The Propagander ™ FAQ
Did Adolf Hitler Really Commit Suicide?
Here are the facts, documented from respected printed sources:
April 30, 1945: Hitler sends for Bormann at noon and informs him that the end is near. He then attends one last lunch with his secretaries and his cook, who prepares spaghetti with a light sauce. Eva is not present, but she joins him after the lunch to shake hands and say sad farewells to the staff. Eva embraces Traudl Junge: 'Please try to get out of here,' she pleads. 'You might make it. Give my love to Bavaria.' Hitler and Eva then enter Hitler's private quarters and close the door behind them. SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Otto Guensche takes up his post at the door, with orders that the couple not be disturbed. (Read, Payne)
April 30, 1945: After the Hitler's retire to their room, Traudl Junge suddenly realizes that, in the excitement, no one had thought to feed the Goebbels' children. She rounds them up, leads them to the tiny dining room, and scrounges up some fruit and sandwich ingredients. Junge will later relate that she 'heard the shot' while making sandwiches and for them. Rochus Misch will later tell Oliver Harvey: "I saw Hitler slumped by the table. I did not see any blood on his head. And I saw Eva with her knees drawn up, lying next to him on the sofa. Hitler was wrapped in a blanket as I watched. He was then taken outside to be burnt. It was over."
Note: There is some dispute in the historical record concerning some of the events of this day. One is the contention that a distraught Magda Goebbels had actually burst in on Hitler and Eva in the privacy of their room, making one last tearful plea to Hitler that he allow himself and the rest of them to escape Berlin and make a last stand at Obersalzberg. However, other eyewitnesses have denied that any such scene actually occurred, and it is quite doubtful that it ever did. Another area of dispute is whether or not the shot that killed Hitler was actually heard by any of the Bunker witnesses. Some say they heard the shot, but others will testify that they did not, and that the door was too soundproof to have allowed the sound to escape. There is also some dispute over whether Hitler took cyanide, shot himself, or a combination of both (which seems the most likely method; Hitler was taking no chances that he'd be captured). Definitive answers are difficult when eyewitnesses disagree. (Read)
April 30, 1945 Death: At 3:30 PM, Adolf Hitler and his new wife, Eva Braun, commit suicide in their private quarters under the Chancellery. Their bodies are taken above ground by Hitler's aides, burned with difficulty due to the conditions and the limited supply of gasoline, and buried in a shallow grave formed from a bomb crater. Kempka, Goebbels, Bormann, Krebs, Linge, and Burgdorf give one last Nazi salute to their Fuehrer, before an exploding Soviet shell sends them scurrying back down into the Bunker. (Read)
From Napoleon and Hitler: A Comparative Biography by Desmond Seward:
During the Emperor's flight from Russia in 1812 he speculated as to what the Allies would do if they caught him. 'Can you picture to yourself, Caulaincourt, the figure you would cut in an iron cage, in the main square of London?' He then had a fit of hysteria. Hitler had no illusions. He knew that he would be put on show and then executed ... in the one chivalrous gesture of his entire life, he married Eva Braun. Next day both retired to their bedroom to die. Clutching a photograph of his mother, the Fuehrer shot himself, while Eva took poison. Amid his own ruin in 1814 Napoleon confided in a loyal supporter 'My dear fellow, if the Cossacks reach the gates of Paris it's the end of Emperor and Empire.' As it was, Tsar Alexander's Cossacks stabled their horses in Paris. In 1945 Stalin's Cossacks rode into Berlin. Neither capital need have entertained them had it not been for their rulers' madness. Determined to escape from a war on two fronts, both had been destroyed by such a war.
That is the story. The entire tale of Hitler's Last Days in detail can be found here: The Last Days of the Third Reich
Unfortunately, Hitler's Berlin bunker was captured by the Red Army a few days after his suicide, and the handling of the scene by the Soviets was less than ideal. Stalin ordered Hitler and Eva's remains shipped to Moscow, but publicly he maintained that Hitler was still alive somewhere and under the protection of the Allies. He did this for two reasons:
1) Stalin's nature was to be very suspicious of everything, and he was somewhat concerned that Hitler had pulled one last subterfuge, faking his own death and leaving behind the remains of a body-double burnt beyond recognition.
2) During the early days of the Cold War, he used his accusation that the Allies had a living Hitler under wraps to pull the West's chain for political gain. He delighted in accusing the Allies of keeping Hitler safe in some secret location and plotting to put him at the head of a resurgent Germany.
Press reports in the West assisted Stalin's campaign of uncertainty by printing a number of Hitler Sightings. Unconfirmed but published reports had him spotted in various locals, usually somewhere in South America, and the Hitler-is-alive conspiracy theory was a staple of 1950's tabloid journalism. As with all conspiracy theories, the fact that there was not one shred of evidence for the contention made little difference.
Not willing to take Stalin at his word, MI6 agent Hugh Trevor-Roper was given the task of independently investigating the events of Hitler's demise in late 1946. He did so by interviewing every available eye-witness to the Final Days, and in 1947 published The Last Days of Hitler. The Last Days of Hitler is very well researched and well written and remains the most definitive version of the event.
Decades later a report popularly known as The Hitler Autopsy was released by the Kremlin. Typically, it is unreliable and ill-documented, and not to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, it often is. Other Soviet sources detail the travels and various temporary internments of Hitler's remains, as well as their eventual complete destruction. However, nothing has ever emerged to cast any sustainable doubt on Trevor-Roper's version of the events.
Conclusion: Hitler did, by all believable accounts, commit suicide in tandem with Eva Braun on April 30, 1945. There is no reliable documentation whatsoever that he survived beyond that date. Whether he shot himself in the head, took cyanide, or used both methods simultaneously, cannot be determined with exactitude.
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