He was born in 1900, the son of a minor post-office official. In the First World War he served in the artillery – though he never heard any shots fired in anger. Afterwards he was employed in estate management. He also joined the Freikorps – a voluntary organization with a large proportion of thugs in its ranks, which professed to maintain law and order. In 1933 the ambitious Martin Bormann was appointed Chief-of-Staff to Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. Once Hess had flown to Scotland on his abortive peace mission in 1941, Bormann insinuated himself even more zealously into the Fuhrer’s favour -until he became as near indispensable as anyone could be. By the end of April 1945 the war was nearly over. Most of the leading actors had fled. Did Martin Bormann flee, too?