He was given a life sentence and entered Spandau Prison, where he committed suicide at the age of 93 on August 17, 1987. Hess had been the last surviving member of Hitler's cabinet.
Autographed photograph Germany Rudolf Walter Richard Hess (born April 26, 1894; died August 17, 1987), was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s. In May 1920, after hearing Adolf Hitler speak for the first time in at a Munich rally, Hess became completely devoted to him, and spent much of his time and effort for the next several years organizing for Hitler at the local level in Bavaria. Hess joined the fledgling Nazi Party in 1920 as one of its first members. Hess introduced Karl Haushofer (a German general, geographer and geopolitician) to Hitler in the spring of 1921, following a rally at a beerhall. This was a critical and vital development in the Nazi rise to power. Haushofer and Hitler connected immediately on a personal level. Haushofer's geopolitical theories found a strong convert in Hitler, who used this material to form the basis of his plans for the rebuilding of Germany. Hess became the third-most-powerful man in Germany, behind Hitler and Hermann Goring. In early 1933, Hitler named Hess Deputy to the Fuhrer, which meant he had the power to take merciless action against any defendant that he thought got off too lightly, especially for those found guilty of attacking the party, Hitler or the state. Hess also played a prominent part in the creation of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935. Hess had extensive dealings with senior leaders of major European nations during the 1930s. His education, family man image, high office, and calm, forthright manner all served to make him a more respectful and respectable representative on behalf of the Nazis. Compared with other Nazi leaders, Hess had a good reputation among foreign leaders. While others came into prominence within Nazi Germany, as the Deputy Fuhrer, Hess was definitely not a figurehead. He controlled who could get an audience with the Fuhrer, as well as passing and vetoing proposed bills, and managing party activities. Hitler appointed Hess as Minister Without Portfolio. Like Goebbels, Hess was privately distressed by the war with the United Kingdom because he hoped that Britain would accept Germany as an ally. He may have hoped to score a diplomatic victory by sealing a peace between the Third Reich and Britain, using the contact Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton. On 10 May 1941 at about 18:00, Hess took off from Augsburg in a Messerschmitt and landed near Floors Farm, Eaglesham. Hess identified himself as Hauptmann Alfred Horn, and said that he had an important message for the Duke of Hamilton. Shortly afterwards, Hamilton summarised their conversation in a report to Winston Churchill, dictated at RAF Turnhouse. Hamilton stated that, based on press photographs and a description of Hess given by Albrecht Haushofer, that this prisoner was indeed Hess himself. Hitler granted Hess's wife a pension but stripped Hess of all of his party and state offices, and privately ordered him shot on sight if he ever returned to Germany. Hess's flight raised suspicions with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin that secret discussions were under way between Britain and Germany to attack the Soviet Union, which Churchill denied. Churchill sent Hess initially to the Tower of London, making Hess the last in the long line of prominent people to be held in the 900-year-old fortress. He remained in the Tower until 20 May 1941. He was then ultimately transferred to Maindiff Court Military Hospital, Abergavenny, Wales for treatment for insanity. he attempted suicide on October 15, 1941. Hess became a defendant at the Nuremberg Trials of the International Military Tribunal, on the insistence of the Soviet Union, despite his being in a state of almost complete forgetfulness. He was flown to Nuremberg in October 1945. In 1946, Hess was found guilty on two of four counts: crimes against peace, and conspiracy with other German leaders to commit crimes. He was found not guilty of war crimes or crimes against humanity. He was given a life sentence and entered Spandau Prison, where he committed suicide at the age of 93 on August 17, 1987. Hess had been the last surviving member of Hitler's cabinet.