|Download For $1.99: - May 1, 1945 - Mutual News Special on death of Adolf Hitler - Mutual Broadcasting - Gordon Skene Sound Collection|
May 1, 1945 – Although his death was officially discovered on April 30, it wasn’t until the following day that the news was reported over German radio in Hamburg and that Admiral Dönitz was appointed his successor.
On 1 May, the Reichssender Hamburg radio station interrupted their normal program to announce that Hitler had died that afternoon, and introduced his successor, President Karl Dönitz. Dönitz called upon the German people to mourn their Führer, who he stated had died a hero defending the capital of the Reich. Hoping to save the army and the nation by negotiating a partial surrender to the British and Americans, Dönitz authorized a fighting withdrawal to the west. His tactic was somewhat successful: it enabled about 1.8 million German soldiers to avoid capture by the Soviets, but it came at a high cost in bloodshed, as troops continued to fight until 8 May.
General Hans Krebs met Soviet General Vasily Chuikov just prior to 04:00 on 1 May, giving him the news of Hitler’s death, while attempting to negotiate a ceasefire and open “peace negotiations”. Stalin was informed of Hitler’s suicide around 04:05 Berlin time, thirteen hours after the event. He demanded unconditional surrender, which Krebs lacked authorization to give. Stalin wanted confirmation that Hitler was dead and ordered the Red Army’s SMERSH unit to find the corpse. In the early morning hours of 2 May, the Soviets captured the Reich Chancellery. Inside the Führerbunker, General Krebs and General Wilhelm Burgdorf committed suicide by gunshot to the head.
Here is a special program presented by Mutual Broadcasting shortly after Hitler’s death was reported and confirmed – along with correspondents filing reports on reactions throughout Europe. All that, for this first day of May in 1945.