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Video:How Hitler Died

with David Wilson

Probably the most infamous figure of the 20th century, Adolph Hitler's last days were filled with chaos, uncertainty, and eventual suicide. This history video from About.com explains how Hitler died.See Transcript

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Transcript:How Hitler Died

Hi, David Wilson here for About.com. I'm an historian and a teacher of U.S. and World History, and today we're going to be talking about the death of Adolph Hitler.

Setting the Scene for Hitler's Downfall

During the Spring of 1945, the Red Army of the Soviet Union was moving through Berlin. The German Army was vastly outnumbered and consisted of exhausted troops, elderly men and Hitler Youth troops. Hitler was by then living in his bunker, 50 feet under the Reich Chancellery building in Berlin. Many of the Nazi generals and inner circle party members, including Joseph Goebbels, had moved into the bunker.

The Fall of the German Army

The beginning of the end for Adolph Hitler really began with the bombing of the Chancellery on April 26, 1945. As they continued to march into the center of Berlin, Hitler got more and more worried about the outcome of this war.

On April 28th he heard news that one of his most trusted allies, Heinrich Himmler, had been trying to negotiate a surrender with the Western allies. Hitler was furious with this betrayal! Late at night on the 28th of April, Hitler dictated his last will and a two-part political statement which basically blamed the Jews for everything that had transpired throughout the war.

How Hitler Died

On midnight of the 28th, Hitler married his long-time girlfriend, Eva Braun. Goebbels and Bormann were there, along with other generals, to witness the wedding. On April 29th, 1945, Hitler was informed that Berlin was lost to the Russians by his top aides; and also that Mussolini had been killed, along with his mistress, and his body hung upside down in Milan. 

Early in the morning of April 30th, Hitler gave explicit directions to his personal aide, Otto Gunsche, that both Hitler and Eva's bodies were to be burned upon their deaths. Hitler then said farewell to close allies Martin Bormann, Joseph Goebbels, and Generals Krebs and Burgdorf, as well as other remaining staff. Hitler and Eva went back to their private rooms, and within a few moments, Bormann and Goebbels heard a gunshot. They walked in to find Hitler dead of a gunshot wound to his right temple, and Eva dead from apparent poisoning.

What happens next is to be shrouded in the mysteries of history, but the generally accepted version of events is that the bodies were then carried up to the Chancellery garden, soaked in gasoline, and set aflame while Bormann and Goebbels stood by watching.

That is the story of the death of Adolph Hitler in 1945. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.

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