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Details of WWII Nazi-Britain peace talks unearthed, at auction for $300,000

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Germany,United Kingdom,History

The fullest accounting ever of Nazi deputy fuhrer Rudolph Hess’ secret mission to cut a peace deal with Britain near the start of World War II has been uncovered, a collection of handwritten notes by Hess--including a pocket-size peace proposal--that’s about to hit the auction block.

Maryland-based Alexander Historical Auctions calls the documents “perhaps the most important wartime archive to ever be offered for private sale.” They are expected to sell for as much as $300,000 in the firm’s upcoming in person and online auction of historical artifacts September 10-11.

The notes could put to rest historical questions about Hess’ flight to England on May 10, 1941. In them, he simply said that he and Adolf Hitler believed England was doomed and that a “rational peace” would give Germany control of Europe while Britain would keep its “empire.”

England has sealed its file on Hess until 2017, prompting Bill Panagopulos, president of Alexander, to declare that Hess’ notes are “a first-person history of great historic importance.”


Seal of Rudolph Hess on one of the documents.
The huge collection is amazing because it is Hess’s actual handwritten account of his plan, including his belief that Hitler wanted peace. When word leaked of the mission, Hitler ordered that Hess be shot when he returned to Germany. England, instead arrested him. He was eventually tried and convicted during the Nuremberg Nazi trials, sent to Berlin’s Spandau Prison and committed suicide at 93.

“Many have speculated that Hitler had sent Hess to deliver a message informing Churchill of the forthcoming invasion of the Soviet Union, and offering a negotiated peace or even an anti-Bolshevik partnership,” said Panagopulos. “Stalin and many others believed that Hess' flight had been engineered by the British, with the expectation that eventually the British would join an anti-Soviet bloc,” he added.


Alexander Historical Auctions is also selling silverware used by Hess.
The auctioneer did not identify the seller, but said the consignor received the Hess files about 20 years ago when an anonymous caller told him to go to a specific location the following day where he would find the material.

“The original source of this archive remains unknown, though Hess' notes and the personal nature of much of the contents indicate that it belonged to Hess himself,” said Panagopulos.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.