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Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial - Rudolf Hess



In November 1945, in the German city of Nuremberg, the victors of the World War Two began the first international war crimes trial. The choice of the city was significant for it was here that the National Socialist Party held its annual rallies. Adolf Hitler intended it to be rebuilt as the 'party city'. Now many of the leaders of the party were on trial for their lives, only a short distance from the grand arena where they had been fated by the German people. The 21 defendants came from very different backgrounds. Some, like Hitler's chosen successor Hermann Goering, were senior politicians - their responsibility clear. The most bizarre choice to stand trial was Hitler's deputy and head of the party chancellery, Rudolf Hess. There was no doubt that he had been a key figure in organising and running the party in the 1920s and early 1930s. He it was who took down the dictated draft of Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'. But from the mid-1930s he became a more marginal political figure - 'one of the great cranks of the Third Reich', in the words of Speer. In May 1941 - apparently anxious at his loss of favour with Hitler and pre-occupied with the dangers of the impending two-front war which would follow Germany's attack on the USSR scheduled for June - Hess took a plane and flew it to Scotland. Here he was captured by the British, interrogated and put in an institution. He became increasingly paranoid and eventually descended into long periods of self-induced hysterical amnesia.

Film Duration: 57 min .

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