Sunday, June 08, 2008

Last Days of Hitler Legend, Evidence and Truth by Anton Joachimsthaler

Last Days of Hitler Legend, Evidence and Truth by Anton Joachimsthaler translated from the German. This is an account of Hitler's final days and the destruction of the body. This involves trying to disentangle decades of conflicting material colored by politics and faulty memory. Joachimsthaler tries as much as possible to go back to primary sources. He tends to judge sources by looking for points of agreement and length of time from the events.

There's quite a bit of ad hominem leveled against earlier writers Trevor-Roper and the Soviet authors in particular. There is some interesting information about the mechanics of the suicides. Hitler for example could not have physically bit down on the poison and shot himself at the same time. The bodies were also completely destroyed instead of being recovered by the Soviets as was claimed. The book concludes with a rather fanciful argument that Eva Braun killed herself with Hitler because the SS officer she was having an affair with deserted her. The evidence for this is quite weak. Based on one source who earlier in the book the author considers to be unreliable.

The book is extensively footnoted so it would be possible to check the arguments although one would have to be a German speaker for most of them. There are frequent diagrams and illustrations. Some rather gruesome.


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