As it Happened - Hitlers Bodyguard

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From the producers of the acclaimed series World War in Colour and Churchill's Bodyguard, comes this fascinating new DVD documentary about what it was like to protect the biggest villain in history - Adolf Hitler. This story of jealousy, betrayal and murder details what it was really like to protect Hitler from bombs, snipers, plots, maniacs, poison gas and Allied assassination attempts. This is the story of Hitler's survival from a very new angle..

Episode Description

1

Early Attempts on Hitler's Life

Many of his early followers and bodyguards remained loyal to him and were rewarded by Hitler. They included later Nazi leaders Rudolf Hess, SA leader Ernst Rohm, former war pilot Hermann Goring, and Heinrich Himmler, and bodyguards Emil Maurice and Bruno Gesche. The SA was formed in 1921, and the SS as an elite personal guard unit in 1925. During this period, Hitler had several narrow escapes. He suffered a dislocated shoulder during the failed putsch in 1923 and was almost brought down by a scandal over the murder of his niece Geli Raubal. Soon afterwards, Hitler met Eva Braun.

2

Kill the New Chancellor

In 1934, Hitler became Chancellor. There were so many attempts on his life that a special SS escort of eight bodyguards looked after him. Soon the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was established consisting of 1000 men - all with strict standards of height and 'racial purity'. From the UK in English and German.

3

Night of the Long Knives

Plotting and power struggles between Hitler's "bodyguards" led to the blood purge of the Night of the Long Knives, which strengthened Hitler's grip on power by gaining him the support of the German army and of political leaders. From the UK in English and German.

4

Jewish and Emigre Attempts

Disaffected Jews living inside and outside Germany plotted to assassinate Hitler and other leading Nazis as counter-intelligence and security agencies expanded in Germany. From the UK in English and German.

5

Kill Hitler Before War Starts

This episode covers the period from 1938 to the invasion of Poland in 1939. Hitler's annexation of Austria and then Czechoslovakia and his plans to invade Poland led to serious attempts on his life which were foiled by chance as much as by his elaborate security system.

6

Bombs and Paranoia

Rommel is put in charge of a new unit of bodyguards for the Fuhrer in 1939, just before the invasion of Poland. And, in a Munich beer hall, an attempt on Hitler's life fails.

7

Hitler’s Dangerous Car Journeys

Hitler was a car fanatic. His love of travelling through massive crowds in open-topped Mercedes presented his guards with particular problems. While following his armies during the Blitzkriegs in Poland and France, Hitler puts himself in danger

8

Hitler’s Aircraft And Flights Into Fear

Hitler appreciated the power of aircraft, not only as a military weapon, but as a political tool. During the early 1930s, he hired aircraft for election campaigning, often facing weather and mechanical problems, as well as specific assassination attempts.

9

Hitler’s Dangerous Train Journeys

As Hitler's empire expanded, the need for a secure, mobile military headquarters led him to use a Special Train, the Führer-Sonderzug. Code named 'Amerika', this became an armored monster with anti-aircraft armament and state-of-the-art communications

10

Attempts To Kill Hitler At The Wolf’s Lair

Hitler's most famous headquarters, the Wolfschanze or 'Wolf's Lair', was near Rastenburg deep in the forests of East Prussia. From here Hitler directed the titanic campaign against the Soviet Union.

11

Nearly Assassinated At The Berghof.

The Berghof, near Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Obersalzberg, was the nearest Hitler had to a home. Here he was surrounded by close colleagues and their families, and relax amid the mountain scenery.

12

The Poison Gas Plot In The Bunker

By early 1945, Hitler was held up in his bunker deep beneath the Reichschancellery as the Red Army surrounded Berlin. His colleagues and officers plot to either kill Hitler or escape the bunker and negotiate with the Allies.

13

How Hitler’s Bodyguard Worked

In the 1920s, Hitler recruited street-fighting bullies to guard party meetings. They would soon become known as the SA. As Hitler's career evolved, the SA grew and their rival SS was created and competed for the powerful position of guarding Hitler.