It was the beginning of the end.
As Adolf Hitler sat in his underground bunker on April 30, 1945, 30ft below the ruins of Berlin, scoffing on spaghetti, he almost certainly pondered where it had all gone so terribly wrong.
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The Nazi leader was last seen in public on his 56th birthday on April 20, 1945, awarding medals to conscripts. But within days his world had shrunk to a few dank rooms 30ft below the ruins of Berlin.
As munitions ran out and his forces became penned in, the Nai leader retreated to his Führerbunker – an air-raid shelter located near the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.
It is here that he spent his final days.
In the bunker Hitler was surrounded by a dozen generals and aides who were required to provide updates twice a day about the war.
They dreaded these meetings knowing that the remnants of the German army were outnumbered by three to one.
Just after midnight on the day before his death, Hitler dictated his “political testament” to secretary Traudl Junge.
Ms Junge, who joined Hitler’s staff in 1942 when she was 22, had once dreamed of becoming a dancer.
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War put paid to her hopes and she was chosen to be Hitler’s secretary because she came from Bavaria, his favourite part of Germany.
One of her duties was to open love letters from women who were besotted with Hitler but her final task was to record his will.
“After April 22 he talked about suicide constantly,” she told ITV's The Day Hitler Died. “He said that the place to die was in battle leading his troops but he feared he might only be wounded and captured. Then the Russians would degrade him. He made plans to take poison and shoot himself.”
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While dictating his will, he revealed his intention to marry his mistress of 14 years, Eva Braun, saying: “I and my wife choose death to escape the shame of deposal and surrender. It is our will that our bodies be burned immediately.”
Less than an hour later they were wed, with their ceremony being witnessed by the only other senior Nazis remaining in the bunker: Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann, private secretary to the Fuhrer.
The nervous magistrate asks both bride and groom to confirm they are of “pure Aryan descent and free of any hereditary diseases”.
With Soviet troops only a few hundred yards away the pair tied the knot in the bunker, on April 29, in a bizarre ceremony.
Braun was wearing a black dress and the guests drank champagne. The lights flickered due to nearby explosions, which also showered the rooms with dust.
Hitler’s Last Day: Minute By Minute by Jonathan Mayo and Emma Craigie reveals that later that same day, the fuhrer got his famous moustach trimmed, and obtained some medication for his flatulence.
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The book says: "Hitler’s barber, August Wollenhaupt, comes to his bedroom to give his hair and moustache – designed to cover his unusually large nostrils – their fortnightly trim.
"Valet Linge administers cocaine drops to Hitler’s painful right eye and gives him a packet of pills for his flatulence.
"The Fuhrer, always a hypochondriac, is now suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a heart problem and numerous stress-related conditions."
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On the day of his death, Hitler’s Last Day: Minute By Minute adds: "Eva Hitler has barely slept. She hurries up the concrete steps to the Reich Chancellery garden. She has a sudden urge “to see the sun once more”.
"Noon Hitler summons military staff for the daily situation conference.
"General Helmuth Weidling is pessimistic. 'Munitions are running out. Air supplies have become impossible. Morale is very low. The battle of Berlin will be over by evening.'
"In his study, Hitler sends for Bormann, and tells him: 'The time has come. Fraulein Braun and I will end our lives this afternoon.'”
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According to witnesses the last meal of Hitler and Eva Braun was spaghetti with braised cabbage.
At around 3.30pm Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels' children were eating a late lunch when they heard the sound of a gunshot, at which the youngest, Helmut, shouts: “Bullseye!”
When it came to the detail of the announcement the Nazi propaganda machine exhibited its customary mendacity: "Adolf Hitler has fallen this afternoon in his command post in the Reich Chancery fighting to his last breath for Germany against Bolshevism."
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