Weird History
24.2k readers

Hitler Tested Cyanide On His Own Dog To Make Sure It Was Lethal

Updated June 14, 2019 24.2k views7 items

On April 29, 1945, with Benito Mussolini deceased and Allied forces getting ever closer to taking Berlin, Adolf Hitler knew he had little choice but to end his own life. There was no escape, and getting captured wasn't an option. To confirm he'd really be able to end his own life, Hitler - a man for whom no behavior seems beyond the pale - did the unthinkable: he tested his poison out on his loyal dog, Blondi.

That's right. Before Hitler terminated his own life on April 30, 1945, he ended his dog with cyanide capsules just to make sure they worked. Hitler raised Blondi from puppyhood, after receiving her as a gift in 1941. And by all accounts he loved his German Shepherd. When he wasn't using her as propaganda, he was playing fetch with Blondi and snuggling up beside her at night. However, no amount of love could keep Blondi alive after Hitler began staring down the barrel of his own end. And Blondi wasn't the only dog terminated during Hitler's impending demise. Blondi's puppies, as well as Eva Braun's Scottish Terriers, were ordered to be taken outside and put down.

  • Blondi Was A Propaganda Tool – She Helped The Führer Pass Himself Off As An Animal Lover (Which It Seems Like He Actually Was)

    Photo: AdrianDrozdek / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Hitler was gifted a German Shepherd pup in 1941 by the head of the party Chancellery Martin Bormann. That pup was the dog who became Hitler's beloved Blondi. However, Blondi wasn't Hitler's first or only canine companion. In fact, Third Reich propaganda photos from the 1940s show Hitler happily hanging out with a whole host of best furry friends. And, while it does seem the Führer had genuine affection for the pooches, he also used them to more sinister ends - namely, to circulate as propaganda that showcased his softer side.

    Along with images of Hitler gently feeding deer and holding cherubic blonde children, the trove of photos of Hitler lovingly spending time with dogs had a political purpose. There has even been speculation that some of the photos featuring the dogs were doctored - with the pooches being photoshopped in after the fact.

    • Blondi Moved Into The Führerbunker With Hitler In 1945, And Eva Braun Wasn't Happy About It

      On January 16, 1945, Hitler, Eva Braun, their dogs, and some German officials and staff moved into the Führerbunker, a bunker beneath the Reich Chancellery building in Berlin. At first, Hitler utilized undamaged portions of the Reich Chancellery building to hold meetings in, but, in time, he began to emerge aboveground less and less. As the air raids over Berlin began inflicting increasing damage on the city - and Hitler's end loomed ever closer - the few times he did come up onto the Chancellery gardens were reserved for playing with Blondi. 

      Blondi didn't just get to exist in the bunker, either. She was given all sorts of special privileges that others were denied, including sleeping in the Führer's bed at night. And, apparently, the other woman in Hitler's life, Eva Braun, wasn't Blondi's biggest fan. Hitler's personal secretary even recalls Braun covertly kicking Blondi under the table to get out her frustrations about the dog's special place in Hitler's heart. 

      • After He Had His Cyanide Capsules Tested On Blondi, Hitler Was Deeply Bereaved

        After learning about Benito Mussolini's capture and demise at the hands of Italian partisans in Milan, Italy, and with Allied forces getting ever closer to taking Berlin, Hitler knew the end was near. He ended his life on April 30, 1945. The day before, however, he became worried about the efficacy of the cyanide capsules he had on hand, so he did the unthinkable: he had them tested on Blondi to see if they worked. And they did.

        Though some say that Hitler's reason for poisoning the dog was to save her from the Russians, like with most things involving Hitler, the truth was far less courageous. After Blondi passed, Hitler is reported to have become extremely distraught.

        • When He Learned About Benito Mussolini's Demise At The Hands Of Italian Partisans, Hitler Began Acting Quickly

          Photo: Eva Braun / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain