Defeat and death
Main article: Hitler's death
Cover of US newspaper The Stars and Stripes, May 1945
By the end of 1944, the Red Army had driven the last German troops from Soviet territory and began charging into Central Europe. The western allies were also rapidlyadvancing into Germany. The Germans had lost the war from a military perspective, but Hitler allowed no negotiation with the Allied forces, and as a consequence the German military forces continued to fight. Hitler's stubbornness and defiance of military realities also allowed the continued mass killing of Jews and others to continue. He even issued the Nero Decree on March 19, 1945, ordering the destruction of what remained of German industry, communications and transport. However, Albert Speer, who was in charge of that plan, didn't carry it out. (The Morgenthau Plan for postwar Germany, promulgated by the Allies, aimed at a similar deindustrialization.)
In April 1945 Soviet forces were at the gates of Berlin. Hitler's closest lieutenants urged him to flee to Bavaria or Austria to make a last stand in the mountains, but he seemed determined to either live or die in the capital. SS leader Heinrich Himmler tried on his own to inform the Allies (through the Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte) that Germany was prepared to discuss surrender terms. Meanwhile Hermann G?ring sent a telegram from Bavaria in which he argued that since Hitler was cut off in Berlin, as Hitler's designated successor he should assume leadership of Germany. Hitler angrily reacted by dismissing both Himmler and G?ring from all their offices and the party and declared them traitors.
After intense street-to-street combat, when Soviet troops were spotted within a block or two of the Reich Chancellory in the city centre, Hitler committed suicide in the F?hrerbunker on April 30, 1945 by means of a self-delivered shot to the head (it is likely he simultaneously bit into a cyanide ampoule). Hitler's body and that of Eva Braun (his long-term mistress whom he had married the day before) were put in a bomb crater, partially burned with gasoline by F?hrerbunker aides and hastily buried in the Chancellory garden as Russian shells poured down and Red Army infantry continued to advance only two or three hundred metres away. He also killed his dog Blondi around the same time.
When Russian forces reached the Chancellory they found his body and an autopsy was performed using dental records (and German dental assistants who were familiar with them) to confirm the identification. To avoid any possibility of creating a potential shrine the remains of Hitler and Braun were repeatedly moved, then secretly buried by SMERSH at their new headquarters in Magdeburg. In April 1970, when the facility was about to be turned over to the East German government, the remains were reportedly exhumed, thoroughly cremated, and the ashes finally dumped unceremoniously into the Elbe. According to the Russian Federal Security Service, a fragment of human skull stored in its archives and displayed to the public in a 2000 exhibition came from the remains of Hitler's body uncovered by the Red Army in Berlin, and is all that remains of Hitler; however, the authenticity of the skull has been challenged by many historians and researchers.
At the time of Hitler's death most of Germany's infrastructure and major cities were in ruins and he had left explicit orders to complete the destruction. Millions of Germans were dead with millions more wounded or homeless. In his will he dismissed other Nazi leaders and appointed Grand Admiral Karl D?nitz as Reichspr?sident (President of Germany) and Goebbels as Reichskanzler (Chancellor of Germany). However, Goebbels and his wife Magda committed suicide on 1 May 1945. On 7 May 1945, in Reims, France, the German armed forces surrendered unconditionally to the Western Allies and on on 8 May 1945, in Berlin to the Soviet Union thus ending the war in Europe and with the creation of the Allied Control Council on 5 June 1945, the Four Powers assumed "supreme authority with respect to Germany." Adolf Hitler's proclaimed Thousand Year Reich had lasted 12 years.
Since the defeat of Germany in World War II, Hitler, the Nazi Party and the results of Nazism have been regarded in most of the world as synonymous with evil. Historical and cultural portrayals of Hitler in the west are, by virtually universal consensus, condemnatory.
The copyright of Hitler's book Mein Kampf in Europe is claimed by the Free State of Bavaria and will expire in 2015. Reproductions in Germany are generally authorized only for scholarly purposes and in heavily commented form. The situation is however unclear; Werner Maser (whom Theodor Heuss proposed to publish "Mein Kampf" as a weapon against Nazi Ideology) comments that intellectual property cannot be confiscated and so, it still would lie in the hands of Hitler's nephew, who, however, does not want to have anything to do with Hitler's legacy. This situation leads to contested trials eg. in Poland and Sweden. In the USA, "Mein Kampf" is still published, as well as in other countries like Turkey or Israel, from publishers with various political positions.
The display of swastikas or other Nazi symbols is prohibited in Germany and political extremists are generally under surveillance by the Verfassungsschutz, one of the federal or state-based offices for the protection of the constitution.
There have been instances of public figures referring to his legacy in neutral or favourable terms, particularly in South America, the Islamic World and parts of Asia. Future Egyptian President Anwar Sadat wrote favourably of Hitler in 1953. Bal Thackeray, leader of the right-wing Shiv Sena party in the Indian state of the Maharashtra, declared in 1995 that he was an admirer of Hitler.
Further information: Consequences of German Nazism and Neo-Nazism
Hitler's religious beliefs
Main article: Adolf Hitler's religious beliefs
Adolf Hitler was brought up in his family's religion by his Roman Catholic parents, but as a school boy the began to reject the Church and Catholicism. After he had left home, he never attended Mass or received the Sacraments.
In later life, Hitler's religious beliefs present a discrepant picture: In public statements, he frequently spoke positively about the Christian heritage of German culture and belief in Christ. Hitler's private statements, reported by his intimates, are more mixed, showing Hitler as a religious but also anti-Christian man. However, in contrast to other Nazi leaders, Hitler did not adhere to esoteric ideas, occultism, or neo-paganism, and possibly even ridiculed such