"Our FÃÂ¼hrer, Adolf Hitler, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism, fell for Germany this afternoon in his operational headquarters in the Reich Chancellery. On April 30, the FÃÂ¼hrer appointed Grand Admiral Donitz his successor. The Grand Admiral and successor of the FÃÂ¼hrer now speaks to the German people."
-Official German Announcement of Hitler's death, 1 May 1945 (Radio broadcast.)
This radio broadcast was heard all over Germany as Russian and Allied forces closed in around the city of Berlin. The statement was partially true; Adolf Hitler was dead. What was false was the method of death. While Hitler had been urged by his most dedicated supporters to either die at the hands of the enemy to be an example to the German people, or flee Berlin altogether, he instead chose suicide, on April 30th. The truth was kept a secret, creating the myth of the FÃÂ¼hrer's courageous death in battle.
For the few remaining soldiers, to hear of their leader giving up his own life before faced in battle would have been detrimental to the cause. Instead, the new FÃÂ¼hrer's first decree was to create a myth of Hitler dying in battle as a martyr to the German cause.
The last month of his life, Hitler fell to madness, illness and fear, and these factors contributed to his decision to end his own life in the Reich chancellery Bunker, rather than fall into enemy hands where his fate was undecided. This essay will touch on April 1945 in the bunker itself, from Hitler's moving in on January 16, to the attack on Berlin, until his and his most loyal followers suicides, as well as the world's fear that Hitler was still alive, fears not officially laid to rest until 1965 by the Russian government.
The allies never...