Activity: Talk or presentation for an academic audience › Invited talk for an academic audience
On 1 May 1945, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz took to North German radio to announce the death of Adolf Hitler. Endeavouring to paint a picture of national bereavement, he proclaimed: 'our Führer… has fallen. In the deepest sorrow and respect, the German people bow.’ In contrast, subsequent scholars have been quick to declare the opposite, asserting that 'no one' mourned Hitler, or shed any tears at his passing. Both arguments, however, rest on little more than assertion. Drawing upon German ego documents and Allied observational reports, this paper offers the first (overdue) analysis of reactions among 'ordinary Germans'. It highlights the diversity of these responses and, in particular, illustrates the methodological challenges of adopting a history of emotions approach to the collapse of a charismatic but dictatorial regime.