Hitler’s Walther: The Monster Killer

Adolf Hitler had an undeniable charisma that ultimately drove an entire nation to commit some of history’s most egregious atrocities.

Those who knew him well described Adolf Hitler as inexplicably mesmerizing. There remains but a single eleven-minute recording of Hitler engaged in normal conversation. Scads of his speeches are available, but then he was always in theatrical mode. His conversational voice, even for a guy like me who doesn’t speak German, is frankly unsettling. It’s like listening to the Devil.

Hitler was a frustrated artist at heart. Had he been accepted one of the two times he applied to art school in Vienna he might have frittered away his life in harmless anonymity.

Hitler was not a terribly imposing man physically. He stood five foot nine and was said to have a clammy handshake. He purportedly had difficulty with small talk and was awkward one-on-one. He was most at home working a crowd.

Hitler supposedly suffered from some truly epic flatulence when he got tooled up over something.

Hitler suffered from meteorism (uncontrollable farting) resulting from a genetic predilection combined with a vegan diet. The condition purportedly worsened when he got agitated. Perhaps that’s why all those old Nazis standing around him in period photos look so grim all the time.

How Could This Happen?

The outsized impact Hitler’s evil wrought upon the world touched literally everyone on the planet.

Way smarter folk than I have exhaustively analyzed most every moment of Hitler’s life from his humble beginning in Austria in 1889 all the way up to his gory demise at age 56 in 1945. We are drawn out of morbid fascination. It’s like watching a train wreck. It’s tough to turn away.

Individual psychopaths are an unfortunate part of the human condition. A whole society of them is something else entirely.

It is not surprising that an isolated aberrant personality could commit some egregious crime. Prisons are brimming with folks who are just not wired correctly. The extraordinary thing about Hitler’s Nazis, however, was that they did those horrible things en masse. There were certainly voices that spoke out against the Final Solution and Hitler’s plan for world domination, but most period Germans just went along with it.

Hitler was the catalyst behind one of history’s darkest cultures. Mind that right hand, you perv.

I once read some fascinating commentary penned by a Jewish author that postulated that the German people under the Nazis were not unique or even unusual. As individuals, they were stratified along the spectrum of good and evil just like any other developed culture. What drove them to do what they did was their unique circumstances catalyzed by Hitler’s diabolical leadership.

These self-righteous reprobates were legendarily repugnant. However, we shouldn’t feel that we are somehow innately better or immune to such as this. Displacing such darkness requires eternal vigilance.

This author posited that every society has its death camp guards. There is the college professor who holds your future in his hands and revels in that power. The police officer who pathologically enjoys deciding who goes to jail and who walks is another.

Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Nazi SS, supposedly fell ill upon visiting the death camps. Here he is seen at Dachau in 1936.

In a normal culture, these people live fruitful lives and retire with the heartfelt gratitude of the people they served. However, put these same personalities in the sort of dysfunctional world that birthed the Nazis and those darker attributes would be more radically expressed. I perused that decades ago and was moved by it.

Setting the Stage

This is an external view of the Fuhrerbunker. It was to become Hitler’s last redoubt.
Toward the end, the pressures of being the world’s most megalomaniacal despot began to take its toll. Drugs, assassination attempts, and paranoia had reduced Hitler to a shell of his former self.

Hitler locked himself in his Fuhrerbunker in Berlin with the world around him in flames. Germany faced total collapse, and Soviet troops were swarming westward. Hitler issued commands to nonexistent armies all the while growing more morose, desperate, and agitated. As the end grew near he wed his mistress Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony attended by his closest aides and prepared to die.

The desecration of Mussolini’s corpse by Italian partisans had a powerful effect on Hitler.

On 28 April 1945, Hitler got word that Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci had been killed and their corpses mutilated. Here are the details—

The Megalomaniac Who Inspired World War 2

In earlier times Hitler practiced his fiery oratory in private. By the end, he was a thoroughly broken man.

This news unsettled Hitler, and he resolved to choreograph his own demise so as to prevent such ignominy.

Hitler’s Schutzstaffel or SS was originally formed as his personal bodyguard. At the end its members helped facilitate his death.

Hitler had conferred previously with SS doctor Werner Hasse on the most effective means of committing suicide. Dr. Hasse counseled Hitler to use a combination of cyanide and a self-inflicted gunshot to reliably ensure his timely death.

The Anatomy of a Cyanide Capsule

Just in case you needed another reason to hate the guy, Hitler whacked his favorite dog just to make sure his cyanide capsules were potent.

Hitler tested a cyanide capsule given to him by another SS physician named Ludwig Stumpfegger on his beloved Alsatian Shepherd, Blondi. Despite an intimate relationship with this dog, Der Fuhrer purportedly showed no emotion as he watched his faithful companion die.

Here’s the brass container that carried the sorts of cyanide capsules Himmler and Goering used to off themselves at the end. Www.worldwarsupply.com can sell you a replica for $19.95. They also have scads of other cool military stuff as well.

Cyanide is a chemical compound containing carbon atoms triple-bonded to nitrogen. Inorganic salts containing these compounds such as sodium cyanide or potassium cyanide are legendarily toxic. Cyanide ions disrupt cellular respiration and prevent cells from utilizing oxygen.

Young studs like these from the wartime British Special Operations Executive occasionally carried cyanide capsules to be used in the event of capture.

Cyanide ingestion causes shortness of breath, seizures, low blood pressure, and, ultimately, cardiac arrest. Weaponized cyanide of the sort used by Hitler was expected to kill within about three minutes. The British issued rubberized cyanide capsules to the Norwegian commandos who undertook Operation Gunnerside, the successful covert attack on the German heavy water production facility at the Vemork hydroelectric plant in Norway in 1943.

The Nazis went through tons of Zyklon B cyanide feeding the death camps.

Though I’ve never myself had the pleasure, I am told that hydrogen cyanide gas smells strongly of burnt almonds. It seems fitting that the active ingredient in Zyklon B that the Nazis used in the gas chambers at the death camps was the same compound used to kill Hitler. During the course of the war, they used some 56 tons of the vile stuff.

The Condemned Monster Betrayed

Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, tried to make a separate peace with the Allies.
Hermann Goering turned on Hitler when he thought it might save his own skin.

The apex of power attracts sycophants and opportunists. As a result, as the end grew near many of Hitler’s mignons began quietly planning for a world without Der Fuhrer. These little individualized escape plans added to the pervasive chaos of the moment.

SS Gruppenfuhrer Hermann Fegelein was one of the last people Hitler had executed. His rank was the equivalent to a two-star General.

Hitler was ultimately betrayed by both Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler. In a rage he had Himmler’s representative at the Fuhrerbunker, Hermann Fegelein, shot for desertion. It didn’t help that Fegelein, who was also Eva Braun’s brother-in-law, was caught intoxicated while wearing civilian clothes and carrying a satchel full of cash from a variety of nationalities.

The Monster’s Guns

The Walther PPK was offered in .22LR, .25ACP, .32ACP, and .380ACP. The .25ACP is an adorable little quarter-inch cartridge that will just barely kill you.

Hitler perennially carried a Walther PPK chambered in .25ACP in a holster sewed into his trousers. He also packed a bulkier PP in .32ACP as a service sidearm on his belt. There was additionally an ornate engraved PP pistol with reliable ties to the dictator serendipitously discovered in Munich.

Hitler’s gold Walther PP was a birthday gift. This is a photograph of the actual pistol. The inscription on the left side of the slide reads, “Ehrengabe der Familien Walther” meaning “Honor Gift of the Families Walther.”

Hitler’s engraved PP was a gift from the Walther Company commemorating his 50th birthday in 1939. Featuring a gold washed finish, ivory grips, and extensive engraved scrollwork, the gun was discovered in a wall safe in Hitler’s Munich apartment by three US GI’s who happened upon the dictator’s dwelling. This unique firearm came to America as war booty after having been pilfered in the latter stages of the war in 1945.

Hitler’s decorative Walther PP was one gaudy piece of kit.

Hitler’s ornate PP last sold at auction in 1987 for $114,000. At the time this was the greatest price ever realized for any piece of military memorabilia. As the buyer was anonymous the whereabouts of this remarkable pistol are unknown today, though rumor has it the gun left the country after the sale.

The Walther PP shown here was a slightly longer version of the Polizeipistole Kriminal (Detective Model) or PPK.
The Walther PP-series of pistols has been one of the most enduring handgun designs ever produced. It remains in production in several guises today.

The Walther PP was first introduced in 1929. This trim little automatic pioneered the use of the Single Action/Double Action trigger system in a concealable autoloading handgun. We have covered the development of the PP and PPK in detail previously.

Hitler Meets his End

Hitler’s relationship with Eva Braun was a poorly-kept secret. They died together in his study in the Fuhrerbunker.

What follows is the official version of events in the Fuhrerbunker on 30 April 1945. At 1430 hours Hitler and Eva Braun retreated into his personal study with Soviet troops less than 500 meters away. Braun used a cyanide capsule and died. Hitler bit cyanide and purportedly shot himself in the right temple with the larger of his two Walthers.

The .32ACP Walther PP was a suboptimal combat implement. However, at contact range it was just the ticket to put paid to one of the most evil men who ever lived.

Hitler’s Adjutant Sturmbannfuhrer Otto Günsche stated during a post-war interrogation that Hitler “sat … sunken over, with blood dripping out of his right temple. He had shot himself with his own pistol, a Walther PPK 7.65.”

The Walther PP (top) and the PPK were very similar weapons.

We presume the description of the gun as a PPK to be a translational error. Hitler’s service pistol was recognized as a PP. The gun and an empty cartridge case lay on the floor by the dead dictator’s feet.

This is the Fuhrerbunker after the Soviets blew it to hell.

Some reports had Hitler shooting himself in the mouth. There have also been allegations that Hitler’s valet Heinz Linge actually did the shooting. Regardless, the bodies were placed in a shell crater in the Reich Chancellery Garden outside the bunker, soaked in some 200 liters of petrol, and burned for more than two hours.

Comparisons with his dental records confirmed that Hitler died in April of 1945.

Soviet archives assert that the remains of Hitler and Braun were then sequentially interred in a variety of locations until 1946. They were then purportedly exhumed in 1970, cremated, and the ashes scattered. Hitler’s corpse was positively identified via comparison of his lower jaw to his dental records in 1945.

Conspiracy theories about Hitler’s final hours persist to this day. However, independent reviewers verified that the corpse found by the Soviet secret police unit SMERSH in the Reich Chancellery was indeed that of Adolf Hitler.

Details of the autopsy were released by the Soviets in 1968. A team of American odontologists at UCLA used these records to confirm their findings in 1972.

The Allies planned for a scenario wherein Hitler tried to flee in disguise after the war was lost.

Rumors concerning the death of the fascist dictator have persisted to the present. Stalin claimed Hitler survived the war and fled to South America. In 1944 the US military commissioned artists to create images of Hitler in various disguises to be used in identifying him should he attempt to run.

This nutjob caused the world no end of trouble. The gun that finally killed him was lost in the chaos of the end of the war.

The two Walthers Hitler had in his possession at the time of his death have subsequently been lost. They could have been taken by rampaging Soviet troops or hidden away by a member of his inner circle present at the end. Either way, there yet remains the possibility that tucked away in a shoebox in the back of a closet someplace rests a couple of truly remarkable pistols.

Appropriately enough, there is a children’s playground on the site where Hitler’s body was burned today. This is purportedly a photograph of it.

Special thanks to www.worldwarsupply.com for the cool replica gear used in our photographs.

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About the author: Will Dabbs was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, having been immersed in hunting and the outdoors since his earliest recollections. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mississippi and is the product of a traditional American nuclear family. Where most normal American kids get drunk to celebrate their 21st birthday, Will bought his first two machineguns. Will served eight years as an Army Aviator and accumulated more than 1,100 flight hours piloting CH47D, UH1H, OH58A/C, and AH1S helicopters. He is scuba qualified, has parachuted out of perfectly good airplanes at 3 o’clock in the morning, and has summited Mt. McKinley, Alaska–the highest point in North America–six times (at the controls of a helicopter, which is the only way sensible folk climb mountains). For reasons that seemed sagacious at the time he ultimately left the Army as a Major to pursue medical school. Dr. Dabbs has for the last dozen years owned the Urgent Care Clinic of Oxford, Mississippi. He also serves as the plant physician for the sprawling Winchester ammunition plant in that same delightful little Southern town. Will is a founding partner of Advanced Tactical Ordnance LLC, a licensed 07/02 firearms manufacturer and has written for the gun press for a quarter century. He writes solely to support a shooting habit that is as insensate as it is insatiable. Will has been married to his high school sweetheart for more than thirty years and has taught his Young Married Sunday School class for more than a decade. He and his wife currently have three adult children and a most thoroughly worthless farm dog named Dog.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Lbair April 15, 2021, 12:27 pm

    Well, another fine article by Mr Dabbs. His articles are like reading Cliff’s Notes, all accurate and short. I curl up with my dictionary and enjoy his read.

  • MagnumOpUS April 6, 2021, 10:00 pm

    “Never Again!”…

  • larry April 5, 2021, 10:43 pm

    Some of these comments are baffling. David Irving as a source of information? He is a notoriously debunked Holocaust revisionist and obvious antisemite. And no mention of gas chambers anywhere? Are you kidding? Eisenhower himself insisted that townsfolk near Ohrdruf and muliple journalists document what they saw because he knew that the world would never believe it, He predicted Holocaust denial before it happened.

  • Leo April 5, 2021, 2:15 pm

    Very interesting, thanks a lot!

  • Grady April 5, 2021, 1:12 pm

    German culture of that time sounds an awful lot like the politically correct revisionary cancel culture of today here in the states with the puppet in the white house having his strings pulled daily by Fuhrer Obama who swore to fundamentally change America. They started brain washing the youth in colleges years ago and now it starts in kindergarten. I am old and was born during WW11 , I have seem my country change and have our culture and standards that made this country great destroyed. If the changes continue The United States of America will become a third world nation of misfits that the rest of the world will laugh at.

    • AmeriKA is DEAD April 12, 2021, 8:21 am

      My friend I dare say we are pretty much there just about now. What is truly worrisome about today is that we all talk and talk and talk but virtually none of us do anything at all about this out of control mess we call AmeriKA!! We are in extreme jeopardy folks.

  • Jufrei April 5, 2021, 12:21 pm

    This usual play it safe post war hit piece is kosher approved standard fare . Mr.Dabbs would be well informed if he read author/archivist David Irvings HITLERS WAR and CHURCHILLS WAR vol. 1 and II .

  • geo April 5, 2021, 11:45 am

    I appreciate your articles Mr. Dabbs, (style, pix, and info), As always, I look forward to reading your work.

    Thx GD

  • Kane April 5, 2021, 11:17 am

    By the way, Germany honored US and British POW protections under the GC. The Soviet Union was NOT a GC signatory at that time.

    With all the massive memoirs and other accounts written by Churchill, Eisenhower, Truman, de Gaulle Montgomery et cetera and Red Cross documentation I never been able to find I descriptions of even mention of the “gas chambers” as the overrun camps were inspected. Of course those same ‘heroes’ that ‘saved the world’ never mentioned a lot of things like how the Soviets raped 10’s of millions of innocent girls ages 8-80. I would welcome any information and details where these powerful leaders were witnesses to the details that are now a part of the official record.

    So this is the world where the good guys won the last world war, makes you wonder what defeat would look like.

  • Kane April 5, 2021, 9:45 am

    What would have happened to the prisoners in the concentration camps in the US if the Axis managed to win decisive victories and were defeating the US on a two front war?

    Japanese, most of which were born in the US, and German and Italians NOT born in the US were rounded up in put in camps but what would the fate have been if the US was defeated? What if the US was losing and could barely feed US troops and Americans that were not in custody? What was the death rate in D. D. Eisenhower’s detention camps at the close of WWII where German POW’s were stripped of their Geneva Convention protections and listed as “Disarmed Enemy Forces”? Was the death rate 0.05% (+/-0.01%) or was it around 30%? Did the victorious US under DDE, FDR and Truman have a criminal policy toward Germans?

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