Today in 1945, Adolf Hitler shot himself in the head in his Berlin bunker. Eva Braun, his girlfriend, married him shortly before also taking her life, by swallowing a cyanide capsule in the bunker.
Hitler had made written orders that their bodies were to be carried out of the bunker through its emergency exit, covered in fuel and incinerated in the Reich Chancellery garden near the bunker.
According to Soviet records, their charred bodies were found and interred in various locations before being cremated and scattered.
Hitler’s suicide followed a few days after the Red Army surrounded Berlin, and German defeat in the War was clear. Hitler and Braun were married late at night on April 29 inside the Führerbunker. They ate breakfast together the next morning and Hitler dictated his will.
With Soviet troops bearing down on the bunker, Hitler and Braun kiled themselves. Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz and Joseph Goebbels assumed command. Berlin surrendered to the Soviets on May 2.
Various accounts of Hitler’s death have been proposed, though most of them are discredited by historians. There is also a persistent crackpot theory that Hitler actually staged his death and fled to South America, where he lived to old age (or perhaps still lives today).
Hitler remains the most despised man in history, prime architect of the Holocaust and personally responsible for the death of millions. His influence will continue to be felt for likely the entire duration of human history.