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ON THIS DAY

1 May 1945: Germany announces Hitler is dead. Adolf Hitler has been killed at the Reich Chancery in Berlin, according to Hamburg radio. At 2230 local time a newsreader announced that reports from the Fuhrer’s headquarters said Hitler had “fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancery fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany”.
It said he had appointed Grand Admiral Doenitz as his successor. There followed an announcement by Admiral Doenitz in which he called on the German people to mourn their Fuhrer who, he said, died the death of a hero in the capital of the Reich. Reports from Washington say US officials are suspicious of the announcement and are certainly not celebrating as yet. They fear the timing of Doenitz’s appointment may mean that Hitler is not dead but trying to escape or go underground. In London, Prime Minister Winston Churchill would not make a statement to the Commons about the war situation in Europe except to say it was
“definitely more satisfactory than it was this time five years ago”. Admiral Doenitz, famous for his U-boat victories in the first three years of the war, vowed to continue the battle against the Soviets and their western Allies. “The British and the Americans do not fight for the interests of their own people but for the spreading of Bolshevism,” he said. As new head of state and supreme commander of the Wehrmacht – the German armed forces – he demanded discipline and obedience and urged German soldiers, “Do your duty. The life of our people is at stake.” There is now speculation in the British press as to whether the weakened German forces will follow Doenitz or Heinrich Himmler, head of the home army, the Volkssturm, the SS and the Gestapo. He has made peace overtures to the Allies in recent days in meetings with Count Folke Bernadotte, a nephew of the King of Sweden, but so far these have come to nothing. (Source: BBC)

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