Hitler: The Lost Tapes of the Third Reich (2023–…): Season 1, Episode 4 - The Sleepwalker - full transcript

At the height of his power, Hitler embarks on a genocidal war of conquest, which threatens the future of the continent and the lives of tens of millions of European Jews.

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Adolf Hitler.

He is the architect of one of
the greatest disasters

the world has ever seen.

The most photographed leader of
the early 20th century.

He spent hours in front of a mirror
practising different poses.

Every photo was a performance.

Hitler was photographed from

..to the Blitzkrieg...

He wants to be at the front.
He wants to share the excitement.
He wants to smell the cordite.

..to the bunker.

These images reveal the secrets of
Hitler's inner life

and the people he led.

Hitler comes in and he tells you,
"you are important."

He tells you he has a plan
and he tells you

he knows what's gone wrong and he
can fix it.

Featuring rarely seen
and newly digitised images,

this is the story of the rise
and fall of Adolf Hitler,



I think Hitler created an image of
political celebrity

that never existed before.

The manipulation of media,

the presentation of himself,

you can draw a line from that

to what film and rock stars
are doing today.

After six years in power,

Hitler launches his Blitzkrieg,
the Lightning War.

Tens of thousands
of troops pour into Poland.

His tanks and planes smash cities
and towns.

The Poles actually fight very gamely
against the Germans,

but they are outnumbered,
outgunned, outthought.

Hitler travelled to the front line,

deliberately putting himself
close to the action.

He could have been exposed
potentially to Polish air attack

or to a Polish sniper,

and there's an element to which
I suppose he's very enthused

by this war that he's unleashed.

And of course, he wants to be seen
by his troops.

So, there's a lot of images
from that period

of him driving through masses of
German troops,

all of whom want
to touch their supreme warlord.

Hitler believed his experience
in the Bavarian Army

had made him a master tactician.

Hitler very much turned to his own
experiences in the First World War,

in figuring out how to win the war.

He would then, often override
decisions of his generals

and say, "You have no idea what war
is really like.

"I experienced things in the
trenches, I know what war is like,

"therefore we need to do this
and that."

Hitler had a fanatical desire
to make Germany

a world superpower.

He'd never disguised his ambition
for war.

It had been in plain sight,

in the pages of his political memoir
and manifesto from 1924,

Mein Kampf.

He talks about expansion.

He talks about lebensraum,
living space.

He doesn't see the German people as
being restricted

to the existing borders of Germany.

He sees Germany getting bigger,
and bigger, and bigger.

On the very first page of Mein Kampf,

Hitler stated that Germany
and his homeland of Austria

should be united.

"People of the same blood should be
in the same Reich."

On the 12th of March 1938,

14 years after writing those words,

columns of German troops marched
across the border into Austria.

Heinrich Hoffmann,
Hitler's official photographer,

produced numerous photo books
promoting the cult of the Fuhrer,

including in 1938,

a record of the Anschluss, or union,
with Austria -

Hitler in His Homeland.

The photography itself
is quite remarkably clear

and vivid and lucid,

but what they do is show
the progression,

they show the entry,
through the barriers,

through the gates.

And we follow Hitler on his journey
through Austria,

which is a kind of
scenic heritage tour.

We have, really, what is obviously
the Messiah of a secular religion.

Hoffman, as he often does,

is creating a symbolic image.

Hitler is the still centre of
a vortex of utter ecstasy,

where the people really become
maddened with a kind of euphoria.

The book has minimal text.

For the Nazis,
the image was everything.

There are tiny little subtitles.

No-one's going to read those.

It is a visual feast.

And in other words,

they get mid-20th century, almost.

This extraordinary evolution from
a verbal to a visual culture,

they've got it.

And it's truly, I think,

but also very clever how they

the language of the visual
is so much more powerful

than verbal language.

Behind the propaganda was a darker
side to the Anschluss with Austria.

An American named Ross Baker,

who was living in Vienna
with his family,

filmed Hitler's arrival
in the capital...

..and the anti-Semitic boycotts
and attacks

that immediately followed.

What I think is really interesting
about those films

is that they're Americans

and most of the footage that we have
from that period

is of either Nazis families,

Germans who were observers
at these events,

but the films of the Anschluss
taken by Americans,

I think it's really interesting

because they are on
the outside looking in

and they recognised
what a massive thing this is.

Ross filmed his wife Helen's anger
at being turned away

from a Jewish store
by a member of the SA.

They were fearless.

The images show their fearlessness.

After Austria, Hitler's next target

was the German-speaking area
of Czechoslovakia,

known as the Sudetenland.

However, the Western democracies
like Britain and France

were desperate to avoid
another European war.

A peace deal had to be struck.

They'd lived through
the First World War,

they'd seen the carnage that
it had created.

There wasn't a family in Britain
who hadn't been bereaved

by the First World War,

and they really didn't want this
to happen again.

We're going to hope for the best,

and we're going to let Germany have
what it lost.

Why not? That makes sense.

Those bits of Austria
and Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland,

they're German, are they not?

On the 15th of September, 1938,

the British Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain flew to Munich

to discuss the issue of
the Sudetenland with Hitler.

The body language in this image from
Munich in 1938 speaks volumes.

First of all, let's just look at
Neville Chamberlain,

the British Prime Minister,
on the left.

He looks anxious.
He's wanting Hitler's attention.

He's fiddling with his hand,
with his cuffs.

It's someone trying
to take control of the situation

and trying to be composed,
trying to keep it together.

But now compare that expression
with that of Hitler.

He's not really listening
to what Chamberlain's saying.

He'll just say anything to get rid
of this old man in the room.

"Yeah, he can have his agreement,
but you know what?

"I'm going to break it."

In the Munich Agreement
of September 1938,

Czechoslovakia was forced
to give up the Sudetenland.

Hitler the warlord wanted more.

The following March, he seized the
rest of Czechoslovakia.

Poland was next in his cross-hairs.

Realising Hitler could no longer
be appeased,

Britain and France
promised to defend the Poles.

To ensure he wouldn't also be
attacked from the east,

Hitler made a non-aggression pact

with the leader of
the Soviet Union, Stalin.

They also secretly agreed
to carve up Poland between them.

The Nazis and the Communists
hated each other.

They'd been at each other's throats
all the way through
the 1920s and '30s.

There'd been battles in the streets
in Berlin.

So, the idea of them forming
some sort of pact with one another

was seemingly ridiculous.

I mean, nobody saw it coming.

Let's spool back to that image
of Hitler in 1914,

celebrating war being declared
on Russia.

That's the same man who's now
cutting a deal with the Russians?

To so many, it does not add up.

He is pragmatic.

He knows that unless he does
a deal with Stalin,

he's not going to get
the free hand in the countries

to the east of Germany that Hitler
is so desperate to acquire.

He knows that if he doesn't do
this deal,

he won't be able to get away
with what he wants to achieve.

Hitler was fascinated by Stalin.

As part of the delegation
to Moscow to sign the pact,

Hitler sent his old friend

and official photographer,
Heinrich Hoffmann,

to be his eyes and ears.

So, he sends Hoffmann to Moscow
effectively as a spy,

to have a good look at Stalin,

which is, in itself,
quite remarkable.

He was someone that wasn't
particularly seen very often.

Actually, in sort of
Soviet newsreels,

he was someone slightly
in the background.

He thought Stalin was
quite fascinating,

not least because of what he had
achieved in the Soviet Union.

Hoffmann's work as a propagandist
for Hitler was well-known to Stalin.

After the signing,

the Soviet leader proposed
a toast in broken German,

wishing him a long life.

And then Hoffmann goes back after
the signature of the treaty

and they have this session together.

Hitler and Hoffmann go through
the photographs.

Hitler's very disappointed
that he sees

a photograph of Stalin smoking,
for example.

He considers smoking
to be absolutely abhorrent

and a signifier of
a decadent personality.

Hoffmann dutifully removed
Stalin's cigarette

from all the official
German pictures of the signing.

With Stalin off his back,

Hitler was now free to attack Poland.

The non-aggression pact
with Stalin was a political coup,

but Hitler needed a reason
to take on the Poles,

a way for Germany to look
the innocent victim

of Polish aggression.

If no genuine grievance
could be found,

a con trick would do.

He gets this from Heinrich Himmler

and Reinhard Heydrich at the SS,

who come up with this idea of
staging a false flag operation.

On the evening of
the 31st of August 1939,

SS men dressed in Polish uniforms
staged a raid

on a radio transmitter at
the German town of Gleiwitz

close to the border.

They tied up the staff
and then broadcast a message

urging Poles living in Germany
to rebel.

The way that they sort of sell to
the world

that this was a Polish attack

is by leaving a Polish corpse
at the site.

The man chosen by the SS was
43-year-old Franciszek Honiok.

Franciszek would become the
Second World War's first casualty.

He was an ethnic Pole living in
German Upper Silesia

and he was known within
that German province

as something of
a pro-Polish firebrand.

And he was someone who was in
the wrong place at the wrong time.

He was arrested about two days
before the Gleiwitz incident,

brought to the site already drugged,
already incoherent.

He is shot and his body
is left at the site.

And he is there solely as proof

that this was an attack by
Polish irregulars.

But he's entirely innocent.

Hitler had his excuse.

The following morning,
the 1st of September 1939,

Germany invades Poland.

Hitler makes a very solemn speech to
the German Reichstag,

in which he opens his speech
by saying,

"Since 4:45am, we are firing back."

And he cites the Gleiwitz incident
as evidence of Polish aggression,

this is his reason for
going to war.

And poor old Honiok was the man
that carried the can for them.

It was called Blitzkrieg,

it was called Lightning War,

and within weeks,
Hitler's in Warsaw.

The Germans fought a ruthless
and bloody war.

There was an almost wanton targeting
of Polish civilian populations,

of Polish POWs, Polish Jews,
particularly, as well.

And within that five-week period
of that military campaign,

it's been estimated that there are
over 600 massacres

carried out by German forces.

Most of the propaganda photographs
in Poland

were taken by Heinrich Hoffmann.

Hitler also brought with him
a film cameraman named Walter Frentz,

to provide footage
for German cinema newsreels.

Frentz always travelled with
a lightweight Leica camera,

to grab photographs
for his own personal collection.

This rarely seen picture was taken
on a plane

on the way to the Polish front.

Now, this is a very
gentle photograph,

an intimate picture of
Hitler, really.

We don't see many like that.

For me, as a photographer, who's
been a road with many a politician,

it's something about the intimacy,

the fact that we've got him relaxed,

taken on the QT with a Leica,

Hitler wouldn't have heard
the camera go off.

It would just be
a very gentle click.

But for me, the disturbing thing
about this,

this is the day he's off to Poland
in the plane

where many Jews
and many Poles were killed.

And the contrast between
the gentleness of this picture

and the atrocity of what happened
in Poland is stunning.

A gentle picture of
a disturbing man.

It was Walter Frentz who,
nine months later,

filmed this remarkable piece
of footage -

Hitler dancing with joy
as he receives the news

that France had surrendered.

The country had capitulated to
the Nazis in just six weeks.

By then, Denmark, Norway,

Belgium and Holland
had also fallen...

..and the British humiliated
at Dunkirk.

There's something kind of almost
Tigger-ish and charming about it.

I'm not wishing to give him
any positive attributes at all,

but there is something
very natural about it.

And that's very rare for Hitler,

because so much of his imagery is
very, very tightly controlled,

and suddenly he's dancing
a little jig.

It's not very grown-up,
but he can't contain himself.

On the 22nd of June,
Hitler and his generals assembled

in the forest of Compiegne
outside Paris

to sign the French surrender.

Hoffmann and Frentz were there
to capture the historic moment.

22nd of June. Sweet revenge, indeed.

The symbolism of Compiegne is that
that is where the Armistice in 1918

is signed when the French
are firmly in control.

They're making the Germans sign
a surrender,

they're humiliating the Germans.

So, when the tables are turned,

Hitler insists that they go back to
Compiegne to sign the new Armistice

with the French
having to hand over power.

And he insists on signing the
agreement in the same train carriage

that they'd used for the
First World War, and not only that,

he takes the train carriage out of
the museum where it's housed

and puts it in the exact spot where
it had been in 1918,

just to rub it in.

And then, when he goes in,
he sits down in the chair

that the French generals had sat in
22 years earlier,

so he's really rubbing it in,
it's a real moment of humiliation
for the French.

Hitler spent the next few days
sightseeing in France.

Together with old comrades,

he visited the battlefields
of Flanders

where they'd served
in the First World War.

Then, on the 23rd of June,
early in the morning,

Hitler arrived in triumph in Paris.

Accompanied by architect Albert Speer

and sculptor Arno Baker,

Hitler was photographed by
Hoffmann in front of

the Eiffel Tower -

Walter Frentz filmed
at the Fuhrer's feet.

The Eiffel Tower is, really,
a symbol of France.

It's a symbol of France and
French power and French technology,

and suddenly we have a photograph of
Hitler standing in front of it.

It belongs to him.

He's taken over.

The whole of the French economy,

the French idea of power,
the French government,

it's all now under Hitler's control.

Speer and Baker were later removed
by Hoffmann

to make Hitler the focus of the cover

of his best-selling collection
of photos -

With Hitler in the West.

As Hitler and his generals
walked away,

Hoffmann took another
iconic photograph.

Now, the quality
of this picture is superb.

The strength of the uniforms,

the contrast between the sky
and the blackness of the uniforms

and this emblematic Eiffel Tower.

The photograph is taken

by the photographer going backwards

He would've set it up.

You don't get these pictures
by accident.

He would've framed the top of
the tower.

He would've said, "Walk towards me,"

and he would've backed off
and backed off

until the framing is right,

cos that picture would be nothing
if it was cut in half.

This picture would've gone around
the world,

would've been on the front covers of
newspapers in America, Russia,

and it would've been a very,
very powerful document.

At that moment,

total victory in Europe
seemed in Hitler's grasp.

By the summer of 1940,

Hitler had re-written history

and avenged the humiliation
of Germany's defeat in 1918.

Within a year,

he had achieved everything that
Imperial Germany had failed

to achieve in four years
in the First World War.

He had succeeded beyond
even his own wildest dream.

And this actually feeds into
Hitler's own sense

of his own abilities,
inflated sense of his own abilities.

It feeds his own narcissism,

that he's the greatest
military leader of all time.

With Western Europe now occupied
by his troops,

Hitler's pact with Stalin had served
its purpose.

In December 1940,
he issued a directive to the Army,

the Wehrmacht, to prepare for
the invasion of the Soviet Union.

He believed a swift victory
was inevitable.

Hitler famously said,
"All you have to do is kick the door

"and the whole rotten structure
will come tumbling down."

On June 22nd 1941,

the invasion, codenamed
Operation Barbarossa, began.

Hitler's invasion of
the Soviet Union

to a large extent is the
defining military moment of the war.

This is the defining conflict.

The scale of the attack on
the Soviet Union

was unlike anything
that has been seen before or since.

This is 1,000 miles of front.

It stretches all the way from
the Baltic down to the Black Sea.

They've got three and a half million
men in their armies, fighting.

They have to have that many men
because there are 5 million
Soviet soldiers facing them.

They've got 3,000 tanks,

4,000 planes,

600,000 armoured vehicles.

I mean, just the sheer scale
of this is beyond imagination.

This time, Hitler doesn't go to
the fast-moving front line.

Instead, he is filmed
and photographed

at his field headquarters,

giving the German public
the reassurance

that the conqueror of France
is in control.

He religiously pours over maps

and discusses tactics with generals,

and, of course,
they always still regard him

at the back of their minds as

Hitler's still this sort of

and I think they still find it
very militarily difficult

to deal with this man
who's obviously

so much more militarily junior
than they are.

He sees himself
as a master tactician.

He's simply not.

Operation Barbarossa failed.

The Germans were poorly equipped
for the Russian winter.

Their tanks broke down
and supply lines were stretched.

While they made territorial gains,

the Wehrmacht suffered
half a million casualties

in the first three months alone.

Stalin is able to call upon
what seems like

an infinite number of men,
and indeed women.

Women are put on the front line
in a way that simply weren't done

at the time anywhere else.

It's just ultimately size, weather,

bad mechanisation,
and Soviet manpower.

Germany's inability to defeat
the Soviets

was a turning point in the war.

On December the 7th 1941,

Japan shocked the world
by attacking Pearl Harbor.

Hitler immediately supported
his ally in the east

and declared war on
the United States.

In some ways, it's understandable

because America was already
really on the side of Britain,

they were supplying Britain already,

but there's a big difference
between getting supplies

from the United States
and getting their Air Force,

their Navy, and their massive Army
over to Europe as well.

Once you are ranged against all
of that military power

and all of that economic might...

..Germany's fate was sealed.

For Hitler,
the war was all-consuming.

He became increasingly hidden
from his people.

In 1942, he gave just five
public speeches.

Photo opportunities were
few and far between.

Hitler actually becomes
much more reclusive.

He much more concerns himself
with the affairs of the war.

That's his sort of primary job.

That's what he sees as his
primary job.

He makes very few
public appearances.

But the old,
you might say archive of images

that had been generated between
really 1926,

already, all the way up to '39, '40,

that is still very alive and
that is reproduced, of course.

So, the cult of Hitler,

the myth of Hitler is kept alive
through images,

even though he himself has withdrawn
to his headquarters.

So, he remains present in
the German imagination

through those earlier images,

and they keep
the Fuhrer cult alive.

Hitler spent most of his time
in his field headquarters

or at the Berghof,
his Bavarian mountain retreat.

This photograph was taken at
the Berghof in 1942.

First of all,
it's a really badly taken picture.

It's kind of badly lit,
it feels very stilted.

They're in what looks like
kind of a ghastly basic room,

doing this Hitler salute
to no-one in particular.

This is Walter Frentz,
and he is documenting everything.

You can perhaps detect
an uneasiness on their expressions.

This is 1942.

Things aren't going smoothly
necessarily on the Russian front.

Actually, some of these men,
they look tired.

It may be because the picture's
taken very late at night.

Hitler loved staying up late.

But these men don't look happy,
do they?

They look nervous, blank.

I think they look wary.

And it's all being captured
on film.

When this photograph was taken,

250 million people in Europe
were under Nazi control.

In those occupied territories,
a race war was being waged,

the extermination
of their Jewish inhabitants.

In Poland, hundreds of thousands
of Jews

were herded into small,
overcrowded ghettos.

Jewish photographers were hired by
the Jewish ghetto administrations

to record life there.

They created photographic records

of work that was going on
in workshops

and small factories

that were presented to
the Nazi authorities,

and this was really part of an
effort by the ghetto administration

to prevent prisoners in the ghetto
from an even worse fate.

They thought that by showing
that the ghetto

was a place of useful production,

it would prevent the authorities
from murdering the inhabitants.

Henryk Ross was a Jewish photographer

working in the Lodz ghetto in Poland.

He secretly took photographs of
the brutality of life there,

to be preserved for posterity.

Very many people think the only
real form of resistance

is armed resistance.

But put you into the position of
someone in the ghetto,

it's very difficult
to get hold of a gun.

It's almost impossible.

Another form of resistance
which developed within
those organisations,

to document what was going on,
to collect documents,

to hide them somewhere,

and hope that after the war,
somebody will come back

and prove what had happened.

And taking picture belongs in
this category of resistance,

to form an archive.

And to build up an archive
was seen as resistance,

because it's about building up
a memory.

"This is who we are."

On the surface,
a lot of them look harmless,

they look intimate,

lovely portraits of individuals.

And we might say that they don't
show us

the horrors of life in the ghettos,
or at least not the full extent,

but I think it's incredibly
important that we look at these

images now because people don't
want to be portrayed by

the perpetrators as
the passive, helpless victims.

They want to be portrayed as
the people who love their children,

who have dignity,

who still have their individuality,

and that is how they
want to be remembered.

In 1944, Ross buried his pictures
in metal canisters

and returned a year later
to retrieve them

once the Soviet Red Army
had liberated Poland.

They're heartbreaking.

It's very difficult to look at
these pictures.

They're all heartbreaking.

I particularly love Ross's picture
of a woman kissing her child.

It's not only such a touching
moment of humanity and love.

There's also something about
the physical quality of the image,

which was hidden in the ground.

And if you look closely,

you can see that the edges of
the image have been damaged

where the damp has eaten into
the negative.

So, the image itself bears

a kind of physical trace
of that history of being hidden

and later being excavated.

And I think it's really crucial

to remember when we look at

from the Nazi period that
the picture-perfect shot

is almost always
the perpetrator shot.

It's only the perpetrators who
are in that privileged position
of power,

where they have access to
the perfect photographic standpoint,

to the perfect photographic

to the labs and development
facilities and so forth.

So, if we're looking for
a "good" picture,

we're looking for
the perpetrator image.

The pictures by Henryk Ross
are so important

precisely because they show
the immense difficulty,

the enormous risk that people took
to create them,

and then to hide them.

The unlikely story
of their survival.

By early 1944, the Allies were
winning the conflict.

Their troops were pushing up
through Italy.

The Japanese were retreating across
the Pacific,

and the Russians were slowly
advancing towards Germany.

Capturing Hitler and ending the Nazi
nightmare finally looked possible.

There were fears that Hitler might
try to flee Germany in disguise.

Using a Heinrich Hoffmann portrait
from the 1930s,

the New York Times commissioned
a leading Hollywood make-up artist

to create different looks

to show how Hitler
might change himself.

Hitler monitored the war from
the Berghof, his mountain retreat.

Life on the Berghof in the war
didn't change at all.

They had the same routine.

Hitler got up late.

He had the same circle
of friends around him.

The only difference was that now,

he had his daily

and nightly meetings
with his generals.

Hitler and his inner circle
loved watching the cine films

his girlfriend Eva Braun had taken
before the war

and reminiscing about the past.

Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels
wrote in his diary that it was like

"the good old days".

They were living in a dream world.

On June the 6th 1944,

the long-awaited invasion
of Northern Europe began.


In 24 hours, over 60,000 personnel

and 9,000 vehicles were brought
ashore at Normandy.

A 50-mile beachhead was secured.

It's obvious how
the war is going to end now.

Everybody knows that Germany's
going to lose the war.

The generals all know,

it's just what to do about it.

And whilst Hitler is in control,
they know that there's really

nothing they can do about it
but fight.

So, what does that mean
your attitude towards

the leadership's going to be?

This picture's really fascinating

because you can see Hitler
pictured almost right next to

the man who wants to kill him.

There are a lot of people in the
world at the time who wanted to

kill Hitler, but this man on
the left of this photograph

has a really good chance of
doing so.

It's sort of great that
this picture exists

because it sort of captures

the imminent drama
of what's gonna happen.

The officer is 36-year-old
Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.

A war briefing is about to take place

in a conference room at Hitler's HQ
in East Prussia,

called the Wolf's Lair.

Stauffenberg was initially
supportive of the war,

but he became appalled by
the brutality of the regime.

He and his co-conspirators had
bigger plans than just assassination

of their leader.

He would lead a coup and seize power.

It wasn't enough for
the German resistance,

particularly the
military resistance,

to merely kill Hitler,

because that just means that
Germany collapses

and they don't want that,

because that just means that
the Third Reich will end

and communism will sweep through

and you'll have a Bolshevik Germany.

They don't want that.

Minutes after this photograph
was taken,

Hitler and Stauffenberg took their
seats around the conference table.

Immediately, Stauffenberg made
an excuse and departed,

leaving behind his briefcase
containing explosives

and a timer.

He then flew to Berlin to co-ordinate
resistance efforts there.



But the briefcase was moved.

When the bomb exploded,
a table leg blocked

the full force of the blast.

His uniform was shredded,

but Hitler survived
with minor injuries.

Hitler's OK and so are all
the generals.

As soon as that happens,

as soon as Hitler is alive,
the coup is going to fail.

Stauffenberg and the other
key conspirators were caught

and shot by firing squad
that evening.


200 were hanged after a show trial.

A few days after
the attempt on his life,

Hitler was pictured visiting
the injured.

It was represented as an act of
providence, Hitler's deliverance.

The propaganda machine went
into overdrive,

and also, of course, you had

massive sympathy for Hitler.

By the end of 1944,

Germany's borders had been breached
to the east and the west.

The Allies were closing in.

Yet the Germans fought on.

Why did the German people remain
so attached to Hitler

and the idea of National Socialism
till the bitter end?

Why did they continue to fight?

July 1943, the Americans
and the British invade Sicily.

Italian fascism collapses
within a few months.

Mussolini's ousted.

So, in Italy, there was much less
of an attachment

to the Duce than there was
in Germany to Hitler.

And I think the fact that
Hitler preserved his hold over

the German collective psyche for
so much longer,

has a lot to do with film,

and the very rich imagery
that the Nazis create,

before '33, but especially
after '33,

turning Hitler into
a charismatic leader.


On January the 16th 1945,

Hitler retreated to his bunker
28 feet below

the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.

Eva Braun followed him
two days later.

Soviet artillery and American bombers

had reduced the capital to a ruin.

Berlin above ground is a moonscape.
It's horrific.

Ordinary Berliners are living
a semi troglodyte existence.

On March the 20th, Hitler came up
from the bunker

to inspect a group of Hitler Youth.

One boy wrote later

that he couldn't believe this
"withered old man was

"the visionary who had led
our nation to greatness."

This is probably
the last photograph of Adolf Hitler.

Standing with his adjutant,
Julius Schaub,

in the ruins of the
Reich Chancellery in Berlin.

The quality's not great.

Gone are the formal portraits
of Hoffman,

stylised, the tableaus
carefully arranged.

Everything about this is chaotic.

It's destruction all around him.

It's bits of masonry hanging,
dangerously almost, above his head.

And he's standing outside the door,

looking at the destruction of
the Reich Chancellery

with a sense, perhaps,
of resignation,

perhaps still denial on his face,

but also perhaps thinking,
"Yeah, I suspect this is it."

He's sort of beyond anger now,
I think.

He's beyond caring.

I think he's just ready to go.

He's ready to walk back into
that dark room behind him...

..and into the ultimate darkness.

By April 1945,

Hitler had decided he would marry
Eva Braun,

his secret mistress of 13 years.

Hitler was very thankful to her

when she came to him,

to the burning Berlin,

to the bunker,

when all other Nazi leaders
fled the city

to save their own lives.

Eva Braun was the one who didn't
leave him,

and therefore, he didn't want her
to die as a mistress.

On the 30th of April,

the Soviet Army reached
the Reichstag grounds.

Hitler decided he would
commit suicide.

His new wife would join him in death.

He'd seen what had happened
to Mussolini,

who had been captured
and then executed,

and then his body had been hung up
and had been ridiculed.

He didn't want this for himself.

As always, he wanted to be the one
who was going to be in command,

even of this, of his death.

Eva Braun took a cyanide pill.

Hitler also swallowed a pill
and then shot himself.


Their bodies were then taken out
to the Chancellery garden and burnt.

On May the 8th 1945,
Germany surrendered.

The victorious Allied soldiers
mocked the dead dictator.

Hitler's portraits,
once venerated by millions,

were destroyed.

Heinrich Hoffmann,

the man responsible for most of
those pictures, was arrested.

But his extensive photo archive
was useful to the Allies.

When the trials
of Nazi war criminals began

at the end of 1945 in Nuremberg...

..Hoffmann was given an office
to house his 40,000 negatives.

If some officer there had
to interrogate a Nazi,

he would first go to Hoffmann
and his little office

and ask Hoffmann -

a nice, elderly man, so he was
seen then - ask him,

"Oh, do you have a photograph
of Heinrich Himmler or others?"

And Hoffmann then would provide
these American officers

and British officers
with pictures from Nazi officials.

Once the trials were over,

Hoffmann was released by the Allies.

But Germans who had suffered
under the Nazis protested,

and so he was tried...

..accused of profiting
from the Nazi regime

through his friendship with Hitler.

Hoffmann was now the newsreel story.


He never really understood
why he had to

appear in front of a court

because, in his view,

he was only a photographer

and he only documented
the Nazi party.

He only documented what Hitler did,

but he himself had nothing to do
with it.

This was a classical argument
of very many artists,

who were successful during
the Third Reich to say,

"No, no, no, no.
We were just professionals.

"I didn't believe in anything.

"I just believed in my profession.
That's all.

"But I'm not a Nazi.
I don't hate Jews. I'm innocent."

Hoffmann was never, ever
just an observer.

He was supporting
all these main ideas.

With his propaganda photo-books
on display,

the case against Hoffmann
was damning.


Heinrich Hoffmann was sentenced
to four years in prison.

He died a free man in 1957, aged 72.

The power of film and photography

was used by the Nazis
to terrible effect.

Hitler unleashed terrors unmatched
in human history.

Hitler was primarily responsible for

the launching of World War II
in Europe,

and it's a conflict that costs
tens of millions of lives.

It's the most costly war in
world history.

On top of that, Hitler's regime,
the Third Reich,

carries out
an unprecedented genocide

against the Jews of Europe,
6 million of whom are shot,

gassed, industrially slaughtered
in many places

in the concentration camps,
in the death camps,

and in the killing fields
of Occupied Europe.

Nobody really has that
emotional power that Hitler had.

Nobody really caused
the vast destruction

and death that Hitler caused.

He's become this sort of symbol
of evil in our imagination.

He is the personification
of that barbarism.

And we naively expect to
find answers in his face.