Hitler committed suicide in April, 1945 a few days after his birthday. For some time before that, he had been holed up within the Fuhrerbunker, an underground complex in central Berlin. This complex was intended to protect Nazi war criminals from being captured by the advancing Allied forces.
During this time, Hitler was in great danger of being caught by the Soviet Red Army, which had begun to pummel Berlin’s defenses. The Soviet Army had been on the march for some time already after throwing back the attempted Nazi invasion of Russia. Under Stalin, who would later become a staunch enemy of the United States, the Russians had repelled sieges of major Russian cities and had killed millions of Nazi soldiers.
The retreating Nazi army also had other problems to deal with. For most of the war, the United States had been involved in naval conflicts with the Japanese Empire which made it difficult for U.S. troops to become involved in the war front in Europe. However, after the naval battle of Midway, much of the Japanese fleet was decimated. This left the United States Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to begin sustained assaults culminating in the D-Day Invasion.
With all of these things going on, Hitler and those around him had retreated from the public eye in order to save their own lives and maintain the idea that Germany would still win the war. The Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, had continued giving speeches about the impending Nazi victory right up until the final days of the conflict. Many Germans had been fooled into believing in the existence of a Nazi super weapon that would make this victory possible.
The mood inside Hitler’s bunker, however, was one of horror, disbelief, and resignation. In addition to Nazi leaders, there were also support staff members such as transcriptionists and secretaries. Many of these individuals have stepped forward to tell the world more about the erratic state that Hitler and his followers were in at the time. With the horrors of the Holocaust being uncovered by advancing armies on all sides, it would soon be inevitable that they would experience justice for their crimes.
Under these conditions, many of the Nazi leaders attempted to escape Germany under cover of darkness and assumed names. Some, like Himmler, were caught. Others, such as Hitler and Goebbels, committed suicide. Hitler committed suicide by gun on April 30, 1945.
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