On this day in 1945, the German Fuhrer and dictator Adolf Hitler died after committing suicide with his new wife Eva Braun. After hearing of the capture and murder of Mussolini, Hitler and Braun killed themselves, Hitler shooting himself and Braun biting into a cyanide capsule. They had married the previous day. After their deaths, both bodies were taken away and set on fire to be disposed of completely.
By the time of his death, German public support for Hitler had all but disappeared and very few Germans mourned his demise. Many were caught up in the conflict and were focused more on trying to save their own lives than worry about the news of Hitler. English historian Hugh Trevor-Roper referred to Hitler as “among the ‘terrible simplifiers’ of history, the most systematic, the most historical, the most philosophical, and yet the coarsest, cruelest, least magnanimous conqueror the world has ever known.” His actions and political regime led to the deaths of millions of innocent people, as well as the decimation of eastern and central Europe.
There have long been conspiracy theories that Hitler did not actually die in 1945, instead fleeing to Argentina where he lived to be 95 years old. However, Rochus Misch, Hitler’s former radio operator and the last survivor of the Berlin bunker, says he saw the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun with his own eyes, claiming “I was in the room next door when he shot himself. I did not hear the shot but I saw his uncovered corpse when the door was opened. I saw Hitler slumped with his head on the table. I saw Eva Braun sitting dead in the corner of the sofa, her head turned to Hitler, her knees pulled up to her chest.” The theory also loses plausibility when one considers that Hitler was a long-time sufferer of syphilis and parkinson’s disease, both of which would likely have ended his life early.