The Last Days of Hitler

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University of Chicago Press, 1987 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
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Late in 1945, Trevor-Roper was appointed by British Intelligence in Germany to investigate conflicting evidence surrounding Hitler's final days and to produce a definitive report on his death. The author, who had access to American counterintelligence files and to German prisoners, focuses on the last ten days of Hitler's life, April 20-29, 1945, in the underground bunker in Berlin—a bizarre and gripping episode punctuated by power play and competition among Hitler's potential successors.

"From exhaustive research [Trevor-Roper] has put together a carefully documented, irrefutable, and unforgettable reconstruction of the last days in April, 1945."—New Republic

"A book sound in its scholarship, brilliant in its presentation, a delight for historians and laymen alike."—A. J. P. Taylor, New Statesman
 

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Good for its day but now dated: A well written narrative. However, one that is now out of date which leads the work to contain inaccuracies, errors and some unanswered questions.
Roper remarks that
the "...real causes and circumstances of the execution of Fegelein provide one of the few subjects in this book upon which final certainty seems unattainable."Certainly, SS General Fegelein's last hours and end are now well known. Further, some inaccuracies and errors include: the exact method employed for suicide by Hitler (stating Hitler shot himself in the mouth); the principles present at the end; and the belief that Reichsleiter Martin Bormann escaped and (at the time the book was published) was still alive.
First written after a commission from Dick White, then head of counter-intelligence in the British sector of Berlin (and later head of MI5 and MI6 in succession) in Nov. 1945 and published in book form in 1947. Hugh Trevor-Roper investigated the last days of Hitler to counter the Soviet propaganda at the time (that Hitler was still alive living in the west). The author does deserve credit for being the first to write a detailed western account of Hitler's last days (which countered the Soviet propaganda at the time). However, it lacked the important information (and insight) of key inner-circle players who were locked up in the east by the Soviets. Men such as Linge, Gunsche and Mohnke. Trevor-Roper was able to cure that somewhat with the third edition published in 1956 but still he did not have the in depth information that has come out over the course of the many years since then; especially after the fall of the Soviet Union and the archives therein were opened up for western writers.
Furthermore, the author (at times) infuses too much of his own point of view through commentary. A better, more objective and recent compilation on the subject is: "The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, the Evidence, the Truth" by Anton Joachimsthaler; and for Gunsche and Linge's* full statements see: "The Hitler Book" by Henrik Eberle and Matthias Uhl. Just remember when reading "The Hitler Book" it was a dossier (file no. 462 a) put together for Stalin and has a clear Soviet bias in presentation.
*Footnote: As of late summer 2009, the memoirs of Heinz Linge have been re-published under the title: "With Hitler to the End: The Memoir of Hitler's Valet". So one can now read that book for Linge's full account, as well.
 

Contents

HITLER AND HIS COURT
53
HITLER IN DEFEAT
91
THE COURT IN DEFEAT
119
CRISIS AND DECISION
148
THE SIEGE OF THE BUNKER
181
ET TU BRUTE
199
THE DEATH OF HITLER
226
EPILOGUE
259
NOTE ON SOURCES
271
APPENDICES
277
INDEX
282
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About the author (1987)

Hugh Trevor-Roper is the author of Catholics, Anglicans, and Puritans and Renaissance Essays, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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