Adolf Hitler alive: weird conspiracy theories
The discovery that the skull believed to be Adolf Hitler's was actually a woman's has reignited conspiracy theories.
By Tom Chivers
29 Sep 2009
Rumours of Hitler’s survival have been widespread for years, with some even claiming he is alive today.
While that is unlikely – the Nazi leader would celebrate his 121st birthday in April – the possibility that he made it out of the Berlin bunker has been seriously put forward on several occasions. Here are four of the strangest theories.
Hitler fled on a 'ghost convoy' to Argentina
Several prominent Nazis – including 'architect of the Holocaust' Adolf Eichmann and Dr Josef Mengele, the 'Angel of Death' – certainly did flee to Argentina.
And the arrival of two U-Boats in the South American country in the weeks after the war led to more speculation that Hitler joined his former underlings there. But Heinz Schäffer, one of the officers on the U-Boats, has alwas strenuously denied being part of a 'ghost convoy'.
The two U-Boats, U-530 and U-977, surrendered at Mar del Plata in Argentina in July and August 1945 respectively.
Hitler 'fled to Antarctica in a U-Boat'
Among the theories of Hitler's whereabouts after the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945 was that he was smuggled out of Germany and onto a U-Boat.
From there, the story goes, the Nazi leader was taken to a secret military base in Antarctic. In the late 1950s British and American forces found the base and destroyed it with atomic weapons.
The theory falls down on three major points. One, there was never a German military presence in Antarctica, despite a pre-war mission there to see whether a whaling base would be feasible.
Two, while the two U-Boats mentioned above did arrive in Argentina after the war, they could not possibly have made it to Antarctica. The sea ice in the winter blocks all access to the land where any base would have been.
Three, while atomic bombs were detonated in the southern hemisphere in 1958, they were atmospheric tests, hundreds of miles above the surface of the Earth. All three took place between 1400 and 2150 miles north of Antarctica.
Using secret rocket technology, Hitler fled to a Nazi base on the moon
The point when Hitler conspiracy theories lose touch with reality altogether. The Nazis' development late in the war of high-technology weapons – including the V2, an early ballistic missile, and the Me 262 jet fighter – inspired some to believe that Germany had secretly won the space race.
It was also suggested that the Nazis had made contact with UFOs and that they had made it to the Moon as early as 1942. Furthermore, Russian and American astronauts actually made it there in the 1950s, and stayed at a Nazi lunar base.
For added measure, it is claimed that the Moon is perfectly habitable for humans, but that NASA claims it is barren and airless in order to stop Third World countries visiting it.
Hitler is alive and well and staying in San Diego
Well, not really. This one is a joke – but there is a structure, visible on Google Maps, that might make you think otherwise. A barracks building in the US Navy base in San Diego's Coronado island, known as the 'Seal's Lair', is very definitely in the shape of a swastika.
In 2007, the US Navy said it was going to redesign the 1960s-built edifice, spending around $600,000 (£375,000) to make it less master-racy. They admitted they noticed the shape when it was built, but didn't think anyone would spot it from the ground.