There is a strong controversial theory about Adolf Hitler having escaped from Germany after the Second World War. Delving into the Führer’s mind from a PR perspective, Bollywood publicist Dale Bhagwagar, concludes why an ESCAPE for Hitler was IMPOSSIBLE.
Many alleged that after the complete defeat and ruin of his Third Reich (Third Empire of Germany), Adolf Hitler escaped from his bunker and went on to live in hiding in Argentina till a very old age. There have been various articles and documentaries describing his escape and life after the war. Many have claimed to have spotted him at various places around the world, giving strength to the notion that he had managed to slyly evade the Americans, British and Russians.
Reality over fake news
However, I have been in the profession of spin for more than two decades now, and having studied about the war and Hitler, I can say with utmost certainty that the Führer (meaning, the leader in German) NEVER ESCAPED. The historical version of his suicide is most correct. He ended his life with his mistress-turned-wife-for-the-last-day Eva Braun and their bodies, as per his instructions, were immediately destroyed by being burned.
Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels’ publicity machine had been so strong and effective over the years, that it was impossible for Hitler not to live up to that image. Even Goebbels killed himself for the same brand of National Socialism he had deftly helped to create. And with himself, Goebbels took the life of his wife Magda in a suicide-pact, along with six of his children put to death in their sleep.
Still, you may ask why a power-broker like Hitler would never think about escaping. Good question. Like many journalists say, the when, what, where and how are not as important as the why, here are four strong reasons why he would do what he did.
1) Because Hitler could not imagine life without his adaptation of National Socialism that he had so painstakingly propagated and advocated for 25 years.
2) Because after the war, Hitler could not be safe anywhere in the world, and that included conquered Germany.
3) Because Hitler was way too scared of meeting the fate of Benito Mussolini who was killed and lynched in Italy towards the end of the war. He also had a fear psychosis that he would be strung up naked or paraded through Moscow in a cage by the Russians.
4) And last but not the least, Hitler was too egoistic to run away.
In a situation like that, in his mind, fleeing would have been akin to dying each day he lived. From his point of view, death would have been the quicker, safer and only dignified option. At the time of defeat, from Hitler’s perspective, life after war would be humiliation, while death would mean leaving with self-respect.
Peeping into the Führer’s psyche
And why would he think so negatively about living on? One has to put oneself in his position to imagine what ‘escaping’ would have meant to the Führer.
14 years of political struggle and strife … a near-death experience during First World War … being imprisoned after a failed coup for power … managing to return to politics and getting elected and then assuming dictatorship … 12 years of absolute power … crazy God-like adulation from his people and from various parts of the world … fanatic influence over minds and hearts … multiple failed attempts on his life before and during power … victory after victory in the Second World War — the world’s greatest war … emerging a contemporary conqueror akin to an Alexander or Genghis Khan … world domination almost in his grasp… AND THEN… a humiliating defeat.
Seeking glory even in downfall
For a man who even refused to leave his headquarters — his Reich Chancellery in Berlin — during the last months of the war, running out of Germany was never a thought. He was the Führer, and for him, the Captain never left a sinking ship. He would go down with it. In the eyes of a helpless Captain, that’s the honourable path and his hope for glory.
And this is why I say for sure that all the rumours about him running away to a safe haven were spread either by the victors (mainly Russia’s Joseph Stalin), the gossip-hungry media and a few paranoid people from various countries.
The brand’s new beginning
In conclusion, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Hitler’s larger-than-life perception and brand took his life. His branding was so magnificently magnanimous, that it was impossible for him to ‘live with defeat’. Come to think of it, this guru of branding was trapped by his own ‘propaganda’ — the word that finally evolved into what we now know as ‘public relations.’
Ending his time, ironically gave his brand a new beginning. It was the turn of the victors to brand him stronger and for longer. After WW2, he came to be known as the biggest ‘monster’ the world had ever witnessed. He is the ‘greatest villain’ in history. The Allies (countries united during the war) and his favourite muse (the Jews) made sure they highlighted atrocities of his regime, as a result of which Hitler is remembered as nothing less than ‘the face of evil.’
Look who’s back
To this day, that fear sells… and how! Just look at the box-office figures of Rogue One, the movie from the Star Wars series, and you’ll realise the world’s ingloriously glorious charm with everything Hitler.
Dale Bhagwagar is the Rajinikanth of Bollywood PR. Over the years he’s made his own rules, own styles and own world. Apart from being widely quoted across all Indian media, he is the only publicist from the country who has been quoted in international media such as BBC World, BBC Radio, Sky News, Channel 4, The Times, Guardian, The Independent, and many more.
Among some 150-odd clients he has worked with, Dale has also been instrumental in shaping images of Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra and movies like Don and Rock On!! Plus, some 20 scandalous names who have been on Bigg Boss.