Death of Adolf Hitler

Death of Adolf Hitler

Overview
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

committed suicide by gunshot on Monday, 30 April 1945 in his Führerbunker
Führerbunker
The Führerbunker was located beneath Hitler's New Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex which was constructed in two major phases, one part in 1936 and the other in 1943...

 in Berlin. His wife Eva
Eva Braun
Eva Anna Paula Hitler was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours, his wife. Braun met Hitler in Munich, when she was 17 years old, while working as an assistant and model for his personal photographer and began seeing him often about two years later...

 (née Braun), committed suicide with him by ingesting cyanide
Cyanide
A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic....

. That afternoon, in accordance with Hitler's prior instructions, their remains were carried up the stairs through the bunker's emergency exit, doused in petrol and set alight in the Reich Chancellery garden outside the bunker. The Soviet archives record that their burnt remains were recovered and interred in successive locations until 1970 when they were again exhumed, cremated and the ashes scattered.

There have been different accounts citing the cause of his death; one that he died by poison only and another that he died by a self-inflicted gunshot, while biting down on a cyanide capsule.
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Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

committed suicide by gunshot on Monday, 30 April 1945 in his Führerbunker
Führerbunker
The Führerbunker was located beneath Hitler's New Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex which was constructed in two major phases, one part in 1936 and the other in 1943...

 in Berlin. His wife Eva
Eva Braun
Eva Anna Paula Hitler was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours, his wife. Braun met Hitler in Munich, when she was 17 years old, while working as an assistant and model for his personal photographer and began seeing him often about two years later...

 (née Braun), committed suicide with him by ingesting cyanide
Cyanide
A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic....

. That afternoon, in accordance with Hitler's prior instructions, their remains were carried up the stairs through the bunker's emergency exit, doused in petrol and set alight in the Reich Chancellery garden outside the bunker. The Soviet archives record that their burnt remains were recovered and interred in successive locations until 1970 when they were again exhumed, cremated and the ashes scattered.

There have been different accounts citing the cause of his death; one that he died by poison only and another that he died by a self-inflicted gunshot, while biting down on a cyanide capsule. Contemporary historians have rejected these accounts as being either Soviet propaganda or an attempted compromise in order to reconcile the different conclusions. There was also an eye-witness account that recorded the body showing signs of having been shot through the mouth but this has been proven unlikely. There is also controversy regarding the authenticity of skull and jaw fragments which were recovered. Further, the exact location of where Hitler's ashes were scattered also differs, depending on the historical source consulted.

Preceding events


By early 1945, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 had fallen to the advancing Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 forces and they were massing to cross the Oder River between Küstrin
Küstrin
Before 1945 Küstrin was a town in the former Prussian province of Brandenburg in Germany, situated on both sides of the Oder river...

 and Frankfurt
Frankfurt (Oder)
Frankfurt is a town in Brandenburg, Germany, located on the Oder River, on the German-Polish border directly opposite the town of Słubice which was a part of Frankfurt until 1945. At the end of the 1980s it reached a population peak with more than 87,000 inhabitants...

 with Berlin, 82 kilometres (51 mi) to the west as their objective. To the west, Hitler had watched the defeats to the Allies in Ardennes Offensive
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive , launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, hence its French name , and France and...

 from his command post at Adlerhorst
Adlerhorst
Adlerhorst was a World War II bunker complex in Germany, located within Kransberg Castle , Wetterau in the Taunus mountains in the province of Hesse...

, with the British and Canadian forces in the north crossing the Rhine into the German industrial heartland of the Ruhr
Ruhr
The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

. The American forces in the south had captured the Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

 and were advancing towards Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

 and the Rhine. In Italy, German forces were withdrawing north, as they were relentlessly pressed by the American and British (Commonwealth) forces as part of the Spring Offensive
Spring 1945 offensive in Italy
The Spring 1945 offensive in Italy, codenamed Operation Grapeshot, was the Allied attack by Fifth United States Army and British 8th Army into the Lombardy Plain which started on 6 April 1945 and ended on 2 May with the surrender of German forces in Italy....

 to advance across the River Po and into the foothills of the Italian / Austrian Alps. In parallel to the military actions, the Allies had met at Yalta
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 between 4–11 February to discuss the conclusion of the war in Europe.

Hitler had retreated to his Führerbunker
Führerbunker
The Führerbunker was located beneath Hitler's New Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex which was constructed in two major phases, one part in 1936 and the other in 1943...

in Berlin on 16 January 1945 and by the end of February, was presiding over a rapidly disintegrating Third Reich. To the Nazi leadership, it was clear that the battle for Berlin
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

 would be the final battle of the war. By 1 April, American forces were already on the Elbe River and Stalin, distrustful of the agreements reached at Yalta, told Eisenhower that he had "lost interest in Berlin" and would commence the offensive in May 1945. However, he was adamant to conquer Berlin by International Workers' Day
May Day
May Day on May 1 is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday; it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures....

 (1 May 1945), and had authorised his forces on 16 April to commence the battle for the Seelow Heights
Battle of the Seelow Heights
The Battle of the Seelow Heights , was a part of the Seelow-Berlin Offensive Operation ; one of the last assaults on large entrenched defensive positions of World War II. It was fought over three days, from 16–19 April 1945...

, the last major defensive line outside Berlin. By 19 April, the Germans were in full retreat from Seelow Heights and by the evening of 21 April the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 had entered the outskirts of Berlin.
The first Soviet artillery shells had started falling on Berlin the previous evening. At the afternoon situation conference in the bunker on 22 April, Hitler suffered a total nervous collapse when he was informed that the instructions he had issued the previous day for SS-General Felix Steiner
Felix Steiner
Felix Martin Julius Steiner was a German Reichswehr and Waffen-SS officer who served in both World War I and World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

's Army Detachment Steiner
Army Detachment Steiner
Army Detachment Steiner , was a temporary military unit, something more than a corps but less than an army, created on paper by German dictator Adolf Hitler on 21 April 1945 during the Battle of Berlin, and placed under the command of SS Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner...

 to move to the rescue of Berlin had not materialised. Hitler openly declared for the first time the war was lost and blamed the generals. Hitler announced he would stay in Berlin until the end and then shoot himself. Later that day he asked SS physician, Dr. Werner Haase
Werner Haase
Werner Haase was an SS Obersturmbannführer , professor of medicine and one of Adolf Hitler's personal physicians.-Biography:...

 about the most reliable method of suicide and Haase suggested the "pistol-and-poison method" of combining a dose of cyanide
Cyanide
A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic....

 with a gunshot to the head.

By 25 April the Red Army encirclement of Berlin was complete and secure radio communications with defending units had been lost; the command staff in the bunker were depending on telephone lines for passing instructions and orders and on public radio for news and information. On 28 April, a BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 report originating from Reuters
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

 was picked up with a copy of the message being given to Bormann and another to Linge for Hitler. It reported that Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 had offered surrender to the western Allies and that the offer had been declined. In the offer, Himmler had implied that he had the authority to implement and support such a surrender; Hitler considered this treason. During the afternoon his anger and bitterness escalated into a rage against Himmler. Hitler ordered Himmler's arrest and had Hermann Fegelein
Hermann Fegelein
SS-Obergruppenführer Hans Georg Otto Hermann Fegelein was a General of the Waffen-SS in Nazi Germany, a member of Adolf Hitler's entourage, brother-in-law to Eva Braun through his marriage to her sister, Gretl, and husband of the sister-in-law to Adolf Hitler through Hitler's marriage to Eva...

 (Himmler's SS representative at Hitler's HQ in Berlin) shot.

After midnight on 29 April, Hitler married Eva Braun
Eva Braun
Eva Anna Paula Hitler was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours, his wife. Braun met Hitler in Munich, when she was 17 years old, while working as an assistant and model for his personal photographer and began seeing him often about two years later...

 in a small civil ceremony in a map room within the Führerbunker. Antony Beevor
Antony Beevor
Antony James Beevor, FRSL is a British historian, educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst. He studied under the famous military historian John Keegan. Beevor is a former officer with the 11th Hussars who served in England and Germany for five years before resigning his commission...

 stated that afterwards Hitler hosted a modest wedding breakfast with his new wife, Hitler then took secretary Traudl Junge
Traudl Junge
Traudl Junge was Adolf Hitler's youngest personal private secretary, from December 1942 to April 1945.-Early life:...

 to another room and dictated his last will and testament
Last will and testament of Adolf Hitler
The last will and testament of Adolf Hitler was dictated by Hitler to his secretary Traudl Junge in his Berlin Führerbunker on April 29, 1945, the day he and Eva Braun married. They committed suicide the next day , two days before the surrender of Berlin to the Soviets on May 2, and just over a...

. He signed these documents at 04:00 and then retired to bed (some sources say Hitler dictated the last will and testament immediately before the wedding, but all sources agree on the timing of the signing).

During the course of 29 April, Hitler learned of the death of his ally Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 who had been executed by Italian partisans. Mussolini's body and that of his mistress Clara Petacci
Clara Petacci
Clara Petacci was an upper class Roman whose father had been the personal physician to the Pope. She became the mistress of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who was twenty-eight years her senior...

 had been strung up by their heels and later cut down and lay in the gutter where vengeful Italians reviled them. It is probable that these events strengthened Hitler's resolve not to allow himself or his wife to be made "a spectacle of" as he had earlier recorded in his Testament. That afternoon, Hitler expressed doubts about the cyanide capsules he had received through Himmler's SS. To verify the capsules' potency, Hitler ordered Dr. Werner Haase
Werner Haase
Werner Haase was an SS Obersturmbannführer , professor of medicine and one of Adolf Hitler's personal physicians.-Biography:...

 to test one on his dog Blondi
Blondi
Blondi was Adolf Hitler's German Shepherd dog, given to him as a gift in 1941 by Martin Bormann. Blondi stayed with Hitler even after his move into the Führerbunker located underneath the garden of the Reich Chancellery on January 16, 1945...

, and the animal died as a result. That evening, at the final battle conference in the Führerbunker, General Weidling painted a stark picture of the German situation and declared that the fighting in Berlin would inevitably come to an end within the next twenty-four hours. Hitler, "looking like a man completely resigned to his fate" conceded to the breakout of troops in small groups but forbade the surrender of the city. By 01:00 General Keitel reported that all forces which Hitler had been depending on to come to the rescue of Berlin had either been encircled or forced onto the defensive.

Suicide


Hitler and Braun lived together as husband and wife in the bunker for fewer than 40 hours. Late in the morning of 30 April, with the Soviets less than 500 metres from the bunker, Hitler had a meeting with General Helmuth Weidling
Helmuth Weidling
Helmuth Otto Ludwig Weidling was an officer in the German Army before and during World War II...

, commander of the Berlin Defence Area, who informed Hitler that the Berlin garrison would probably run out of ammunition that night. Weidling asked Hitler for permission to break out, a request he had made unsuccessfully before. Hitler did not answer at first, and Weidling went back to his headquarters in the Bendlerblock
Bendlerblock
The Bendlerblock is a building in Berlin, located on the Stauffenbergstraße , south of the Tiergarten. The building was erected between 1911 and 1914 for the Imperial German Navy Offices. During the Weimar Republic it served as the seat of the Reichswehr command and the Ministry of Defence...

, where at about 13:00 he got Hitler's permission to try a breakout that night. Hitler, two secretaries, and his personal cook then had lunch after which Hitler and Eva Braun said their personal farewells to members of the Führerbunker staff and fellow occupants, including the Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 family, Martin Bormann
Martin Bormann
Martin Ludwig Bormann was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler...

, the secretaries, and several military officers. At around 14:30 Adolf and Eva Hitler went into Hitler's personal study.


Several witnesses later reported hearing a loud gunshot at around 15:30. After waiting a few minutes, Hitler's valet, Heinz Linge
Heinz Linge
Heinz Linge was an SS officer who served as a valet for German dictator Adolf Hitler.- Early life :Linge was born in Bremen, Germany. Before joining the SS in 1933 he was employed as a bricklayer and was selected by Sepp Dietrich to be one of 117 original bodyguards for Adolf Hitler...

, with Bormann at his side, opened the door to the small study. Linge later stated he immediately noted a scent of burnt almonds, a common observation made in the presence of prussic acid, the aqueous form of hydrogen cyanide. Hitler's SS adjutant, Sturmbannführer
Sturmbannführer
Sturmbannführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party equivalent to major, used both in the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel...

 Otto Günsche
Otto Günsche
Otto Günsche was a Sturmbannführer in the Waffen-SS and a member of 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler before he became Adolf Hitler's personal adjutant. He was captured by soldiers of the Red Army on 2 May 1945...

, entered the study and found the lifeless bodies seated on a small sofa. Eva, with her legs drawn up together, was to Hitler's left and slumped away from him. Günsche stated that Hitler "...sat...sunken over, with blood dripping out of his right temple. He had shot himself with his own pistol, a PPK 7.65". The Walther PPK 7.65 mm pistol lay at his feet. According to Oberscharführer
Oberscharführer
Oberscharführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that existed between the years of 1932 and 1945. Translated as “Senior Squad Leader”, Oberscharführer was first used as a rank of the Sturmabteilung and was created due to an expansion of the enlisted positions required by growing SA membership...

 Rochus Misch
Rochus Misch
Rochus Misch is a former Oberscharführer in the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler during World War II. He served as a courier, bodyguard and telephone operator for German leader Adolf Hitler from 1940 to 1945...

, however, Hitler's head was lying on the table in front of him. Blood dripping from Hitler's right temple and chin had made a large stain on the right arm of the sofa and was pooling on the floor/carpet. Eva's body had no visible physical wounds and according to Linge, her face showed how she had died; cyanide poisoning. Günsche and Mohnke also stated "unequivocally" that all outsiders and those performing duties and work in the bunker "did not have any access" to Hitler's private living quarters during the "decisive" time of death between 15:00 and 16:00.

Günsche exited the study and announced that the Führer was dead. The two bodies were carried up the stairs to ground level and through the bunker's emergency exit to the bombed-out garden behind the Reich Chancellery
Reich Chancellery
The Reich Chancellery was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945...

 where they were doused with petrol. After the first attempts to ignite the petrol did not work, Linge went back inside the bunker and then returned with a thick roll of papers. Bormann lit the papers and threw the torch onto the bodies. As the two corpses caught fire, a small group, including Bormann, Günsche, Linge, Goebbels, Peter Högl
Peter Högl
Peter Högl was a German officer holding the rank of SS-Obersturmbannführer who spent time in the Führerbunker in Berlin at the end of World War II.-Early life and career:...

, Ewald Lindloff
Ewald Lindloff
Ewald Lindloff was a Waffen-SS officer, who rose to the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer during World War II. He was killed during the break-out on 2 May 1945 while crossing the Weidendammer Bridge under heavy fire in Berlin....

 and Hans Reisser raised their arms in salute as they stood just inside the bunker doorway. On and off during the afternoon the Soviets shelled the area in and around the Reich Chancellery. SS guards brought over additional cans of petrol to further burn the corpses. Linge later noted the fire did not completely destroy the remains as the corpses were being burned in the open where the distribution of heat varies. The burning of the corpses lasted from 16:00 to 18:30. The remains were covered up in a shallow bomb crater at around 18:30 by Lindloff and Reisser.

Aftermath


The first inkling to the outside world that Hitler was actually dead came from the Germans themselves. On 1 May, the Reichssender Hamburg, a part of the once powerful Deutschlandsender
Deutschlandsender
Deutschlandsender is one of the longest-established radio station names in German. It was used between 1926 and the end of 1993 to denote a number of powerful stations designed to achieve all-Germany coverage .-1926—1945:The first Deutschlandsender, broadcasting from a powerful transmitter...

 which had earlier sent transmissions across all of Germany, and indeed most of occupied Europe, now relegated to small pockets, interrupted their normal program to announce that an important broadcast would soon be made. There followed an announcement by Großadmiral Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz was a German naval commander during World War II. He started his career in the German Navy during World War I. In 1918, while he was in command of , the submarine was sunk by British forces and Dönitz was taken prisoner...

, appointed as Hitler's successor in Hitler's will
Last will and testament of Adolf Hitler
The last will and testament of Adolf Hitler was dictated by Hitler to his secretary Traudl Junge in his Berlin Führerbunker on April 29, 1945, the day he and Eva Braun married. They committed suicide the next day , two days before the surrender of Berlin to the Soviets on May 2, and just over a...

, in which Dönitz called upon the German people to mourn their Führer who died the death of a hero in the capital of the Reich. Dönitz also stated that his only aim for continuing the war was to save Germany from destruction by the advancing Bolshevist enemy. He added that as far and for so long as achievement of that aim was impeded by the British and the Americans, he would be forced to carry on Germany's defensive fight against them, as well. In the end, the tactics of Dönitz were somewhat successful by the fact it enabled about 1.8 million German soldiers to avoid Soviet capture. However, it came at a high cost in bloodshed.

On the morning of 1 May, thirteen hours after the event, Stalin received the news that Hitler had shot himself on 30 April. This along with the other information which General Krebs had told to Soviet General Vasily Chuikov
Vasily Chuikov
Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov was a Russian lieutenant general in the Red Army during World War II, twice Hero of the Soviet Union , who after the war became a Marshal of the Soviet Union.-Early life and career:Born into a peasant family in the village of Serebryanye Prudy, he joined the Red Army during...

, when they had met at 04:00 on 1 May in the attempt by the Germans to obtain acceptable surrender terms. Stalin, first demanded unconditional surrender and second wanted confirmation that Hitler was dead. Stalin wanted Hitler's corpse found. In the early morning hours of 2 May, the Soviets captured the Reich Chancellery. Down in the Führerbunker, General Krebs and General Burgdorf committed suicide by gunshot to the head.

Later on 2 May, the remains of Hitler, Braun, and two dogs (thought to be Blondi
Blondi
Blondi was Adolf Hitler's German Shepherd dog, given to him as a gift in 1941 by Martin Bormann. Blondi stayed with Hitler even after his move into the Führerbunker located underneath the garden of the Reich Chancellery on January 16, 1945...

 and her offspring Wulf) were discovered in a shell crater by a unit of SMERSH
SMERSH
SMERSH was the counter-intelligence agency in the Red Army formed in late 1942 or even earlier, but officially founded on April 14, 1943. The name SMERSH was coined by Joseph Stalin...

 which had orders to find Hitler's body. The autopsy recorded both gunshot damage to Hitler's skull and glass shards in his jaw. Stalin was still wary about believing his old nemesis was dead, and restricted the information that was publicly released. The remains of Hitler and Braun were repeatedly buried and exhumed by SMERSH during the unit's relocation from Berlin to a new facility in Magdeburg
Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

 where they, along with the charred remains of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 and those of his wife Magda Goebbels and their six children, were buried in an unmarked grave beneath a paved section of the front courtyard. The location was kept highly secret.

Different versions of Hitler's fate were presented by the Soviet Union according to its political desires. In the years immediately following 1945, it maintained Hitler was not dead but had fled and was being shielded by former western allies. This worked for a time to cause western authorities some doubt. The chief of the U.S. trial counsel at Nuremberg, Thomas J. Dodd, said: "No one can say he is dead." When President Truman asked Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam conference in August 1945 whether or not Hitler was dead, Stalin replied bluntly, 'No'. However, by 11 May 1945, the Soviets had already had Hitler's dentist Hugo Blaschke
Hugo Blaschke
Dr Hugo Johannes Blaschke was a German dental surgeon notable for being Adolf Hitler’s personal dentist from 1933 to April 1945 and for being the chief dentist on the staff of Heinrich Himmler with the rank of SS Brigadeführer.Blaschke was born in Neustadt and studied dentistry in Berlin and at...

 and his dential technician confirm the dential remains found were Hitler's and Eva Braun's. In November 1945, Dick White then head of counter-intelligence in the British sector of Berlin (and later head of MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 and MI6 in succession) had their agent Hugh Trevor-Roper investigate the matter to counter the Soviet claims. His findings as to Hitler's last days and suicide were written in a report and published in book form in 1947.

In 1969, Soviet journalist Lev Bezymensky's book on the death of Hitler was published in the West. It included the SMERSH autopsy report but because of the earlier disinformation
Disinformation
Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. For this reason, it is synonymous with and sometimes called black propaganda. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth...

 attempts, western historians thought it untrustworthy.

In 1970, the SMERSH facility, by then controlled by the KGB, was scheduled to be handed over to the East German government. Fearing that a known Hitler burial site might become a Neo-Nazi shrine, KGB director Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

 authorised an operation to destroy the remains that had been buried in Magdeburg on 21 February 1946. A Soviet KGB team was given detailed burial charts. On 4 April 1970 they secretly exhumed five wooden boxes containing the remains of "10 or 11 bodies...in an advanced state of decay". The remains were thoroughly burned and crushed, after which the ashes were thrown into the Biederitz river, a tributary of the nearby Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

.

Dramatizations

  • The Death of Adolf Hitler
    The Death of Adolf Hitler
    The Death of Adolf Hitler was a 1973 British television film starring Frank Finlay as Adolf Hitler and Caroline Mortimer as Eva Braun. The film details the last 10 days of Hitler's life as World War II comes to an end and Allied troops are closing in on the Führerbunker. Michael Sheard and Tony...

    is a British 1973 made-for-television production. Set in the Führerbunker, it follows the last ten days of Hitler’s life. Starring Frank Finlay
    Frank Finlay
    Francis Finlay, CBE is an English stage, film and television actor.-Personal life:Finlay was born in Farnworth, Lancashire, the son of Margaret and Josiah Finlay, a butcher. A devout Catholic, he belongs to the British Catholic Stage Guild. He was educated at St...

     in the title role who won a BAFTA award of Best Actor for his performance.
  • Hitler: The Last Ten Days
    Hitler: The Last Ten Days
    Hitler: The Last Ten Days is a 1973 film depicting the days leading up to Adolf Hitler's suicide. It stars Alec Guinness and Simon Ward. The original music score was composed by Mischa Spoliansky...

    is a 1973 feature film directed by Ennio De Concini and starring Sir Alec Guinness
    Alec Guinness
    Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE was an English actor. He was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He later won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai...

     in the title role.
  • The Bunker
    The Bunker (1981 film)
    The Bunker is a 1981 CBS television film, Time/Life production based on the book The Bunker. The movie makes significant deviations from James O'Donnell's book--published in 1978. The deviations are mainly due to an effort to clarify the events, and allowing the actors license to interpret some of...

    was a 1981 made-for-television film directed by George Schaefer and based on the book The Bunker
    The Bunker
    The Bunker is an account, written by American journalist James P. O'Donnell, of the history of the Führerbunker in early 1945, as well as the last days of German dictator Adolf Hitler...

    (1978) by James O'Donnell about the last months of the war and days in the Führerbunker
    Führerbunker
    The Führerbunker was located beneath Hitler's New Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex which was constructed in two major phases, one part in 1936 and the other in 1943...

     from 17 January 1945 to 2 May 1945. Sir Anthony Hopkins
    Anthony Hopkins
    Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, KBE , best known as Anthony Hopkins, is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television...

     won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Hitler.
  • War and Remembrance
    War and Remembrance (mini-series)
    War and Remembrance is an American miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Herman Wouk. It is the sequel to highly successful The Winds of War...

    is a 1989 American TV miniseries. Part 12 (its final part) devotes several minutes to a realistic portrayal of Hitler's final few days except that General Weidling is replaced by a fictitious character ("General Armin von Roon").
  • Der Untergang
    Downfall (film)
    Downfall is a 2004 German/Italian/Austrian epic war film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, depicting the final ten days of Adolf Hitler's life in his Berlin bunker and Nazi Germany in 1945....

    (Downfall) is a 2004 German feature film largely set in and around the Führerbunker. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel
    Oliver Hirschbiegel
    Oliver Hirschbiegel is a German film director. His works include Das Experiment and the Oscar nominated Der Untergang.- Career :...

     reconstructed the look and atmosphere through eyewitness accounts, various survivor memoirs and other verified sources. It also carries an interview with Traudl Junge
    Traudl Junge
    Traudl Junge was Adolf Hitler's youngest personal private secretary, from December 1942 to April 1945.-Early life:...

    .

See also

  • Fiction about the death of Hitler
  • Assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler
    Assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler
    This is an incomplete list of documented, realized attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler.All attempts occurred in the German Reich, except where noted...

  • Führer Headquarters
    Führer Headquarters
    The Führer Headquarters , abbreviated FHQ, is a common name for a number of official headquarters used by the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and various German commanders and officials throughout Europe during World War II...

  • Glossary of Nazi Germany
  • List of Nazi Party leaders and officials
  • List of suicides
  • Mass suicides in 1945 Nazi Germany
    Mass suicides in 1945 Nazi Germany
    Germany was stricken by a series of unprecedented waves of suicides during the final days of the Nazi regime. The reasons for these waves of suicides were numerous and include the effects of Nazi propaganda, the example of the suicide of Adolf Hitler, victims' attachment to the ideals of the Nazi...

  • Nazi occultism
  • Vorbunker
    Vorbunker
    The Vorbunker or "forward bunker" was located behind the large reception hall that was added onto the old Reich Chancellery, in Berlin, Germany. It was meant to be a temporary air-raid shelter for Adolf Hitler, his guards, and servants...


Further reading



Books
  • Fest, Joachim (2004). Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-374-13577-0
  • Gardner, Dave (2001). The Last of the Hitlers, BMM, Worcester, UK, ISBN 0-9541544-0-1
  • Petrova, Ada and Watson, Peter (1995). The Death of Hitler: The Full Story with New Evidence from Secret Russian Archives, W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-03914-5
  • Ryan, Cornelius
    Cornelius Ryan
    Cornelius Ryan, was an Irish journalist and author mainly known for his writings on popular military history, especially his World War II books: The Longest Day: June 6, 1944 D-Day , The Last Battle , and A Bridge Too Far .-Early life:Ryan was born in Dublin and educated at Synge Street CBS,...

     (1966), The Last Battle, Simon and Schuster, New York.
  • Waite, Robert G. L. (1977). The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler, New York: First DaCapo Press Edition, 1993, ISBN 0-306-80514-6.


Articles

First hand accounts: