Adolf Hitler mismanaged World War II and destroyed Germany. As the Third Reich collapsed, he moved into a Berlin bunker to contemplate the end. The fuehrer lived his final three months underground as Soviet bombs exploded around the capital. As the Soviets moved closer to the bunker’s location, and the possibility of a miracle subsided, Hitler decided to commit suicide rather than be taken prisoner.
As the Nazis lost the Battle of the Bulge, Adolf Hitler moved to an underground bunker in Berlin. The Allies invaded Germany from the east and west. Hitler hoped for a miracle, but became increasingly disinterested in the war. As the end became apparent, the dictator blamed the German people for the defeat. He did not seem capable of recognizing or accepting his role in the debacle.
The situation grew dimmer as the months passed. The Nazis hoped Franklin Roosevelt’s April 12 death represented a portend and turning point. This belief lasted until Russian shells landed in Berlin. Ten days after FDR’s demise, Hitler began planning his own death. He acquired cyanide capsules and waited for the moment.
As Hitler prepared for death, Hermann Goring believed the Fuehrer incapable of leading the government any longer. In his view, Hitler’s refusal to leave Berlin was suicidal and therefore represented abdication. On April 23, he cabled his Fuehrer requesting clarification. Goring wanted to assume power, but needed Hitler’s approval. Martin Bormann intercepted the telegram and portrayed it as a coup. An irate Hitler expelled Goring from the Nazi Party and government and ordered his execution for treason. Hermann Goring survived to surrender to the allies.
Five days after Goring’s apparent betrayal, Hitler learned of SS chief Henrich Himmler’s attempts to negotiate an end of the war. By this point, Hitler’s paranoia reached epic levels. He considered Himmler’s actions treasonous. Around the same time, word reached the bunker of Mussolini’s grisly death. These events combined with the final realization that the Wehrmacht lacked the ability to rescue Berlin, led Hitler to the realization that the war was over. Hitler worried the SS supplied cyanide tablets would not work. He fed some capsules to his dog and her puppies. Hitler killed the only living being on earth that he ever showed affection for.
Since Hitler knew the end was near, he prepared for his final performance. On April 29, he agreed to marry his mistress Eva Braun. Up to this point, the Fuehrer believed he needed to remain single to represent his commitment to Germany. His acquiescence to marriage indicated his acknowledgement of the end. After a brief ceremony, Hitler recited his last will and political testament. Instead of revealing some insight into the dictator’s mind and motivations, he attacked his enemies and the Jews. After signing the document at 4 a.m., he retired for the evening.
The following afternoon, Hitler met his destiny. Around 2:30 p.m. on April 30, 1945, the Hitlers entered the dictator’s study. About an hour later, witnesses reported a gunshot. They entered the room and found the couple dead. Eva Hitler died of cyanide poisoning. Adolf Hitler shot himself in the temple and apparently chewed a cyanide capsule as well. His followers took the remains to a garden just outside the bunker and cremated them. The Soviets later recovered the partially cremated bodies.
Adolf Hitler did not wish to become a Soviet prize nor did he want to be strung up and displayed like Mussolini. Instead, he waited until the last possible moment and then committed suicide rather than meet a grisly fate. The evening before his suicide, he agreed to marry his longtime mistress Eva Braun. Their wedding cemented the gravity of history upon Hitler and death followed shortly thereafter.