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With Germany lying in ruins after six devastating years of war, and with defeat imminent, the Nazi dictator decided to take his own life. But before doing so, he wanted to thank the one who'd remained completely loyal to him until the very end. Early on the morning on April 29, 1945, in a civil ceremony in his bunker, Hitler married his mistress of many years, Eva Braun.

The next day at a little after 3:30 p.m., they bit into thin glass vials of cyanide. As he did so, Hitler also shot himself in the head with a 7.65 mm Walther pistol.

So History saw Hitler's prophecy fulfilled, as the handful of remaining Nazis trooped uneasily into his underground study on April 30, 1945, surveyed his still-warm remains slouched on a couch, with blood trickling from the sagging lower jaw, and a gunshot wound in the right temple and sniffed the bitter-almonds smell hanging in the air. Wrapped in a gray army blanket, he was carried up to the shell-blasted Chancellery garden. Gasoline was slopped over him in a reeking crater and ignited while his staff hurriedly saluted and backed down into the shelter.

/Louis Bülow 

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