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“What would be the best way to commit suicide, bullet or cyanide”: Adolf Hitler asked his physician before killing himself in ignominy 75 years ago today

The Battle of Berlin which began on April 16, 1945, and lasted until May 2, 1945, resulted in the surrender of the German army and an end to the rule of Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler, the Nazi dictator, took his own life on April 30, 1945, dying in ignominy in his underground Führerbunker at the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. Today, on the 75th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s suicide, here are some facts surrounding the Nazi leader’s final hours.

In April 1945, while allied forces defeated German-led axis forces everywhere and marched towards Berlin to capture Hitler, the Nazi dictator went underground in a bunker built fifty-five feet under the chancellery (Hitler’s headquarters as chancellor), hoping of the emergence of the Nazis and future supremacy of the Aryan race. While going into isolation Hitler advised his girlfriend Eva Brown to leave the city but Eva did not listen to him and decided to stay on with him until the last moment.

Adolf Hitler celebrated his last birthday days before ending his life

Days before committing suicide on April 20, 1945, Hitler tottered out of his command bunker under Berlin’s old Reich chancellery into the chancellery garden to celebrate his 56th birthday with a small group of his soldiers and comrades. That was the Nazi dictators last birthday before he died on April 30, 1945. He had awarded iron crosses to a detachment of Hitler youth who had knocked out Soviet Union’s Red Army on Berlin eastern approaches.

Adolf Hitler began to openly talk about his end

“I personally will not fight. There will always be a danger that I will only get injured and fall into the hands of the people of Russia. I do not want my enemies to humiliate my body. I have ordered that I be cremated. Brown has decided to put an end to life with me….”, said Hiltler, hinting that his wife, Eva Braun would also end her life with him.

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The Battle of Berlin which began on April 16, 1945, and lasted until May 2, 1945, resulted in the surrender of the German army and an end to Adolf Hitler’s rule.

On April 28, 1945, Hitler’s Italian ally, Benito Mussolini, was dead after being shot by an Italian partisan. With the Western Allies days away from retaking Europe, Poland in the hands of the advancing Red Army and Berlin under relentless siege, Hitler was forced to concede.

Suicide: Cyanide or Bullet?

After intense discussion with his personal physician. Hitler shot himself through his right temple, biting down on a cyanide capsule. He did so to ensure there would be no question of his survival. His wife, Eva Braun, whom he had married a day earlier, followed suit.

Since Hitler was unsure if the cyanide capsules would work, he first fed one to his favourite dog, Blondi. When the dog handler Feldwebel Fritz Tornow confirmed that the dog died within few seconds of consuming the cyanide capsule, he ordered that Blondi’s puppies should be shot before his death and be buried outside. Only after that did he shoot himself with his service pistol.

The room where Hitler killed himself in the bunker

It is believed that Hitler was preparing for his death since April 25, 1945. On that day, he beckoned his personal bodyguard, Heinz Linge and explained to him in length, how he wanted his body to be burnt and disposed of after he died. He instructed that after he shot himself, his dead body should be carried to the chancellery garden and set on fire so that after death no one can see it nor recognize it.

As per instructions, the bodies of Hitler and Braun were carried outside the bunker to the garden, where they were doused with petrol and set on fire amid Red Army shelling.

Hitler wanted all his personal belongings to be destroyed as soon as he shot himself. His uniform, papers and everything that he had used, should be set on fire simultaneously, wished the Nazi dictator.

Adolf Hitler in his last days

However, big a tyrant he might have been, multiple reports suggest that Hitler’s behaviour in the last days was like a completely defeated and dejected man. His body was tired and rickety and his clothes were dirty. Describing the condition of Hitler’s last days, Robert Penn, who wrote the famous book ‘The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler’, wrote: “By then Hitler’s face was swollen and had numerous wrinkles. It was like his life was flashing before his eyes. Sometimes his right hand would tremble badly and he used to hold it with his left hand to stop that tremor. “

Robert Penn wrote that Hitler tucked his head between his shoulders like an old vulture and that his tricks began to falter. It is written in the book – “It was probably due to damage to a fine membrane of his ear in a bomb blast. He would walk away and stop and grab the corner of a table. Within six months, he had become ten years old.”

Adolf Hitler married his 14-years mistress, Eva Braun a day before committing suicide

For 14 years, Hitler refused to marry his mistress Eva Braun, fearing it would alienate his female fans. Hitler had decided in his last days in the bunker that he would give legitimacy to that relationship by marrying Eva Brown. Until the end, Hitler never referred to Braun as his wife, instead, called her Fraulein Braun until their suicide. He also had a number of other, less pleasant, nicknames for her, including Tschapperl which meant idiot, bumpkin or wench.

Adolf Hitler with wife Eva Braun

Robert Penn had written in this book how witnesses and necessary people were brought to the bunker for marriage. Sipping champagne after the marriage, Hitler got emotional talking about the old days, and said – “Everything is over, everyone cheated on me.”

Adolf Hitler’s last day

At one o’clock in the afternoon of April 30, 1945, Eva and Hitler went to the bunker. After some time, the people standing outside heard the sound of the bullet, the guard standing at the door smelled of burnt ammo. They realized that along with a bullet cyanide was also used.

When those people went inside, the bodies of the bride and groom were lying there. Hitler shot himself and Eva killed herself by consuming a cyanide capsule. This brought an end to the twentieth-century love story, whose hero was a cruel dictator.

After this, the bodies of Hitler and Eva were taken by the rest of the people in the bunker to the chancellery garden, as Hitler had instructed. They tried to first immolate the bodies by burning it by pouring petrol but the first attempt failed. Since the Soviet soldiers were moving rapidly towards them, Hitler’s soldiers dragged his body into a pit made of bombs, where it was eventually burned.

Hitler’s death was announced the next day by radio. When Stalin came to know about Hitler’s suicide, he first wanted to confirm this. Ian Kershaw, who wrote a biography of Hitler, writes: “As soon as the bodies were set on fire, all the people there raised their hands and called ‘Hell Hitler’ and returned to their bunker.”

Ian further wrote in this biography: “When the flames subsided, more petrol was poured on them. The flames kept rising for two and a half hours. A few days later, when Soviet investigators took out the remains of Hitler and his wife Eva, everything was finished. A dental bridge was found there in the pit. A man working on Hitler’s dental bridge since 1938 confirmed that it belonged to Hitler.”

French scientists analyzed fragments of Adolf Hitler’s teeth to prove that he died in 1945, after taking cyanide and shooting himself in the head. The research, published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine in May 2018, seeks to end conspiracy theories about Adolf Hitler’s death through scientific analysis of the dictator’s teeth and skull. There were many conspiracy theories claiming that the death of Hitler was a made-up story and he had escaped to some other countries and lived until his old age. The most popular rumour is that he had escaped to Argentina, although historians have dismissed those theories.

Although it is unlikely that Hitler had escaped to Argentina, several Nazi and other fascist officials who had survived the war did go to South America after the war and had escaped the Nuremberg trial. Argentina was most favoured location for such escapees as its government was sympathetic towards Nazis and had started a mechanism of issuing passport and visa to such persons.

After the death of Hitler, Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945. There was no condition from Germany for this. With this, the daunting chapter of the tyrant who mercilessly massacred the Jews came to an end.

World War II and the enormous catastrophe it brought upon mankind occurred “probably mainly” because of anti-Semitism, according to Israel’s preeminent Holocaust scholar. Indeed, Adolf Hitler launched the war to a large extent to prevent “world Jewry” from physically annihilating the German nation, Yehuda Bauer said.

Hitler wrote a secret memorandum to Hermann Goering in August 1936, in which he spoke about the need for Germany to be ready for war within four years. Otherwise, Hitler argued, Jewish Bolshevism will “replace” the German nation. “For a victory of Bolshevism over Germany would not lead to a Versailles Treaty but to the final destruction, indeed to the annihilation, of the German people,” Hitler wrote.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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