Winston Churchill made it very clear what would happen to Hitler if he fell into British hands.
“We shall certainly put him to death,” he said in a meeting with his War Cabinet on July 6, 1942, even specifying that this would involve the electric chair.
But three years later, on April 30, 1945, Hitler took his own life.
For the architect of a war that had stolen the lives of 60 million people, a man so pathologically mad on power and glory, Hitler’s death was the epitome of quiet and desperate cowardice.
As Soviet troops stormed across Berlin’s River Oder, planting the famous red flag on the Reichstag, and US troops closed in from the West, Hitler knew his dream of a 1,000-year Reich was over.
So at 3.30pm, cowering in his Fuhrer bunker, 55 feet below the crumbling city, he ordered his staff to leave him.
Then he swallowed a cyanide pill, grabbed a gun and shot himself in the head.
He didn’t die alone; Eva Braun, his mistress of 15 years and wife of 24 hours, died from cyanide next to him. Even his beloved Alsatian, Blondi, was part of his death pact – force-fed the poison half an hour before.
This pitiful demise was broadcast very differently that evening to the German people, who were told that: “Hitler has fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancery, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany.”
Who was Eva Braun?
Hitler and Eva Braun first met in 1929, when she was 17. Braun was a model and assistant for the Nazi Party photographer, Heinrich Hoffman.
The pair soon started a tumultuous affair but Braun was hidden from public view. They finally married just days before their deaths.
The biggest question over Braun is her ancestry. Recent hair samples found on a hairbrush suggest she was of Semitic descent. The man responsible for the deaths of six million Jews could well have married one without realising it.