Rudolf Walter Richard Hess (Heß in German; 26 April 1894 17 August 1987) was a German politician and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, Hess served in 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, serving a life sentence until his suicide in 1987.
Hess enlisted as an infantryman at the outbreak of World War I. He was wounded several times over the course of 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 ("living space"), which became one of the pillars of Nazi ideology. Hess joined the NSDAP 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. While serving time in jail for this attempted coup, he assisted Hitler with Mein Kampf, which became a foundation of the political platform of the NSDAP.