandau: The Secret Diaries, detailing his often close personal relationship with Hitler, and providing readers and historians with a unique perspective within the workings of the Nazi regime. He later wrote a third book, Infiltration, about the SS. Speer died of natural causes in 1981 while on a visit to London.

Interesting Facts:

  • Under Speer, the production of tanks doubled, production of planes increased by 80% and subs took 2 months instead of 1 year to make!
  • Speer claimed to have attempted to assassinate Hitler in February 1945.
  • Speer ignored Hitler’s order “Nero Order” to destroy all industry in western Europe to prevent the enemy from capturing it.

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Marlys
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