In its May 7, 1945, issue, TIME wrote of Adolf Hitler, "If he were indeed dead, the hope of most of mankind had been realized. For seldom had so many millions of people hoped so implacably for the death of one man." Though it would take years to learn the full extent and the true horror of Hitler's reign over the Third Reich, even in the spring of 1945, as American allies closed in on Berlin from the east and west, it was clear that Hitler's removal from power would be necessary to end six years of bloody global war. In the end, Hitler spared the world a war-crimes trial by taking his own life. "Seldom in human history, never in modern times, had a man so insignificantly monstrous become the absolute head of a great nation," TIME wrote part of a celebration of sorts for the man's end and an obituary for the country he drove to ruin.
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