In the last days of World War 11, Adolf Hitler and his closest associates had sought shelter in a command bunker before the fall of Berlin. He knew that defeat was close at hand and that he must prepare for his own death. Here is a detailed description of how he ended his life.
The Death of Hitler
William L. Shirer
During the afternoon of April 29, news arrived at the bunker where Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were separated from the outside world. Mussolini, Hitler's fellow fascist dictator and partner in aggression, had met his end, and it had been shared by his mistress, Clara Petacci.
They had been caught by Italian guerrillas on April 27 while trying to escape to Switzerland and executed after a brief trial. On the Saturday night of April 28 the bodies were brought to Milan in a truck and dumped on the town square. The next day they were strung up by the heels from lampposts and later cut down so that throughout the rest of Sunday, they lay in the gutter. On May Day Benito Mussolini was buried beside his mistress in the paupers' plot of a Milan cemetery. In such a horrible climax of degradation Mussolini and Fascism passed into history.
It is not know how many of the details of Mussolini's shabby end were communicated to the Fuehrer. One can only guess that if he heard many of them he was only strengthened in his resolve not to allow himself or his bride to be made a spectacle —— not their live selves or their bodies.
Shortly after receiving the news of Mussolini's death, Hitler began to make the final preparations for his. He had his favorite Alsatian dog poisoned and two other dogs in the household shot. Then he called in his two remaining women secretaries and handed them capsules of poison to use if they wished to when the advancing Russians broke in. He was sorry, he said, not to be able to give them a better farewell gift, and he expressed his appreciation for their long and loyal service.
Evening had now come, the last of Adolf Hitler's life. He instructed Mrs. Junge, one of his secretaries, to destroy the remaining papers in his files, and he sent out word that no one in the bunker was to go to bed until further orders. This was interpreted by all as meaning that he judged the time had come to make his farewells. But it was not until long after midnight, at about 2:30 AM of April 30, as several witnesses recall, that the Fuehrer emerged from his private quarters and appeared in the general dining passage where some 20 persons, mostly the women members of his group of associates, were assembled. He walked down the line shaking hand with each and mumbling a few words that were inaudible. There was a heavy film of moisture on his eyes and, as Mrs. Junge remembered, "They seemed to be looking far away, beyond the walls of the bunker."
After he retired, a curious thing happened. The tension which had been building up to an almost unendurable point in the bunker broke, and several persons went to the canteen —— to dance. The weird party soon became so noisy that word was sent from the Fuehrer's quarters requesting more quiet. The Russians might come in a few hours and kill them all —— though most of them were already thinking of how they could escaped —— but in the meantime, for a brief spell, now that the Fuehrer's strict control of their lives was over, they would seek pleasure where and how they could find it. The sense of relief among these people seems to have been enormous, and they danced on through the night.
Berlin was no longer defensible. The Russians already had occupied almost all of the city. It was now merely a question of the defense of he Chancellery. It too was doomed, as Hitler and Bormann learned at the situation conference at noon on April 30, the last that was ever to take place. The Russians were just a block away. The hour for Adolf Hitler to carry out his resolve had come.
His bride apparently had no appetite for lunch that day, and Hitler took his meal with his two secretaries and with his vegetarian cook, who perhaps did not realize that she had prepared his last meal. While they were finishing their lunch at about 2:30 PM, Erich Kempka, the Fuehrer's chauffeur, who was in charge of the Chancellery garage, received an order to deliver immediately 200 liters of gasoline in cans to the Chancellery garden. Kempka had some difficulty in rounding up so much fuel, but he managed to collect some 180 liters and with the help of three men carried it to the emergency exit of the bunker.
While the oil to provide the first for the Viking funeral was being collected, Hitler, having done with his last meal, fetched Eva Braun for another and final farewell to his most intimate collaborators: Dr. Goebbels, Generals Krebs and Burgdorf, the secretaries, and Miss Manzialy, the cook.
They finished their farewells and retired to their rooms. Outside in the passageway, Dr. Goebbels, Bormann and a few others waited. In a few moments a revolver shot was heard. They waited for a second one, but there was only silence. After a decent interval they quietly entered the Fuehrer's quarters. They found the body of Adolf Hitler sprawled on the sofa dripping blood. He had shot himself in the mouth. At this side lay Eva Braun. Two revolvers had fallen to the floor, but the bride had not used hers. She had swallowed poison.
It was 3:30 PM on Monday, April 30, 1945, ten days after Adolf Hitler's fifty-sixth birthday, and twelve years and three months to the day since he had become Chancellor of Germany and had instituted the Third Reich. It would survive him but a week.
n. strongly-built shelter for soldiers, esp. one built underground 地堡
n. a ruler who has absolute power over a country, esp. one who has obtained such power by force 独裁者
n. the starting of a war, fight, or quarrel without just cause 侵略
vt. kill (sb.) by law; carry out, perform 处死；实施，执行
a. & n.
vt. drop or unload (sth.) in a heap or carelessly 倾倒
vt. hang with a string or rope
n. post for a street lamp 路灯柱
n. a person with no means of livelihood, esp. one who is supported by charity 贫民
n. a piece of land (usu. small)
n. place for burying the dead 公墓；墓地
a. causing a feeling of great shock, fear or dislike
n. the point of greatest interest or intensity 高潮
a. dishonourable; mean; worn out 不光彩的；卑鄙的；破旧的
v. make or become strong(er) 加强
n. resolution 决心
n. a girl or woman just married or about to be married 新娘
n. an object of contempt or disrespect; a public show or scene 引入鄙视的对象；场面
n. things done to get ready for sth.
n. understanding of the qualities or worth of sth.; grateful feelings 欣赏；感激
a. true to one's friends, group, country, etc. faithful 忠诚的
vt. give orders or directions to 命令；指示
vt. explain or tell the likely meaning of (sth.)
a. personal; one's own 私人的；个人的
ad. chiefly; almost all
n. a person connected with another, esp. in work
vt. gather or collect together 集合
a. that can not be heard
n. slight wetness; water or other liquid spread in small drops in the air or on a surface 潮湿，湿气
vi. withdraw; go away 退出
n. a place in a military camp, factory, etc. where people may buy and eat food, meals, drinks, sweets, etc. 食堂
a. strange; unnatural
vt. Demand politely 请求
n. & ad. (in) the time between
n. a period of time
a. rigid 严厉的
n. the fact or state of lessening or freeing from anxiety, fear, or pain （忧虑等的）减轻，解除
a. very large
a. that can be defended
vt. cause to suffer sth. unavoidable and unpleasant, such as death or destruction
ad. evidently; it seems (that)
a. relating to a person who eats vegetables but no meat （有关）素食的
n. a person employed to drive someone's car
a. close in relationship 亲密的
n. partner in an activity 协作者，同伙
a. right and suitable 合宜的；得休的
n. time between two events 间隔
v. fall or let fall in drops
n. chief minister of state (in some countries e.g. Germany)总理（或首相）
vt. set up for the first time 建立
PHRASES & EXPRESSIONS
meet one's end
hang (sth.) high with strings; put to death by hanging 用绳吊起；吊死
ask to come or go in
enter a building by force （非法）强行进入
increase, strengthen gradually
in the meantime
in charge of
collect, gather together 集拢
have done with
finish with; stop doing or using 结束；终止
to a/ the day
exactly (in time)
the Third Reich