HOW DO DICTATORS DIE?

According to the article in The Daily Beast, it was lucky for the world that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi chose to stay in Libya and fight. Through numerous examples, the author shows that “…it is very rare for dictators to meet their end bravely, still inside the country they are fighting to recapture.” Had he fled, the influence he would have exerted from abroad could have kept the country’s allegiance split for years.

Andrew Roberts writes, “When on Monday, April 30, 1945, Winston Churchill learned from Radio Hamburg that Adolf Hitler had died fighting against the Russians in Berlin, he told his private secretary Jock Colville, “Well, I think he was perfectly right to die like that.” It was only later that he discovered that the Fuhrer had in fact committed suicide in the Reich Chancellery bunker, taking his wife of one day, Eva Braun, with him, and thus denying the world of the 20th century”s most justified execution at Nuremberg.”

My husband Max was in a hospital for officers at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in Cap d’Antibes when Adolf Hitler committed suicide. He was recovering from a bullet wound following his ski troop’s assault on the fortress at l’Authion on the French-Italian border. It took several days, but the French were finally victorious. Unfortunately, Max, a lieutenant in the Chasseurs Alpins, the elite ski unit of the French army, spent the end of the war plus more than a year in the hospital, almost losing his leg to gangrene.

Thanks to the doctors on an English hospital ship off the coast of southern France, Max kept the leg though he has no feeling in it from above the knee to his foot. He is still grateful to the English, especially to Winston Churchill, who gave him the opportunity to fight the enemy on so many fronts, in so many ingenious ways. -Linda Ciampoli

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