Der Spiegel magazine reported that a historian has found a document in the Russian state archives in Moscow that could undermine the assumption that Heß had acted without the Nazi leader’s knowledge.
The document, a 28-page handwritten statement by Karl-Heinz Pintsch, Heß’ long-serving adjutant, claims that the flight of May 10, 1941 was part of ongoing negotiations between Berlin and London.
Pintsch, who had been captured by the Red Army, wrote the report in 1948 while in a Soviet prison camp. He was eventually released in 1955.
According to his version of events, the flight had been agreed in advance with the British. Furthermore, Heß had been given the task of “using all means at his disposal, to achieve if not a military alliance between England and Germany against Russia, then at the very least the neutralization of England.”
At the time of Heß’ flight to Scotland, Nazi Germany was just weeks away from launching its massive invasion of the Soviet Union, dubbed Operation Barbarossa.
Heß was arrested after he landed in Scotland and after World War II he was sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes. He killed himself in Berlin’s Spandau prison on Aug. 17, 1987.