This is the character sheet for the German World War 2 movie Downfall. The movie has become famous in the internetland for the long-living YouTube Meme Hitler Rants (which now has its own character page) it has given birth to. Tropes listed here are related to the original movie only. Tropes for Adolf Hitler should only reflect his character if they are seen through this movie.
Hitler and his inner circle
The principal character of the movie, Austrian-born Adolf Hitler rose to power in his adopted Germany as Führer in 1933 with a promise to bring Germany back to its glory days, before he started a war and threw the country in it. As of the movie's span, Hitler has become a shrunken, near-defeated shell of a man who would ultimately put a bullet through his skull on April 30, 1945. You should know this.
- Adjusting Your Glasses: He does this right before his memetic rant in the bunker, his hand visibly shaking as he does it, barely able to contain his shock.
- Armchair Military: Hitler directs the final stand of the Wehrmacht from the comfort of his bunker. Every conference scene shows Hitler ordering units that effectively no longer exist.
- Ax-Crazy: Its obvious that hes a lunatic from the beginning, what with his emotional instability and sociopathy, and he only gets worse as Nazi Germany starts to lose the war.
- Ate His Gun: Though we only get to hear it, Hitler kills himself by shooting a bullet into his own brain.
- Bad Boss: While he can be nice to the people daily around him, he has zero sympathy for his Mooks.
- Believing Their Own Lies: For a good part of the film, he holds on to his delusions of winning the war and creating his ideal world. It's when these delusions start to break that he really begins to lose it.
- Beneath the Mask: Traudl mentions how he can at one moment be pleasant, and the next moment say/scream such horrible things. Eva responds You mean when hes the Führer? , so she seems to believe at least some part of his public self is a mask.
- Berserk Button: Disobeying him in any way. Subverted when Speer openly admitted to deliberately disobeying Hitler's orders to his face. Hitler is naturally shaken, but simply lets him leave.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Preferred a bullet through his head to suffering worse at the hands of the Soviets.
- Big Damn Kiss: He plants on Eva's face after she tells him she won't leave the bunker for the Alps. It's an unbelievably awkward, both in-universe and out. Burgdorf's face is priceless.
- Break the Haughty: His last days as the ruler of Germany already had his mental state slipping. But, after a continuous stream of bad news over the course of several days, Hitler realizes how hopeless things are for him.
- The Caligula: He expects every German to be ready to die in the name of his mad and unobtainable dream of a German superstate in miserable conditions. When he finally realizes that the war is lost and the German people have failed to bring about his dream, he wants to burn the entire country to the ground for failing him.
- Driven to Suicide: After realizing, once and for all, that the war is truly lost, Hitler puts a bullet through his own head, off-screen. It's treated less as a Despair Event Horizon and more like he's denying the Allies the satisfaction of killing him.
- Famous Last Words: The last thing he says to Magda Goebbels as she gets down on her knees and begs him to leave Berlin is "Tomorrow, millions of people will curse me, but fate has taken its course."
- Friend to All Children: He and the Goebbels kids seem to really like each other. In fact, hes so friendly hes happy to have kids and teenagers die en masse for him as Child Soldiers. Truth in Television on both counts; Hitler was known to be genuinely fond of kids while still, in the final days of the war, sending thousands of them off to die.
- Hypocrite: Wants the Germans to keep fighting till the bitter end in horrible conditions, while he himself stays in the relative comfort of his bunker without firing one single bullet against the enemy.
- I Reject Your Reality: The scene used for many of the Hitler Rants involves him trying to command units that don't exist or are nowhere near fighting strength, and flying into a rage when informed that said impossible commands weren't carried out, followed by blaming everyone except himself for the situation.
- It's All About Me: As far as Hitler is concerned, Germany exists for him, not the other way around.
- Irrational Hatred: Averted. Theres surprisingly little references to his ideology of racial superiority. It primarily comes up during a dinner conversation about the weak somehow being a threat to the strong, and thus in need of extermination.
- Large Ham: Is he ever. He's spawned a meme based entirely on his spectacular meltdowns.
- Licked by the Dog: Licked by the Goebbels kids and Traudl.
- Magnetic Hero: Glance through the rest of the characters. Most of them have Undying Loyalty to him.
- MayDecember Romance: When they marry, Hitler is 56 and Eva is 33. Of course, they don't live long enough after that for the age difference to matter.
- A Million Is a Statistic: Is actually fairly nice to the kids around him, but he has no problem sending out hundreds of other children in a Hopeless War to defend Berlin.
- Mood-Swinger: As mentioned by his secretary, he can be perfectly polite one moment, and terrifying in the next.
- The Napoleon: He's fairly short, but his ego is bigger than the bunker.
- Nice to the Waiter: He treats his secretary and most of the low-rung workers with surprising kindness. This manages to make his outbursts even more terrifying.
- Never My Fault: Hitler blames his generals, his staff, and finally the entire German populace for failing him and losing the war. He never blames himself. His dying words of how it's his "destiny" to be hated the world over is one last moment of contempt for those who have "failed" to see his vision.
- Pet the Dog:
- For what it's worth, he does urge several of his subordinates to flee Berlin.
- Despite Speer telling him to his face that he refused to carry out his orders to decimate Germany, Hitler allows him to leave with his life and even sheds Manly Tears, despite the fact almost every other time someone disobeyed him he flew into a rage and threatened to kill them.
- On a more literal sense, he dearly loves Blondi and is absolutely devastated after she has to be put down.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Has shades of one, what with the playing with imaginary armies, blaming everyone except himself for Germany's failures, and throwing explosive fits of rage whenever something goes wrong.
- Say My Name: FEGELEIN! FEGELEIN! FEGELEIN!
- Shoot the Dog: When he orders his own pet dog Blondi to be poisoned in order to test out the cyanide pills.
- Single Tear: Sheds these after Speer admits to disobeying him.
- Smug Snake: Hitler claims to have conquered "all of Europe" despite his generals, but its obvious it goes the other way around.
- The Sociopath: To Card-Carrying Villain levels. During a dinner he calmly discusses with Goebbels about how sympathy for the weak is a primal sin.
- He really did say that, or at least something along those lines: "Life is granted only to those who fight the hardest. It is the law of life: Defend yourself! The time in which we live has the appearance of the collapse of this idea of helping the weak." (Hitler's Table Talk)
- Straw Nihilist: In the dinner scene, Hitler goes off on a tirade about how compassion for other people is a primal human sin and that it is natural for the strong to kill the weak.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Believes this to be so. If anything, his inner circle is just more grounded in reality than he is.
- Taking You with Me: Hitler would rather see all of Germany burned to the ground than not executing his vision.
- That's an Order!: Steiners assault was an order! In general, Hitler is unwilling to tolerate any kind of opposition to his will, even if his orders are impossible.
- Villainous Breakdown: Every now and then, he'll get some piece of bad news and fly off the handle in a long-winded rant. Some of them turned into memes. Eventually, he's had so many that even he admits that Nazi Germany is finished.
- Villain Has a Point: Unlike the other examples, most of his rant against Göring is justified to some extent.
- Villain Protagonist: While he's shown to have a human side, Hitler is still, y'know, Hitler- an irrational, condescending, spiteful madman who has no problem sacrificing millions of people for his ideals, or blaming everyone save himself for his own failures. He also refuses to listen to objections to his orders of any kind, and believes having sympathy is a weakness.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The more it becomes clear that he's losing the war, the more unhinged Hitler becomes. He even issues orders to his troops that are literally impossible to follow, either because they rely on units that don't exist, or are such overwhelming odds that they might as well ignore them.
- You Have Failed Me: He orders several people to be killed as traitors, even though they were given orders that were impossible to carry out.
Hitler's long-time mistress, whom he met when she was a photographer, and wife for all of forty hours before she committed suicide with him. Throughout her stay in the bunker only she had the gall to force her companions to party even as Berlin bears the brunt of a Soviet attack.
- Cope by Pretending: She tries to pretend that the war isn't as bad as it is by losing herself to dance music and partying. Eventually, that stops working.
- Driven to Suicide: She takes a cyanide pill rather than face the Soviet army that's about to bear down on the bunker.
- Dumb Blonde: Has the appearance, at least.
- Life of the Party: Though it's all a mask. She's trying to lift up everyone's spirits, but it's hopeless.
- Love Martyr: Quite literally. She kills herself shortly after marrying Hitler.
- MayDecember Romance: When they marry, Hitler is 56 and Eva is 33.
- Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Begs on her knees Hitler to spare Fegelein.
- Stepford Smiler: Even as the bunker is literally shaking from the Soviet shells, she tries to smile and dance. Eventually, even she can't maintain the smile any more.
- Undying Loyalty: Too bad in this movie its not a positive character trait.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Hitler. She really does love him, but they're both unrepentant villains.
- Unequal Pairing: Hitler is the Führer. She doesnt even officially exist.
- While Rome Burns: She tries to enjoy the parties that the Nazis throw in the bunker. When the shelling gets too close, even she has to face reality.
Hitler's most loyal supporter and head of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, largely responsible for Nazi Germany's policy of antisemitism. After Hitler's suicide, Goebbels was appointed Chancellor, only to commit suicide the next day with his wife Magda after poisoning their six children.
- Driven to Suicide: After Nazi Germany is all but finished, he kills his children, his wife, and then himself with poison.
- Evil Cripple: One of his legs was shorter than the other.
- Gonk: His face is drawn and almost skeletal.
- Kick the Dog: Explains to Mohnke in no uncertain terms that he doesn't care about the Germans senselessly dying.
- Kubrick Stare: Gives a rather intense one while saluting Hitler's funeral pyre.
- Moral Myopia: Cares greatly about his beloved children while sending thousands of other children to their deaths, knowingly, and he couldn't care less.
- Never My Fault: Much like Hitler, Goebbels seriously believes that the German people have it coming to them for following the Nazi party and blames them for choosing this path when it doesn't work out, casting none of the blame at the people giving them orders, i.e. Goebbels himself.
- No Sympathy: As he so eloquently explains to Mohnke, even mocking the Germans who are willing to die for Hitler.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: He's one of Hitler's most fanatical supporters, and for the most part his relationship with Hitler sums up to this.
- Psycho Supporter: Embraces all of Hitlers mad delusions and ideologies.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: His wife is considerably more attractive than him.
- Undying Loyalty: While others try to leave the sinking ship, Goebbels wants to hear none of it.
- Villainous Cheekbones: To the point where he is sometimes called Skeletor.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He believes in Heroic Spirit. Too bad his side aren't the heroes.
- Yes-Man: So much. In one scene you can spot even Krebs rolling his eyes while Goebbels allegorically kisses Hitlers butt.
- You Are in Command Now: After Hitler's suicide. He wasn't in command for long, though; he too committed suicide shortly after Hitler did.
Joseph's wife and a staunch supporter of Hitler, to the point of abandoning all sense of morality in exchange for complete obedience.
- Blue and Orange Morality: She believed that killing her children so that they didn't have to live in a world where Jews, homosexuals and other minorities were equals was merciful.
- Driven to Suicide: She dies of self-inflicted poisoning, much like her husband and their children.
- The Fundamentalist: She refuses to let her children live in a world without National Socialism, even killing them all with poison, considering it an act of mercy.
- Lady Macbeth: She's just as much a Nazi fanatic as her husband, if not more so.
- Nerves of Steel: Plays solitaire after killing her children. Perhaps purposefully invoked, however, as she still appears visibly shaken by the reality of what has just happened.
- Not So Stoic: While normally quite the Ice Queen, there is a scene where she begs Hitler to flee Germany. When he refuses, she starts hysterically crying.
- Obliviously Evil: She honestly believes in National Socialism and thinks shes doing the right thing saving her kids from the horrible fate of living in a world without it.
- Offing the Offspring: During the films perhaps most depressing scene, all six of her kids are fed poison.
- Psycho Supporter: For Hitler. It's all about supporting him with blind obedience.
- The Sociopath: Even more so than Hitler himself.
- The Stoic: For the most part, she takes events around her with emotional fortitude, even if she
- Subordinate Excuse: She seems much more emotionally invested in Hitler than her husband. It's Truth in Television, too.
- Undying Loyalty: She will take any sacrifices to stay faithful to the ideals of National Socialism, even though it's portrayed as a character flaw at just how insane she is.
- Villainous Breakdown: Falls down on her knees and begs Hitler to escape from Berlin instead of committing suicide. When turned down, she breaks down in hysteric crying and has to be dragged away by Günsche. In contrast, she shows no fear or sadness while calmly waiting for her husband to shoot her.
The six sons and daughters of Joseph and Magda Goebbels, from eldest to youngest: Helga, Hilde, Helmut, Holde, Hedda and Heide.
- Cheerful Child: They are all smiles in the face of their increasingly bleak situation, albeit because they don't understand. For instance, when a single gunshot rings out in the bunker, signaling Hitler's suicide, Helmut cheerfully says "Bullseye!"
- Children Are Innocent: They don't have anything to do with the rise of the Nazis or National Socialism in Germany, they're just kids. Still, for being related to one of the highest-ranking men in the Nazi state, their parents kill them as an act of mercy for what would come.
- Death of a Child: Like many other child characters in the film, they die on-screen.
- Kick the Dog: Theyre the dogs that get kicked.
- Parental Betrayal: Leads to Offing the Offspring.
- War Is Hell: In case the audience didn't yet get the message.
An architect, Minister of Armaments and War Production, and a friend of Hitler, responsible for bringing to form many of his most ambitious infrastructural projects. Unlike Hitler, however, Speer at least believes that Germany should have a future even if defeated, begging him to spare their nation his suicidal ravings. After Hitler's death Speer served his twenty-year prison sentence before traveling the world writing memoirs about his life with Hitler until he died in September 1, 1981.
- Anti-Villain: He's still a Nazi, but he at least acknowledges that the war is long over, and that Germany should surrender and have a future, even if it means sacrificing the Nazi version of it.
- Defector from Decadence: While he still considers himself Hitlers true friend, he admits to disobeying his orders because he found them lunatic and inhuman.
- Et Tu, Brute?: After his confession, Hitler refuses to say farewell to him, shake his hand or even look at him in the eye. When Speer leaves the room, Hitler is shown shedding Manly Tears. However, he doesn't have him executed and lets him go.
- Nice Guy: Compared to the other Nazis, yes. He's the only one who actually seems to care about civilian lives and making sure Germany lives past the end of the war.
- Only Sane Man: The first one to consider an unconditional surrender to the Soviets and the other Allies, and tries to talk Hitler out of his suicidal Scorched Earth policy.
- Token Good Teammate: Unlike most of the turncoats who abandon Hitler to save their own skin, Speer disobeys his orders out of a wish to save civilian lives and to give Germany a future after the war.
Leader of the Schutzstaffel (SS), the Nazi Party's Praetorian Guards, and the man responsible for establishing the notorious concentration camps. By the end of the war, however, he is secretly planning to forge a peace deal with the Allied Forces (naturally, Hitler is less than pleased when news reached his ears). Unfortunately, the British would have none of it, and his only option left is either face court-martial for his crimes, or take the easy way out with cyanide — which he did on May 23, 1945.
- Affably Evil: He's one of the more rational Nazi officers, but he's one of the most evil.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: His ultimate fate.
- Driven to Suicide: When it becomes clear that the Allies want nothing to do with him, his only options are court martial by the Allies or death. He chooses the latter via cyanide capsule.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Unlike Speer, he attempts to jump ships out of selfish interests. When Hitler learns about it, his reaction is much more severe and he wants Himmler dead.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In an exercise of Realpolitik, he believes the Allies want to keep the former Nazi regime in power to prevent the Communists from taking over. He either doesn't know that the Allies have found the concentration camps (unlikely), or hasn't figured out that the Allies now don't consider the Nazis the lesser evil to anything, and for moral reasons will never allow the Nazi regime to remain.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: True to his historical counterpart, Himmler wears a pair of round glasses. He's also the guy in charge of the Final Solution.
- The Quisling: Tries to become this to the Allies. It's defied, because they're having none of it.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Himmler is one of the few Reich higher officials who not fully acknowledges the war is lost, but also who tries to leave Berlin so they can escape punishment. Naturally, Hitler is pissed off, to say the least.
- Skewed Priorities: His biggest concern for meeting Eisenhower is to whether greet him with the Nazi salute or shake his hand.
- The Starscream: Himmler seeks to disobey Hittler and attempt to conclude a peace treaty with the Allies. When Hitler learns about his betrayal, he doesn't take it well.
- Turn Coat: He tries to turn himself into the Allies, if only to save his own life. Keyword being "tries;" they refuse to listen.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Himmler believes that the Allies would prefer to have the Nazi regime in power as opposed to the Soviet Union, so he tries to sell Hitler out to continue the Nazi party. He's entirely wrong; neither the Allies not the Soviets will accept anything except the complete annihilation of the Nazi state, politically and militarily.
An SS general and Himmler's adjutant. Fegelein is disliked within the bunker by being a petty opportunist, having married Eva Braun's sister Gretl just to climb up the social ladder (and even then he still Really Gets Around), and being lukewarm to Nazi ideology (besides a brief stint on the Soviet front). Naturally, this makes him easy prey for Hitler's rage when the latter learned that Himmler was secretly forging a peace deal with the Allies, and just when Fegelein was preparing to leave Germany, he was caught and summarily executed on April 28, 1945.
- Ambition Is Evil: Not interested in the Nazi ideology or serving his country, but advancing his own position. Fegelein was deeply disliked by many both in Real Life (Speer described him as one of the most disgusting men in Hitlers circle) and to some extent in the movie (Burgdorf calls him a careerist at his face.)
- Anti-Villain: A Nazi, an opportunist, a deserter... and a young man who just wants to live, unlike his lunatic fellow men determined to die for a crazy ideology.
- Disappeared Dad: He becomes this to his yet unborn daughter.
- Face Death with Dignity: Upon realizing hes about to be executed, he buttons up his jacket and salutes Hitler before he is gunned down.
- Famous Last Words: Exclaims "Heil Hitler!", complemented with a salute, before he is gunned down.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Among the inner circle of the Nazi elite. Likely because he isn't as insanely deluded nor so blindly committed. He was this in Real Life too- Albert Speer remembered him as the biggest Jerkass in Hitler's inner circle.
- Gold Digger: Fegelein married Eva Braun's sister Gretl only to get closer to Hitler. Their relationship is left un-discussed in the movie, as she is never seen. However, he is shown to really be fond of at least Eva.
- Handsome Lech: There's a reason he's called the "Playboy of the Third Reich.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: The real Fegelein didn't become Himmler's adjutant for being a nice person. Among his real-life war crimes were the deaths of 17,000 Soviet Jews in Byelorussia (Belarus). Speer also described him as being the most personally loathsome of Hitler's inner circle. While the movie!Fegelein is definitely not a hero by any stretch of the imagination, none of his historical crimes ever come up.
- I Have a Family: Not spoken by him, but by Eva on his behalf while she begs Hitler to save his life. It doesnt work.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even though Fegelein is a Nazi, he doesn't put their ideals beyond survival and tries to convince others to escape a certain death, with no result.
- Only in It for the Money: Or for a career. Interestingly both he and Magda arranged themselves into a political marriage to get closer to Hitler. Only Magda did it out of passionate loyalty, while Fegelein simply climbs the ladders of the party that happens to be in power.
- Only Sane Man: Takes no part in Hitlers delusions, nor has any interest in dying for Nazism. He also tries to convince others to come to their senses, with little success.
- Pet the Dog: Hes honestly concerned about Evas safety, and begs her to escape Berlin with him. He also implores Hitler's secretaries to flee Berlin because the war is already lost, but they refuse to believe him.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Attempts it. It doesn't end well.
- Tragic Villain: He knows that the Nazis are going to lose the war in a matter of days and wants to get away from their messy demise, but his Nazi comrades, and Hitler, make things difficult for him to leave.
- Your Cheating Heart: Being married doesnt stop him from being found in a prostitutes bed.
Head of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (effectively making him the war minister) and one of Hitler's most prominent yes-men. He signed the documents that accepted France's surrender and declared Germany's surrender. Despite being the third in the German chain-of-command (behind Hitler and Göring), Keitel's job eventually devolved into applying his signatures to various papers, including a decree that condemned millions of Soviet P.O.W.s and civilians to brutality by their German captors. After being ordered to regroup with Admiral Dönitz, Keitel began to grovel before him just as he did before Hitler. He was hanged on October 16, 1946 (like a criminal), after being denied by the Allies a request to be shot by firing squad (like a soldier).
- General Failure: Subverted. He seems well aware of Germany's military situation and begs Hitler to order their remaining units to retreat in the face of overwhelming odds.
- Yes-Man: Despite being aware that the war is lost, he refuses to disobey Hitler, as he'll be dismissed along with Germany's best officers like Rundstedt and Guderian.
Head of the Party Chancellery and Hitler's private secretary. By the end of the war, Bormann controlled all information that came to and from Hitler's headquarters, allowing him to wield enormous power within the Third Reich. On April 23, Göring sent a telegram to the Führerbunker asking if he was to take command of the Reich, a rather reasonable move as Hitler had all but completely cut himself off from governing and Göring was his designated successor. However, Bormann got hold of the telegram first, and was able to paint it as a coup, though this may have been an attempt to get Hitler to leave the capital. After Hitler's suicide, Bormann fled the bunker. His fate was uncertain for many years (some believing he escaped to South America), but his remains were eventually found in a Berlin subway station.
- Arch-Enemy: Himmler despised him; the feeling was mutual.
- The Man Behind the Man: Slowly, Bormann assumed tremendous power by controlling all messages that went to or from Führer headquarters.
- Villainous Breakdown: In the uncut version, when Speer goes to the bunker for the last time, Bormann grabs him and begs him to convince Hitler to leave Berlin.
One of the lesser characters in the movie despite being Hitler's Number Two, having been the founder of the Gestapo, the Nazi Secret Police, and leader of the Luftwaffe (air force). His relationship with Hitler, however, started to sour due to incompetence in the battlefield, and was subsequently fired when he sent a telegram to Hitler asking him to bless him as his successor upon learning of his impending suicide. He was subsequently captured by the victorious Allies and found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but chose to bite a cyanide pill before he faced the gallows on October 15, 1946.
- Demoted to Extra: In the movie. Despite being one of the most prominent Nazi officials, he doesn't get a single word.
- Fat Bastard: He's a very wide guy, and he didn't get to be The Dragon to Hitler by being nice.
- General Failure: Part of Hitler's tirade against him is his mismanagement of the Luftwaffe, which he says is enough to order an execution.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In his only scene, he is calmly checking his watch.
- You Are in Command Now: Averted. Upon learning of Hitler's intentions to remain in Berlin, he sends a telegram asking to take command of the crumbling Third Reich. While Hewel tries to say this is a justified action, given how fragile their communications system is, Bormann and Goebbels paint it as being an opportunity for a coup. This causes Hitler to fly into another rage and eject him from every office.
The bunker staff
The viewpoint character of the movie, Traudl was the youngest of Hitler's private secretaries at age 22 and oblivious to all the crimes Hitler and his lackeys did in the name of National Socialism. In three years' time, she witnesses Hitler's slow descent to madness and ultimately suicide. After several interrogations by the Soviets, from which she learned of Nazi atrocities on their homeland, she was let go to live a quiet life until her death on February 10, 2001, but not before telling her story to the world, some of which would make it into this very movie.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: The real Traudl was a bit more homely◊.
- Audience Surrogate: An inexperienced new arrival in Hitlers circle, level-headed and innocent of the horrid crimes most of the cast has committed.
- Book-Ends: The real Traudl, aged 81 and months away from her death, was given interviews on the beginning and end of the film.
- Brainy Brunette: Brunette and brainy enough to score a job as the secretary of the most important man in the Reich. Though in this company merely being of normal sanity places her above her surroundings. Unfortunately it doesnt help her judge of character.
- Break the Cutie: She starts the film mostly innocent, but the events on the bunker wear down on her.
- Curtains Match the Window: Both brown.
- Friend to All Children: Befriends both the Goebbels children and later Peter.
- Heel Realization: Until her dying day, Traudl never forgave herself for not seeing Hitler as the monster he was. To quote an interview with the Real Life Traudl at the end of the film..."Of course the horrors, of which I heard in connection of the Nuremberg trials, the fate of the six million Jews, their killing and those of many others who represented different races and creeds, shocked me greatly, but at that time I could not see any connection between these things and my own past. I was only happy that I had not personally been guilty of these things and that I had not been aware of the scale of these things. However, one day I walked past a plaque that on the Franz-Joseph Straße (in Munich), on the wall in memory of Sophie Scholl. I could see that she had been born the same year as I, and that she had been executed the same year when I entered into Hitlers service. And at that moment I really realized that it was no excuse that I had been so young. I could perhaps have tried to find out about things."
- Historical Beauty Update: She's more conventionally attractive than the historical Traudl.
- Nice Girl: She's one of the few characters in the film who can honestly be called good. She's friends with most of the bunker, loves children, and is really a Nazi In Name Only.
- Sexy Secretary: In all innocence, as shes clearly a good girl, and she never makes deliberate use of her sex appeal.
- Supporting Protagonist: Arguably this to Hitler, the real main character. However, the movie Book-Ends with an interview of the real Traudl, and her fate during the war is the carrying plot thread.
- Token Good Teammate: She's just Hitler's secretary, and had no part in any Nazi atrocities. She never realized until later what an evil man Hitler was, and after she did have a Heel Realization, she never forgave herself for not trying to oppose him.
- Undying Loyalty: Upset by people abandoning Hitler and determined to stay with him till the end.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: Just◊ look◊ into◊ them.◊
An SS Major and Hitler's personal adjutant. As one of the saner characters of the movie, all he did was stand by and wait for Hitler's orders, including having to cremate his body. He was later captured by the Soviets and served a decade in prisons in Moscow and Bautzen (East Germany), during which time he wrote his own account of life with Hitler, specifically prepared for Joseph Stalin. He died peacefully on October 2, 2003.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: He was blond in real life, but the film gives him dark hair.
- Battle Butler: By the definition of being an adjutant, i.e. a soldier servant to a superior officer, in his case to Hitler.
- Nice Guy: Generally friendly and helpful, especially to Traudl and Gerda.
- One Head Taller: Compared to everybody else, but especially Hitler.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Isnt shown to be Ax-Crazy or a passionate Nazi like many of the other bunker inhabitants. In Real Life he was never found guilty of war crimes besides simply serving on the front lines, which was naturally expected of him.
- The Reliable One: Doesnt stand out much, but is often present, silently waiting for orders in the background, and in the end is trusted with the important task of destroying Hitlers body after his suicide.
- The Stoic: Even when Hitler is flipping out in front of him, he doesn't show much emotion.
- Undying Loyalty: Among those who stay with Hitler till the end. Near the end he joins in the Mohnke's group of survivors, and when the group votes for what to do Günsche is among those who vote for dying before dishonor. Yet when the surrender is declared he declines from committing suicide.
Infantry general of the Wehrmacht Heer (Army) and Chief of the Army General Staff. Krebs was pretty much Hitler's military arm during the last days of Nazi Germany, ordering around officers on the front lines to fight till the very end, and subsequently presided Fegelein's court-martial. After Hitler's suicide, he and Burgdorf stayed behind and together committed suicide on May 2, 1945.
Chief Adjutant of the Wermacht Heer during the closing days of World War II. As a veteran of World War I, Burgdorf was passionate about preventing a repeat of Germany's humiliation after that war, and thus sworn fealty to Hitler, including having to facilitate the suicide of Erwin Rommel as punishment for an assassination attempt on Hitler. At the war's end he and Krebs handled Fegelein's court-martial, and both also committed suicide together on May 2, 1945.
- Driven to Suicide
- Honor Before Reason: Remembers Germanys humiliating surrender after WWI and rather commits suicide than goes through it again.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Often seen drinking alcohol.
- Motor Mouth: When angered speaks fast, furiously and in high pitch.
- Pretty Little Headshots
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Krebs blue.
- Suicide Pact: He and Krebs shoot themselves together.
- Undying Loyalty: Stays in the bunker until everyone else have left.
- With Due Respect: During his most famous Villainous Breakdown Hitler accuses the army for his loss, calling them cowards and traitors. Burgdorf stands up to Hitler, declaring this to be outrageous and that he cannot accept Hitler insulting the soldiers. No other character dares to speak to Hitler in such manner.
Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command, deputy of Wilhelm Keitel, and one of Hitler's most loyal generals. At the end of the war he was found guilty by the Nuremberg Trials of committing crimes against peace, waging wars of aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity (including deportation of Danes and Jews to concentration camps) and was hanged along with Keitel on October 16, 1946.
- Bald of Evil: Bald, and a war criminal.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Averted. He offers reasonable counter arguments against Hitler's ludicrously delusional orders. Hitler is not amused.
- My Country, Right or Wrong"You are a soldier! You have sworn loyalty to the Führer!"
- Undying Loyalty: Despite arguing with Hitler, he refuses to consider abandoning him.
Adolf Hitler's personal valet, attending to all the Führer's personal matters. He is first shown welcoming Traudl and the other applicants for the position of secretary to the Wolf's Lair, and remains at Hitler's side even as they're confined to the bunker. He spent ten years in Soviet captivity and died on March 9, 1980.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments.Albert Speer: [while Hitler is having a meltdown] I must speak with the Führer.Heinz Linge: I'd wait a minute if I were you.
- This Is Gonna Suck: The look on his face when he's delivering a report indicating that Himmler has attempted to surrender.
- Undying Loyalty: As Hitler's valet and an SS officer, he remains by Hitler's side to the very end.
Battle for Berlin
Professional doctor and SS colonel. As one of the more honorable characters of the movie, he left a comfortable desk job to participate on the Soviet front to earn his own chips the hard way. During Hitler's last days he volunteered to work as a doctor on the bunker area. He was captured then subsequently released by the Soviets, and later told his story to American historian James O'Donnell. He died peacefully on December 21, 1998.
- Bald of Awesome: He's portrayed as one of the most heroic characters in the film, displaying reason, empathy, and personal courage.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Shenck is portrayed as the most heroic character in the film, conveniently glossing over his Real Life involvement in human experimentation that claimed 370 concentration camp detainees. The director justifies this by claiming it's a case of Shown Their Work instead: according to him, the accusations against Schenck aren't particularly believable.
- Honor Before Reason: Wants to help the civilians even when it puts himself into immediate danger, and when its against the orders.
- Only Sane ManHewel: "Why do you want so much to live?"Schenck: "Why do you want so much to die?"
A General of the Wehrmacht Heer. Having led the Nazis to the front lines of the Soviet front, he would spend the last days of Hitler leading Berlin's Last Stand against the Soviet counterattack. He was also forced to keep mum about Hitler's suicide to all Soviets save Joseph Stalin himself, and was also forced to break out the news of Germany's surrender. He died in exile in Soviet Russia on November 17, 1955.
- Armchair Military: Averted, his command post is only one kilometer from the frontlines. He does not appreciate being accused of cowardice by the higher-ups that are sitting around comfortably in the bunker.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: He protests his case with Hitler to avoid being executed. Nice job with that,you're now in charge of defending Berlin in a hopeless fight.
- Heroic BSoD: Collapses after commanding the remaining German soldiers to surrender.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Despite his portrayal as an honorable General (see below under Punch Clock Villain), Weidling (like most high ranking commanders on the Eastern Front) was responsible for multiple war crimes, including mass executions of civilians and gathering sick people in "typhus" camps were most of them died. He did not deny the crimes for which he was responsible and was convicted to 25 years imprisonment by the Soviets.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: He's the one that finally surrenders to Zhukov, knowing that enough is enough.
- Old Soldier: Visibly one of the oldest senior staff and he leads his troops by example.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Apparently fights for his country and people, not Hitler or the Nazi ideology. Hes also considerably more worried about the wellbeing of civilians and his men than Hitler and the top dogs.
- You Are in Command Now: Hes not happy about it.
Brigadier General and one of the original 120 members of the SS during its inception in 1933. He came to the attention of Nazi leaders for the way he performed his duties in France during the opening days of World War IInote , he was eventually transferred into Berlin to personally lead the portion of the city's Last Stand within the vicinity of Hitler's hideout. After the war's end he was imprisoned by the Soviets for a decade before returning to Germany, where he spent the rest of his life as a truck dealer until his death on August 6, 2001.
- Badass Baritone: Perhaps not quite baritone, but distinctively soft and pleasant anyway.
- Frontline General: Like Weidling, he's shown at an observation post overlooking an intersection that's being fought over and witnessing the poorly-equipped Volkssturm dying senselessly.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: As with Schenck, some critics accuse the film of portraying him in too heroic light while forgetting his war crimes; again the director answers he doesn't believe in the accusations.
- Only Sane Man: Of the same kind as Weidling. In the end, when many others commit suicide, he leads the surviving bunker members to attempt to break through the encircling Soviet troops.
- Punch-Clock Villain: While he did commit war crimes, he was a military leader who had no part in the Nazi genocides.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Goebbels keeps sending him unarmed Child Soldiers. He tries to stop it.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Is against using the Volksturm volunteers for this reason.
- The Stoic: The most stoic of them all. Doesn't as much as flinch when Goebbels shouts at his face he doesn't care about the dying Child Soldiers.
- Undying Loyalty: Played with. During the movie he plays the role of a Only Sane Man who's concerned about saving lives from the Senseless Sacrifice that the Battle for Berlin is. Near the end he leads a group of survivors, who argue about what to do. A vote is called, and Mohnke votes for dying. Yet when the surrender is announced, he doesn't commit suicide.
A Luftwaffe general who was an early member of the Nazi Party. He commanded air fleets in Poland and Russia. On April 26, he was summoned to Hitlers bunker to take command of the Luftwaffe.
- Driven to Suicide: He kills himself while in American custody.
- Rank Up: He's promoted by Hitler to field marshal, the last German officer to achieve that rank.
- You Are in Command Now: After kicking Göring out of the party, Hitler promotes Ritter von Greim to command the Luftwaffe, even though it was completely defunct by that point.
A fictional character and a child soldier who gleefully serves the Hitler Youth during the last days of Hitler. His role is primarily to serve as the face of the suffering German citizenry.
The character is clearly inspired by a picture of Hitler shaking hands with child soldiers◊ in last days before Berlin's fall.
- Action Survivor: He's Just a Kid and is really not that good a soldier... but he survives the Battle of Berlin.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Is ashamed of his World War I veteran father, who tries to order him and his Nazi Youth friends to give up fighting or even employ a modicum of sense in defending their position, as their cause is lost, and more importantly because theyre just kids who cant do any real good in a battle.
- Bittersweet Ending: Survives the war, but his parents and friends are dead.
- Break the Cutie: The poor kid. He's turned into a soldier for a cause he doesn't really understand and basically forced at gunpoint into a Hopeless War. And when he realizes the gravity of his situation and tries to desert, he finds that his family has been murdered by a Nazi fanatic.
- Canon Foreigner: To real history; all other main characters are Historical Domain Characters. He's an amalgamation of the child soldiers who defended Berlin from the Soviets.
- Child Soldier: He's forced to fight because there is no one else to defend Berlin; all the actual soldiers have been captured or killed. He doesn't realize until it's too late that the Hitler Youth fighting means that Germany's military is in tatters and they simply cannot realistically defend themselves from the Allies any more. He's not defending his country- his country is throwing him at the enemy out of spite before their inevitable total loss.
- Dad the Veteran: His father is one.
- Harmful to Minors: Hes not having a very normal childhood.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Becomes this for Traudl.
- Just a Kid: Subverted. He comes to realize he really is just a kid who has no place in battle, and runs back home to parents... only to find them shot to death.
- A Million Is a Statistic: Peters function as a character is to give a face and a name to the civilian suffering so much discussed by those in the command. In the grand scheme of things, he's pretty much a generic Hitler Youth member who really doesn't know what he's getting into.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In the extended cut, he's suddenly cornered by a Russian soldier, who says he won't fight a child. Peter shoots him and is so horrified that he runs away.
- Riding into the Sunset: Bicycling into the blooming springtime countryside with Traudl.