On April 16, 1945, the Soviet Army unleashed its final assault on Berlin, the heart of the “millennium” Reich.
Four days later, on 20 April, and while the Soviet “steam roller” was impossible to stop, the Berliners were informed by Propaganda Minister Yosif Gabybels of the “Happy event of Fyrer’s 56th Birthday”. An aversion to his speech was the epitome of tragic irony.
“If Germany is still standing, we owe it to him, if Europe and Western civilization are not yet swept away and shaken in the abyss that opens in front of us, we owe it to him alone … Who else could stand better at the judge’s level world crisis better than Fyrer? … We call him: Order us Fyrer and we will obey, because he knows and he can … “
The Soviets reserved their own gift for Hitler’s birthday: on the same day, the city was placed within reach of the 5th Guards Army heavy artillery, which began hitting the German capital with shells.
The shells that launched the Soviet guns had written revenge slogans, such as: “For Stalingrad,” “For Ukraine,” “For widows and orphans”, “For the tears of the mothers”. Hitler, a shadow of his former self, felt tired and did not get out of bed before 11.00. After dismissing his staff’s calls for retreat of German troops, Hitler went to the Chancellery’s garden to inspect a SS unit and to give metals to some members of the Hitler Youth, orphan of the Dresden bombardment defending Berlin.
The German dictator urged the children to describe their accomplishments when a camera recorded the event for the needs of propaganda. This was to be the last public appearance of the German dictator. In the afternoon, the senior officials of the 3rd Reich gathered in the shelter, which was Hitler’s permanent residence, under the Chancellor’s Office, in order to wish Führer.
In a climate of nervousness, they lifted their champagne glasses, wished their leader “many years” and promised “eternal loyalty”. In the next three days, most of them deserted, including Ministers H. Gierring, H. Chimler, A. Speer and I. Ribbentrop, as well as team leaders B. Citell and A. Yontel.
Hitler was left almost alone and organized a “grand counter-attack” on paper with units that simply did not exist! Ten days later he would end his life.