Before attacking the USSR 75 years ago, Hitler sought to agree with London on peaceful cooperation in the post-war period. A historian explained the proposals that Berlin prepared to gain the loyalty of the United Kingdom.
He sent the deputy head of the German National Socialist Workers Party, Rudolf Hess, to negotiate with the British. On May 10, 1941, Hess flew alone to the United Kingdom. Although the documents related to this flight have not yet been fully declassified, historians agree that Hess wanted to convince the British to agree to Nazi Germany before it attacked the USSR, said Vladimir Makarov, a doctor of philosophical science.
The historian quoted excerpts from files containing the testimony of Hess’s former aide, Karlheinz Pintsch. According to Pintsch, in early March 1941, Hess finished working on the theses that should lay the foundation for future Anglo-German negotiations.
The proposals were as follows :
- Germany would stop claiming its former colonies in Africa;
- Berlin would be ready to limit its Navy and recognize the dominance of the United Kingdom at sea;
- Germany would not be interested in defeating the British Empire;
- Nazi Germany would lend its full support to London to retain its world power status;
- Berlin would be ready to help the United Kingdom to prevent the economic crisis that was expected after the end of the war.
Likewise, Germany wanted to demand that the United Kingdom return its private assets that had been frozen after 1918 and that were not credited as the reparations that Berlin should pay London for damages caused in the First World War. On account of these assets, the British Government would undertake to supply the necessary raw materials to Berlin. In turn, Germany would promise to prevent the expansion of Bolshevik influence and gain complete freedom to act in Eastern Europe.
These proposals responded to the conditions that the British put on the table during the negotiations held in Geneva in August 1940, revealed the former Hess aide in his testimony, without specifying at what level these consultations were held.
“Hess’s comments suggested that the entire policy of the German Government at that time was mainly aimed at preparing a war against the USSR. I remember the exact phrase Hess said in this regard: ‘The forces in the West will be released, which we can use against the Soviet Union'”, reveals Pintsch according to Makarov.
The Russian historian recalled that Hitler himself authorized Hess to elaborate these proposals and fly to the British Isles.
“By launching a war in the east, Hitler would have encountered a threat to carry it on two fronts (as it happened). In this sense, his attempt to enter into negotiations with the British seemed quite logical. Therefore, Hitler commissioned his assistant prepare the ground for an agreement with the British Government,” concluded Makarov.
In 1946, Hess was sentenced to life in prison during the Nuremberg Trials and transferred to the Spandau District Prison in Berlin. He died on August 17, 1987, at the age of 93.