The Unknown Warriors

28th October 2013

 

 

Last week, Erich Priebke a Nazi SS officer died aged 100 in an apartment in Rome, Italy. He was under house arrest after being convicted of war crimes during WWII. He had escaped to Argentina, after the war, and lived there for many years until investigators discovered his real identity, when he was in his 80s.

 

He was not the only Nazi to have escaped to Argentina after defeat, many high ranking Nazis did the same. Some estimates give a figure of 30,000 Nazis that escaped to South America.  Some evaded capture for the rest of their lives. Others were not so lucky and were arrested and put on trial. The most high ranking Nazi that was caught was SS-Obergruppenführer Adolf Eichmann.

 

However, ever since the end of the war there are those that believe Hitler himself also escaped the burning ashes of Nazi Germany.

 

General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander of Europe said in 1952, ‘We have been unable to unearth one bit of tangible evidence of Hitler’s death. Many people believe that he escaped from Berlin.’

 

The main evidence that he killed himself, say the historians is witness statements from Adolf Hitler's closest staff. They all said he commited suicide in the Berlin bunker with Eva Braun and they took the two bodies outside and poured petrol on them and burnt the remains. Sceptics say they could easily have made this story up as a cover for their leader. People who believe Hitler died at the bunker say this would not be possible, as one would have finally told the truth, if the truth was something different.

 

Another thing doubters say is that in recent years a piece of skull held by the Russians, and for decades claimed to be part of Hitler's skull, was assessed using DNA techniques and it was found to have been from a woman.

 

Some have gone further and claim not only did Hitler escape Germany but he and Eva Braun had two daughters in Argentina and that he died aged 73 in 1962. Today the Daily Mail reported on this once again, HERE It seems two authors, Simon Dunstan and Gerrard Williams, who wrote a book called 'Grey Wolf' all about this theory are being asked for compensation by an Argentinian journalist, Abel Basti, who claims they used all his research for the book they wrote.

 

Now back to the headline of this article; Do dictators commit suicide? I remember thinking about this question when Grey Wolf came out in 2011. I have not read it, but I did read an article about the book when it was released. We've all seen ex detectives or criminal psychologists on TV News being interviewed about people such as serial murderers or hostage takers. Based on past crimes they are able to 'profile' what the criminal is likely to be thinking, what they might do next etc.  What would the experts expect a typical dictator to do if his regime was collapsing and enemy forces were entering the powerbase of their regime, the capital city?

 

The year Grey Wolf was published was the year Gaddafi lost his grip on power and ended up being executed by Libyan rebels. I remember contrasting what he did to what Hitler did. Then I thought of Saddam Hussein found down a little hole in a village. Neither had commited suicide when their capital cities were being surrounded by enemy forces. Their inner circles both arranged for their leader to flee, with the aim of fighting on as a guerilla force.

 

Dictators tend to have huge egos and are determined, ruthless characters that don't give up without a fight and always think things will end up working in their favour. Many have risen to the top from humble origins and spend years watching their backs and supressing opponents. Based on that, you would think it more likely that a dictator would try and flee rather than admit defeat and kill themselves. As you will see from below, in answer to question. "Do dictators commit suicide?" The answer, is no, except Hitler... unless he didn't?

 

Hitler - GERMANY - SUICIDE

 

With defeat looming for many months and a final collapse in Berlin's defences, he commited suicide in a Berlin bunker with his wife Eva Braun. Everyone else in the bunker fled, including Hannah Reitsch and Hans Baur, both aviators who escaped on a small plane from the centre of Berlin.

 

Benito Mussolini - ITALY - ESCAPE

 

In 1945, the Italian dictator was captured with his mistress, Clara Petacci, by Communist partisans as he was fleeing towards Switzerland, where he was going to be taken on a plane to Spain. They were both executed the next day.

 

Idi Amin - UGANDA - ESCAPE

 

In 1979 Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who had suffered defections and a crumbling grip on power, ordered an attack on Tanzania. They responded with a counter attack. As their forces closed in on the capital of Uganda, Kampala, with the help of Libya he fled by helicopter. He remained in exile for the rest of his life, dying in Saudi Arabia in 2003.

 

Pol Pot - CAMBODIA - ESCAPE

 

Murderous Communist dictator of Cambodia, Pol Pot escaped from the capital, Phnom Penh, to the jungles near the Thai border, when his Khmer Rouge regime collapsed following an attack by Vietnam. Claiming it to be an act of self defence, Vietnam forces invaded Cambodia in 1978. He remained in exile until his death in 1998.

 

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi - IRAN - ESCAPE

 

The Shah of Persia was overthrown by an Islamic revolution in 1979. After pro Khomeni rebels won street battles in Tehran, the Shah went into exile and stayed temporarily in various countries. He died in Egypt in 1980 of cancer and is buried there.

 

Manuel Noriega - PANAMA - ESCAPE

 

The USA invaded Panama in 1989. Dictator, Manuel Noriega's regime managed to hold out against overwhelming American military power for 5 days, leaving 23 American soldiers dead. He then fled to the Vatican Embassy, and asked for refuge, warning that unless it was given he would take to the countryside and wage a guerilla war. The Americans surrounded the embassy but because of a treaty they could not enter. After 10 days of physcological warfare tactics he was taken prisoner of war. He spent time in an American prison, then a French one and is currently in prison back in Panama.

 

Nicolae Ceauescu - ROMANIA - ESCAPE

 

As the Communist dictator of Romania, Nicolae Ceauescu was caught up in the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989. On the 21st December he made a typical speech from the balcony of Communist Party HQ, in the capital Bucharest, but for the first time ever, the crowd began to heckle and boo. The rebellion spread throughout Romania, and a crackdown began.

 

The following day protesters forced their way into the HQ building. Ceauescu fled from the roof by helicopter, with his wife. They first went to their summer residence then continued their escape. Local police caught them and held them. On Christmas Day he and his wife were executed.

 

Radovan Karadžic - BOSNIA - ESCAPE

 

Although not a long term dictator like the rest, as elected leader of Serbs in Bosnia, he faced the same decision of what to do when defeated and faced being put on trial for war crimes, when NATO intervened in the Balkan conflict during the 1990s. He fled and went into hiding. In 2008 he was arrested in Belgrade. He had grown his hair long and had a big bushy beard. Following the war he went under two pseudonyms; Petar Glumac and Dragan David Dabic  and lived in Vienna, Austria and Belgrade, Serbia. He passed himself off as a Dr in alternative medicine, bio energy, microbiotic diets and as an expert in 'Human Quantum Energy'. He even gave lectures to public audiences!

 

Saddam Hussein - IRAQ - ESCAPE

 

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by America and its allies, it was not long before they were advancing though the suburbs of the capital, Baghdad, as the Iraq army infrastructure collapsed following the massive aerial bombardment. Saddam showed up on a street with cheering supporters, and give a brief speech, before disappearing off the radar. In the weeks that followed the toppling of his statue in the centre of Baghdad various audio recordings surfaced with him urging followers to carry on the fight using guerilla methods.

 

This did begin to happen, and the US troops began to suffer regular casualties. In December 2003 he was capturedby U.S forces, who found him hiding out on a farm near Tikrit. On the 30th December 2006 he was hanged, following a trial.

 

Colonel Gaddafi - LIBYA - ESCAPE

 

When NATO assisted the Libyans rebels with air support the tide of the 2011 civil war began to turn against Colonel Gaddafi. Soon they were like licking flames against the doors of the capital Tripoli. Gaddafi's response to the collapse of his rule was to to escape into the desert, with his gold, to fund a guerilla war against those that had deposed him. On the 20th October a convoy he was travelling in was attacked by NATO planes, leaving many dead. Survivors including Muammar Gaddafi escaped to a construction site. As his bodyguards had a shoot out with rebels he hid in a drainage pipe. A grenade explosion killed his defence minister and he suffered head injuries. He was finally captured and met a grim end to his life as a mob tortured him. Gaddafi in his final minutes alive was filmed and it was shown across the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Dictators Commit Suicide?