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Friends’ Event – Talk on 1 December 2020 – Dr Caroline Sharples
Documenting the Death of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler died in his Berlin Führerbunker on 30 April 1945. The conventional historical narrative, established by British Military Intelligence in November 1945 holds that the Nazi leader shot himself in the head once it became apparent that the Russian advance on the German capital was unstoppable. What evidence was there to support this conclusion – and what traces of this enquiry remain in the National Archives? This talk explores the scope of post-war Allied investigations, the political impact of Hitler’s passing and the challenges of finding clear-cut proof of death. Following the archival trail, it takes us beyond the usual scholarly focus on Hitler’s final movements to also consider public encounters with key documents and eyewitnesses and the meaning that Hitler’s death held for different audiences.
Dr Caroline Sharples is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Roehampton. Her research interests encompass memories of National Socialism, representations of the Holocaust, war crimes trials and perpetrator burials and commemorations. She is the author of West Germany and the Nazi Legacy (Routledge, 2012) and Postwar Germany and the Holocaust (Bloomsbury, 2016), and co-editor, with Olaf Jensen, of Britain and the Holocaust: Remembering and Representing War and Genocide. She is currently completing a monograph on the cultural history of the death of Adolf Hitler.
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