The Eagle's Nest was a secret place, luxuriously decorated in steamer line style with beautiful appointments of art and silver service pieces. Diplomacy was conducted in grand style inside the Great Hall at 6,000 ft high.
Having visited the Eagle's Nest many times since the 1990's I walked in the steps of the diplomats who had to face Hitler here. In the States I conducted research at the National Archives and Library of Congress vaults in Washington DC, where I found hidden away photo albums once belonging to Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun and Heinrich Hoffman (Hitler's official photographer) and brought to the United States by the Allies. The photo albums documented three critical meetings between Sept. 1938 and days before World War II began when Hitler invited diplomats from the democracies to barter for peace inside the Eagle's Nest.
For the first time a book, War of Words tells the story through the diplomats’ voices and photographs of their meetings inside the secret Eagle's Nest.
War of Words documents the conversations word for word between Hitler and his guest diplomats, their exchanges are chilling and prophetic. Hitler, in his suit and tie, appearing as a civilian head of state over tea and crumpets in the Great Hall forewarned of a "bloody unscrupulous war." Reading the book will put you there, in the room alongside the diplomats with Hitler, at the window overlooking the Alps as clouds literally pass by the picture window. Hitler visited 13 times in all. He never went back after his last visit in October 1940.
When the Allies arrived in May 1945 the pots and pans were still in the kitchen and monogrammed "AH" silverware on the table. A few months later General Eisenhower arrived. He lit a cigarette and autographed Hitler's massive coffee table.
While the Eagle's Nest survived the British and American aerial bombing of April 25, 1945, Hitler's Berghof and Goring's chalet did not fare too well. These were demolition to the ground in 1952 and doing so to the perfectly preserved Eagle's Nest was approved. However, at the last minute the granite pavilion got a reprieve. The Eagle's Nest expensive furniture was "claimed" by the military brass and the rest given to the Red Cross.
This is a fascinating story, it is a compelling story of diplomacy in action and sometimes when diplomacy fails a war ensues. This never before told story is a lesson to re-learn.
The Eagle's Nest is still there, Hitler's kitchen now serves beer and schnitzel to visitors.