History Revealed

THE WEEK THE WAR ENDED IN EUROPE

30 APRIL

“The amazing news is that Mussolini is dead,” wrote Vere Hodgson in her diary. The charity worker in war-torn London also noted that it was snowing in the capital. The Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had in fact been hanged by partisans two days earlier and, on 29 April, Italians had received more good news with the unconditional surrender of German armies in their country. His dream of a 1,000-year Reich in ruins, Adolf Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun, killed themselves in the bunker under the Chancellery in Berlin as Soviet troops closed in. In his last will and testament, the Nazi leader appointed Admiral Karl Dönitz as head of state.

1 MAY

The Allies first heard of Hitler’s death when a Hamburg radio station announced that he died “fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism”. Dönitz addressed the nation and described the Führer’s death as “heroic”. He added: “I am taking over the leadership of the German people in this

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