Hitler and the Nazis: Evil on Trial (2024) s01e06 Episode Script

The Reckoning

[moody music playing]
[footsteps approaching]
[video camera whirring]
[Shirer] As a reporter who spent
quite a bit of time in Hitler's Germany
and who wrote a diary which had
the good fortune to be read widely
by a great many Americans,
I've been asked
by the Army-Navy Screen Magazine
to talk about the film
you're going to see.
-[upbeat music playing on film]
-[jet engine droning]
[Shirer] As the war
moves through its fifth year,
the United Nations drive hard
against Nazi Germany
and carry the attack
at last even to the Fatherland itself.
[explosion rumbling]
[Shirer] Every day, a German factory town
is pounded to rubble.
A fury of propaganda exhorts the people
to save themselves and the Nazi regime
from the hell
into which Nazi schemes have plunged them.
But the trumpets of attack
would shake Germany's very walls,
stir more sober workers
to reflect uneasily
on the fate of the Germany
that used to be.
[theme music playing]
[intense music playing]
[Jackson] At what time did you know
that the war,
so far as achieving the objectives
that you had in mind,
was a lost war?
[Goering, in German]
It is extremely difficult to say.
At any rate, according to my conviction,
relatively late.
[in English] And there was no way
to prevent the war going on
as long as Hitler was at the head
of the German government, was there?
[in German] As long as Hitler
was the Führer of the German people,
he alone decided
whether the war was to go on.
[in English] In the second half of 1944,
it has become clear
to any person with an ounce of reason
that Germany has been
comprehensively defeated.
The D-Day landings had succeeded
for the Western Allies,
and they are starting
to sweep across France
and into Western Europe
and Western Germany.
-[artillery firing]
[Hett] By the same token, the Soviets
had launched a massive offensive,
and clearly, the Eastern Front
for Germany is falling apart.
German cities
are being bombed day and night.
The end is very clearly coming,
and coming soon.
[suspenseful music playing]
[Lisa Pine]
Hitler was absolutely convinced
right to the very end
that he could win this war.
His whole ideology is based on a concept
of racial struggle,
a struggle for survival.
And for him, it was self-evident
that the Aryan race, the master race,
was obviously going to win.
[Richard J. Evans] He believed,
above all, in himself.
He vastly overestimated his own powers.
[Richie] At the end of 1944,
Hitler is in the Wolfsschanze,
the Wolf's Lair, isolated from everywhere.
The only people who were allowed in
were just the top dignitaries,
who tell him what he wants to hear anyway.
[Evans] Among them is Hermann Goering,
still the second man in the Third Reich,
and he was very bombastic.
He'd make these dramatic declarations
about what he was going to do.
[Richie] Hitler gets more and more
under the thrall of Heinrich Himmler,
this one person who he trusted
more than anybody else.
Joseph Goebbels really talks
about this idea
that in the horoscopes and in the stars,
some miraculous thing is going to happen.
"The Allies are going to break down,
and therefore,
there will be some opportunity for us."
[suspenseful music continues]
[Pine] Towards the end of 1944,
Hitler made a decision to mount
a last counteroffensive in the west.
[Evans] He took large numbers of troops
away from the Eastern Front,
against the advice of his senior generals,
and poured them into the west.
But, of course, the truth of the matter
was that the German forces,
by this stage,
were in a much weaker position
than those of the British and Americans.
[artillery firing]
German armies pushed rapidly forward.
They created a kind of bulge in the line,
which is why it's called
the Battle of the Bulge.
[artillery firing]
[Hett] But the Allies hold out
more than the Germans had thought,
and the Germans are critically short
of gasoline for their tanks,
and the German advance
completely grinds to a halt.
[TV announcer 1] The German tanks
had run out of petrol
and, motionless, were sitting ducks,
not just for the Allied guns
on the ground,
but for the Allied planes too.
[engine roaring]
[rapid artillery fire]
-[dramatic music playing]
[Evans] Withdrawing a large number
of troops from the east
meant, of course,
weakening the Eastern Front
and enabling the Soviet Union,
the Red Army,
to advance even more quickly.
-[artillery firing]
[TV announcer 2, in Russian]
On January 18, Soviet troops
began a rapid pursuit of the enemy,
which did not stop day or night.
[Devin Pendas, in English]
At that same time,
the Germans are using
desperately-needed trains
to transport
not reinforcements to the front,
but Hungarian Jews
to Auschwitz to be murdered.
[Evans] Over 400,000 Hungarian Jews
were taken away
to Auschwitz for extermination,
and there's no military purpose to this.
It's not going to help
defeat the Red Army.
[Pendas] For the Nazis,
the extermination of the Jews
is not a distraction from the war effort.
It is the war effort.
[dark music playing]
[Nicole Eaton] Once the Red Army
crossed into German territory,
it was an utter bloodbath.
Red Army soldiers
took out utterly brutal revenge
for the four years of war
they had suffered.
[Evans] They began to rape women
on an extraordinary scale.
-[interviewer, in German] You too?
They even abused my sister and mother
in a bestial and animal way.
[news alert music playing]
[Hett, in English] The Soviet atrocities
against German civilians
were played up very heavily
in Goebbels' media
as a kind of warning
that Germans should keep fighting,
because this kind of atrocity is what
would happen when the Soviets got there.
[TV announcer 3, in German]
German soldiers are running into an enemy
who occupies cities and villages
with a bestiality that is hardly found
in human history.
[somber music playing]
[Richie, in English]
Of course, it sent waves of panic
amongst the people of Germany.
[Pine] Hitler would always argue,
however bad the situation was,
he wasn't going to capitulate.
And not only that,
he expected all the population
to stay with him in that.
Not to give up,
not to relent, not to give in.
[trial participant] Will you repeat
this oath after me? I swear by God
that I will speak the pure truth
and will withhold and add nothing.
[Speer speaking indistinctly in German]
[trial participant, in English]
You may sit.
[in German] From January 1945 onward,
a terrible chapter began:
the last phase of the war
and the realization
that Hitler had identified the fate
of the German people with his own.
[Steven Remy, in English] Albert Speer
is the armaments minister in 1945.
[Evans] He was anti-Semitic,
he was racist,
and he was very subservient to Hitler.
[Remy] He knows
by the beginning of 1945 that
the war is is over.
[Evans] Speer was confident enough
of his own personal relationship
with Hitler
that he thought he could tell him
how it really was.
[dramatic music playing]
[Remy] The key thing,
as always in this regime,
would be, "How would Hitler respond?"
[music intensifies darkly]
[Richie] Hitler's reaction
to Albert Speer's memo
is one of fury, anger,
and effectively disbelief.
[in German] Hitler then said
that pessimistic statements of the nature
of those contained in my memorandum
would in future be considered
as high treason and punished accordingly.
Anyone who disobeyed would be shot
without regard for position or rank,
and his family would be arrested.
[Hitler] The horrid fate
that is now taking shape in the east
of thousands in the villages
and marketplaces,
in the country, in the cities,
will be warded off in the end
and mastered by us,
with the utmost exertion
and despite all setbacks and hard trials.
I expect every able-bodied
to otherwise handicapped
to work to their last strength.
[Hett, in English]
By this point in the war,
a little over five million German soldiers
had been killed in combat.
And Germany really was running
out of military-age young men.
They called up a Volkssturm,
a people's militia.
[in German] Men of the Berlin Volkssturm
[in English] Volkssturm means
Volk is "the people,"
and sturm is "storm."
[Goebbels, in German]
Germany had millions of men
ready and determined to fight
[in English] It comes across
as a very strong word,
you know, "the Volkssturm."
[Goebbels, in German]
who have the firm and unshakable will
never to capitulate.
[in English] But in fact,
in reality, is very pathetic.
[melancholy string music playing]
[Richie] It's the recruitment
of very young boys
and very old men
to fight against the Red Army.
[Goebbels, in German]
Volkssturm soldiers of Berlin,
raise your hand in unity
and repeat after me.
"I swear this holy oath
that to the leader
of the Greater German Reich,
Adolf Hitler,
I will be unconditionally loyal."
[soldiers] I will be
unconditionally loyal.
[Richie, in English]
Something that really characterizes Hitler
is that he does not seem to be able
to understand basic human empathy
or basic human compassion
for the human beings
that he's pushing around
like ants on an anthill or something.
And so to understand Hitler
and to understand his endgame,
one has to understand
that actually, ultimately, he doesn't care
about the human beings
that he's playing with.
[Remy] Because of the ongoing
bombardment of Berlin,
Hitler is forced
to leave his living quarters
in the Reich Chancellery
and move into this elaborate
underground bunker complex.
[moody music playing]
[Pine] It's dark.
It's gloomy.
It's claustrophobic.
[Eaton] This bunker was a place
where Hitler was increasingly isolated,
far more than he had been
for the rest of the war,
and where he became
increasingly distrustful
of those around him.
-[intriguing music playing]
-[typewriter keys clacking]
[Hett] Traudl Junge was a young woman
from Bavaria
who had served as Hitler's secretary
for several years by this point.
[Richie] And it's interesting
to read the memoirs of Traudl Junge,
who's in the bunker
loyally typing Hitler's orders.
[Junge] We are all leaded in our thoughts
and our feelings by Hitler.
We all were playing in a play,
each his role,
and he was the only one
who knew the script.
He made us all do our play
and speak our text.
Nobody else knew how it would end.
He very seldom went out.
And it's remarkable, in World War II,
that he refused
to visit bombed-out families.
He could not abide
the sight of the destruction
that he had ultimately wrought.
[foreboding music playing]
[Evans] Well, you can't be a dictator
in personal charge of your armed forces
at a time when they're being beaten back
on every front
without suffering
serious symptoms of stress.
[Remy] He had developed a tremor
in his arm, in his hand,
that had become uncontrollable.
[Evans] He began showing
symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
[Remy] He is taking
a strange, elaborate cocktail
of medications and drugs.
Slowly but steadily, he became weak.
The doctors went in and out,
and he became totally apathetic.
The one scenario
that he's really clinging to early in 1945
is that somehow or another,
there will be a break
between the Western powers
and the Soviet Union,
and this will bring some kind of salvation
to him and to Germany.
[TV announcer 4] Early February,
and final plans at Yalta.
Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin
drafting the victory blueprints.
[Remy] In February 1945,
at Yalta in Crimea,
the Allies meet.
[lively orchestral music playing]
This is yet another demonstration
of the solidity of the Grand Alliance,
one that Hitler still doesn't believe in.
[TV announcer 4] The Big Three
achieve realistic agreement.
The Nazi criminals will be punished.
[Shirer] At Yalta, let us face the fact,
they decided on a hard keep for Germany.
Hard, but not unjust.
A promise to bring
all German war criminals
to just and swift punishment.
[Evans] This is one reason
why Hitler was all-or-nothing.
He was not going to be subject
to the humiliation of capture
and possibly trial.
[TV announcer 4] And after Yalta,
action in the West.
[somber music playing]
[Hett] The consequence
for Germany and Germans
of Hitler's determination
to fight to the end
is that the end of the war
is utterly catastrophic for Germans,
far more than it would've needed to be.
[bombs whistling]
[TV announcer 4] Allied planes
rain destruction on Germany.
[Evans] Half a million German civilians
were killed in the bombing raids,
and they were killed overwhelmingly
in the later stage of the war.
[Hett] By late in the war,
the scale of the bomber fleets
has grown so large
that the bombers can deliver raids
of incredible destructive power.
[bombs whistling]
[projector whirring]
[somber music playing]
[Richie] And one of the cities
most infamously targeted
is the city of Dresden,
which was a beautiful baroque city
with gorgeous artworks and so on,
one of the gems of Central Europe.
It's full of refugees.
It doesn't really have
much of an industrial capacity.
There, of course,
are some factories there.
This bombing didn't focus
primarily on military targets,
but on creating terror
in order to bring about
the end of the war.
-[bleak music playing]
The raid created something
that was known as a firestorm.
-[fires roaring]
-[solemn string music playing]
[Evans] This meant
there were so many fires,
they joined together
and became absolutely superheated
and sucked in the air
from the rest of the city.
Some people who tried to walk along,
they got pulled in by the fire.
They all of a sudden disappeared
right in front of you.
Such a draft in a firestorm like that.
It's a most horrible thing.
You have to save yourself,
or try to get as far away from the fire,
because the draft pulls you in.
[solemn string music continues]
[Evans] Something like 25,000 people
were killed over these two days.
There was no time to
dig individual graves.
We had to make big mass graves.
[Hett] The fire is burning so hot
that it can suck the air
out of bomb shelters,
so many people died by being asphyxiated
in their bomb shelter.
It was just You couldn't believe
that this was a whole person.
I saw sometimes two people close together
who maybe in despair had
and was one tiny little figure.
[suspenseful music playing]
[Richie] In March 1945,
Speer, who's become even more concerned
with the potential fate
of the German people now,
goes to Hitler and says,
"We have to work together
to somehow find a way out of this
so that we can preserve
the last vestiges of Germany,
of the German people."
[in German] Hitler made
declarations to me:
There was no need
to take into consideration
the basics which the people would need
to live even a primitive existence.
On the contrary, it would be better
to destroy these things ourselves,
because this nation will have proved
to be the weaker one,
and the future belongs solely
to the stronger eastern nation.
[Evans, in English]
Hitler believed that history,
life indeed, was all about the struggle
for the survival of the fittest
between races,
and so they didn't deserve
to survive anyway.
[TV announcer 5] As they pull back,
they destroy.
Hitler has ordered a senseless policy
that the earth be scorched
without regard to military value.
[Speer, in German] The German people
remained loyal to Adolf Hitler
until the end.
He betrayed them with intent.
He tried to throw them
definitely into the abyss.
[intriguing music playing]
[Pine] Eva Braun, who was
Hitler's long-term partner, in effect,
came back to be with Hitler at the end.
[Hett] They had a very long relationship,
but Hitler always made a point
of keeping her secret.
[Evans] He always portrayed himself
as somebody who had sacrificed
his private life for Germany.
[Eaton] He had expressly forbidden her
ever to be in Berlin with him
and wanted her to stay in Bavaria.
But she, against his wishes,
came because she was so loyal to him.
Hitler tried to seem angry,
but he wasn't successful.
He was obviously so happy
that she was there,
that nobody tried to to send her back.
[Remy] She did this of her own volition.
She wanted to share his ultimate fate.
[lively string music playing]
[Evans] By the later stages of the war,
the concentration camps
were increasingly in the path
of the encroaching Allies.
Therefore, they were evacuated
by the Germans.
They said we have to go
because the Russians are close here.
So they didn't want us
to be liberated by the Russians.
The SS gathered the inmates together
and marched them away from the fighting.
[Strassman] Then we walked for six weeks.
[Lubliner] We didn't know
what was happening, where we were going.
[haunting music playing]
[Glass] At night,
they let us rest on a field outside.
It was cold there.
And in the morning, we saw
several people dead from the cold.
[Szekely] We started to march
in snow up to the knees,
and the soldiers and the German Shepherds
were on the side and behind us,
and they said if somebody
cannot keep up with marching,
they are going to be shot
here in the gutter.
Hundreds of people
were shot in the gutter.
[Pine] They took the prisoners
on these death marches
to other concentration camps.
[foreboding music playing]
[Evans] One of the camps which was used
as one of these collecting centers
was Belsen, or Bergen-Belsen,
in northern Germany.
[Glass] Once we walked into that camp,
we saw bodies and bodies piled up.
We figured, "This is it."
"If we are not
going to get liberated right away,
we are going to end up just like that."
[Szekely] And we didn't have no food.
We didn't have food
for six weeks, nothing.
[Lubliner] As time went on,
corpses were piling up
faster than they could be burned,
so that every morning we would look out,
and there'd be this huge pile of corpses.
[Szekely] It's just to
to die, the place, nothing.
They That was the purpose,
but not with killing, just slowly to die.
[Evans] And in this situation,
the British army arrived.
[TV announcer 6] Such was the speed
of the Allied advance
that the guards were taken
before they had time to flee.
Liberated prisoners
could not control their emotion.
[stirring music playing]
[Glass] The commandant, he stands up.
He took one of those, uh, loudspeakers
and announced,
"We are from the British army.
We came in to liberate you,
and, uh, you are free!"
That word, you are "free," you know?
This was something
like we're getting a new life.
You know, you could see people,
we thought they were dead!
We could see a smile on their faces
when they heard that word, "free."
[Evans] The famous British reporter
Richard Dimbleby was on the scene
and described exactly what he saw.
[haunting music playing]
[Dimbleby] I find it
hard to describe adequately
the horrible things
that I've seen and heard,
but here, unadorned, are the facts.
It is one of the first occasions
in which the true horror of Nazism
became apparent to the world.
[Dimbleby] I'd passed through the barrier
and found myself
in the world of a nightmare.
Dead bodies, some of them in decay,
lay strewn about the road
and along the rutted tracks.
The dead and the dying lay close together.
They were crawling with lice
and smeared with filth.
One woman,
distraught to the point of madness,
flung herself at a British soldier.
She begged him to give her some milk
for the tiny baby she held in her arms.
And when the soldier opened
the bundle of rags to look at the child,
he found it had been dead for days.
Knowledge and information
about the camp system
has already been made public,
but it's one thing
to know about it on paper,
and to perhaps think
it's wartime propaganda,
or to actually understand,
"No, this was an integral part
of the Nazi system of violence."
The things in this camp
are beyond describing.
When you actually see them for yourselves,
you know what you're fighting for here.
Pictures in the paper
cannot describe it at all.
[Shirer] The revelations burst upon me
like a thunderbolt
and left me numb for several days.
My mind, my imagination,
unable to cope with their enormity.
It had been too horrendous
for ordinary mortals to grasp.
I myself had been skeptical,
despite all my years in Nazi Germany.
As bad as my grandfather knew
this regime was,
it was far worse than he knew.
He beat himself up somewhat
about having not done enough.
[Shirer] Looking back, I have to admit
a terrible failure on my part.
I should have done much more than I did
to get the facts of this terrible genocide
and then report it.
[radio announcer 1]
We interrupt this program
to bring you a special news bulletin.
President Roosevelt is dead.
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt died,
Hitler and Goebbels thought
this was a kind of sign or omen
that the war would end victoriously,
but they didn't think it for very long.
-[suspenseful music playing]
The final battle for Berlin
begins in the middle of April 1945.
[TV announcer 7, in Russian]
From the start of the Berlin operation,
the enemy offered
extremely stubborn resistance.
[Richie, in English] The Germans felt
absolute fear and terror of the Red Army.
They knew that the Soviets
were intent on revenge.
[TV announcer 7, in Russian]
It was said Hitler commanded them
to fight the last person,
to the last bullet.
[Eaton, in English] German civilians
were living in basements,
often with no inhabitable apartments
or housing above them.
[Richie] When the Germans
would sometimes find
some of these people hiding in cellars,
these people were taken out
by the Germans,
by their own side, and killed,
hung on lampposts
with signs saying, "I am a traitor."
It's a system of the degradation
of human life.
[news alert music playing]
The last known filmed footage
of Adolf Hitler
is taken when he emerges briefly
from the bunker
to greet a group of Hitler Youth.
[TV announcer 8, in German]
At his headquarters, the Führer receives
the Reich Youth Leader Axmann
with a delegation of 20 Hitler boys
who have proved particularly effective
in defending their homeland
and were awarded the Iron Cross for this.
[somber string music playing]
[Evans, in English] These were kids.
These are boys
in their early- to mid-teens.
[in German] I've often managed
to deliver bazookas and provisions
into the main battle line.
I have delivered under fire
on wagons or carts.
[Richie, in English] It's pathetic,
it's tragic for all those young people,
many of whom
will still lose their lives in this fight.
[moody piano music playing]
[Evans] April 20th happened
to be Hitler's birthday.
He was 56.
Previously, from 1933 onwards,
there'd been massive national celebrations
on Hitler's birthday.
-[dramatic music playing]
-[crowd cheering]
But the birthday in 1945
is very different.
[scattered applause]
[Junge] Everybody shook Hitler's hand
and wished him the best, and it was
It was all very depressed.
It was not a a happy birthday.
[dark music playing]
[Evans] After the rather muted
birthday celebrations
for Hitler in the bunker,
many of the people left
and found cars or planes
to take themselves out of Berlin.
[Remy] SS leader Heinrich Himmler,
one of Hitler's most loyal supporters
and officials,
tried to convince Hitler
to leave the bunker.
And then Himmler himself
gets out of Berlin.
[poignant piano music playing]
[children laughing]
[Remy] Unlike every other
high-level party official,
the Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels
not only moves into the bunker,
he will bring his wife
and their six children.
[Junge] The children found it exciting
and liked to be in Uncle Hitler's bunker.
They didn't know what fate
they were expecting there.
-[troops cheering]
-[uplifting music playing]
[TV announcer 9] And so
an historic milestone in this world war
has been reached and passed.
The American First Army and the Russians
have joined in the heart of Germany
near Leipzig,
cutting the Reich in two.
On the 25th of April 1945,
a momentous moment happens
when the Red Army meets
the Western forces at Torgau.
[radio announcer 2]
Now here is William L. Shirer,
former CBS correspondent in Germany,
where the Allied armies have met.
[Shirer] The Americans met the Russians
on the banks of the great river, the Elbe.
This is the day
so many of us feared so long
might never come.
In Berlin, in the early days of the war,
it seemed that nothing would stop
the terrific fighting machine
which Hitler had built up.
Even when first Russia
and then America came into the war,
it was hard to believe
that their two armies
would ever meet in the heart of Germany.
[Richie] Now, it's just a matter of time
as to when the rest of the forces
are gonna come together
and extinguish any last remnants
of Hitler's forces.
[Hett] There's a sense in the bunker,
things are brewing towards a storm,
and the storm really breaks
on the 22nd of April,
when Hitler launches into a tirade
against some of his military commanders,
which is extreme
even by Hitler's standards,
and Hitler indicates
that he thinks the war is lost.
[Junge] And there was a moment
of absolute silence,
and we stood, like, shocked.
[Hett] Because of this tirade,
Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler
draw certain lessons from this.
They both think
that that's, in effect, Hitler indicating
that he's done and he's going to abdicate,
and both of them start taking steps
on that basis.
[enticing string music playing]
[Richie] Goering writes a telegram
to Hitler,
saying, "Look, I'm very happy
to take over as Führer for you."
[music turns chaotic]
[Remy] It is a colossal betrayal
in his eyes.
[Hitler shouting indistinctly]
[intriguing music playing]
[Richie] Heinrich Himmler has been called
by Hitler his "true Heinrich."
He's the one steadfast figure
who's always gonna stand with Hitler,
and Hitler truly believes this
until almost to the end.
But what does Himmler do?
[TV announcer 10] As the Nazi hierarchy
falls apart,
Himmler is said to be trying hard
to arrange surrender terms
for what is left of the German army.
The BBC broadcasts the fact
that Himmler has been trying
to negotiate with the Western Allies.
[TV announcer 10] In their conversations,
Himmler is reported
to have told Bernadotte
that Hitler is a dying man,
and he wouldn't live more than 48 hours
after Germany's capitulation.
Some observers here interpret that to mean
Himmler intends to have Hitler killed.
[frenetic music playing]
[Richie] Hitler gets wind of it
in the bunker and then goes ballistic.
[Hitler shouting indistinctly]
[Junge] Hitler was very upset
because he held Himmler
for his most faithful paladin,
and the most reliable one,
and now he saw
that also he had tried to betray him.
[Remy] On April 29th,
Hitler dictates two important documents
to his secretary Traudl Junge.
[Junge] He dictated me,
at first, his private will,
and afterwards,
his, um, political testimony.
I expected that I would be
the first and the only one
who is going to know the explanation
and declaration
why the war had come to this end,
and why Hitler couldn't stop.
And why the development
and why the catastrophe.
I thought, "Now, I will come see
the moment of the truth."
[shouting indistinctly]
[Junge] But he used nothing new.
He he came out with his old phrases.
[unsettling music playing]
[Junge] He repeated his accusations,
his revenge,
swearing to the enemy
and to the Jewish capitalistic system.
[Omer Bartov] Hitler, in his testament,
says that the struggle
against world Jewry has to continue.
Him thinking, "No,
we still have to continue fighting them,
we have not finished the job,"
is something that tells you
[music intensifies frenetically]
[Bartov] a great deal
about the mind of this man.
[Richie] Hitler, having been a soldier,
believes that the only dignified death
for a soldier is to die by bullet,
but he's also aware of the fact
that Eva Braun has to die,
and she's going to die by cyanide,
because this is more
of a ladylike way of dying.
Once this decision
to commit suicide had taken shape,
Hitler decided to test out the poison.
[Richie] Hitler has a favorite dog
called Blondi,
and he he really loves this dog.
[Hett] He takes a cyanide capsule
and puts it in Blondi's mouth
and forces Blondi's jaws closed.
[Remy] And the dog
dies an agonizing death.
[Blondi whining]
[Pine] And so he knew
that the poison was effective.
[Evans] It's often said that Hitler
loved animals more than he loved people,
but this showed, I think,
how absolutely ruthless he was.
[TV announcer 11] In Italy,
the Milan radio says
Benito Mussolini and other fascist leaders
have been executed by Italian patriots.
On the 29th of April,
word reached the bunker
that Benito Mussolini and his mistress
had been killed.
[TV announcer 12]
Mussolini and his mistress are displayed,
hung up at a gasoline station.
Hitler did not want that
to happen to himself.
So he dictates that his body
and Eva Braun's body are to be burned.
[dark music playing]
[Remy] On the night
of April 28th and 29th,
Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun are married
in what must be one of the strangest,
most bizarre wedding ceremonies ever held.
[Richie] It seemed to be
this kind of demented idea of honor
that they get married.
Hitler will make sure
that she goes down in history
as the great man's wife,
rather than just somebody
he's had an affair with over the years.
[Junge] I had to congratulate Eva Braun,
and I was a little, um
a little shy about what to say.
And I shake hand to hand,
she said, "Oh, you can say
Mrs. Hitler to me now."
And I did.
[suspenseful music playing]
[glasses clinking]
[Pine] There was
a wedding breakfast afterwards,
but very quickly, it deteriorated
into a feeling of gloom and doom.
[Junge] His face was already dead.
It was like a mask.
He looked at me, but I had the feeling
he looked through me.
[Remy] In the final moments,
he takes a few minutes to say goodbye.
[Evans] He also gave them
the cyanide capsule each,
as encouraging them to commit suicide.
[Pine] Eva Braun was determined
to be a beautiful corpse.
And so she bit on a cyanide capsule
and took her life in that way.
[Richie] There's some matters of debate
as to whether or not
Hitler also took cyanide,
just to make doubly sure
that that this would work.
[Remy] We know that he shot himself.
[Richie] Hitler shot himself
in the temple,
which he considers to be
a sort of honorable soldier's death.
[dramatic music building]
[music rising]
[music fades]
[somber music playing]
[Hett] In accordance
with Hitler's very careful instructions,
SS men take the bodies upstairs,
up to the aboveground area.
They have gathered together
as much gasoline as they can find.
Gasoline is very scarce
in Berlin now at this point,
but they've gotten together what they can.
Gasoline is sprayed over the bodies,
and they are set on fire,
and they are burned right then and there
in the garden of the Chancellery.
[uneasy music playing]
[Junge] If you consider that
there came most appalling reports
from the East Front,
what the Russians had done
to the German population,
especially to the German women.
We was very, very fearful,
and we intended not to fall
in the hands of the enemy.
[Pine] In the aftermath
of Hitler's and Eva Braun's suicide,
Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda
also decide to take their lives.
Not only that,
the lives of their six young children too.
Magda stated to someone close to her
that these children had to die
because there could be no future
without Hitler and the regime for them.
They took the lives
of their six young children
before committing suicide themselves.
[door closes]
[Richie] All sorts of the top Nazis
are also committing suicide.
[Hett] Heinrich Himmler commits suicide,
but only once he's been arrested
by the British,
because he fears
what's going to come next.
[Richie] And there are others as well,
who simply cannot stand the idea
of a world without Hitler.
[radio announcer 3] CBS World News
now brings you further details
on the reported death of Adolf Hitler.
We take you to San Francisco.
William L. Shirer reporting.
[Shirer] So Hitler is dead,
or so they say, and destroyed
like his country that he tried
to make the master of the world,
and and ended only by destroying.
This is a day that I have been waiting for
for many a year.
My own personal fate brought me
into, uh, some contact with a man
who I think will go down in history
as, uh, the evil genius of our time.
[pulse-pounding music playing]
With Hitler gone, the way is really clear
for Germany to surrender.
[Shirer] In a brief talk
following the historic ceremony,
General Jodl says, in part,
"With this signature, the German people
and the German armed forces
are, for better or worse,
delivered into the victors' hands."
"In this hour, I can only express hope
that the victor will treat them
with generosity."
[Richie] This marks
the end of the war in Europe,
and Europe erupts in celebration.
[uplifting music playing]
[crowd cheering]
[bells clanging in celebration]
[Shirer] I wonder if all of us
celebrating the end of the war tonight,
and outside this studio in New York
You can still hear
the shouting in the streets.
[crowd cheering]
[Shirer] I wonder if we've forgotten
or will soon forget
how hopeless the battle seemed
for so long to our side.
I happened to be in Berlin
the day, September 1st '39,
the German part of the war started.
The Germans seemed so strong then,
that a lonely American
on the streets of Berlin that day
wondered whether the forces
of democracy, of decency,
would ever rally in time.
Now, one's thoughts turn to the future,
to put our minds and our hearts
to work on a better world,
one in which, above all,
there should be no more wars.
[melancholy string music playing]
[Richie] Europe is in absolute ruins.
[Hett] The estimate
is that 60 million people
were killed in the Second World War,
and the great majority of them
were civilians.
[Richie] But for those who are living,
even trying to find food, find shelter,
is an enormous task.
[TV announcer 13] In shattered Europe,
the face of victory
looks very like the face of defeat.
At the same time,
punishing Nazi perpetrators
was one of their highest priorities.
[TV announcer 14]
Rudolf Hess, third-ranking Nazi
before his spectacular flight to Britain,
is held for trial.
Field Marshal Hermann Goering
loses his sidearms and all his arrogance
when captured by the American army.
[Pendas] Thousands of suspected
war criminals escaped Germany.
[TV announcer 15] Many were found
after months of intensive search.
[Pendas] But the Allies did quickly catch
some of the highest-ranking Nazis.
[TV announcer 16]
Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop,
he was arrested
in the home of his mistress.
[TV announcer 17]
And here, Vice Chancellor von Papen,
who was found in his hunting lodge.
Some of the key Nazi leaders then
who are brought in and put on trial
are people like Hermann Goering,
Rudolf Hess, Hans Frank,
Joachim von Ribbentrop,
Albert Speer,
Alfred Rosenberg, and other Nazi leaders.
[TV announcer 18] And so,
1945 becomes the year
not only of the Nazis' military defeat,
but of their public trial.
[solemn music playing]
[Shirer] I went to Nuremberg
to see Hitler's henchmen in the dock.
Justice, for once,
had caught up with the perpetrators
of some of the most cold-blooded
and massive crimes men had ever committed.
I had not believed,
in the despairing years
I labored in Berlin,
that I would ever see it.
[Hirsch] The Nazis had produced
and saved so much documentary evidence
of their own war crimes
and crimes against humanity,
and those documents
became absolutely critical
to the prosecution's case.
[Shirer] In these papers,
the Nazis convicted themselves
of the most heinous crimes,
though they were given
every opportunity to defend themselves.
[dark music playing]
[von Papen, in German] I believe that
I can face my responsibility
with a clear conscience.
[Hirsch, in English]
At the end of the trial,
the defendants
get to say their last words.
[in German] Love of country and people
was the only decisive factor
in all my actions.
They claim that we all attended
secret conferences
in order to plan a war of aggression.
Besides that, we are supposed
to have ordered the alleged murder
of 12 million people.
I know my conscience
to be completely free from any such guilt.
[in English]
They're constantly trying to say,
"Oh, Hitler was the one
who was in charge of all the decisions."
[Speer, in German]
Hitler and the collapse of his system
have brought a time
of tremendous suffering
upon the German people.
[Richie, in English]
Albert Speer tries to portray himself
as effectively an innocent victim
of Hitler's charisma.
[Speer, in German] The German people
will despise and condemn Hitler
as the author of its misfortune.
[Hirsch, in English]
Joachim von Ribbentrop,
Hitler's foreign minister,
uses the opportunity to challenge
the legitimacy of the tribunal.
[in German] What we intended was to look
after our elementary necessities of life,
in the same way that England
looked after her own interests
in order to make one-fifth of the world
subject to her,
and the same way the United States
took an entire continent,
and Russia took
the largest inland territory of the world
under the hegemony.
[typewriter keys clacking]
[Hirsch, in English] Hans Frank,
Hitler's Governor-General
of occupied Poland,
admits to some sort of
general feeling of guilt.
[Frank, in German] We did not suspect
that our turning away from God
could have such disastrous,
deadly consequences.
[Hirsch, in English]
even as he denies any responsibility.
[in German] At that time,
we could not have known
that so much loyalty
on the part of the German people
could have been so badly directed by us.
[Hirsch, in English]
Hermann Goering is absolutely unrepentant.
[in German] I stand up for the things
that I have done.
[Hirsch, in English] He's full of denials
[Goering, in German] I have never
decreed the murder
of a single individual at any time.
[Hirsch, in English] full of bluster
[Goering, in German] And neither
did I decree any other atrocities
or tolerate them.
[Hirsch, in English]
and absolutely defiant.
[Goering, in German]
The Prosecution uses the fact
that I was the second man of the State
as proof that I must have known
everything that happened.
But it does not present
any documentary or other convincing proof
that I knew about certain things,
much less desired them.
[in English] None of the defendants
have shown any real contrition.
[Hess, in German] I am happy to know
that I have done my duty to my people,
as a loyal follower of my Führer.
[Jackson, in English]
Mr. President and members of the tribunal
[Pendas] After nearly a year-long trial,
Jackson, in his closing argument,
really reiterates that the Germans,
in their own words,
have admitted
to a vast array of criminal actions.
[Jackson] The documents show
they agreed on policies and on methods,
and all working aggressively
for the expansion of Germany
by force of arms.
The Nazi movement will be
of evil memory in history
because of its persecution of the Jews,
the most far-flung and terrible
racial persecution of all time.
[dramatic music playing]
[Jackson] We now have before us
the flimsy excuses
and the paltry evasions of the defendants.
The chief villain
on whom blame is placed is Hitler.
He is the man at whom
nearly every defendant
has pointed an accusing finger.
What these men have overlooked is
that Adolf Hitler's acts are their acts.
Nowhere do we find a single instance
where any one of these defendants
stood up against the rest
and said, "This thing is wrong."
Hitler did not carry all responsibility
to the grave with him.
All the guilt is not wrapped
in Himmler's shroud.
It was these dead men
whom these living
chose to be their partners.
And the crimes that they did together,
they must pay for one by one.
[Hirsch] After the closings,
the tribunal will break for about a month,
where the judges will deliberate
on the judgment and the verdicts.
[Shirer] God knows that, as one
of the few persons at Nuremberg
who had seen Hitler and his henchmen
in Berlin deliberately start the war,
I felt that it was a crime
and that the perpetrators
should be held responsible.
But this was, I realized,
an emotional reaction.
Justice had to be more than that.
[TV announcer 19] Ten months,
the International Military Tribunal sat.
It carefully studied
the countless evidence.
It attentively listened
to the numerous witnesses,
and after mature deliberation,
the judges pronounced their verdict.
[judge] The tribunal finds that von Papen
is not guilty under this indictment.
[Hett] Three of the defendants
were in fact acquitted.
[judge] Schacht is not guilty
on this indictment.
[Hett] Which does say something
about the legitimacy of the exercise.
[judge] Defendant Albert Speer.
[Hirsch] The Western judges
are somewhat sympathetic to Speer.
[judge] It must be recognized
that he was one of the few men
who had the courage to tell Hitler
that the war was lost,
at considerable personal risk.
[Hirsch] He ends up
with a 20-year prison sentence
instead of death by hanging.
[Nikitchenko, in Russian]
None knew better than Hess
how determined Hitler was
to realize his ambitions.
[Hirsch, in English] Rudolf Hess,
he's found guilty on some of the charges.
[judge] On the counts of the indictment
on which you have been convicted,
the tribunal sentences you
to imprisonment for life.
[Pendas] Altogether, there were
22 defendants, 21 in the courtroom,
with one of the defendants
tried in absentia.
And of the defendants, 19 are convicted.
[judge] Ribbentrop's defense is that
Hitler made all the important decisions.
The tribunal does not consider
this explanation to be true.
[Pendas] Of the 19 who are convicted,
12 are sentenced to death.
[judge] Defendant Hermann Wilhelm Goering,
his own admissions
are more than sufficiently wide
to be conclusive of his guilt.
His guilt is unique in its enormity.
The record discloses
no excuses for this man.
On the counts of the indictment
on which you have been convicted,
the International Military Tribunal
sentences you to death by hanging.
[TV announcer 20] So ended the labors
of the tribunal of the nation,
the tribunal of history,
the sword of justice descended
on the heads of the warmongers.
[Pine] Hermann Goering, though,
somehow managed to cheat the hangman.
[Pendas] Being hung
like a common criminal,
he feels is beneath the dignity
of a man of his stature.
[Pine] He smuggled a cyanide capsule
himself into his cell,
and so right in that very last moment,
he bit down on that cyanide capsule.
[TV announcer 21]
Goering chooses to die by his own hand.
The other ten wait for the gallows.
[Shirer] Goering,
and Martin Bormann
have been sentenced
by the International Military Tribunal
to die on the gallows.
Humanity, I had a feeling,
was relieved and grateful
at the news from Nuremberg.
There was, after all,
some sort of rough justice in our world.
When you saw people,
civilians who were bombed out
or worse, who had been hounded
in the concentration camps,
still intact as human beings
with a will to go on,
with a faith still in themselves
and their fellow man and their God,
it filled you with a certain pride.
[solemn orchestral music playing]
[crowd murmuring]
[Hirsch] Trials continued,
but at the same time
as trials of war criminals are ongoing,
the Cold War is starting,
and so US policy starts to shift.
[Eaton] Nazis who were useful
either in science or technology
were invited to come to the US
because their usefulness
was more important
than the sort of moral reckoning.
And so all kinds of people who had
taken part in this murderous regime
were never punished.
[Shirer] When you write history,
you let the reader draw the conclusions,
but I must say
that I couldn't help but thinking
of conditions in our own country.
The divisions, the tremendous intolerance
of people for each other.
The world we live in now, right now,
is a world that seems to have forgotten
many of the lessons
of what happened in Nazi Germany.
[Richie] Seeing the rise
of authoritarianism, of anti-Semitism
My grandfather made sure to tell us
what happened in Nazi Germany
could happen here.
And you have to be vigilant
and fight against it as much as you can.
You cannot be complacent.
[Shirer] Living in a totalitarian land
taught me to value highly
and rather fiercely
the very things that dictators denied.
Tolerance, respect for others,
and above all,
the freedom of the human spirit.
[plaintive piano music playing]
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