Mass suicides in 1945 Nazi Germany  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Mass suicides in 1945 Nazi Germany was the large-scale deaths of civilians, government officials and military personnel during the final weeks of the Third Reich and the war in Europe. Aside from high-ranking Nazi officials like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Philipp Bouhler, many others chose  Selbstmord (Self-murder) rather than accept the defeat of Germany. Studies have shown that the suicides were influenced through Nazi propaganda (reaction to the suicide of Adolf Hitler), the tenets of the Nazi Party, and the anticipated reprisals following the Allied occupation of Nazi Germany. For example in April 1945, at least 1,000 people killed themselves and others within 72 hours as the Red Army neared the East German town of Demmin.

Three distinct periods of suicides have been identified between January and May 1945 when thousands of people took their own lives. Life Magazine reported that: "In the last days of the war the overwhelming realization of utter defeat was too much for many Germans. Stripped of the bayonets and bombast which had given them power, they could not face a reckoning with either their conquerors or their consciences." German psychiatrist Erich Menninger-Lerchenthal noted the existence of "organised mass suicide on a large scale which had previously not occurred in the history of Europe [...] there are suicides which do not have anything to do with mental illness or some moral and intellectual deviance, but predominantly with the continuity of a heavy political defeat and the fear of being held responsible".




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mass suicides in 1945 Nazi Germany" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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