Hitler's increasingly poor health leads to a power struggle
"Hitler was already in such terrible health, probably with Parkinson's disease, [and he was] addicted to countless narcotics and drugs," says Rosenfeld about the dictator's final days. "He himself believed he only had a few years to live when he proclaimed war in 1939, so the idea of him surviving into the early ‘60s is kind of ludicrous." That said, Rosenfeld adds that, "There have been a lot of alternate histories that have had as their premise Hitler being assassinated at some point between 1933 and '45, and the question always ends up being: what sort of a power struggle erupts after he’s done away with? The idea that is typified is if Hitler was removed from office, there would have been a struggle between someone like Hermann Goering, who was very closely tied to the military and relatively flexible in terms of ideology, versus someone like Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, or Joseph Goebbels, the head of the propaganda ministry, who would have been very much committed to implementing the Nazi racial ideology. So the question would have been: Which party would win out?"
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Anna Silman is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertaiment and an alum of Vulture and Salon. One time, she wrote a feature on Nazi art theft. Find her on Twitter: @annaesilman.