Numerous books have been written about the Second World War; and the many and varied claims and counter-claims concerning Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, are legendary. However, it is fair to say that no-one has successfully penetrated the inner sanctum of official secrecy that surrounds the Hess affair - until now, that is.

According to the authors of Double Standards: The Rudolf Hess Cover-Up, for sixty years an unprecedented conspiracy has existed at the highest levels of the British Establishment to prevent the truth about Rudolf Hess and his fateful flight to Scotland in May 1941 from surfacing into the public domain.

Long dismissed as the misguided attempt of a madman to make contact with a non-existent British peace party, Hess’s mission - as Double Standards asserts convincingly - was one of the pivotal events of the twentieth century. And the Establishment had very good reasons for covering up the truth: for the Establishment was the peace party that Hess had come to meet!

Even more controversial, Double Standards reveals that members of the Royal Family itself - whose involvement in the Hess affair has been conveniently airbrushed out of history - were at the heart of this group.a
Exposing the wartime propaganda that still masquerades as fact, and based on entirely new material from eyewitnesses, hitherto inaccessible archives and intelligence sources, Double Standards reveals that:

(1) Despite official denials Hess flew to Britain with Hitler’s full knowledge;

(2) There was a substantial peace party in Britain in 1941, which included most of the aristocracy - and the Royal Family;

(3) The King’s brother, the Duke of Kent, was actively involved in Hess’s peace mission;

(4) There is substantial evidence that the prisoner who died in Spandau prison was not the real Rudolf Hess;

(5) The fate of the real Deputy Fuhrer was inextricably linked with that of the Duke of Kent - Double Standards finally presents a solution to the long-acknowledged mystery of the Duke’s death in 1942;

(6) Winston Churchill guilefully used Hess to influence Hitler and change Britain’s fortunes in the War.
But that is not all - as co-authors Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince make abundantly clear.

LP: The official story behind Rudlof Hess’s flight to Britain in 1941 is that he was a lone madman who had stolen a plane and flown to Scotland with the wild idea of contacting a non-existent peace party spearheaded by the Duke of Hamilton - who was totally innocent of course and knew nothing about it - in an attempt to broker a peace deal and end the War. But from there, Hess was arrested and following the end of the War was tried at Nuremberg and spent the rest of his life in Spandau Prison. The story was that Hitler knew nothing of it either and he said so and also said that Hess was suffering from a mental illness and had been for some time. And Churchill basically stated that the only time that he ever agreed with Hitler was on that story! Now, there are some very interesting things about this story that we uncovered for our book that show the official line wasn’t anywhere near the truth and that Hitler had knowledge of what was going on, that Hess had links with the Duke of Kent, that both of them may have been killed, that the Hess put on trial at Nuremberg wasn’t the real Hess and the impostor or double was the man who died at Spandau. Hess’s wife said that Hess had left a letter to be given to the Fuhrer and it said effectively, “If the mission fails you can always say I was mad.” Also, after the mission effectively failed, the Gestapo interrogated Hess’s staff; and the reports - which we’ve seen - make it clear that Hitler knew. Hess’s son, Wolf Hess, tells how almost immediately before the flight Hitler and Hess had this enormous row for about three hours - Hess was one of the few people who could argue with Hitler and get away with it. But then it went quiet in the room and when they came out, Hitler had his arm around Hess and he said: “You know Hess, you always were and are one of the most stubborn men,” and as Wolf Hess says: “I don’t think they were talking about the weather.”

: So what does your research suggest the truth behind the flight was?

LP: It wasn’t altruism, obviously. But there was a very practical reason: the Nazis wanted to be assured that they could open the Eastern Front and attack Russia without having to watch their backs with Britain. But actually it would have suited us to because not only would we have got a respite from the War - which was going badly for us at the time - but Russia and the Nazis would have battled it out between them and that was fine with us as they would have weakened each other. And after the War they would both have been so weak that there would have been no Cold War and that would almost certainly have worked to our benefit.

What evidence exists to support the notion that the man who died in Spandau Prison wasn’t Rudolf Hess?

Alan Dulles, who became the head of the CIA, was of the opinion that the man who was condemned to life imprisonment at Nuremberg, was not the real Rudolf Hess - as was President Roosevelt himself. And in the 1970s, a British surgeon and ballistics expert, Dr. Hugh Thomas, actually had chance to physically examine the old man in Spandau. He knew that the real Hess had been wounded by a bullet in the First World War; so he looked on the old man’s body for signs of the wound but couldn’t find it. Now we’re not talking about someone who simply cast an eye over the man without knowing what he was looking for. Dr. Hugh Thomas, I must stress, is a surgeon and a ballistics expert who has been used in trials such as Bloody Sunday, so he really knows what he’s talking about. Also, there are circumstantial things, if you like. The man at Nuremberg refused to see his family and in fact he also refused to see anyone other than his lawyer for over twenty years - which is astonishing considering that he’d been locked up as you would think he would want to see them. Also, at Nuremberg the man had very, very convenient amnesia. He behaved very oddly at Nuremberg, he failed to recognise people that had worked very close with the real Hess. And at times he also failed to recognise colleagues in the Nazi hierarchy. And they seemed to think there was something strange about him especially Hermann Goring, a co-defendant at the trial. He was quite amused when someone was talking to him about Hess. This isn’t an exact quote, but Goring said: “Hess? Which Hess? The Hess you have here? Our Hess? Your Hess?” It was that kind of exchange. The man had also agreed to give evidence on behalf of one of the co-defendants but on the day claimed not to remember anything. In the book too we reproduce dental records of Rudolf Hess and of the old man who died at Spandau and they are not of the same man. We took them to a consultant dentist in this country and asked if they were from the same person and his reply was “Absolutely not”. The other thing I must point out, which is the clincher, when Dr Hugh Thomas came up with the revelation that the old man was a double, the British Government tied itself in knots trying to prove that this was Rudolf Hess - and they couldn’t do it.

EYE SPY!: And do you have any idea who the double may have been?

LP: All we know is that he was German and presumably a Nazi. He might have been interned in Britain - or he might have been sent over after the event. We don’t know who the double was but we did learn that when Hess arrived, he asked for by name two prisoners - two German internees, Dr Eduard Semelbauer and Kurt Maass. He knew where they were held and, interestingly, these two had already been moved from their respective internment camps - which suggests someone here knew about the flight and the plans - to a place near Glasgow. Now we don’t really know why he wanted them - he said it was to interpret for him but he spoke very good English! But we did discover that they were later sent to a camp on the Isle of Man for, quote, “Non-returnable Nazis”, which is a rather sinister phrase, I think! But it’s possible that one of them became the double as part of Churchill’s plot to deflect attention away from the real Rudolf Hess. For example, when Hess was first imprisoned in England it was at Aldershot and the place was a fortress; but then all of a sudden after a few months “Hess” was moved amid virtual fanfare to Abergavenny and the staff lined up to meet him and it was in the newspapers. So it seems that this was really a case of drawing attention to the double. Also there is evidence that the double was seen to meet Churchill in a place opposite Windsor Castle. The importance was to imply to the peace party and thereby to the Germans that Churchill was talking to Hess, even though in fact he wasn’t and was against the peace plan. So Churchill was playing a very, very cunning game.

EYE SPY!: And why was the ruse continued after the War?

Well, Hess, or whoever the old man in Spandau was, became the focus for the Cold War; and as far as the Russians were concerned, the focus for their hatred of the Nazi regime. There was no way that the British were going to announce that “By the way, he’s not really Hess”! He was very useful. And one reason why he was looked after during the Cold War was because as long as he was alive Spandau would be there. And as long as Spandau was there, it gave the four victorious powers a reason to continue to occupy Berlin. It literally came down to this one man in the end.

EYE SPY!: You mention in the book the links between Hess and the Duke of Kent. What is the story there?

LP: The Duke of Kent was the father of the present Duke of Kent and the youngest brother of King George VI. It’s interesting that although he was such an amazing character (he was the first member of the Royal Family to die in active service in over five hundred years) very few people today are aware of who he was. He was very glamorous; a slightly camp, James Bond-like character in a way and he’d acted as political advisor for three kings. So at the time of his death in 1942 Kent was acting as political advisor for George VI. He had been involved in peace moves before the War and he was married to Princess Marina of Greece who was very anti-Bolshevik. It wasn’t so much that he was pro-Nazi or sucking up to Hitler - he was simply pro-peace. He thought that anything was better than going to war again - as did George V. Had there been a deal with Germany the peace party would have insisted that Hitler be removed. And as we understand it from the German side, they would have wanted Churchill removed before they started to negotiate.

EYE SPY!: And how does the Duke of Kent’s death tie in with Hess?

LP: The story is that Hess came over on a peace mission in May 1941 with peace proposals which Churchill does not show the War Cabinet and Hess is locked up - despite the fact that he’s a peace envoy. Now in 1942, we know that there were definitely two Hess’s held in Abergavenny, Wales. One was a decoy and one was the real one - to try and prevent rescue attempts or assassinations. In fact, most notable figures have doubles - like, for example, Montgomery. But later in the summer of 1942, one of the Hess’s had disappeared. Now, what had happened, we discovered, was that the real Hess had been secretly taken up to Scotland where he was kept on the shores of Loch More. Now we had been researching this, as had Stephen Prior; but at the same time our historical researcher, Robert Brydon, had been researching the death of the Duke of Kent and had masses of material and he and Stephen discovered an explosive connection between the two. The Duke of Kent had set off in August 1942 on, allegedly, a morale-boosting trip to Iceland and his Sunderland flying boat had crashed in the Scottish hills and everyone except one member of the crew had died, including the Duke of Kent. The plane crashed approximately two miles from where Hess was kept but there’s something else too: the flying time of the plane had an extra half hour unaccounted for. Then from our investigations, we were able to determine that there was an extra person on board the plane! Had they used the extra half an hour to put down on Loch More to pick somebody up who then died in the crash? We believe - and it does look like - the real Rudolf Hess died with the Duke of Kent in 1942.

EYE SPY!: And why was Hess on the plane?

LP: Our research suggests that they were not heading for Iceland but were in fact en-route to Sweden to broker a peace deal. Things were going badly wrong at the time and it looked like we would lose the War and Kent was fanatically pro-peace and so, in his own way, was Rudolf Hess. There are other reasons to link them too. One thing that is often over-looked is that before the War both Kent and Hess were aviation aces. In those days there was a kind of loose-Freemasonry, if you like, among flyers and a kind of chivalry between them. And there is evidence that George VI had given safe passage to Hess but that Churchill got to him first and locked him up. So under the circumstances, one of these knights of the air perhaps thought it incumbent on him to help another knight of the air to escape to safety - a chivalric element to it perhaps.

EYE SPY!: If this was an attempt at a peace deal and there were those within the British Government who didn’t want this to come about such as Churchill, is there anything sinister to the air-crash that killed Kent and possibly Hess?

That’s one of the biggest questions! It does look very, very coincidental. The plane just exploded and the wreckage was quickly taken away by teams of people who suddenly appeared. Now often in similar circumstances in the Highlands the bodies were removed but the wreckage was left there because it was seen as too difficult a job. But in this crash every last piece was removed. And we do point out that about a year later, Kent’s great friend and ally, General Wladyslaw Sikorski, the leader of the Free Polish forces and who was based in Scotland died in a similar crash. And there is evidence that General de Gaulle was almost the subject of a similar assassination while preparing for a flight to Glasgow from Hendon. At the time it was thought that this might have been the work of Nazi infiltrators but the evidence now points towards the Special Operations Executive working on the orders of Churchill and of course it failed. And this was all to prevent the brokering of a peace deal.

You talk in the book about how Churchill used Hess to influence Hitler and change Britain’s fortunes in the War. Can you expand on that?

CP: First of all, Churchill was in a very, very insecure position politically in May 1941. In fact, three days before Hess arrived, there had been a vote of no-confidence in Churchill. He didn’t have the support of the aristocracy or the support of MI6 and the King. But the Hess affair basically gave Churchill the opportunity to blackmail his opponents who were involved with the Hess flight into supporting him. It made his position secure and he made veiled hints and threats in the House of Commons where he would drop Hess’s name in. It was like “Back me or I’ll tell the full story.” He also used the Hess flight to ensure that Hitler went ahead with his attack on Russia six weeks after Hess arrived. He also used it to worry the Americans that a deal was about to be done and to get Roosevelt to increase his support and ensure that the great Triple Alliance happened.
Churchill also fooled Hitler into thinking that the British Government was negotiating with Hess. It’s very clear that when he was held at Aldershot, Hess was under the impression that he was negotiating with representatives of the Government. Churchill had his own network in the intelligence services and he was well aware of what was going on with bringing Hess over.

EYE SPY!: You talk in the book about new files surfacing on this whole controversy. Where did these come from?

CP: The two main new files that we found and used in the book and that haven’t been seen before were, firstly, the archives of the Duke of Hamilton who was involved in the Hess affair and that are kept at the Scottish Office. And although some had been available to other researchers, we were able to get almost unrestricted access that most previous researchers hadn’t really had before. The other thing that hadn’t really seen the light of day before - and this relates more to the death of Hess or whoever the prisoner in Spandau was in 1987 - were the administration records from prison. Now, the British authorities said that all the records for the prison should be destroyed - and they were. But before that the Russians insisted that they make a microfilm record of everything and the Russians then gave microfilm copies to the other three powers. And we managed to get hold of one of the copies that contains a lot of interesting material relating to Hess’s death and what was going on. The files at the Public Record Office that were held by MI5 and released in 1999 fill in some of the holes - one MI5 file in particular which blows the lid on the accepted story of the flight refers to Hess’s request for access to the two German internees Semelbauer and Maass. Maass was the more interesting one because he was a member of the Nazi party. In the PRO files we found a lot of background on him and contacted the Red Cross in Geneva and found that it was three days before Hess’s arrival that they were transferred out to the camp near Glasgow. Yet no-one is supposed to know he’s arriving! In a margin note in one of the PRO files written by the head civil servant in the Foreign Office, he had been told that Maass had been released! So whoever transferred these people out of the internment camps, there was a lot of skull-duggery going on. In fact, it was almost like whoever got them out of the camps did it without the official knowledge of the Government. We’re certain that MI6 was totally involved in the Hess affair - they weren’t luring him over: they were inviting him over. This was because MI6 were supportive of the idea of ending the War with Germany. MI6 saw the real enemy as being Russia. Sir Stuart Menzies - the head of MI6 - advised Churchill to stay out of things and let the Nazis and the Russians get on with it and which ever one wins to pick a fight with them afterwards! So up until the middle of 1941 MI6’s primary thing was to get Britain out of the War. Now the fact that the Foreign Office didn’t know what was going on with Maass and Semelbauer suggests to us it was the peace group that got them out. Presumably, if everything had gone to plan and Hess hadn’t been captured, these two guys would have acted as secretaries for Hess at the peace talks, Hess would then have flown back to Germany and Maass and Semelbauer would have been returned to their camps. As it was, the whole thing went very messy but MI6 wanted this plan to succeed.

Do you think that there are factions of the Intelligence community and the Establishment that want this story to come out?

Well, Sir Maurice Oldfield, a former head of MI6, is known to have essentially stolen one of the files on Hess to stop it being destroyed and gave it to certain historians and it’s now in safe-keeping in Holland. So it shows that he was unhappy with the fact that a lot of these files were being destroyed to stop them being released.

EYE SPY!: Bearing in mind the sensitive nature of the story, did you find yourselves thwarted in anyway?

LP: Let’s put it this way: it would have been very surprising if we weren’t being watched: authors who had written only a fraction of what we uncovered had found their paths strewn with obstacles. But having said that, of course, we now have a Labour Government and it was always the Conservatives who were very anti documents leaking out; and now there appears to be a greater openness. But, in saying that, on a couple of occasions manuscripts went astray in the post for suspiciously long periods of time and turned up having obviously been opened. This was the whole typescript that vanished for 10 days and it only had to travel across London! But the book came out! And Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister for Wales, who had always been intrigued by the Hess mystery, was prompted by the launch of the book to say on television that he believed that the British had Hess bumped off in Spandau and I don’t think that would have happened under the old regime. So there is a new openness up to a point!

EYE SPY!: How do you feel now having completed the book and looking back on things?

LP: Writing, researching and being involved in this story has really opened my eyes - not so much about skull-duggery in high places because we’ve learned to expect that - but because of the way in which Churchill got away with this and was feted for it. And yes, okay, Hess was a Nazi - the Deputy Fuhrer - but he came over that night on his own, unarmed, under virtually a white flag and was then locked up for the rest of his life - however long or short that was. My father was a straight-down-the-line regimental sergeant major and I was brought up to start off with a kind of simple patriotism. Obviously as I got older things changed and they have certainly changed with this. They really have!

Double Standards: The Rudolf Hess Cover-up by Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince & Stephen Prior (with additional research by Robert Brydon) is available from the Eye Spy! shop. £20.00 plus £3.50 p & p. Ref: ES/512. shop
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