(DAILY MAIL) -- Though it was approaching midnight in Berlin, the streets were far from dark. On every street, fires raged out of control as the intense and savage Russian artillery bombardment crept closer to the centre of the Third Reich.
By that late hour on the night of April 27, 1945, there was not one person in Germany who thought that the Nazis could still win.
Deep in his bunker, even the man who had brought such destruction to his country - indeed, to the world - knew that the war was over. As Adolf Hitler gazed at a portrait of his hero, Frederick the Great, King of Prussia and a brilliant military mind, he was certain there would be no eleventh-hour reversal of fortune.
The so-called ‘miracle weapons’ had never arrived, and his once mighty armies existed more in memory than in flesh and steel.
The Führer had three options.
He could allow himself to be captured by the Russians; but the humiliation was unthinkable. He could kill himself, but who could possibly replace him? A Fourth Reich would surely rise, and he would be needed to lead it. That left one option: escape.
Everything had been prepared to the last detail by the shady head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Müller, right down to the clothes worn by the body doubles that would pass for the corpses of Hitler and his intended bride, Eva Braun.
As his office clock struck midnight, Hitler turned to his orderly and nodded. Twenty minutes later, three figures emerged from a secret tunnel connecting the bunker to the surface.
Had any German citizen spotted them, he or she would have been astonished to see the Führer scuttling away like the cowards he so despised. Accompanying him were Eva Braun and her brother-in-law, Hermann Fegelein.
Dodging fires and explosions, the small party made its way to the vast Hohenzollerndamm that ran through the centre of Berlin. Once a fashionable boulevard, it was now a makeshift runway, and on it sat a Junkers-52 transport aircraft, its engines being gunned by Captain Peter Baumgart, an experienced Luftwaffe pilot.
Hitler and his companions climbed aboard the aircraft, and before they could even sit down, Baumgart pushed the throttle forward. Within a minute, the plane soared into the air, heading north.
The Führer refused to look out of the window, unwilling to face the hell he had left behind. He was heading to a new life — and a new world. That life, as it would be for so many other Nazis, would be in Argentina.
Hitler’s route there was tortuous, but necessarily so for the most wanted man in the world. After landing in Denmark, he flew to Spain, where General Franco supplied him with an aircraft to take him to the Canary Islands.
From there, the Führer took a submarine to the Argentine coast, where he disembarked near the small port of Necochea, some 300 miles south of Buenos Aires.
Hitler would never again set foot outside Argentina. And though his dreams of a new Reich would never be fulfilled, he did at least find some form of domestic happiness by marrying Eva Braun, with whom he had two daughters.
Finally, after 17 years in hiding, one of the most evil men in history died on February 13, 1962, aged 73. It was to his bitter disappointment that his old foe, Winston Churchill, had outlived him.
To most of us, such a story sounds like utter fantasy. But there are some who regard it as the absolute truth.
The notion that Hitler escaped from his Berlin bunker has held conspiracy theorists in thrall since the war ended. It has now reared its improbable head once more.
This weekend, it emerged that the story of Hitler’s supposed escape to Argentina has become the subject of a bitter plagiarism row.
In their book, Grey Wolf: The Escape Of Adolf Hitler, British authors Gerrard Williams and Simon Dunstan argued that the Führer escaped exactly in the manner described above, and did indeed see out his days in South America.
However, an Argentine journalist, Abel Basti, who comes from the Patagonian town of Bariloche, where so many Nazis ‘retired’, claims that Williams and Dunstan appropriated his research, and he is seeking compensation.
Williams and Dunstan strenuously deny Basti’s accusation.
‘Basti did in no way invent the idea of Hitler being alive in Argentina,’ says Williams. ‘Books on the subject existed as far back as 1953 and 1987. I have never plagiarised anyone’s work.’
To outsiders, the row looks like three bald men fighting over a comb. The idea that Hitler could have escaped - and kept that escape hidden - seems farcical.
And yet many continue to believe it. Tens of thousands of Nazis escaped after the war, including the notorious Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele. Is it not possible that Hitler escaped with them?
As Gerrard Williams says, there have been many versions of the Hitler escape story, and they have been spun ever since May 1945.
In the years immediately after the war, there was no hard proof that Hitler had, in fact, died. One of the problems that investigators encountered was the lack of any physical evidence for his death.
The existence of skull fragments, found by the Russians near the Fuhrer’s bunker and believed to be his, was not known to the West until 1968. Then, in 2009, DNA testing of the bones revealed that in fact they belonged to a woman. Continue reading via Daily Mail...