Hitler’s last 24 hours: From Party to Despair - History Key

Hitler’s last 24 hours: From Party to Despair

There are many stories related to Hitler. And one of them is related to his last day. Some say that he escaped the Berlin bunker and eventually reached South America, where he lived like a tourist, others that he was captured and only after executed and so on.

We tend to believe the official version, the one relating to his death to the Berlin bunker. He wasn’t a superhuman, he did not teleport to a sunny Copacabana beach. He remained until the last moments in Berlin, in the famous bunker that became his (and not only his) tomb.

Many hypotheses have been released about what happened after Hitler’s death, some saying that his body was incinerated in the ruins near the bunker, in a shell hole. But not much information is related to what happened in the last hours of the bunker’s occupants. Hitler knew that the end was near, and so did the ones who shared the bunker with him. The Soviet troops entered Berlin. There was no turning back.

Rear entrance to the Führerbunker in the garden of the Reich Chancellery, image taken in 1947
Rear entrance to the Führerbunker in the garden of the Reich Chancellery, 1947 © wikipedia.org

Adolf Hitler committed suicide together with his wife Eva Braun on April 30, 1945. But what happened only a few hours before their death? What was the situation in the bunker, among the ones trapped there?

Let’s unlock the details of the last 24h hours spent in the bunker by the Nazi elite.

Hitler and others staff members were living in the bunker since January 1945, the bunker being located under the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. If until then it looked like they could have resisted in the bunker and in the other defensive facilities, during April 1945 the situation was tragic. The Russian tanks were at about 500m from the Reich Chancellery, so it was very clear that nothing more could have been done.

April 29, 1945, Sunday

Hitler starts the day with a few drops of cocaine in his right eye. His assistant Heinz Linge dresses him as he usually did for the last 9 years. At that time, Hitler had several health issues, including Parkinson’s and heart problems. He used to take about 28 different medicines on a daily basis, including amphetamine injections.

9:00 am

Hitler marries Eva Braun. A few moments later, he plays with one of his favorite dogs, Wulf. The communications were shouted down after the incoming Russian fire destroyed the radiotelephone lines.

2:00 pm

Hitler has lunch with his wife Eva Braun and his two secretaries. Usually, he had lunch with other officers, but since the Battle of Stalingrad, he wanted to eat only with the secretaries, because they would not tell him about the tragic situation of the Eastern Front.

Hitler and Eva Braun
Hitler and Eva Braun © TheTelegraph.com

For the first time, Hitler starts a direct discussion related to their death. A difficult subject for his staff, not knowing exactly how to cope with this kind of subject. Hitler states that  “I’ll never fall into the enemy’s hands, dead or alive”, and gives clear dispositions related to the incineration of his body and Eva Braun’s.

Hitler states the best method to commit suicide:

“The best way is to shoot yourself in the mouth. Your skull is shattered and you don’t notice anything. Death is instantaneous.” Adolf Hitler

While Eva Braun was more likely worried about the pain and how she will look after death:

“I want to be a beautiful corpse. I’m going to take poison. I wonder if it hurts very much. I’m so frightened of suffering for a long time. I’m ready to die heroically, but at least I want it to be painless.” Eva Braun

Last known picture of Hitler, looking at Berlin's ruins from the Reich Chancellery
Last known picture of Hitler, looking at Berlin’s ruins from the Reich Chancellery © onedio.com

3:00 pm

The handler of Hitler’s dogs kills them all. He gave to Blondi, Hitler’s favorite dog, a cyanide capsule, also because Hitler wanted to see how fast the poison will work. Wulf and the other puppies were shot and buried together with Blondi, their mother, in the Chancellery garden.

April 30, 1945, Monday

Hitler states again that he does not want to be captured and be part of a public spectacle. He confirms that he will take his own life.

2:00 am

The bunker’s corridors were crowded: Hitler’s Youth members, guards, secretaries and valets, doctors, all of them stationed there, in order to shake the Fuhrer’s hand for the last time. Hitler shakes the hand of each one of them, thanking them for their service and loyalty.

3:00 am

A big party fulfilled with alcohol started in the upper section of the bunker; Eva Hitler was among them. Hitler decided to use both the cyanide capsule and the pistol, in order to shot himself in the same time he would bite the capsule; Eva refused to use the pistol and chose only the cyanide.

The Russians were so close, that the smell from their food, cooked in a nearby field kitchen, could be smelled in the Chancellery and bunker.

Soviet soldiers looking at the spot where Hitler and Eva were incinerated
Soviet soldiers looking at the spot where Hitler and Eva were incinerated © BBC.com

4:30 am

Hitler is informed that their position will continue to resist for no more than 20h, the Russian soldiers were at 300m from the Chancellery.

6:30 am

Hitler’s valet found him fully dressed in uniform and black trousers, he receives a last message from the switchboard room: “The Russians are in immediate proximity”.

7.00 am

Eva Braun wants to “see the sun once more”, she went to the steps of the Chancellery and after seeing that the garden was destroyed by the artillery shelling, returns to her bedroom. Hitler had the intention to do the same, but once he reached the top stairs, he turns around and gets back into the bunker.

The sofa where Hitler committed suicide; a bloodstain could be seen
The sofa where Hitler committed suicide; a bloodstain could be seen © BusinessInsider.com

Shortly after, both Hitler and Eva were dead, leaving behind many unanswered questions, and a Europe in ruins.

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