As both the Western Allies and the Soviet Red Army descended on the capital, Hitler and other prominent Nazis who had been living in the bunker.
On 16 April, the Red Army started the Battle of Berlin, and they started to encircle the city by 19 April. Hitler made his last trip to the surface on 20 April, his 56th birthday, going to the ruined garden of the Reich Chancellery where he awarded the Iron Cross to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth. That afternoon, Berlin was bombarded by Soviet artillery for the first time.
Hitler was in denial about the dire situation and placed his hopes on the units commanded by Waffen-SS General Felix Steiner, the Armee abteilung Steiner (“Army Detachment Steiner”). On 21 April, Hitler ordered Steiner to attack the northern flank of the encircling Soviet salient and ordered the German Ninth Army, south-east of Berlin, to attack northward in a pincer attack. That evening, Red Army tanks reached the outskirts of Berlin. Hitler was told at his afternoon situation conference on 22 April that Steiner’s forces had not moved, and he fell into a tearful rage when he realised that the attack was not going to be carried out. He openly declared for the first time the war was lost—and he blamed his generals. Hitler announced that he would stay in Berlin until the end and then shoot himself.
Almost as confirmation of Hitler’s assessment, a Soviet mechanized corps reaches Treuenbrietzen, 40 miles southwest of Berlin, liberates a POW camp and releases, among others, Norwegian Commander in Chief Otto Ruge.
With Germany lying in ruins after six years of war, and with defeat imminent, Hitler decided to take his own life. But before doing so, he married Eva Braun and then penned his last will and testament. The next day in the afternoon on April 30, 1945 Braun and Hitler entered his living room to end their lives.
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