Adolf Hitler's 'final words' before he killed himself in Berlin have allegedly been unearthed in the personal diary of the National Socialist leader's pilot.
The journal of Lieutenant-general Hans Baur, one of Hitler's most trusted members of staff, offers rarely seen pictures of the Führer as well as an account of the Fuhrer's last moments on April 30, 1945.
Brought together in his re-released memoirs titled 'I was Hitler's Pilot', the book details what it claims to be the National Socialist leader's emotional last words to Baur.
The pilot said Hitler told him 'I'm ending it today' before killing himself moments later alongside his wife Eva Braun.
'"Baur, I want to say goodbye to you. The time has come. My generals have betrayed me; my soldiers don't want to go on and I can't go on."'
The pilot added: 'I tried to persuade him that there were still planes available, and that I could get him away to Japan or the Argentine, or to one of the Sheiks, who were all very friendly to him on account of his attitude to the Jews.
'"The war will end with the fall of Berlin," Hitler declared. "And I stand or fall with Berlin."'
The Führer then apparently said: 'A man must summon up courage enough to face the consequences - and therefore I'm ending it now. I know that tomorrow millions of people will curse me - that's fate.
'The Russians know perfectly well that I am here in this bunker, and I'm afraid they'll use gas shells. There are gas-locks here, I know, but can you rely on them?'
Finishing his speech to his friend, Hitler said: ‘In any case, I'm not - and I'm ending it today,’ according to the diary.
Baur's wedding day on May 13, 1936 in Munich. Hitler (pictured left) was the pilot's best man. Baur's friendship with Hitler was sparked in the early 1930s when the pilot was hired to help the National Socialist leader campaign around Germany
The National Socialist leader was then said to have offered Baur a valuable painting as a gift for his 12 years of service before killing himself moments later alongside his wife Eva Braun.
Following his talk with Hitler, Baur was shot in his attempts to escape and lost his leg as a result. He then spent ten years in a Soviet prison where he was relentlessly tortured for information about Hitler.
Despite his key role in the Führer's inner circle, Baur claimed he was not involved in the politics of the Third Reich, stating he was 'a pilot, not a politician'.
Meanwhile, remarkable photographs included in the diary show Baur and Hitler warmly greeting each other on an airfield, standing alongside each other whilst throwing a National Socialist salute, and the soon-to-be leader of the Third Reich posturing stony-faced whilst serving as best man for his beaming captain.
Hitler and Baur perform the NS salute - there was no doubt that Hitler shared a special bond with Baur
Baur, who survived the First World War as an airman and went on to become one of German airline Luft Hansa's first pilots, transported some of the Third Reich's highest ranking ministers, as well as various heads of state, and Mussolini.
His friendship with Hitler was sparked in the early 1930s when the pilot was hired to help Hitler campaign around Germany. Just three years later, Hitler was Baur's best man at his wedding.
There was no doubt that Hitler shared a special bond with Baur, with the National Socialist leader even purchasing the pilot a brand new car for his 40th birthday.
'Hitler's complete confidence in me had led to a more intimate and friendly relationship,' Baur said in his dairy. 'After all, again and again his life depended on my skill, and he realised that I always did my level best for him.'
He continued: 'So one day he told me that henceforth I was to consider myself as his personal friend and permanent guest as well as his pilot. From now on I was to be allowed to go in and out of his house whenever I liked without special pass or permission.
'After that I almost always had lunch and dinner with him, and I found it very interesting to get to know the way he lived, and in particular how he relaxed.
Hitler and Baur exchange warm greetings as they prepare to fly together
'In the garden of the Reich Chancellory there were a number of very tame squirrels, and whenever he went out into the garden they would come running up to jump on his shoulders. They wanted nuts, of course, and when Hitler went into the garden, he always took some with him.
'Once when the supply was exhausted I offered to go back to the Reich Chancellory and get some more, but Hitler refused: "No, Baur. Your job is flying me, not waiting on me."'
The first German edition of Baur's memoirs Ich flog Mächtige der Erde (I Flew with the World's Powerful), was published in 1956, but the diary has now been reprinted and re-released by Frontline Books in English with the title I was Hitler's Pilot.