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Flight from Reality

On 10 May 1941 Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy fuhrer, parachuted into Scotland from his Messerschmitt 110 claiming he was seeking to negotiate a peace deal between Britain and Germany. Instead, held as a prisoner of war for the next four years, Hess was convicted of conspiracy and crimes against peace at the Nuremberg Trials and sentenced to life imprisonment. The last of the Nazi leaders to be held there, he died in Berlin’s Spandau prison in 1987.

Hess’s mission remains one of the most bizarre episodes of the Second World War, spawning a multitude of conspiracy theories. Did he arrive as an official emissary of Hitler, or was he acting alone, and was his mission secretly engineered by British intelligence as part of some plot to undermine prime minister Winston Churchill? Even his death has been deemed mysterious.

In this volume of essays a group of international historians analyses the episode, separates fact from fiction, and assesses its significance in the history of the Second World War.


“We learn a great deal about Hess and how he tried to broker peace… fine and enjoyable.”

Eye Spy Magazine

“Fascinating… far more intriguing than the wildest conspiracy theory.”

Scotland on Sunday

“Very readable.”

Times Literary Supplement

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