Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hitler's Women: Eva Braun - The Mistress



From the beginning of his murderous megalomaniacal crusade, Adolf Hitler was assisted by a varied cast of women. This series assesses the contributions that Hitler’s female helpers made to the propaganda, politics and processes of the regime. Using private archival footage and exclusive interviews, we create five portraits of life behind the scenes of this regime of terror.

In this programme, we look at the most well known of all Hitler’s women – his mistress, Eva Braun. The future Fuhrer first met Eva in 1929, when she was just 17. Their clandestine affair lasted for 15 years; for most of this time, she was concealed by Hitler in a remote hideaway amid the Austrian Alps.

Eva was extremely close to Hitler, and she associated with many Nazi officials. Yet she was the dictionary definition of a ‘silent partner’. Eva was banished to her room by her overbearing partner if important political guests came to visit. Hitler’s unpleasant statement that: "A highly intelligent man should always choose a primitive and stupid woman", perfectly communicates his condescending attitude towards Braun.

Eva was deeply and blindly in love with Hitler, writing in 1944: "From our first meeting I swore to follow you anywhere - even unto death - I live only for your love." This unquestioning devotion would lead her to a violent and premature death. On April 30th 1945 , as Allied troops closed in on Berlin, Eva and Hitler took vials of cyanide in order to commit suicide. The gruesome episode was a final end to a tumultuous and deeply unequal love affair.

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