In the first years of the second world war Hitler lived in the Old Chancellery and worked in the monumental New Chancellery, realized by Albert Speer. But when, after the defeat of Stalingrad and the first heavy bombing of Berlin on March 1943, the fates of the war made to fear the worse, Hitler ordered to build a new anti-aircraft shelter that could work, if necessary, as headquarters. In other words, he ordered a new bunker.
The setting in which Hitler played out the last scene of all was well suited to the end of so strange a history. The Chancellery air- raid shelter, in which the events of 22 April had taken place, was buried fifty feet beneath the ground, and built in two storeys covered with a massive canopy of reinforced concrete. The lower of the storeys formed the Fuhrerbunker. It was divided into eighteen small rooms grouped on either side of a central passage-way. Half of this passage was closed by a partition and used for the daily conferences. A suite of six rooms was set aside for Hitler and Eva Braun. Eva had a bed-sitting-room, a bath- room, and a dressing-room; Hitler a bedroom and a study, the sole decoration in which was the portrait of Frederick the Great. A map-room used for small conferences, a telephone exchange, a power-house, and guard rooms took up most of the rest of the space, but there were two rooms for Goebbels (formerly occupied by Morell) and two for Stumpfegger, Brandt's successor as Hitler's surgeon. Frau Goebbels, who insisted on remaining with her husband, together with her six children, occupied four rooms on the floor above, where the kitchen, servants' quarters and dining-hall were also to be found. Other shelters had been built near-by. One housed Bormann, his staff and the various Service officers; anotherMohnke,the S.S. commandant of the Chancellery, and his staff.