A member of the same Freikorps as GOERING and HESS in 1918, Bormann was one of the first recruits to the infant Nazi Party and rose to become its Reichsleiter (national organizer). After the defection of Hess to Britain in May 1941 he succeeded him as Head of the Party Chancery and in April 1943 was named Secretary to the Fuhrer, in which capacity he turned himself into the watchdog at the Fuhrer’s door allowing entry only to those whom he wished the Fuhrer to see. Functionaries as powerful as Goering were later to complain that it became virtually impossible to speak to HITLER without Bormann’s assent, particularly if he suspected that they had news or opinions to voice which he did not wish Hitler to hear. At the same time he had policies of his own to put forward. His strategic and diplomatic viewpoint was as intransigent as his master’s, and he is believed to have been the moving spirit behind some of the Fuhrer’s most mistaken decisions. At the very end of the war, however, he adopted a foreign policy of his own which he kept secret from Hitler, of seeking accommodation with the Soviets. This change of line is not so surprising if it is recognized that Bormann and the apparatchiks of the Kremlin had much in common. The policy nevertheless failed to come to fruition, but was kept secret from Hitler at whose side Bormann remained to the end. He made his escape from the Fuhrerbunker on 1 May 1945 but was reported to have been killed in the streets outside. His body was never found, and reports still reach the newspapers that he is alive and well in South America.