The Fourth Reich:
Did Hitler - or his dreams - survive World War 2?


Official accounts of the end of the Second World War state that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler (along with his new bride Eva Braun, security chief Joseph Goebbels and his wife and six children) died in a bunker beneath the embattled streets of Berlin. For many years I've wondered whether an egocentric megalomaniac like Hitler would allow his life to come to such an ignominious end: surely he would have planned alternatives to suicide or capture by the Soviet Army well before the fall of Berlin? The generally accepted evidence for Hitler's death is a fragment of skull and a piece of jawbone recovered by Russian forces near the Fuhrerbunker in 1945: however, DNA testing carried out in the United States in 2009 revealed that the skull fragment was that of a much younger female, while the only link between Hitler and the piece of jawbone is the verbal evidence of Hitler's dentist! There is compelling testimony that the partly-burned corpse found by the Russians and claimed to be that of the Nazi leader was in fact one of the numerous body doubles Hitler is known to have used. Three key figures in any contingency plans for the escape of Hitler and other senior Nazis after the collapse of the Third Reich would have been S-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny, once described as 'the most dangerous man in Europe', General Reinhard Gehlen, commander of Foreign Armies East military-intelligence unit and Martin Bormann, Head of the Nazi Part Chancellery.


Bormann, Skorzeny and Gehlen


The death of Martin Bormann, most probably by suicide, was not 'confirmed' until 1998, when DNA testing was carried out on a skeleton discovered in 1972. Until then, intelligence agencies around the world had assumed that Bormann (together with other leading Nazis) had managed to break out of Berlin and escape, most probably to South America. His position of trust and influence within Hitler's closest circle meant that Bormann would certainly have been involved in any plans for Hitler's escape and it has been suggested that he was involved with Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler in establishing Odessa (Organization Der Ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen). The formation of a group or groups for expediting the escape of senior Nazis and former SS members is absolutely certain: notorious war criminals that successfully fled Germany with the help of such an organisation include Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele. However, the existence of Odessa itself (despite many references to it in films, popular fiction and biographies) has been denied by US intelligence agencies. It is strongly suspected that as early as 1944 Bormann had established mechanisms for evacuating himself, Hitler and others through Austria to Italy, via Spain, or by U-Boat. A number of very credible witnesses claim to have encountered Bormann in South America: in 1966 legendary Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal stated that he was certain Bormann was living in the Argentine-Chile border region under the name Ricardo Bauer. But what about the eye-witness accounts of Bormann's death near the Lehrter Station, Berlin and the mDNA tests on the skeleton found in 1972? Well, the eye-witnesses were both Nazis with, perhaps, vested interests in supporting the idea that Bormann was dead, while the conveniently-discovered skeleton could have been secretly returned to Germany after Bormann's death in South America. It has been claimed that dental work identified as being carried out on Bormann during the war shows evidence of modern techniques performed post mortem and that distinctive red soil found on the skull can only be found in Paraguay. It is, perhaps, significant that after testing, 'Bormann's' remains were cremated and disposed of at sea (somewhat reminiscently of the hasty disposal of Osama Bin Laden's body!)


Born in Austria, Otto Skorzeny (who was an officer in Hitler's bodyguard, the Leibstandarte) rose through the ranks of the SS and served on the Eastern Front. In 1942, following a serious head wound, he returned to Germany, where he developed his theories on the training and deployment of commando units, ultimately being placed in charge of five battalions of combat troops. His daring exploits included the mountain-top rescue of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini by glider commandos, the capture of the son of Hungarian Regent Miklos Horthy and leading 'Operation Greif' units dressed in US uniforms and driving captured American vehicles during the 'Battle of the Bulge' in December 1944. Subsequently, as part of the 'Spinne' organisation set up by Skorzeny and Reinhard Gehlen, similar false-flag units transported at least 600 Nazi escapees through allied lines to Austria and onwards after fighting ceased. Despite being implicated in numerous war crimes (including the possible shooting of captured US soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge) and being tried at the Dachau Trials of 1947, Skorzeny was never convicted on any major charges: he avoided punishment or 'de-nazification' by escaping from the Darmstadt internment camp, with the assistance, he claimed, of US military intelligence. It is considered possible that the Spinne network organised Hitler's escape to the Canary Islands, thence by U-Boat to Argentina.

The American intelligence community showed no compunction against the recruitment of unreconstructed Nazis after World War Two: among these was Reinhard Gehlen, head of the Foreign Armies East (FHO) military-intelligence unit. Rising to the rank of Major-General, Gehlen survived a 1944 dismissal by Hitler, who was angered by his 'defeatist' (but completely accurate) assessment of the fighting on the Eastern Front. Like Skorzeny, Gehlen was never tried as a high-ranking Nazi, but instead was recruited by US intelligence to undertake espionage against the Soviet Union. The Gehlen Organisation (AKA 'The Org') was subsumed by the CIA as part of its anti-soviet intelligence network, before being handed across to West Germany in 1956. Until 1968, Gehlen was chief of the Federal Intelligence Service, (the Bundesnachrichtendienst) With Otto Skorzeny, Gehlen played a major part in the escape of many former Nazis and their assimilation into sympathetic communities around the world. The fact that Gehlen was not executed following his dismissal suggests that an agreement might have been reached, whereby Hitler's possible future use of Gehlen's network of contacts and clandestine transport was exchanged for his survival from the charge of defeatism. The post-war careers of two of these high-ranking Nazis and the probable survival of the third, together with their involvement in setting up organizations to assist numerous war criminals to flee justice, makes it seem likely that they would have involved in any plan for Hitler's post-war escape. If Hitler was passed along the Spinne 'spider web', what was his eventual destination and what happened after he arrived? Contrary to what orthodoxy would have us believe, there is actually quite an amount of suggestive evidence that Hitler was transported to Argentina in a submarine, that he was secretly welcomed by President Juan Peron and lived there among a community of escaped Nazis for ten or more years. When the situation in Argentina altered, it is claimed that Hitler and others moved onward to Uruguay, living until 1971 under the protection of President Alfred Stroessner. If both Hitler and Bormann survived the defeat of Germany and, together with vast amounts of unaccounted Nazi money, established a clandestine Nazi community in South America, what were its aims? It is a possible scenario that, realizing the futility of attempting the military subjugation of Europe, the Nazi leadership in exile changed their strategy into one of political, industrial and economic conquest. It is observably the case that the reunification of Germany and the global influence of its current Chancellor, Angela Merkel (often described as the most powerful woman in the world) has left the country as the de facto leader of a modern Europe that currently includes large parts of the former Soviet Union. It was the allied rebuilding of West German industry, the protection of the country by the forces of NATO (both at huge expense) and the success of its Gehlen-based intelligence service that, it could be argued, have allowed this 'Fourth Reich' to achieve most of Hitler's aims.