The Mysterious Life of Rudolf Hess

Hess became Hitler’s friend and confidant after the 1923 Munich Putsch attempt; scribing Mein Kampf in the Landsberg prison and becoming Deputy Nazi Party Leader in 1933. In May 1941 he embarked on a secret ‘peace’ mission which shocked the world, when he flew at night to Scotland, and parachuted into a field. Staying in British custody until the end of the Second World War, he was sentenced to life at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. Hess spent more than 20 years in West Berlin’s Spandau prison until his ‘suicide’ in 1987 at the age of 93.

This class will be delivered face-to-face at WEA Sydney. Enrolling students need to ensure they have read the current COVID-19 Safety Guidance that WEA Sydney has put in place before enrolling.


  • Douglas-Hamilton, James. The Truth about Rudolf Hess (Frontline Books, 2016)
  • Padfield, Peter. Hess: The Führer’s Disciple (Papermac, 1993)
  • Picknett, Lynn. Double Standards: The Rudolf Hess Cover-Up (New Edition, 2002).


  • Introduction
  • The Rise of Hess as Hitler’s Deputy
  • Secret flight to Great Britain in May 1941
  • Captivity: Hess as Prisoner of War in the Berlin Spandau jail


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Develop a better understanding of the complex history of Germany and the Second World War.
  2. Gain an awareness of the variety of ways historians approach the past.

This course has no current classes. Please join the waiting list by clicking .