Friday, April 30, 2021

Scores On This Historic Day: April 30, 1945, The Death of Adolf Hitler

April 30, 1945: With the Soviet Union's Red Army having reduced his "Thousand-Year Reich" from most of Europe to the size of his bunker in Berlin, Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany, shoots himself in the head. He was 56 years old.

His wife, Eva Braun, had also committed suicide, with a cyanide pill. The Nazi regime came to an end with the rump government's surrender 8 days later.

As the saying goes, the one service Hitler ever performed for humanity was to kill Hitler. But the regime he began on January 30, 1933, 12 years earlier -- including the war he started on September 3, 1939 -- had led to the deaths of 75 million people, military and civilian combined, including over 400,000 Americans.

The true depths of his depravity had already begun to reach the civilized world before word of his death had, as American, British and Soviet troops found the concentration camps where the Holocaust was carried out. In these camps, 11 million people died, some from murder, some from disease. And 6 million of them were put there for no crime other than being Jewish.

So the death of Hitler could not be a wholly joyous occasion, because it was a reminder of all that he did, and all that he could have done had he won.

The National Football League was in its off-season. The National Hockey League had already completed its season, with the Toronto Maple Leafs having won the Stanley Cup. And the National Basketball Association wouldn't begin play for another year and a half. And it was a Monday, a travel day in Major League Baseball. No games were played.

But Hitler's death wasn't announced by the Nazi government until the next day. But even on Tuesday, May 1, 1945, there were only 2 MLB games played:

* The Boston Red Sox beat the Washington Senators, 5-4 at Fenway Park in Boston.

* And the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers, 5-0 at Briggs Stadium (later renamed Tiger Stadium) in Detroit.

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