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Adolf Hitler took his own life on 30 April 1945, dying in ignominy in an underground shelter at the Reich Chancellery two days after his fascist ally Benito Mussolini had been assassinated by partisans in the small northern Italian village of Giulino di Mezzegra.

With the Western Allies days away from retaking Europe, Poland in the hands of the advancing Red Army and Berlin under relentless siege, the Fuhrer was forced to concede his vision of founding a new empire to last a thousand years lay in tatters, his hope of global conquest for the greater glory of the Teutonic “master race” doomed to end in failure. …


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The sarin gas attack on the Tokyo Metro in Japan took place a quarter of a century ago this Friday, an act of domestic bioterrorism that shocked the world.

Members of the sinister Aum Shinrikyo (“Supreme Truth”) doomsday cult released the lethal nerve agent, originally developed by the Nazis, on 20 March 1995, targeting stations close to the Japanese parliament after they were tipped off to a planned police raid on their compound, plotting the atrocity as a hindrance to the authorities.

The coordinated release of the toxin across three subway lines at the height of rush hour left 13 commuters dead, 50 more severely injured and over 1,000 others with temporary visual impairment. …


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British soul singer Dusty Springfield died 20 years ago on 2 March 1999.

The use of her song “Son of a Preacher Man” in Quentin Tarantino’s ensemble crime film Pulp Fiction (1994) introduced her to a new generation, but the popularity of that one track has arguably overshadowed the rest of her output.

But there is a great deal more to discover from a star who came to define the Sixties arguably better than anyone.

Born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien to an Irish Catholic family in West Hampstead, north London, on 16 April 1939, she was raised in High Wycombe, and started out singing with The Lana Sisters alongside Iris Long and Lynne Abrams, a gig she got after answering an advert in The Stage in 1958. …

About

Joe Sommerlad

Journalist at The Independent. Cinema and pop culture nut. See also @JoeSommerlad on Twitter and FadedVideo.co.uk