On 20 March 1944, Gen. William J. Donovan, director of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), passed on to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt a memorandum written by Abram Hewitt, OSS officer in Stockholm under cover of the United States Commercial Company. The president had sent Hewitt, a longtime friend, to Stockholm under the aegis of the OSS to get a feel for the role and significance of Scandinavia in World War II. Hewitt's message, which summed up conversations he had had with Felix Kersten and Walter Schellenberg, emissaries of Himmler, must surely have caught the president's attention. The contents of the report were startling: It concerned a secret proposal proffered by Nazi Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, and iterated by Schellenberg and Kersten, for ousting Hitler and negotiating peace with the Western Allies as a first step in fighting a one-front, one-enemy war with the Soviet Union—with or without help from the United States and Britain.
At about three-thirty in the afternoon of Monday, April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler and his wife of less than two days, Eva Braun, committed suicide in Hitler's private suite in the Fuehrerbunker. A half hour later the other inhabitants of the bunker entered the suite to check if Hitler was really dead. While his doctor checked the two bodies, Hitler's valet tidied up a spill made when Eva knocked over a vase full of cut flowers in her death throes.