The Radio Announcement of Hitler's Death
On May 1, 1945, while the world waited in suspense, the solemn music of Wagner was broadcast from the remaining stations of the “ Reich ”.
Frequent “ Achtung ” interruptions came with fanfares and drum-rolls.
From Bremen, in English, listeners were told that an announcement by the German Government would be broadcast at 9:00 pm.
Not since Hitler came to power had that term “ German Government ” been used over the radio. All major announcements were made “ by the Führer ”.
From 9:00 until 9:30 pm, Hamburg Radio was broadcastingr Wagner's « Tannhäuser » and a Piano Concerto by Carl Maria von Weber.
At 9:40 pm, the “ Stand-by ” warning was given again. This was followed by Wagner's “ Twilight of the Gods ”.
An announcer came to the microphone, at 9:43, shouting:
“ Achtung ! Achtung ! The German broadcasting system is going to give an important German Government announcement for the German people. ”
More music followed, from Wagner's “ Rhinegold ”.
At 9:57, the “ Achtung ” warning was repeated and the announcer added :
“ We are now going to play the slow movement of Bruckner's 7th Symphony ”
(The recording used was probably the Karl Boehm 1943 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Other possible recordings were either the Telefunken recording with Wilhelm Furtwangler conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, or Georg-Ludwig Jochum's performance with the Reichs Bruckner Orchestra of Linz recorded by the RRG in June of 1944. - Ed.)
Abruptly at 10:25 pm, the music stopped.
There came 3 rolls of the drums - a moment's silence, and then, the news of Adolf Hitler's death.
This was followed by the German National Anthem the “ Horst Wessel ” song, more drum-rolls, and a 3 minutes silence.
All German radio stations scrapped the midnight news bulletin and repeated the announcement of Hitler's death.