Appeals to Soviets to free Hitler’s former deputy on humanitarian grounds included one from Thatcher, files show

Britain repeatedly pressed for the release of Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, from solitary confinement in Spandau prison, Berlin, before his suicide in 1987, newly released Foreign Office files reveal.

The papers left by the British military governor of Spandau show pleas for Hess’s release on humanitarian grounds were made by foreign secretaries including Alec Douglas-Home, James Callaghan and Douglas Hurd. An appeal was also drafted in the name of Margaret Thatcher in 1982 to be sent to the Soviet premier, Leonid Brezhnev.

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