Seventy five years ago on this day Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler committed suicide as the Third Reich ended and the Soviets took Berlin.
Just a day prior to his suicide, Hitler married Eva Braun, his long time companion in a simple civil ceremony. But what followed next was no hunky dory romance.
As the news of his Italian ally Mussolini’s brutal execution reached Hitler in his private bunker, Hitler readied himself for his end. All important documents were sorted and selectively burnt. Poison testing on his favourite dog Blondi was carried out. He also gave out cyanide capsules to his female secretaries incase if the Soviets stormed into his bunker. Located 55 feet under the chancellery buildings in Berlin, the self sufficient shelter contained 18 rooms with water and electricity supply. Here Hitler used to meet his closed confidant Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler and Jose Goebbels.
Admiral Karl Donitz was appointed as head of state and Goebbels as chancellor as per Hitler’s order.
After their final meal, Hitler and his new wife Eva retired to their private quarters where they poisoned themselves with cyanide. Hitler also shot himself with his service pistol.
Their bodies were carried to Chancellery garden, doused with gasoline and burned. The charred remains were placed into a shell crater and buried.
Location of Hitler’s ashes were continually changed so as to prevent his devotees from creating a memorial at his final resting place.
Hitler was 56 years old at the time of his death.
On May 8 1945, the German forces surrendered unconditionally leaving Germany to be governed by the four Allied powers.
Media all around the world reconfirmed Hitler’s death with multiple sources and reacted to the Dictator’s suicide with bold headlines and cheery delight.
The Time magazine crossed out Hitler cover with a red ‘X’ motif, which was later repeated for Saddam Hussein (2003), Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (2006) and finally for Osama Bin Laden (2011).
(Views expressed are personal to the author)