The Pittsburgh Press (January 30, 1945)
LONDON, England – The Berlin radio said tonight that Adolf Hitler would speak from his headquarters at 5:15 p.m. ET in observance of the 12th anniversary of his rise to power.
LONDON, England (UP) – Adolf Hitler today began his 13th – and undoubtedly last year – of German power.
Hitler was silent but the German radio echoed with last-minute appeals to the populace to stand firm. From the Moscow radio was beamed a call by the Free German Committee for “all honest Germans to rise up.”
It was the second time since his assumption of power in Germany that Hitler had not marked the day with an important address. The previous occasion was Jan. 30, 1943, just after Stalingrad.
German jitters admitted
One German commentator openly admitted German jitters, declaring that “among millions of men which form a nation, there is always a certain percentage of those who in the final dramatic phase of the battle lose faith in the success of their cause.”
The Moscow broadcasts called on the German people to “join us in the fight against Hitler in this last hour. Catastrophe can only be averted by overthrow of Hitler.”
Other Moscow reports said that anti-Nazi posters had appeared in Berlin.
Hitler’s whereabouts was a mystery. He was reported variously in Berlin, touring the Eastern Front and holing up for a last stand in his mountaintop palace at Berchtesgaden.
But wherever he was, he must have realized that within the next few months – perhaps weeks – his country would go down to possibly the greatest defeat in history and he probably would be dead, in exile or awaiting trial as a war criminal.
The Red Army fast was closing in on Berlin and a massive Allied offensive was in preparation in the west.
Fires range in Berlin
Fires kindled by RAF bombs raged in the capital, hampering civilians frantically digging trenches and tank traps for the impending battle.
Even the Southern Front was threatened. A Nazi DNB dispatch said the German High Command was “considering withdrawing certain contingents of troops from Italy” to plug the gaps in the path of the Red Army.
DNB said German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, supreme commander in Italy, was demanding the mobilization of Italians from 18 to 60 to replace the withdrawn units, but it was certain that the Italians would not match them in either quality or quantity.
It appeared that Prime Minister Churchill’s prediction that the Germans would yield northern Italy “anytime now” was about to be fulfilled.
Of the once-great network of satellites and allies with which Hitler had ringed Germany, only puppet-ruled Slovakia and Norway remained, and their days, too, were numbered.
Slovakia has been invaded by the Red Army, and Germany was believed preparing to abandon the Nazi regime in Norway to its fate.