In the Russian HQ in Berlin, the mood was euphoric. General Vasily Chuikov, delighted at news of the 'faltering' German defense, had assembled a minor celebration in his office. There, he was talking with his top associates on how easier their victory over the fallen Reich would be, and what the future would possess.
"Those krauts will be bawling their eyes out when our people lynch them on the streets", Chuikov proclaimed, "I can just imagine it now. We all being rewarded with medals from Stalin himself, because we are heroes. I'd love to see the 'Fuhrer' on display at the Moscow Zoo. The children will be running to the site just to throw rocks at the caged bastard". Everyone cheered at the thought of their victory. They had special plans to punish the Nazis once the war was over. Suddenly, one of Chuikov's chief strategists rushed into the room with important intel in his possession.
"General Chuikov", the strategist exclaimed, "There is urgent news relating to the fight in Berlin! Defenses have fallen back on all fronts except for extensive protection of the Reich Chancellory. And they only ceased their defense after several German vehicles left the premises. Hitler could have been in one of those cars!" Everyone else was caught off-guard at this shocking revelation, but Chuikov was rather skeptical of the intel.
"Even Hitler's not stupid enough to escape by road during this brutal battle", Chuikov scoffed, "It must be consisting of lesser officers".
"But all other defenses were literally pulled from their original fronts to protect the roadway of those cars! Who else would they devote so much protection for?!" Chuikov eventually realized that the Germans may have deceived him, though he still wanted to deny it.
"What direction were those vehicles traveling?"
"South, General Chuikov. Probably heading towards southern Germany".
"Tell the generals on the front to conquer the Reich Chancellory as top priority! Have them search the entire building for any German official! And if Hitler is not there, then have the entire 8th Guards Army march south! Soviet fighters and bombers will be redirected to aim for southern Germany! You are to send to a telegram to Marshall Zhukov explaining our agenda. Capturing that mad man will be the official mission!"
"Yes, General Chuikov!" The strategist then quickly raced out the room for his vital mission. The other officers quietly stared at Chuikov panting, a stark contrast in the mood priorly. They all knew that if the Allied command (especially Stalin) found out that they let the most wanted men in Europe escape, they would be shot without hesitation. They wouldn't be able to catch Hitler, but he wouldn't escape justice.
By now, Hitler and his selected entourage already arrived at the Berghof, their final stop before fleeing to Trieste. But before any further planning could be put in place, the dictator ordered for Nebe to be given a public execution. The majority of Hitler's staff, including Traudl Junge and Eva Braun, were told to stay inside while the execution took place. Chairs were assembled outside on the grass for the prominent Nazis in attendance. Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, Heydrich, Ley and Streicher were in the front row and Sauckel, Fegelein, Wolff, Kaltenbrunner, Mueller and Eichmann were in the second row. Gunsche, Krebs, Burgdorf, and Heinz Linge (Hitler's valet) stood by the side. SS officers already had their rifles prepped for the execution and were ready to take aim whenever they were ordered to. At last, Nebe was escorted by two SS guards out on the field. He simply stood in front of the ditch that was dug for his body to fall into. He stared fiercely into Hitler's eyes, and he was met with a malicious stare of ruthless vengeance.
"Nebe", Hitler announced, "You are about to feast on the fruits of your treachery! In the years following this war, you will be remembered as the man who took the fight against Judaism to the extreme, yet was stupid enough to challenge my divine authority!"
"People won't believe this facade for long, Hitler", Nebe coldly stated, "The German people will survive without you and you all will face your respective justice. Such a shame I couldn't take you out myself, but the Allies will. I'll see you all in hell". Hitler shook his head towards the chief of the execution squad and the men got into their positions.
"Men, ready!", the chief shouted, "Aim! Fire!" Single bullets flew into Nebe and his lifeless body collapsed into the ditch behind him. All of the men stood up and saw the remains of Nebe up close.
"Eh, I wished we made him struggle more", Streicher darkly commented.
"That is not what matters now", Hitler plainly stated, "Gunsche, you and the SS soldiers will have this filth doused in gasoline and burnt up into flames. And when the fire ceases, he is to be buried here unmarked! Everyone else, follow me back inside". Once everyone was inside, they continued on as if there was no execution, either because they were immoral or wanted to get the image of their conscience. Hitler was enjoying conversations with the SS officials chosen by Himmler. And he knew just about all of them, except one.
"My Fuhrer", Himmler expressed, "This is SS-Standartenfuhrer Adolf Eichmann. He has been instrumental in transporting the untermensch to their deaths. He's one of the main factors in why the Jewish race is practically extinct in Europe". Hitler closely inspected the facial features of the despicable SS man, and then he gave a sincere smile.
"Wonderful profile, Herr Eichmann", Hitler confidently responded, "I wish my generals had as much vigor as you. If the war wasn't going in the bolsheviks' favor, I'd personally award you with special honors".
"Thank you, my Fuhrer", Eichmann beamed, "At every single possibility, I sought to end as much Jews as possible. I'm exceptionally proud that the Reich's most loathed enemy has been eliminated". The Fuhrer nodded in agreement, as Linge abruptly stepped in.
"My Fuhrer", Linge panted, "Il Duce has officially arrived". With that, Hitler immediately paced to the parking area, where an SS convoy was already parked. Two SS officers escorted the disgraced Italian dictator and his mistress, Clara Petacci. Benito Mussolini was a empty shell of his former self, having been the father of fascism now turned into a mere subordinate to Hitler. Once adored by his people, now almost every Italian reviled Mussolini and their forced involvement in WW2.
"Great seeing you again, Mussolini", Hitler warmly stated while shaking Il Duce's hand, "I wouldn't feel right if I didn't bring you along".
"I am most thankful for this gesture of courtesy, Hitler", Mussolini mellowly responded, "I'm glad you've finally acknowledged that the war is lost and that the Allies will be after our heads".
"I know full well of their persistence to cease the military might of the Axis Powers", Hitler exclaimed, "That maniac Roosevelt may be dead, but his lackey Truman will still be too blind to see the Bolsheviks' true colors. Once Stalin has permitted to have a firm grip on Europe, he will brainwash millions under the sickening doctrine of the communist Slav! There may be no Jews left on Europe, but Bolshevism still thrives wherever the Russians conquer! Churchill and Truman are genuine idiots if they think they can trust Stalin! But the good news is, we won't be here to directly witness the inevitable warfare between the East and the West. I'm confident that Guderian will protect the sovereignty of both our nations. However, I will give the Allies one last chance for a conditional peace! And if they refuse, they can sort through this hellhole without us". Both former dictators entered into the Berghof where Goebbels was already preparing a radio transmitter for his Fuhrer to speak into. Hitler had last given a speech in January 30th. And he believed that this would be the last speech he would ever record.
"To the German Volk and the Allied Powers of the Soviet Union, America and the British Empire!", Hitler boomed, "The German will to defend our fatherland is no longer sufficient enough to withstand the onslaught of the Allied Powers. I have realized recently that the war is no longer worth continuing and Germany is no condition to achieve victory. However, conditional peace is still the necessary answer, if and only because of our strategic position between the West and the East. Once we recover from the conflict, we can either mediate the tensions in Europe or be an essential ally to whoever is in the Reich's best interest. The will of the German people is too strong to remain 'occupied' by Allied forces for long. Without proper German leadership, there will be unprecedented chaos that will spread across over Europe. If I do not get a affirmative reply by tomorrow morning, I will cease being in control of Germany. In that case, Hermann Goering will be become the new German president and Albert Speer will be the new chancellor. But central administrative authority will pass down to the Council of German Officers, led by Colonel General Heinz Guderian. In either case, I wish the best of the German people. Long live the National Socialist cause and long live Germany!" And soon as he finished the broadcast, thunderous applause filled the room. It felt like an honorable send-off to their grand era of prosperity. Shortly afterwards, most of the men filed into a conference room to discuss where to go after the submarine exits from Trieste.
"I wouldn't advise staying around the Mediterranean, my Fuhrer", Burgdorf explained, "The Allies are sure to do a thorough search close to home, and Franco wouldn't be trusted harboring us".
"The Pacific War prevents us from going to Asia without the possibility of getting hit and drowning", Krebs continued, "So the Allies are bound to invade Japan anyway".
"A popular hotspot for SS men seems to be South America", Kaltenbrunner interjected, "Especially Argentina, since their government is fascist as well".
"Everyone agrees on South America?", Hitler asked.
"Ja!" Hours afterwards, everyone was having one last celebration of the memories they had, whether blissful or sinister. Dinner was provided for everyone, and pictures were taken to house special moments. Near the end of the night, Hitler and Eva Braun both sat down on a central table where an SS priest was waiting. Everyone else was standing by anxiously.
"My Fuhrer", the priest began, "the racial laws require me to ask the following questions. My Fuhrer, are you of pure Aryan blood?"
"May I see official documents proving such?"
"This is the Fuhrer you're addressing", Himmler sharply reprimanded.
"Yes, Reichsfuhrer", the priest stammered, "Frau Braun, do you possess pure Aryan blood?"
"Now with that taken care of, Adolf Hitler, do you take Eva Braun as your wife for the rest of your life?"
"And Eva Braun, do you take Adolf Hitler as your husband until you die?"
"I now pronounce you both as man and wife". The room filled with applause as the couple deeply embraced each other. Hitler was no longer directing a war or leading a country, which he always chose before showing affecting for his mistress. Now, he felt that he had nothing to lose. At midnight, the majority of the group was already asleep. Hitler told them they would leave as soon as possible at morning. The dictator was sitting in his private office with his secretary, Traudl Junge, typing the guideline for which everyone would follow when leaving. But Hitler's mind was troubled with a surprising dilemma. While he was still furious with Goering and Speer for their respective acts of 'treason', he still cared about them deep inside. He developed deep bonds with both of them before and during the war. And a part of him wouldn't be comfortable sleeping with the thought of Goering and Speer being hanged for Stalin's pleasure.
"My dear Junge", Hitler softly spoke, "May you please do me one last favor while we're still in Germany? Please send a message to Guderian that I wish for Goering and Speer to be given the option of suicide as opposed to being captured. It's the least I can do for estranged old friends".
"Yes, my Fuhrer", Junge kindly replied, "I'm sure that Guderian will get the message by morning". Hitler gave a genuine smile as he patted Junge on the shoulder.
"You know, you have been a valuable asset for me ever since you started to work for me", Hitler proclaimed, "I personally vow to find the best possible home for all of us to stay in once we arrive in South America. That is my ultimate debt to you". Tears formed in both of their eyes as they hugged each other. It was a form of kindness that even Hitler's closest subordinates were barely shown. But Junge had a special place in Hitler's heart. A good portion of his humanity was expressed in his moments with her. He then slowly walked to his personal bedroom while Junge typed the last report. When Hitler reached his chambers, there was an S.S. physician waiting for him. With him was a bag of the Fuhrer's usual dosage of drugs. Despite firing Morell not long before, Hitler was still reliant on drugs in order to remain alert for his escape. Overtime, he knew he was a wreck and planned to quit them when the escape was successful. The doctor pulled up Hitler's sleeve and ejected the syringe into Hitler's forearm. With so much anxiety in his mind, this cocktail was meant to put him to asleep for the night. As soon as the physician left, Hitler collapsed on his bed in a deep sleep.
The Reich Chancellory was in flames as Chuikov's soldiers pulled out every person they could find. Most of the people they discovered were already dead, having killed themselves before the Red Army. And yet, there was no sign of Adolf Hitler or any other high-ranking Nazi. There was chaos in Chuikov's headquarters, a significant portion of it due to the general's rage.
"They're gone?!", Chuikov bellowed, "No sign of the maniac or any of his top men?!" He was fuming as he then stared at the same strategist who suggested that Hitler escaped in the cars that left the Reich Chancellory.
"Well, General Chuikov", the strategist nervously suggested, "Because it would be wrong of me to say 'I told you so', so may I suggest looking back at the evidence? Or we could just say that Hitler blew himself up and Stalin would never know. At least the war will now be over". In response to the absurd suggestion, Chuikov furiously threw the papers off his desk, broke his own gun on the side of the table and caused several items to fall from the shelves onto the floor. The enormous fit of rage had caught everyone else's attention and they were scared.
"WE'RE SUPPOSED TO JUST GIVE UP?!", Chuikov shrieked, "And lose our lives as well as our dignity! Stalin will have his bloodhounds searching for evidence of Hitler's death and they will report empty-handed! He'll have the lot of us shot for letting the madman flee under our noses! And even if we're spared, we'll have to live with the shame of letting a man, who has caused so much carnage to our motherland, go scot-free! We WILL go south and capture Hitler as our priority!"
"But sir", a Soviet major rebutted, "Our directives from HQ are to capture as much as East Germany as quick as pos-"
"LET THE AMERICANS CAPTURE THE REST OF NORTHERN GERMANY!", Chuikov retorted, "We are catching the real prize! He who captures Hitler will be the true victor of this war! I will telegram Marshal Zhukov personally about the change in our directives, while you all get the men mobilized! I will not let those huns escape Europe if it's the LAST THING I EVER DO!" He proceeded to hyperventilate whilst he calmed down and then stormed out of the room to set the new operation in place.
April 26th, 1945: Much commotion was occurring in the city of Flensburg. The newly-formed 'Council of German Officers' had stationed there the night before and immediately set it up as their current headquarters. Their main job now was to wait for Allied soldiers and other German officials 'appointed' by Hitler. Bormann was already in their custody, and Goering was traveling to Flensburg with his family, Hans Lammers and Wilhelm Canaris. Not far away from the headquarters was an apartment with one of the most important Germans remaining: Albert Speer. He was writing a memoir of his life story up to his infamous fall from grace, when he heard a hard knock on his door. When Speer opened it, on the other side was Wilhelm Mohnke and a few Wehrmacht soldiers.
"Herr Speer", Mohnke proclaimed, "It is my duty to inform you that the Fuhrer has prescribed you as Chancellor of the Reich in the wake of his death. I need you to come with us to our headquarters". At first, Speer was confused, as Hitler had lost favor with him just a few days earlier over the former's disobedience of the 'scorched earth' policy. But then, he figured that Hitler changed his mind on the destruction of the German nation if the Nazis lost the war. As he was escorted out, he had a sense of optimism, but mainly quiet. Meanwhile, Goering and his entourage officially arrived in front of the Reich Headquarters. The former Reichsmarschall had an unprecedented level of pride as he strode into the building with SS guards saluting him as he went by. Canaris felt far less proud as those same guards stared him down as he followed the others. At last, Goering arrived in the newly-established conference room for the president, chancellor and the CGO. All officers present saluted him as he took his seat, with the name tag 'President of the Reich, Hermann Goering' on his desk. His family has dispersed in the building in order to set up new living quarters, while Canaris and Lammers sat with the president. A few minutes later, Speer arrived with Mohnke continuously escorting him until they reached the conference room. As everything was being arranged, Goering noticed something strange.
"Where is the Fuhrer?", Goering asked, "He said that he was going to be for the surrender".
"Herr President", Guderian replied, "Hitler killed himself last night, having officially lost faith in German victory. I've personally seen him having constant changes of mood, but in the end, he no longer wanted to carry on. Dr. Goebbels, Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler and several S.S. leaders have also ended their lives in correspondence with our former Fuhrer. But he assigned us to take care of Germany and negotiate for our survival. A radio broadcast will be sent across the international world that we will be unconditionally surrendering. This is not up for debate, as we can negotiate certain details later on". Goering seemed to be relatively upset, at first, over the 'death' of Hitler. But in his vision, he was officially bestowed leadership of the Reich by his old friend.
"You're right, Guderian", Goering agreed, "the German people deserve to be spared the misery of prolonging this war. I'll be speaking on the radio, as most people can recognize my public figure". With that, Goering took control of the radio and prepared to read the script made for the broadcast (with him using improv on certain sections).
"I address the German Volk, our allies and our adversaries!", Goering proclaimed, "Adolf Hitler, our beloved Fuhrer, has been killed in a bombing by the Soviet forces. This bomb took out several key figures of the Third Reich! They will be all missed and remembered for generations to come. But I have been entrusted by the late Fuhrer with the honor of being the Reich's new President! Albert Speer will become the new Chancellor and, because of the notable absence of civilian talent in our government, the 'Council of German Officers' will effectively take the place of the Reichstag. It is of my duty to announce that the German Reich will unconditionally surrender to the Allied powers, including the Soviet Union. But we will not let the travesty of 1918 ever happen again! Our new government will our best to make sure Germany keeps as much rightful land as possible. We shall transform Germany into a prosperous nation is corrupted by neither capitalism or Bolshevism. Nevertheless, I permit Allied diplomats to arrive in Flensburg to conduct the peace treaty. All troops are to cease conduct by midnight. And I encourage our Japanese allies to surrender as well. Let us remember our grand efforts during this war and let us remember our Fuhrer!" And with that, the war in Europe was finally reaching an end. As soon as Goering was finished, Guderian read the telegram from Traudl Junge and then pulled out a box of full of cyanide capsules that Hitler had given to them. There was one for each man in the room.
"Everyone, take one of each", Guderian ordered, "Hitler has given you the option to kill yourselves if the Allies treat us unfairly".
"What are you worrying about?", Goering asked, "We'll be fine. If anything, the S.S. will be the ones executed after the war. We're high-profile officials and we're necessary to Germany's future".
"What makes you think they'll care?", von Rundstedt retorted miserably, "It's probable that we all hang from street poles at the very instant that we sign the peace treaty".
"Fool, they can't hang us", Goering scoffed, "We're military men. If we're to be executed, they'd have to shoot us".
"Let us not be judged for our rank", Rommel refuted, "Our actions speak far greater volumes than any rank we possess. Listen, von Rundstedt, despite your actions during this war, I hold sympathy towards your case in particular. Please don't fear death, because comrades will always join you. If we are to be executed, I'll go before you do". von Rundstedt gave a faint smile in response.
"Well, didn't the Fuhrer promise he'd take all responsibility if he.... was still alive", Keitel sidetracked, "The Wehrmacht can't automatically blamed for following orders. Loyalty is a key virtue of the German soldier".
"There is an extent to loyalty one can take", Speer objected, "This is the same man who said that Germany could no longer exist if we lost the war. He can't be living of his legacy in good grace". Rommel nodded firmly, but Guderian was a little suspicious.
"Weren't you Hitler's best friend", Guderian questioned, "Why would YOU speak ill of him?"
"Because I knew that he was not the same leader I thought he was", Speer reminisced, "In truth, I never obeyed the 'scorched earth' policy. Not only that, but I took great steps to repair our infrastructure. And I told the Fuhrer all of this when I last saw him". Most of the officers were shocked by this admission and Rommel gave a sincere smile. But Goering was far less pleased.
"Well, thanks for telling us that, Speer", Goering sarcastically replied, "The Fuhrer must be feeling great on his way to Valhalla knowing that his 'loyal' Speer defied his orders".
"Yes, great work, Chancellor", von Reichenau expressed, "Now the roads will be ALL CLEAR when the Allies come and shoot us!"
"Hey, give him a break", von Manstein interjected, "We're not exactly playing any blame game!"
"What are you talking about?!", von Reichenau shouted as he pointed at Goering, "He's the president!" With that, several of the men entered into a shouting match on who should hold responsibility and who is to blame. Doenitz looked on at the display with rapidly decreasing patience. He grabbed the nearest beer cup and smashed it against the side of the table. That instantly got everyone's attention.
"Is this what we've become?!", Doenitz reprimanded, "Without Hitler, all we're going to do is squabble. The war is essentially over and we cannot be divided in a time like this. No matter who gets prosecuted or who gets leniency, we still have a genuine duty to carry out for the fatherland!" Everyone in the room knew he was right and felt rather ashamed for their arguing.
"He's right", Jodl added, "We have to be united in the face of this war's conclusion. We must prepare to create a brand new German nation". Now they had to wait until they received a reply from the Allies.
Chuikov's army marched through southern Germany to find the Berghof. When they finally saw Hitler's home, they began to become jubilant as they continued to advance. Chuikov could taste the glory of apprehending the man who caused so much suffering to his nation. When they finally reached the Berghof however, they found the place deserted. No one was left there. The only Germans they found were the bodies of some of Hitler's servants/guards that had been forced to stay behind. But there was no sign of any top German official. Chuikov was red in the face and was about to go into a another fit but he calmed himself enough to keep him composed.
"We have reports that there is a rail line nearby", the strategist from before interjected, "Do you want us to pursue them?"
"Destroy this place, then we'll pursue the rail line", Chuikov ordered, "our bombers should be able to derail them". As Soviet soldiers pulled out grenades and threw them inside the empty Berghof, Chuikov glared into the sky with tears in his eyes. If he allowed Hitler to escape, he would've never forgiven himself. Stalin wouldn't have had to purge him, as he would have shot himself for such a dishonorable transaction. But fortunately for him, the Nazis were stopped short of their escape.
The Fuhrersonderzug was traveling at a steady pace from Austria to northern Italy. The train was especially fit to withstand bombing from enemy bombers. Hitler and his criminal accomplices were going over the procedure on their escape.
"The submarines were fueled completely after arriving in Trieste", Heydrich reported, "That should last us the entire trip to Argentina. The first submarine will consist of S.S officials and Wehrmacht officers. The other submarine will contain everyone else. Once there, we'll go into hiding for a bit, then we'll convince their president Edelmiro Farrell to give us asylum. Himmler has already been in touch with the vice president, Juan Peron, who specifically sympathizes with our fascist cause. If all else fails, we'd aid Peron in overthrowing Farrell and we'll certainly have protection, then".
"Excellent", Hitler proclaimed, "The Allied Powers won't suspect a thing! And even if they found out that Argentina harbored us, what will they do? Invade Argentina?!"
"Personally, my Fuhrer", Goebbels grinned, "I think South America is the best place to take asylum! We'll be celebrities there and partake in their fascinating culture! This has proven to be a PERFECT operation!" There was a unison of agreement that filled the room, but that quickly ceased as they found the train screeched to a halt. Gunsche rapidly entered the room, catching everyone by surprise.
"My Fuhrer", Gunsche panted, "There are Yugoslav partisans holding us captive!" Burgdorf stood up and walked to the nearest door in their coach and looked outside. They were at their designated station, but the train was surrounded by communist partisans from Yugoslavia, who had been conducting a raid on Trieste for several days. The port in which the submarines were being clashed with the partisans versus the remaining German soldiers there. Suddenly, a man walked in front of Burgdorf with a confident look on his face. It was none other than Josip Broz Tito.