This Day in History

On April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler ended his own life. The Nazi leader killed himself by taking a cyanide capsule just before firing a gunshot into his head. It was shortly after Hitler's suicide that Germany offered its unconditional surrender to the Allied powers and World War II came to a close.

Last 2 Years of War Looked Grim for Hitler

During the last two years of World War II, it became clear that the Germans would likely be defeated. In February 1943, Germany suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad, making it impossible for Germany to maintain an offensive on both war fronts. In June 1944, D-Day happened in Normandy, France. The battle at Normandy was the start of Germany being pushed out of France and back to Berlin. More than one German commander began plotting to overthrow Hitler in order to negotiate a peace treaty. The officers tried but failed to assassinate Hitler at this time.

Escaped to a Bunker Before Death

In January 1945, Hitler escaped to a bunker 55 feet underground as Soviets began to position themselves to take Berin. The underground shelter had sufficient supplies of electricity, food, water and other provisions in addition to 18 rooms. During his time underground, Hitler became angrier and more reclusive, but he continued to meet with several of his most trusted commanding officers and married his mistress, Eva Braun, two days before the suicide. Hitler and Braun poisoned their dogs and then themselves. Finally, Hitler shot himself with his military pistol.

Hitler's and his mistress' bodies were quickly cremated while the Soviets drew closer to the building. The Soviets then confiscated Hitler's ashes, moving them from place to place so that Nazi supporers would not have a place to construct a permanent Hitler memorial.

Eight days following Hitler's suicide, on May 8, 1945, the German surrender was issued, resulting in the end of World War II.