30th Apr2013

Today in History – Hitler commits suicide

by Ken Clarke

On this day in 1945 Germany and Nazi  leader Adolph Hitler, hiding in his underground bunker committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule then shooting himself in the head.

In 1943 it became clear Germany and Hitler’s dream of ruling the world was coming to an end as his 6th army was annihilated in the Battle of Stalingrad in Russia killing their hope for a battle on both fronts. Then in June 1944 the allied armies landed in Normandy, France and began pushing the German’s back towards Berlin. The next month knowing defeat was imminent the German military leaders began to plot to overthrow Hitler so they could negotiate a peace. The plots failed and Hitler executed over 4,000 Germans.

In January 1945 the Russians were headed into Berlin and Hitler retreated to his bunker 55 feet underground containing 18 rooms complete with water and electricity. Despite the thought he was going mad he continued to give orders and two days before he committed suicide he married his longtime girlfriend Eva Braun.

After dictating his last will and testament in which he appointed Admiral Karl Donitz as the head of state and Josef Goebbels as chancellor, Hitler retired to his private quarters with Braun. The two newlyweds then poisoned themselves and their dogs, then Hitler shot himself in the head.

The bodies of Hitler and Braun were cremated in the chancellery garden and when the Russians arrived they removed Hitler’s ashes. Eight days later on May 8 Germany surrendered and the country was divided among the four allied countries.

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