James P. O'Donnell

James P. O'Donnell

James P. O'Donnell (30 July 1917, Baltimore, Maryland, USA - April 1990, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) was an author, historian and journalist.

Early life

O'Donnell was educated at Harvard University and worked as a journalist, mostly for magazine. He was a friend of the Kennedy family. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps until July 2, 1945, when he resigned to become "Newsweek" magazine's German bureau chief. In this capacity, he arrived in Berlin on July 4.

O'Donnell bribed the Soviet soldier guarding the entrance to Hitler's Berlin bunker, but becoming the first non-Soviet to examine it. He found and took numerous top secret Nazi documents. After using these documents and interviews with many of the last occupants of the Führerbunker in his later publications, he became an authority on the death of Adolf Hitler, and ultimately published his collected findings in his 1978 book, "The Bunker".

After his tenure with "Newsweek", O'Donnell worked for many years as a freelance journalist in Germany, and published pieces in magazines ranging from "Life magazine" to "The Saturday Evening Post".

He later joined the U.S. State Department as an adviser on Berlin. He spent his last years as a journalism professor at Boston University.

Portrayal in Media

In the film adaptation of "The Bunker", actor James Naughton portrays O'Donnell during a reconstruction of his first visit to the Führerbunker in July 1945.


*Sailing to Byzantium;: A study in the development of the later style and symbolism in the poetry of William Butler Yeats (1971) ISBN 0374961417
*The Bunker: The History of the Reich Chancellery Group (1978) ISBN 0306809583

External links

*imdb name|id=0640770|name=James P. O'Donnell

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