Hitler and Nazi : Did Hitler Die During WW2? (Part 1)
Did World War Two really mark the end of Hitler's reign of terror?
Did the Nazis devise a post-war Europe that even today could undermine Britain?
There are no parliaments. There are no democracies. And could Hitler, history's worst mass murderer, have got away with it?
In the world of the conspiracy, history isn't what you think.
For 70 years, we've been told that on April 30th 1945, Hitler committed suicide. But it's a version of history that conspiracists think is wrong. In late 1945, British intelligence published a report detailing what would become the officially accepted account of Hitler's death inside his Berlin bunker. And they commit suicide. Eva Braun probably taking a cyanide capsule, Hitler by shooting himself in the head.
Those bodies are then carried upstairs and are put in a shallow grave. Covered in 50 liters of petrol. Set ablaze. And that's it. It's a version of events that most of us have accepted as the truth. Most, but not all.
Gerrard Williams is a journalist who has reported on some of the world's major conflicts. From the Falklands to Iraq. He's convinced Hitler's suicide is a fiction. The first anyone knew of Hitler's death was on May 1st 1945, when German radio made a dramatic announcement. It was the first clue, says Gerrard Williams, that the death of Adolf Hitler wasn't what it appeared. The problem with that is, "Hitler's dead, say us Nazis." And we are just meant to believe it.
Despite the radio report, the Allies were unable to verify Hitler's death. At the time of the announcement, the Battle of Berlin was still raging. A day after the broadcast, on May 2nd 1945, the Soviet Army, accompanied by a BBC reporter... finally seized Hitler's bunker. And made a grim discovery. They found the body of a man with a lock of black hair on the right-hand side of his face, and a little black mustache. At first glance, it looked like the Nazi leader. But it was soon established that it wasn't.
Body doubles were widely used in the Second World War. Stalin was known to have numerous and Churchill at least one. Historians are certain that Hitler used them too. It's not clear if the dead man was a Hitler body double or not. But the fact is, no one reported finding the body of the real Adolf Hitler in 1945.
Sönke Neitzel is a professor of history at the London School of Economics. He's studied the British report into Hitler's death. But with no body, and relying only on German witnesses, some people simply refused to accept the report's conclusion. And this was one of the reasons why there is a myth about Hitler's death.
Rumors circulate almost immediately that Hitler's still alive, that he's escaped, that he's gone elsewhere. And it was a suspicion shared at the highest levels. Stalin refused to believe that Hitler had died. And the same was true of Eisenhower. And they weren't the only ones. Declassified documents show that agents from J Edgar Hoover's FBI were still investigating sightings of Hitler months and even years after the end of the Second World War. The FBI never thought Hitler was dead. They looked for him around the world. The agency even went as far as producing a series of identity portraits, designed to show agents what Hitler might look like in various disguises. If the FBI didn't believe it, why did we?
The truth is, for several decades, many didn't. But then the Soviets dropped a bombshell. Twenty-three years after news of his death first hit the airwaves... the Soviet Union admitted they'd had the remains of Hitler all along... and claimed that an autopsy carried out in secrecy had matched a recovered jaw bone to Hitler's dental records... while a skull fragment, complete with a bullet hole, confirmed the cause of death. Suicide. But the Soviets' revelations, two decades after the event, seem rather too convenient for journalist Gerrard Williams. There are no bodies reported discovered in 1945. And this is something that amazes me. But for the rest of the world, for the next 40 years, the Russian announcement put an end to speculation that Hitler might have survived the war.
Then, in 2009, the story was blown wide open again, when an American pathologist ran DNA tests on a piece of the skull fragment held by the Russians. The sensational discovery about the skull cast doubt that any of the remains the Russians claim to have were Hitler's. Since then, the Russians have refused to allow anyone else access to the recovered remains.
So, why do people still believe that Hitler died in his bunker? To answer that, Gerrard Williams thinks we have to go back to the British intelligence report written in 1945 by Major Trevor-Roper... a professor of medieval history who'd spent the war decoding German messages. to write the final report on the death of a criminal? Without a body, Roper's investigation was going to be difficult. And that's exactly what Roper said he did.
But Gerrard Williams doesn't believe him. What's interesting for me is that when you read the accounts of the people who Trevor Roper said he interviewed, It turns out that Roper's report was actually based on statements given to Soviet interrogators. Statements the witnesses later retracted. We know that German prisoners, high-ranking prisoners who had been in the bunker, most likely lied to the Soviets when they were interrogated. There are really serious problems with the official history. Never see the Führer and Eva go into his private quarters in the bunker.
So, if the conspiracy theorists are right, and they did escape the bunker, what happened to them? Hitler and Eva are substituted in the dying days of the bunker, in Berlin. Two doubles replace them, and it was those who are murdered and their bodies disposed of later.
The conspiracy would have us believe that this audacious switch was masterminded by Hitler's private secretary, Martin Bormann. To get to Hitler at any level, you had to go through Bormann. Bormann controlled the door. He was the gatekeeper to him.
A committed Nazi, Bormann was determined to see his beloved Führer survive the war. Bormann is a very committed person to Adolf Hitler. What he realizes is that if he wants to keep his friend alive, and he wants to keep himself alive, is that they have to die. And what better way to hide than to get your enemies to believe you're dead? I believe that at the end of April 1945, the real Hitler, along with Eva Braun, was spirited out of the bunker to the Reich Chancellery... and that's where the exchange took place. The body doubles come back... And it's done. Sleight of hand.
Gerrard Williams maintains that only Bormann and Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller knew about the switch. would have caught fleeting glimpses of Hitler in his uniform, Eva in her cotton dress. And when word reached Bormann that the real Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun had successfully escaped... the body doubles were executed. After those deaths, everybody is told that this is what happened, And these witness statements are the ones that the official report was based on.
If you tell a lie often enough and loudly enough, it becomes the truth. So, if Hitler didn't die in 1945, where did he go?
There are rumors everywhere. there'll be rumors of Hitler being discovered in the Antarctic. The incredible theory proposed by renegade historian Douglas Dietrich is that the Nazis built a secret colony in the South Pole. Constructed with underground factory systems, underground hospitals, even day-care facilities, The creation of such a massive fortress in Antarctica may seem fantastical. But vast underground tunnels discovered in Austria at the end of the war... are, some believe, proof that the idea isn't as farfetched as it sounds.
Amateur historian Andreas Willer has explored this Nazi tunnel complex in Austria that was built to accommodate 60,000 men. The Nazis clearly had the engineering expertise. But did they build a similar complex 9,000 miles away in Antarctica? Some think they did.
In 1938, the Nazis did send a team to the South Pole. They said it was for scientific purposes. But the man in charge of the mission was no scientist. It was Hermann Göring, the chief of the German Air Force. Germany felt that it had the right to claim a piece of Antarctica as its own territory. But why commandeer land in one of the most inhospitable places in the world?
Douglas Dietrich thinks he knows the answer. The major point of that expedition Fueling this idea that the Nazis planned to build a stronghold in the South Pole is a boast made by a top-ranking Nazi in 1943. Admiral Dönitz, the commander of the German U-boat fleet, is reported to have openly talked about an impregnable fortress in another part of the world that he claimed to have built for Hitler.
But the conspiracy theorists disagree. They say the arrival of two U-boats in Argentina as staging posts for the South Pole in June 1945, two months after the end of the war, is evidence that Dönitz's fortress was in Antarctica. and that the U-boats had gone to Argentina via Antarctica to take Nazi officials down to that base. But the conspiracy theorists go even further. They believe the Americans had no doubt about the Nazi stronghold in Antarctica. And declassified documents released in the 1990s could back this up. They show that a year after the U-boats turned up in Argentina, Washington ordered a battle fleet to the South Pole.
Nothing could be further from the truth. They were obviously expecting combat because they had a single aircraft carrier which carried over 100 planes. They also had a submarine. They had two destroyers. They had two ice breakers. They had 1,000 aircraft. Task Force 68 was sent to invade Antarctica, to dislodge the Third Reich in exile from their new stronghold in Antarctica.
But can the claim made by Douglas Dietrich be backed up? Incredibly, it seems there is some truth behind it.
Declassified documents now reveal that Task Force 68 was a classified military operation after all. The mission, codenamed Operation Highjump, was to train American troops in Arctic warfare. But not against the Nazis. A new enemy had come on the horizon and that new enemy was the Soviet Union. They didn't want to carry out a highly provocative, major US Navy expedition in the Arctic, So, declassified reports do prove that the Americans lied about Task Force 68's mission. But not for the reason conspiracists would like us to believe.
So, where does that leave the theory that the Nazis built a base in the South Pole?
By people who have pulled little bits of information together from all over the place, bits of unrelated information. They've stuck them together in a sort of montage. The Nazis were so extreme, so ruthless in their pursuit of global domination, that they've spawned any number of conspiracy theories that people are willing to believe.
But even now, 70 years after the end of World War Two, there is one enduring theory that just won't go away. During World War Two, the Nazis systematically plundered Europe of hundreds of billions of pounds worth of art treasures and gold. They took everything. Absolutely billions. What most people don't actually realize is that something like $500 million worth of gold is still missing. So, where is it? Who's got it? But who stole it?
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