Fest's Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich provides an account of the defeat of National Socialist Germany in May 1945. Hitler's actions, decisions, and behaviour from within his bunker are examined in Fest's work. Fest also chronicles German citizens' and military officials' reactions to the advancing Soviet troops and fall of the Third Reich.
Fest portrays Hitler in April 1945 as a depressed, nervous, and suicidal man constantly consuming cake:
"His clothes, which had always been painfully correct, were splattered with food stains; cake crumbs stuck to the corners of his mouth, and whenever he held his eyeglasses in his left hand during a situation conference report, they would clatter softly against the tabletop" (pp. 21-22).Fest chronicles Hitler's decision to commit suicide. Also recorded are accounts of Hitler pushing his officials to find escape in the west. Hitler and Eva Braun's wedding certificate and ceremony are documented, along with the other German officials who were married in the bunker on the night of April 29th.
German citizens and the military are also examined in Fest's work. Fest's accounts of Berlin at the demise of the Third Reich are not rich in detail - most of the book is centered on the bunker. However, photographs of Berlin during the Soviet advance provide pertinent evidence to his argument.
Fest's work provides an interesting historical account of the fall of the Third Reich. Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich is an informative, engaging, and fast read.
Fest, Joachim. Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2004.