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The Man Behind Hitler
Joseph Goebbels' Diary return to index

Final Days, 1945

Quotes By March 1945, Allied armies had pushed the Germans back into Germany. U.S. troops were crossing the Rhine in the west, while the Soviets pushed in from the east. The Soviets and Germans fought the Battle of Berlin, at the epicenter of the Nazi empire, during the final weeks of April, destroying the city and killing or wounding hundreds of thousands of people, soldiers and civilians alike.

On April 30, 1945, the day Adolf Hitler killed himself in his underground bunker in Berlin, Goebbels was among a small group of the Führer's inner circle who retrieved the body and moved it outside to the garden where it was burned.

On May 1, Goebbels followed Hitler's lead. He poisoned his six children, and then shot his wife and himself. His adjutant set fire to the bodies. The next day, Russian troops found the family's charred remains. Germany formally surrendered, ending the war, six days later.

April 3, 1945
Adolf Hitler grimly inspects bomb damage in a German city At the daily briefing conferences the Luftwaffe comes in for the sharpest criticism from the Führer. Day after day Göring has to listen without being in the position to demur at all. Colonel-General Stumpff, for instance, refused to subordinate himself to Kesselring for the new operations planned in the West. The Führer called him sharply to order saying that the relative positions of Kesselring and Stumpff were similar to those of him and Schaub.

In the West, of course, it is now and for the immediate future a continuous process of muddling through. We are in the most critical and dangerous phase of this war and one sometimes has the impression that the German people, fighting at the height of the war crisis, has broken out in a sweat impossible for the non-expert to distinguish as the precursor of death or recovery.

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