Albrecht Haushofer

Albrecht Haushofer

Albrecht Haushofer, the son of Karl Haushofer, was born in Munich on 7th January, 1903. His mother, Martha Mayer Doss, was the daughter of a Jewish merchant from Mannheim.

Albrecht studied at Munich University under his father, who taught geopolitics. Karl Haushofer developed the theory that the state is a biological organism which grows or contracts, and that in the struggle for space the strong countries take land from the weak.

A fellow student was Rudolf Hess, who became a leading figure in the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). Hess wrote a prize-winning essay: How Must the Man be Constructed who will lead Germany back to her Old Heights? It included the following passage: "When necessity commands, he does not shrink from bloodshed... In order to reach his goal, he is prepared to trample on his closest friends."

In 1920 Rudolf Hess heard Adolf Hitler speak at a political meeting. Hess remarked: "Was this man a fool or was he the man who would save all Germany." Hess was one of the first people to join the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and soon became a devoted follower and intimate friend of Hitler, who was also influenced by the teachings of Karl Haushofer.

In November, 1923, Rudolf Hess took part in the failed Beer Hall Putsch. Hess escaped and sought the help of Karl Haushofer. For a while he lived in Haushofer's home, Hartschimmelhof, in the Bavarian Alps. Later he was helped to escape to Austria. Hess was eventually arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison. While in Landsberg he helped Adolf Hitler write My Struggle (Mein Kampf). According to James Douglas-Hamilton (Motive for a Mission) Haushofer provided "Hitler with a formula and certain well-turned phrases which could be adapted, and which at a later stage suited the Nazis perfectly".

Albrecht Haushofer visited Rudolf Hess and Adolf Hitler in Landsberg Prison. After leaving university Albrecht became Secretary General of Germany's Society for Geography, and later editor of the Periodical of the Society of Geography. He also taught political geography in Berlin.

In 1931, Hess asked Haushofer to become his advisor on foreign affairs. He accepted the position but did not play an active role in the Nazi Party. Haushofer believed that it was vitally important that Germany avoided becoming involved in a European war. He wrote: "The peoples of Europe are in a position in which they have to get on together lest they all perish; and although one realises that it is not commonsense but emotional urges which govern the world, one must try to control such urges."

Albrecht Haushofer with Sven Hedin of Sweden
Albrecht Haushofer with Sven Hedin of Sweden

Rudolf Hess gradually worked his way up the Nazi hierarchy and in December 1932 Adolf Hitler appointed him head of the Central Political Committee and deputy leader of the party and minister without portfolio. As a result Haushofer became an important figure in Hitler's government.

Although Adolf Hitler had the support of certain sections of the German population he never gained an elected majority. The best the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) could do in a election was 37.3 per cent of the vote they gained in July 1932. When Hitler became chancellor in January 1933, the Nazis only had a third of the seats in the Reichstag.

After the 1933 General Election Hitler proposed an Enabling Bill that would give him dictatorial powers. Such an act needed three-quarters of the members of the Reichstag to vote in its favour.

All the active members of the Communist Party, were in concentration camps, in hiding, or had left the country (an estimated 60,000 people left Germany during the first few weeks after the election). This was also true of most of the leaders of the other left-wing party, Social Democrat Party (SDP). However, Hitler still needed the support of the Catholic Centre Party (BVP) to pass this legislation. Hitler therefore offered the BVP a deal: vote for the bill and the Nazi government would guarantee the rights of the Catholic Church. The BVP agreed and when the vote was taken, only 94 members of the SDP voted against the Enabling Bill.

Adolf Hitler was now dictator of Germany. His first move was to take over the trade unions. Its leaders were sent to concentration camps and the organization was put under the control of the Nazi Party. The trade union movement now became known as the Labour Front.

Once in power Hitler began to express anti-Semitic ideas. Based on his readings of how blacks were denied civil rights in the southern states in America, Hitler attempted to make life so unpleasant for Jews in Germany that they would emigrate. The campaign started on 1st April, 1933, when a one-day boycott of Jewish-owned shops took place. Members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) picketed the shops to ensure the boycott was successful.

The hostility of towards Jews increased in Germany. This was reflected in the decision by many shops and restaurants not to serve the Jewish population. Placards saying "Jews not admitted" and "Jews enter this place at their own risk" began to appear all over Germany. In some parts of the country Jews were banned from public parks, swimming-pools and public transport.

Germans were also encouraged not to use Jewish doctors and lawyers. Jewish civil servants, teachers and those employed by the mass media were sacked. On 7th April 1933 the Nazi government passed the Civil Service Laws which excluded those of non-Aryan origin from public office within the Reich.

Albrecht Haushofer now became a second-class citizen because of his mother's Jewish father. However, in June 1933, Rudolf Hess intervened personally and issued a protective letter to Haushofer. Now an "honorary Aryan" this enabled him to continue working for the Nazi government.

Haushofer had serious doubts about continuing to work for the Nazi regime. He wrote to his parents on 27th July: "I sometimes ask myself how long we shall be able to carry the responsibility, which we bear and which gradually begins to turn into historical guilt or, at least, into complicity."

Adolf Hitler knew that both France and Britain were militarily stronger than Germany. However, he became convinced that they were unwilling to go to war. He therefore decided to break another aspect of the Treaty of Versailles by sending German troops into the Rhineland. Haushofer wrote a report warning of the dangers of expanding the Third Reich through the use of armed force.

The German generals were also against the plan, claiming that the French Army would win a victory in the military conflict that was bound to follow this action. Adolf Hitler ignored their advice and on 1st March, 1936, three German battalions marched into the Rhineland. The French government was horrified to find German troops on their border but were unwilling to take action without the support of the British. The British government argued against going to war over the issue and justified its position by claiming that "Germany was only marching into its own back yard." Hitler's gamble had come off and, full of confidence, he began to make plans to make Austria part of Germany (Anschluss).

In 1936 Albrecht Haushofer was sent by Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler's foreign minister, on a mission to Japan. The following year, Ribbentrop was given a similar task in China. Haushofer's reports argued that Ribbentrop should preach moderation to the Japanese.

Haushofer also attended the Olympic Games in Berlin in August 1936 and made contact with several members of the House of Commons including Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, Kenneth Lindsay and Jim Wedderburn. On 13th August, 1936, Albrecht Haushofer introduced Douglas-Hamilton to Herman Goering and General Erhard Milch, Chief of Staff of the German Air Force. During their discussion Milch told Douglas-Hamilton: "I feel we have a common enemy in Bolshevism."

In early 1937 Douglas Douglas-Hamilton wrote to Haushofer suggesting getting together. This took place on 23rd January, in Munich. His father, Karl Haushofer, also attended the meeting where they discussed the political situation. Haushofer told Douglas-Hamilton that "Hitler understands Churchill, but he will never understand Chamberlain."

In April 1938 Haushofer visited Britain and stayed with Douglas-Hamilton at his home Dungavel House in Scotland. Douglas-Hamilton attempted to arrange for Haushofer to meet with Lord Halifax, the British Foreign Secretary. However, Halifax was unavailable as he was on a visit to France.

On 26th June, 1938, Haushofer sent a report of his meetings with British politicians to Joachim von Ribbentrop stating that: "Britain has still not abandoned her search for chances of a settlement with Germany... A certain measure of pro-German sentiment has not yet disappeared among the British people; the Chamberlain-Halifax government sees its own future strongly tied to the achievement of a true settlement with Rome and Berlin (with a displacement of Soviet influence in Europe.)"

Adolf Hitler and Joachim von Ribbentrop had become very disillusioned with Haushofer's attempts to obtain a peace agreement with Britain and in July, 1938, he ceased to work for the government. However, he remained close to Rudolf Hess and continued to meet with those sympathetic to the Nazi government.

In September 1938, Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister, met Adolf Hitler at his home in Berchtesgaden in Germany. Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia unless Britain supported Germany's plans to takeover the Sudetenland. After discussing the issue with the Edouard Daladier (France) and Eduard Benes (Czechoslovakia), Chamberlain informed Hitler that his proposals were unacceptable.

Hitler was in a difficult situation but he also knew that Britain and France were unwilling to go to war. He also thought it unlikely that these two countries would be keen to join up with the Soviet Union, whose communist system the western democracies hated more that Hitler's fascist dictatorship.

Benito Mussolini suggested to Hitler that one way of solving this issue was to hold a four-power conference of Germany, Britain, France and Italy. This would exclude both Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, and therefore increasing the possibility of reaching an agreement and undermine the solidarity that was developing against Germany.

The meeting took place in Munich on 29th September, 1938. Desperate to avoid war, and anxious to avoid an alliance with Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union, Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier agreed that Germany could have the Sudetenland. In return, Hitler promised not to make any further territorial demands in Europe.

On 29th September, 1938, Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Edouard Daladier and Benito Mussolini signed the Munich Agreement which transferred the Sudetenland to Germany. When Eduard Benes, protested at this decision, Chamberlain told him that Britain would be unwilling to go to war over the issue of the Sudetenland.

The German Army marched into the Sudetenland on 1st October, 1938. As this area contained nearly all Czechoslovakia's mountain fortifications, she was no longer able to defend herself against further aggression.

From their meetings with Neville Chamberlain, the Nazi government had discovered that he would do anything to avoid military conflict. Chamberlain was aware of the appalling destruction that would take place during a modern war. He also feared that a large-scale war in Western Europe would weaken the countries involved to the point where they would be vulnerable to a communist takeover. Adolf Hitler told Albrecht Haushofer: "This fellow Chamberlain shook with fear when I uttered the word war. Don't tell me he is dangerous."

The pressure on Jews to leave Germany intensified. Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Reinhard Heydrich organized a new programme designed to encourage Jews to emigrate. Crystal Night took place on 9th-10th November, 1938. Presented as a spontaneous reaction of the German people to the news that the German diplomat, Ernst vom Rath, had been murdered by Herschel Grynszpan, a young Jewish refugee in Paris, the whole event was in fact organized by the NSDAP.

During Crystal Night over 7,500 Jewish shops were destroyed and 400 synagogues were burnt down. Ninety-one Jews were killed and an estimated 20,000 were sent to concentration camps. Up until this time these camps had been mainly for political prisoners. The only people who were punished for the crimes committed on Crystal Night were members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) who had raped Jewish women (they had broken the Nuremberg Laws on sexual intercourse between Aryans and Jews).

Albrecht Haushofer told his friend Fritz Hesse that "Hitler is now convinced that he can afford to do anything. Formerly he believed that we must have the maximum armaments because of the warlike menaces of the Powers striving to encircle us, but now he thinks that these Powers will crawl on all fours before him!" Haushofer added: "It's true that Hitler does not want war, but he is ready to risk it, and this, in my opinion, is a guarantee of disaster... We shall probably slither into the catastrophe we thought we had averted."

Haushofer continued to work behind the scenes in an attempt to persuade the British to accept a peace agreement. On 16th July, 1939, Haushofer wrote again to Douglas Douglas-Hamilton suggesting a way to avoid a war. Haushofer showed this letter to several members of the government including Winston Churchill. He replied that it was too late and that a war with Germany was inevitable.

In August 1939, a group of concentration camp prisoners were dressed in Polish uniforms, shot and then placed just inside the German border. Hitler claimed that Poland was attempting to invade Germany. On 1st September, 1939, the German Army was ordered into Poland.

Hitler, who wanted a series of localized wars, was surprised when Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany. Even after it happened he found it difficult to believe that during the first few months of the war he genuinely believed that Britain would still negotiate a peace settlement.

In 1940 Albrecht Haushofer gave up his job as Secretary-General of the Berlin Society for Geography but continued teaching at the University of Berlin. According to his friend, Fritz Hesse: "Haushofer called Hitler and his circle scum, his collaborators gangsters."

On 8th September, 1940, Albrecht Haushofer, wrote to the Duke of Hamilton: "You... may find some significance in the fact that I am able to ask you whether you could find time to have a talk to me somewhere on the outskirts of Europe, perhaps in Portugal." Haushofer also referred to people who the German government believed wanted an "German-English agreement." This included Samuel Hoare and Rab Butler.

Two days later, Haushofer sent a letter to his father, Karl Haushofer. The letter discussed secret peace talks going on with Britain. Karl talked about “middlemen” such as Ian Hamilton (head of the British Legion), the Duke of Hamilton and Violet Roberts, the widow of Walter Roberts. The Roberts were very close to Stewart Menzies (Walter and Stewart had gone to school together). Violet Roberts was living in Lisbon in 1940. Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland were the four main places where these secret negotiations were taking place.

On 19th September, 1940, Haushofer wrote to Rudolf Hess about his letter to the Duke of Hamilton. He explained that Hamilton would find it difficult to fly to Portugal without the permission of Lord Halifax, the British Foreign Secretary and Archibald Sinclair, the Secretary of State for Air. Haushofer suggested that it would probably be better to work through Samuel Hoare but planned to send the letter via an old friend.

The letter was intercepted by MI5 and Hamilton was persuaded to work as a double-agent. Hamilton agreed to go to Lisbon to meet Haushofer. Colonel Tar Robertson, head of MI5's double agent section, wrote in April 1941: "Hamilton at the beginning of the war and still is a member of the community which sincerely believes that Great Britain will be willing to make peace with Germany provided the present regime in Germany were superseded by some reasonable form of government... He is a slow-witted man, but at the same time he gets there in the end; and I feel that if he is properly schooled before leaving for Lisbon he could do a very useful job of work."

In 1959, Heinrich Stahmer, Albrecht Haushofer’s agent in Spain, claimed that meetings between Samuel Hoare, Lord Halifax and Rudolf Hess took place in Spain and Portugal between February and April 1941. The Vichy press reported that Hess was in Spain on the weekend of 20/22 of April 1941. The correspondence between British Embassies and the Foreign Office are routinely released to the Public Record Office. However, all documents relating to the weekend of 20/22 April, 1941 at the Madrid Embassy are being held back and will not be released until 2017.

Karl Haushofer was arrested and interrogated by the Allies after the war. The British government has never released the documents that include details of these interviews. However, these interviews are in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) archive. Karl told his interviewers that Germany was involved in peace negotiations with Britain in 1940-41. In 1941 Albrecht was sent to Switzerland to meet Samuel Hoare (Lord Templewood) the British ambassador to Spain. This peace proposal included a willingness to “relinquish Norway, Denmark and France”. Karl goes onto say: “A larger meeting was to be held in Madrid. When my son returned, he was immediately called to Augsburg by Hess. A few days later Hess flew to England.”

On 10th May, 1941, Rudolf Hess flew a Me 110 to Scotland. When he parachuted to the ground he was captured by David McLean, of the Home Guard. He asked to be taken to Duke of Hamilton, the “middleman” mentioned in the earlier letter. In fact, Hamilton lived close to where Hess landed (Dungavel House). If Hamilton was the “middleman” who was he acting for. Was it George VI or Winston Churchill? Shortly afterwards Sergeant Daniel McBride and Emyr Morris, reached the scene and took control of the prisoner. Hess’s first words to them were: “Are you friends of the Duke of Hamilton? I have an important message for him.”

After the war Daniel McBride attempted to tell his story of what had happened when he captured Hess. This story originally appeared in the Hongkong Telegraph (6th March, 1947). “The purpose of the former Deputy Fuhrer’s visit to Britain is still a mystery to the general public, but I can say, and with confidence too, that high-ranking Government officials were aware of his coming.” The reason that McBride gives for this opinion is that: “No air-raid warning was given that night, although the plane must have been distinguished during his flight over the city of Glasgow. Nor was the plane plotted at the anti-aircraft control room for the west of Scotland.” McBride concludes from this evidence that someone with great power ordered that Hess should be allowed to land in Scotland. This story was picked up by the German press but went unreported in the rest of the world.

According to Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Scott, Rudolf Hess had told one of his guards that “members of the government” had known about his proposed trip to Scotland. Hess also asked to see George VI as he had been assured before he left Nazi Germany that he had the “King’s protection”. The authors of Double Standards, believe the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Hamilton, Samuel Hoare and Lord Halifax, were all working for the king in their efforts to negotiate with Adolf Hitler.

Karlheinz Pintsch, Hess adjutant, was given the task of informing Hitler about the flight to Scotland. James Leasor found him alive in 1955 and used him as a major source for his book, The Uninvited Envoy. Pintsch told Leasor of Hitler’s response to this news. He did not seem surprised, nor did he rant and rave about what Hess had done. Instead, he replied calmly, “At this particular moment in the war that could be a most hazardous escapade.”

Adolf Hitler then went onto read the letter that Rudolf Hess had sent him. He read the following significant passage out aloud. “And if this project… ends in failure… it will always be possible for you to deny all responsibility. Simply say I was out of my mind.” Of course, that is what both Hitler and Churchill did later on. However, at the time, Hitler at least, still believed that a negotiated agreement was possible.

The following day Adolf Hitler knew that Winston Churchill had refused to do a deal and then the cover-up began. Pintsch was now a dangerous witness and he was arrested and was kept in solitary confinement until being sent to the Eastern Front in 1944. He was captured by the Soviets and kept alive until being released in 1955. (James Leasor, The Uninvited Envoy, page 69).

Adolf Hitler now issued a statement pointing out that "Hess did not fly in my name." Albert Speer, who was with Hitler when he heard the news, later reported that "what bothered him was the Churchill might use the incident to pretend to Germany's allies that Hitler was extending a peace feeler."

According to his friend, Rainer Hildebrandt, Haushofer became very distressed when he discovered that the Hess peace initiative had ended in failure. As Haushofer knew the true details of the operation, he feared for his life and expected the same fate as Karlheinz Pintsch. He was right, and on 11th May, 1941, Adolf Hitler ordered the arrest of Haushofer.

The following day he was taken to Berchtesgaden and ordered to write a full report on what he knew about the reasons for Rudolf Hess flying to Scotland. Haushofer also outlined his contacts with people like the Duke of Hamilton, Samuel Hoare (Viscount Templewood), Lord Halifax and Alec Douglas-Home (Lord Dunglass) during these peace negotiations.

After reading Haushofer's report Hitler ordered that he should be sent to the Prince Albrecht Strasse Gestapo Prison in Berlin to be interrogated by Heinrich Mueller, the head of the Gestapo. Haushofer was released in July 1941. The reason for this is that Hitler believed that Haushofer could still play a key role in any future peace negotiations with Britain. Haushofer was kept under surveillance and Martin Bormann sent a letter to important figures in the media that: "Professor Albrecht Haushofer should no longer be given any publicity".

Irmegard Schnuhr, one of Haushofer's favourite students, was recruited by Heinrich Mueller to spy on him. However, she remained loyal to her tutor and only gave the Gestapo information that was first cleared by Haushofer. However, she was not the only spy used and it soon became clear that Haushofer was in contact with other opponents of the Nazi government including Ulrich von Hassell, Ludwig Beck, Helmuth von Moltke, Peter von Wartenburg and Carl Goerdeler.

On Sunday, 7th December, 1941, 105 high-level bombers, 135 dive-bombers and 81 fighter aircraft attacked the the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor. In two hours 18 warships, 188 aircraft and 2,403 servicemen were lost in the attack. Luckily, the navy's three aircraft carriers, Enterprise, Lexington and Saratoga, were all at sea at the time. The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a united US Congress declared war on Japan.

Soon afterwards, Irmegard Schnuhr was summoned by Adolf Hitler and asked her to discover what Haushofer's views were on the possibility of negotiating a peace with Britain. Haushofer told Schnuhr that Hitler's foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, would make it impossible for any negotiations to get off the ground. Hitler replied that it "would be easy to sack Ribbentrop" if the British first sacked their Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden.

Irmegard Schnuhr was married to a senior figure in the Schutzstaffel (SS). In April 1942 she discovered that Richard Heydrich was plotting against Heinrich Himmler. Schnuhr gave this information to Haushofer who passed it onto Himmler via Carl Langbehn. Before any action could be taken against Heydrich he was assassinated by members of the Free Czechoslovak Forces.

A group of anti-Nazis, including Claus von Stauffenberg, Wilhelm Canaris, Carl Goerdeler, Julius Leber, Ulrich Hassell, Hans Oster, Peter von Wartenburg, Henning von Tresckow, Friedrich Olbricht, Werner von Haeften, Fabian Schlabrendorff, Ludwig Beck and Erwin von Witzleben decided to assassinate Adolf Hitler (the July Plot). Haushofer was opposed to any attempt on Hitler's life because he did not believe it would bring an end to the war.

At least six attempts were aborted before Claus von Stauffenberg decided on trying again during a conference attended by Adolf Hitler on 20th July, 1944. It was decided to drop plans to kill Herman Goering and Heinrich Himmler at the same time. Stauffenberg, who had never met Hitler before, carried the bomb in a briefcase and placed it on the floor while he left to make a phone-call. The bomb exploded killing four men in the hut. Hitler's right arm was badly injured but he survived the bomb blast.

Albrecht Haushofer immediately went into hiding but was arrested by the Gestapo on 7th December 1944. He was taken to Moabit Prison in the Lehrterstrasse, Berlin. For the next few weeks Haushofer was interrogated constantly. However, unlike the other conspirators, Haushofer was not executed.

A fellow prisoner, Eberhard Bethge, later claimed that this was because Hitler had the "intention to make use of Haushofer at a later date." Hitler and Himmler were both still hoping that they could use Haushofer to negotiate a peace deal with Britain and the United States. Haushofer was given special privileges and during this period he wrote what became known as the Moabite Sonnets.

Irmegard Schnuhr approached Karl Haushofer about the possibility of using his influence to get his son released from prison. He replied: "Why should I do that? He has betrayed his country and his people and deserves no help from me."

In February 1945, Heinrich Himmler explored the possibility of doing a deal that involved capitulating to the Western Allies but not to the Soviet Union. Winston Churchill and Harry Truman considered this offer but with the Red Army advancing on Berlin, it was not a realistic option. On 21st April 1945, Himmler instructed Heinrich Mueller to execute Albrecht Haushofer. This was carried out two days later.

It was decided not to prosecute Karl Haushofer at Nuremberg because it was decided that his role had only been "academic and advisory". On 11th March 1946, Karl and his wife committed suicide.

Primary Sources

(1) Albrecht Haushofer, letter to Karl Haushofer (26th October 1929)

For years now Western German policy was made with sacrifice after sacrifice in order to get a free hand in the East one day - now, in the few weeks since Stresemann's death, our last means of pressure in the Poland negotiations has been thrown overboard...

Everybody who sails under the direct flag of the Right is not even listened to owing to the anxiety psychosis into which Hugenberg and Hitler have plunged the people...

I must confess that four weeks ago I could not have considered how deep the desire for Stresemann's return must be. He was certainly not a great man, but among the blind he was certainly one-eyed.

(2) Albrecht Haushofer, letter to Karl Haushofer (30th July 1930)

So my first impression of Russia is one of terrible poverty and oppression, a partly purposeless, partly systematic cultural decline of enormous proportions. On the other side the accumulation of sinister power and growing economic strength (partly through ruthless exploitation of large natural resources, partly however, through an undeniably systematic large scale reconstruction) in a few entirely or nearly barbaric hands.

The national character however has not changed. The Russian is still indolent, lazy, dull, unclean and unpunctual. Many things may be recognised in many fields; and the danger must not be underestimated.

To make common cause with Moscow is according to my impressions completely out of the question as long as the entire structure of our political mentality remains unchanged.

(3) Albrecht Haushofer, letter to Karl Haushofer (9th November 1930)

And now London. General impression: envy for the country which still has so many men to steer her history. I have at last seen almost all important leaders, to many of them I have spoken personally: e.g., Lord Allenby with whom I had a brilliant conversation for an hour without knowing who he was....

Splendid the old Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, a Scot of ancient descent - one of the wisest men I ever met ... Chamberlain who actually makes a less distinguished impression: Churchill, who has become fat and who looks more like a clever clown than a Statesman.... The German Embassy with the young Count Bernstorff and the young Prince Bismarck makes in comparison a rather paltry impression - the welcome was exceedingly cordial.

(4) Albrecht Haushofer, letter to his mother (7th May 1933)

I am glad about the optimism of father and of Heinz, although I do not understand it.... The way our German world develops I see no possibilities of activity for myself....

But these are only the external things. Internally it looks like this: I now stand on a narrow strip of land which remains when one becomes indifferent to one's own existence, and when on the other hand there is no compelling reason for taking an active step towards non-existence.

I cannot really say very much regarding father's political letter. I am glad that he sees possibilities of activity for himself to a certain extent - in the same state which disqualifies his sons from the Civil Service ( I have very carefully read the new Ordinance to the Civil Servants' Act, I do not notice much relaxation in them). But we judge matters too differently for me to be able to say anything in respect of this attitude, in respect of his standing up or not standing up for people.

You cannot plane wood without producing shavings is a very fine proverb; but when some of the shavings are personally known to you, things look very different. I only do not know whether I should envy or admire the blindness which does not see how near to us already is the blade of the plane.

(5) Albrecht Haushofer, letter to his parents about the reasons why he decided to work for Adolf Hitler and the Nazi government (June 1933)


Lack in me of National Socialist philosophy of life. Lacking faith in the ability to teach and to find contact with the young generation. Compulsion to make a whole series of compromises in questions of opinion; loss of a good deal of both inner and external freedom.


Increased possibility of practical activity: improvement of my position in the sense of external prestige and of middle class significance of titles.

Compulsion to be active:

In a certain sense increase and safety of external freedom of movement, both financially as well as in respect of freedom to travel, which one must grant to the holder of this position.

You see, it is all rather muddled up, but it is, after all, a fact that the incentives are all on the side of my worldly vita activa - while the inhibitions are just inhibitions of my character. That I could accomplish many things better than others, that in this position a tolerably reasonable person is better than an unreasonable one, that I probably possess the necessary skill to create for myself further influence from this activity, that (and this is said really more for you than for myself, because your external need for my prestige is greater than my own) the then existing combination of external position would for quite a number of years serve as an absolutely satisfactory basis - all that I know of course. The question is whether I could manage to jump over the internal shadow, and if I do, how it will end.

(6) Albrecht Haushofer, letter to his parents (27th July, 1934)

I sometimes ask myself how long we shall be able to carry the responsibility, which we bear and which gradually begins to turn into historical guilt or, at least, into complicity.... But all of us are, after all, in a situation of conflicting obligations, from which at best fate can find a way out, and we have to carry on working, even when the task has become completely hopeless.

And now I must try to finish my geopolitics report. How, I do not know. In the evening of the day before yesterday I heard father's radio talk; I must admit it was very sinister to me to hear his sarcastic remark on Dolfuss's accumulation of offices while on the adjoining wave-length it was announced that he was dead.... There will be much violent dying and nobody knows when lightning will strike one's own house.

(7) Albrecht Haushofer, report for Joachim von Ribbentrop (26th June, 1938)

Britain has still not abandoned her search for chances of a settlement with Germany (perhaps on the basis of German leadership, but not conquest, in South-east Europe, frontier revisions through plebiscites, West African colonies, four-power pact, armaments restriction).

A certain measure of pro-German sentiment has not yet disappeared among the British people; the Chamberlain-Halifax government sees its own future strongly tied to the achievement of a true settlement with Rome and Berlin (with a displacement of Soviet influence in Europe)...

But the belief in the possibility of an understanding between Britain and Germany is dwindling fast. A new imperialism is suspected behind the pan-German programme of National Socialism (with which one has become more or less reconciled). Here the Czech question assumes the significance of a decisive test case. A German attempt to solve the Bohemian-Moravian question by a military attack would under present circumstances present for Britain (and in British opinion also for France) a casus belli.

In such a war the British Government would have the whole nation behind it. It would be conducted as a crusade for the liberation of Europe from German militarism. London is convinced that such a war would be won with the help of the U.S.A. (whose full participation, within days, not weeks, is anticipated) at the cost, of course, of an incalculable expansion of Bolshevism outside the Anglo-Saxon world.

(8) Albrecht Haushofer, letter to his mother (16th November 1938)

That I am alive is evident from our telephone conversations. If I were physically ill, I would let you know. Should there be essential changes in the external order of my existence or should such be in the immediate offing, I would write about it, although such changes nowadays occur so quickly that often there remains no time for thinking or even for writing.

But on what else should I otherwise write? I no longer have a private life, and if I had I would not write about it. One never knows, after all, who else reads one's letters. One cannot write about things which move one. And when one can write about them once in a while like today, when I can send the letter by my brother - what is the point of making life even more difficult for each other?

You know very well yourselves that we live in medieval circumstances, which are an insult to the gallantry of our Middle Ages; that our spiritually possessed great leaders are enraged over their failure with their nice little war (with the result that all those who in the last minute pleaded for settlement and peace are now highly unpopular), that they endeavour as far as possible to frustrate a German-English settlement. And if you do not know it, it is perhaps better for Father's peace of mind...

It will be soon enough to realise what is going on, when we are all robbed or hanged. The disappointed fury over the missed war is now raging internally. Today it is the Jews. Tomorrow it will be other groups and classes.

The financial advice I gave to you yesterday is based on the contingency that perhaps as early as next Saturday, but perhaps only later, a partial capital levy will be imposed also for Aryans the financial consequences of which cannot be assessed, but which can very easily lead to a lowering of purchase power so that one may suddenly become non-liquid. The exact amount of the confiscation, which is to go by the name of `Thank Offering' is not yet known. It will be unavoidable because public coffers are empty.

(9) Albrecht Haushofer, letter to the Duke of Hamilton (16th July, 1938)

I have been silent for a very long time - partly from outside, partly from inside reasons. The outside reasons are easily and quickly stated: having told some very unpopular truths after my last return from England, and having pulled my full weight with the forces of moderation on our side during the weeks before Munich, I had to move very carefully afterwards. I did not want to find myself waking up one morning with an appointment as Consul General to Paramaribo (I dare say such a place exists somewhere in South America).

The inside reasons are less easily put down. But I think I can make them clear at least to you. We have had more than one talk on the Versailles Treaty and its aftermath. You know how I feel about it. I have always regarded it as a failure on the side side of British farsightedness - to put it mildly - (but you may blame the French!) that concessions and revisions mostly came too late. I fully admit that the critical years were 193I/32 One third of the concessions to Germany that you allowed to be taken later on without agreement, offered in 1932 - and Germany would never have taken the revolutionary plunge she took in 1933. But that is old history.

After the National-Socialist advent to power there remained one hope: that - after having done away with most (if not all) of the Versailles grievances by rather violent and one-sided methods -the great man of the regime would be prepared to slow down, to accept an important (though not an alldominating) position in `the Concert of Europe'. It may have been an unreasonable hope -knowing the man as we know him - but - realities being what they were - it was the only hope one could act upon. Now - I cannot entertain that hope any longer; and that is my reason for writing and posting this letter somewhere on the coast of Western Norway, where I am taking a few short weeks of rest.

I just want to give you a sign of personal friendship - I do hope that you will survive whatever may happen in Europe - and I want to send you a word of warning. To the best of my knowledge there is not yet a definite time-table for the actual explosion, but any date after the middle of August may prove to be the fatal one. So far they want to avoid the `big war'. But the one man on whom everything depends is still hoping that he may be able to get away with an isolated `local war'. He still thinks in terms of British bluff, although the Prime Minister's and Lord H's [Halifax's] last speeches have made him doubt - at least temporarily; the most dangerous thing is that he is racing against time: in more than one sense.

Economic difficulties are growing, and his own feeling (a very curious and remarkable one) that he has not a very long time of life ahead of him, is a most important factor. I could never adapt myself to the idea that any war might be inevitable; but one would have to be blind not to realise that war may be very near.

So the question: what can be done? gets all the more important. But perhaps I should have added a few things about the psychological position in the mind of the German people before trying to answer that question. On the merits of their present government, the Germans are less united than at any date since 1934. But if war breaks out on the Corridor question, they will be more solidly behind their present leader than over any case that might have led to war in these last years. The territorial solutions in the East (Corridor and Upper Silesia) have never been accepted by the German nation, and you will find many and most important Englishmen, who never thought them to be acceptable - and said so ! A war against Poland would be not unpopular.

World war of course is quite another thing: but few people in Germany realise that they would be up against a world war. I should just mention one more point: 'encirclement' has proved to be a most efficient weapon of inside propaganda. Pre-war memories (and war-blockade experiences) have risen in many minds - and the idea that England wants to `hem in' Germany on every side has got very deep into the German mind (even there, where it is not `Nazi'). Of course there are difficulties. That hateful South Alpine deal is making a big, though naturally subterranean, stir.

But war against Poland would - for the first weeks at least - unite, not disintegrate the German nation. And that is - at least to my feeling - all-important; not because I might hope that an united German nation might win the war: I am very much convinced that Germany cannot win a short war and that she cannot stand a long one - but I am thoroughly afraid that the terrific forms of modern war will make any reasonable peace impossible if they are allowed to go on for even a few months. Therefore we simply have to stop the explosion. Another European war, another Treaty of Versailles, another total revolution all over Europe - well - I need not say what it would mean for Europe as a whole.

Now to the core of the question: what can be done? Very little from inside Germany. Even now at least something from England.

Something on the tactical side: Your `inside' people know how to put a certain amount of pressure on the big man in Rome: they ought to start that pressure fairly soon. Something of the more general type: It is not enough for England to advertise herself as the big boss in the fire brigade, or to organise a fire insurance company with other nations (some of them - viz. Poland - not quite above playing with fire themselves) : What Europe needs is a real British peace plan on the basis of full equality and with considerable (but strictly mutual) safeguards on the military side. I realise to the full that a strong system of safeguards will be necessary if your people are to be persuaded to meet even the slightest German wishes regarding European or colonial territory. But as long as your Government has not lost sight of the second part of their original programme - full security and peaceful change through negotiation - they might be able to test the second part early enough to secure a positive effect. I cannot outline what might be an acceptable compromise in detail.

I cannot imagine even a short-range settlement without a change in the status of Danzig and without some sort of change in the Corridor. Possibly a long-range settlement between Germany and Poland would have to be based upon considerable territorial changes combined with population exchanges on the Greek-Turkish model (people in England mostly do not know that there are some 600,000-700,000 Germans scattered through the inner (formerly Russian) parts of Poland!) - but if there is to be a peaceful solution at all, it can only come from England and it must appear to be fair to the German public as a whole.

Even now - after the present rulers of Germany have given ample provocation - your people would be wise not to forget that they refused a plebiscitarian solution in the Corridor (and that subsequently the Poles drove some 900,000 Germans out of their former German provinces!) and that they prevented one in Upper Silesia.

(10) Albrecht Haushofer, document written in about June 1940.

For an understanding with Britain the evacuation of the Western and Northern territories under German occupation must be accepted as a basis.

The German-French frontier, in the event of Alsace-Lorraine remaining within the German Reich's territory, should be moved further West than before 1914. ... This problem should form the topic of a joint German-French discussion....

Having regard to the fact that for Britain the way to India must be unconditionally secured, Britain's special interests in the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East would have to be recognised....

Germany would have to be guaranteed, on the other hand, her special interests in the south-east European sphere....

The regulation of her eastern frontier is regarded by Germany as a special problem which should be settled by the states directly concerned alone....

There should, however, be no doubt that the occasion of a peace conference must be used for a basic reorganisation of Europe since the proposals would otherwise offer no guarantee for a permanent solution.

It is proposed that Europe should be enlarged into one economic region in which her peoples are led to a joint economic co-operation under the control of an Economic Council to which all European nations would send their representatives.... Each state should declare its willingness to contribute towards the creation of an European police force which could carry out, jointly, all military and security measures.

The German navy, like all other European naval units, would be placed under British command for safeguarding Europe's military co-operation, and would be available for the protection of British interests in the Indian Ocean...

The foundation of a joint European colonial association would appear to be necessary. It would be the task of this association to ensure a joint and equitable distribution of all African economic goods in an all-European market and of the corresponding counter-supplies (exports).

(11) Albrecht Haushofer, report for Joachim von Ribbentrop (15th September, 1940)

On 8 September, I was summoned to Bad Godesberg to report to the Deputy of the Fuehrer on the subject discussed in this memorandum. The conversation which the two of us had alone lasted two hours. I had the opportunity to speak in all frankness.

I was immediately asked about the possibilities of making known to persons of importance in England Hitler's serious desire for peace. It was quite clear that the continuance of the war was suicidal for the white race. Even with complete peace in Europe Germany was not in a position to take over the inheritance of the Empire. The Fuehrer had not wanted to see the Empire destroyed and did not want it even today. Was there not somebody in England who was ready for peace?

First I asked for permission to discuss fundamental things. It was necessary to realise that not only Jews and Freemasons, but practically all Englishmen who mattered, regarded a treaty signed by the Fuehrer as a worthless scrap of paper. To the question as to why this was so, I referred to the ten-year term of our Polish Treaty, to the Non-Aggression Pact with Denmark signed only a year ago, to the `final' frontier demarcation of Munich. What guarantee did England have that a new treaty would not be broken again at once if it suited us? It must be realised that, even in the Anglo-Saxon world, the Fuehrer was regarded as Satan's representative on earth and had to be fought.

If the worst came to the worst, the English would rather transfer their whole Empire bit by bit to the Americans than sign a peace that left to National Socialist Germany the mastery of Europe. The present war, I was convinced, shows that Europe has become too small for its previous anarchic form of existence; it is only through close German-English co-operation that it can achieve a true federative order (based by no means merely on the police rule of a single power), while maintaining a part of its world position and having security against Soviet Russian Eurasia. France was smashed, probably for a long time to come, and we had opportunity currently to observe what Italy is capable of accomplishing. As long, however, as German-English rivalry existed, and in so far as both sides thought in terms of security, the lesson of this war was this: every German had to tell himself: we have no security as long as provision is not made that the Atlantic gateways of Europe from Gibraltar to Narvik are free of any possible blockade. That is: there must be no English fleet. Every Englishman, must, however, under the same conditions, argue: we have no security as long as anywhere within a radius of 2,000 kilometres from London there is a plane that we do not control. That is: there must be no German Air Force.

There is only one way out of this dilemma: friendship intensified to fusion, with a joint fleet, a joint air force, and joint defence of possessions in the world -just what the English are now about to conclude with the United States.

Here I was interrupted and asked why, indeed, the English were prepared to seek such a relationship with America and not with us. My reply was: because Roosevelt is a man who represents a Weltanschauung and a way of life that the Englishman thinks he understands, to which he can become accustomed, even where it does not seem to be to his liking. Perhaps he fools himself - but, at any rate, that is what he believes.

A man like Churchill - himself half-American - is convinced of this. Hitler, however, seems to the Englishman the incarnation of what he hates that he has fought against for centuries - this feeling grips the workers no less than the plutocrats.

In fact, I am of the opinion that those Englishmen who have property to lose, that is, precisely the portions of the so-called plutocracy that count, are those who would be readiest to talk peace. But even they regard a peace only as an armistice.

I was compelled to express these things so strongly because I ought not - precisely because of my long experience in attempting to effect a settlement with England in the past and my numerous English friendships - make it appear that I seriously believed in the possibility of a settlement between Adolf Hitler and England in the present stage of development.

I was thereupon asked whether I was not of the opinion that feelers had perhaps not been successful because the right language had not been used. I replied that, to be sure - if certain persons, whom we both knew well, were meant by this statement - then certainly the wrong language had been used. But at the present stage this had little significance.

I was then asked directly why all Englishmen were so opposed to Herr von Ribbentrop. I suggested that in the eyes of the English, Herr von Ribbentrop, like some other personages, played the same role as did Duff Cooper, Eden and Churchill in the eyes of the Germans. In the case of Herr von Ribbentrop, there was also the conviction, precisely in the view of Englishmen who were formerly friendly to Germany that - from completely biased motives - he had informed the Fuehrer wrongly about England and that he personally bore an unusually large share of the responsibility for the outbreak of the war.

But I again stressed the fact that the rejection of peace feelers by England was today due not so much to persons as to the fundamental outlook above.

Nevertheless, I was asked to name those whom I thought might be reached as possible contacts. I mentioned among diplomats, Minister O'Malley in Budapest, the former head of the South Eastern Department of the Foreign Office, a clever person in the higher echelons of officialdom, but perhaps without influence precisely because of his former friendliness towards Germany; Sir Samuel Hoare,t who is half-shelved and half on the watch in Madrid, whom I do not know well personally, but to whom I can at any time open a personal path; as the most promising, the Washington Ambassador Lothian, with whom I have had close personal connections for years, who as a member of the highest aristocracy and at the same time as a person of very independent mind, is perhaps best in a position to undertake a bold step - provided that he could be convinced that even a bad and uncertain peace would be better than the continuance of the war - a conviction at which he will only arrive if he convinces himself in Washington that English hopes of America are not realisable. Whether or not this is so could only be judged in Washington itself; from Germany not at all.

As the final possibility I then mentioned that of a personal meeting on neutral soil with the closest of my English friends: the young Duke of Hamilton who has access at all times to all ment - then certainly the wrong language had been used. But at the present stage this had little significance.

I was then asked directly why all Englishmen were so opposed to Herr von Ribbentrop. I suggested that in the eyes of the English, Herr von Ribbentrop, like some other personages, played the same role as did Duff Cooper, Eden and Churchill in the eyes of the Germans. In the case of Herr von Ribbentrop, there was also the conviction, precisely in the view of Englishmen who were formerly friendly to Germany that - from completely biased motives - he had informed the Fuehrer wrongly about England and that he personally bore an unusually large share of the responsibility for the outbreak of the war.

But I again stressed the fact that the rejection of peace feelers by England was today due not so much to persons as to the fundamental outlook above.

Nevertheless, I was asked to name those whom I thought might be reached as possible contacts.

I mentioned among diplomats, Minister O'Malley in Budapest, the former head of the South Eastern Department of the Foreign Office, a clever person in the higher echelons of officialdom, but perhaps without influence precisely because of his former friendliness towards Germany; Sir Samuel Hoare,t who is half-shelved and half on the watch in Madrid, whom I do not know well personally, but to whom I can at any time open a personal path; as the most promising, the Washington Ambassador Lothian, with whom I have had close personal connections for years, who as a member of the highest aristocracy and at the same time as a person of very independent mind, is perhaps best in a position to undertake a bold step - provided that he could be convinced that even a bad and uncertain peace would be better than the continuance of the war - a conviction at which he will only arrive if he convinces himself in Washington that English hopes of America are not realisable. Whether or not this is so could only be judged in Washington itself; from Germany not at all.

As the final possibility I then mentioned that of a personal meeting on neutral soil with the closest of my English friends: the young Duke of Hamilton who has access at all times to all.

(12) Albrecht Haushofer, report written for Adolf Hitler (12th May, 1941)

The circle of English individuals whom I have known very well for years, and whose utilisation on behalf of a GermanEnglish understanding in the years from 1934 to i938 was the core of my activity in England, comprises the following groups and persons:

1. A leading group of younger Conservatives (many of them Scotsmen). Among them are: the Duke of Hamilton - up to the date of his father's death, Lord Clydesdale - Conservative Member of Parliament; the Parliamentary Private Secretary of Neville Chamberlain, Lord Dunglass; the present Under Secretary of State in the Air Ministry, Balfour; the present Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education, Lindsay (National Labour); the present Under Secretary of State in the Ministry for Scotland, Wedderburn.

Close ties link this circle with the Court. The younger brother of the Duke of Hamilton is closely related to the present Queen through his wife; the mother-in-law of the Duke of Hamilton, the Duchess of Northumberland, is the Mistress of the Robes; her brother-in-law, Lord Eustace Percy, was several times a member of the Cabinet and is still today an influential member of the Conservative Party (especially close to former Prime Minister Baldwin). There are close connections between this circle and important groups of the older Conservatives, as for example the Stanley family (Lord Derby, Oliver Stanley) and Astor (the last is owner of The Times). The young Astor, likewise a Member of Parliament, was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the former Foreign and Interior Minister, Sir Samuel Hoare, at present English Ambassador in Madrid.

I have known almost all of the persons mentioned for years and from close personal contact. The present Under Secretary of State of the Foreign Office, Butler, also belongs here; in spite of many of his public utterances he is not a follower of Churchill or Eden. Numerous connections lead from most of those named to Lord Halifax, to whom I likewise had personal access.

2. The so-called `Round Table' circle of younger imperialists (particularly colonial and Empire politicians), whose most important personage was Lord Lothian.

3. A group of the 'Ministerialdirektoren' in the Foreign Office. The most important of these were Strang, the chief of the Central European Department, and O'Malley, the chief of the South Eastern Department and afterwards Minister in Budapest.

There was hardly one of those named who was not at least occasionally in favour of a German-English understanding.

Although most of them in 1939 finally considered that war was inevitable, it was nevertheless reasonable to think of these persons if one thought the moment had come for investigating the possibility of an inclination to make peace. Therefore when the Deputy of the Fuehrer, Reich Minister Hess, asked me in the autumn of iqq.o about possibilities of gaining access to possibly reasonable Englishmen, I suggested two concrete possibilities for establishing contacts. It seemed to me that the following could be considered for this:

A. Personal contact with Lothian, Hoare, or O'Malley, all three of whom were accessible in neutral countries.

B. Contact by letter with one of my friends in England. For this purpose the Duke of Hamilton was considered in the first place, since my connection with him was so firm and personal that I could suppose he would understand a letter addressed to him even if it were formulated in very veiled language.

Reich Minister Hess decided in favour of the second possibility; I wrote a letter to the Duke of Hamilton at the end of September 1940 and its despatch to Lisbon was arranged by the Deputy Fuehrer. I did not learn whether the letter reached the addressee. The possibilities of its being lost en route from Lisbon to England are not small, after all.

(13) James Leasor, Rudolf Hess: The Uninvited Envoy (1962)

According to his brother, Albrecht Haushofer was furious when he heard that Hess had flown off on his mission without informing him of his intention to fly on that particular day. `And to think that one is forced to conduct politics with such fools,' he exclaimed bitterly. Thereafter, he referred to Hess as `the motorized Parsifal'taking the name of the fool in Wagner's opera.

His bitterness at Hess's impetuosity was increased by the fact that on the evening of May io-when Hess was actually on his way to Scotland and beyond all hope of contact or recall-Haushofer received a telegram from Herr Stahmer, Secretary of the German Embassy in Madrid.

"The pre-arranged wording ... indicated that Stahmer in Madrid had been able to contact the British Ambassador, then Sir Samuel Hoare, and that Haushofer's venture, to which Hess had eventually agreed, was apparently a success. But it was too late."

It was all far too late.

On May 12, the Monday following Hess's departure, the Gestapo flew Albrecht Haushofer to Bad Godesberg in a special aeroplane. There he was interrogated, and despite the lateness of the hour at which he had arrived, he was forced to write a full account of `the kind and extent of his English connections, destined for Hitler'. As Haushofer was already the principal adviser to Hitler's Foreign Office on British affairs, and since Hitler already knew of the previous attempts to reach some form of compromise armistice with Britain, it is not likely that the Fuhrer discovered much that he did not know. This exercise was purely a means to cloak and cover Hitler's own prior knowledge of these attempts.

After the interrogation, an enemy of the Haushofer family, envious of their standing, their estate and their intellectual capabilities, remarked to Himmler: "This is the right moment to finish off all the Haushofers."

(14) Albrecht Haushofer, Guilt: the 38th Sonnet of Moabit (1945)

I lightly carry what the judge calls my guilt

Guilt in planning and caring

I would feel guilty had I not from inner duty

Planned for the people's future

But I am guilty other than you think:

I should have sooner seen my duty

I should have sharper condemned evil

I have too long delayed my judgement.

I now accuse myself

I have long betrayed my conscience

I have lied to myself and to others.

I soon foresaw the evil's frightful path;

I have warned,

But my warnings were too feeble.

I know today wherein lies my guilt

(15) James Douglas-Hamilton, Motive for a Mission (1971)

No prosecution was made against Karl Haushofer at Nuremberg because the American prosecuting team regarded his role as being academic and advisory. He was taken to Nuremberg merely to see Hess who was alleged to be suffering from amnesia and who refused to recognise him. He was also asked to prepare a last statement on German geopolitics, which he agreed to do. On his way back to his lodgings, Karl Haushofer said that Hess was completely sincere in his fanatical support of Hitler, that his flight to Britain was characteristic of him, and that at no other time had Hess concealed his plans from him. Whilst being driven back he could see the ruins of the bombed city and he was dismayed.

He had always been in favour of setting aside the Versailles Treaty; now he saw Germany occupied and with far less territory than she had had under the Treaty of Versailles. He did not want to live in a Germany which had been defeated for the second time in a world war. In 1943 he had quarrelled with Albrecht and had told him that if the war was lost as Albrecht thought, he would kill himself, and his mind kept reverting to this theme.

Only the presence of his family kept him from putting his threat into action. At the end of 1945 after the return of his son Heinz, although his health was deteriorating, he did not wish to escape a confrontation regarding his life's work. Once he had completed his last defence of German geopolitics in which he claimed that his teachings had been misunderstood, and once he had discovered that Hess's counsel did not require him as a defence witness at the Nuremberg war trials he felt freed from all obligations. He told Heinz `You no longer need me' and again and again emphasised the right of the stoic to put an end to his life, once he had fulfilled all his duties.

Throughout his life Karl Haushofer had been an admirer of the ancient Greek stoics and on 11 March 1946 he carried his admiration to its logical conclusion. On that Monday Karl and Martha Haushofer set out for their last walk through the woods. They stopped about half a mile from their house in a hollow by the stream under a willow tree. There they took poison. Martha was also hanged from the tree; the General was not strong enough to follow suit as the poison took effect.