Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a German politician and a leading member of the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, Hess held that position until 1941, when he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom during World War II. He was taken prisoner and eventually convicted of crimes against peace. He was still serving his life sentence at the time of his suicide in 1987.
Hess enlisted as an infantryman in the Imperial German Army at the outbreak of World War I. He was wounded several times during the war and was awarded the Iron Cross, 2nd Class, in 1915. Shortly before the war ended, Hess enrolled to train as an aviator, but he saw no action in that role. He left the armed forces in December 1918 with the rank of Leutnant der Reserve. In 1919, Hess enrolled in the University of Munich, where he studied geopolitics under Karl Haushofer, a proponent of the concept of Lebensraum, which became one of the pillars of Nazi ideology. Hess joined the Nazi Party on 1 July 1920 and was at Hitler's side on 8 November 1923 for the Beer Hall Putsch, a failed Nazi attempt to seize control of the government of Bavaria.