World War II was a truly brutal time. Europe cowered under the attacks of Nazi leader Adolph Hitler, trying desperately to restore freedom and make the world safe once more.

As the war raged on, the brutal dictator was desperate to turn the war in his favor. He hid in a bunker in rural France, plotting to take England in a siege that would secure his victory. This bunker’s location has been the subject of much speculation until urban explorer Marc Askat made an amazing discovery.

Urban explorer and military history buff Marc Askat has spent a lot of time exploring old and forgotten World War II sites. Using his camera, he records everything he finds and brings the sites back to life again, and in so doing, preserves an important part of our history.

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Marc should have been nervous when he decided to go exploring in rural France. After all, when he set out it was hunting season, and he had to take extra precautions to make sure no hunter mistakenly shot at him. It was dangerous, but Marc knew this particular hunt would be worth it.Hitler_Bunker_14-720x480Facebook/Marc Askat

Marc wasn’t sure exactly what he was looking for, but he’d heard rumors of a mysterious concrete building. He heard that from the surface it looked like an abandoned site, but that this structure was just the tip of the iceberg. Dig a little deeper and an entire underground complex would be revealed.

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He hiked through the forest for many hours, getting turned around more than once on his journey. Eventually, the massive concrete building he’d been told about appeared. It was clearly abandoned and had been that way for years. Marc couldn’t wait to explore the inside and see what he could uncover.

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Before he even made it inside he was confronted with more exterior structures. While they were all technically in good shape from a structural perspective, it was clear that the property had been neglected for a long time, and that the natural world was already doing what it does best: taking back the land. 

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Once he got a sense of the exterior of the structure, Marc knew that the rumors he heard about the building’s original purpose were true. This was an abandoned fortress built by the Germans during World War II. It was supposed to act as a stronghold and a place of retreat, but now it held only memories of the past. 

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This building was once a key command center for German troops. The massive swimming pool that was drained and full of leaves used to be covered by a giant tarp, so that German troops could swim to stay in shape without having to worry about being seen by enemy forces. So many stories and Marc wasn’t even inside the building yet! 

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Marc knew that getting inside the building itself would be difficult, but after circling the structure a few times he found a small way inside. What he found there was completely stunning. It was a sprawling network of underground tunnels and rooms, impossible to imagine from the outside.

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Marc discovered that this subterranean Nazi lair extended six miles under the ground. The German forces were taking no chances when they built this fort. They knew that being discovered would mean not only losing the war, but it would also mean losing their own lives. However, even impressive forts like these could not help them in the end. Hitler_Bunker_11-720x1079Facebook/Marc Askat

This bunker was more than just a Nazi command center. If historians are correct, this bunker was one of just a few that Adolph Hitler counted as part of his own private collection. It is believed that this bunker was, in fact, the final place Adolph fled when the tides of war turned against him.

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Hitler had this particular oversized bunker built so that he and his advisors could plan the invasion of Britain. Later in the war, it was from this bunker that Hitler planned to have the entire city of Paris burned to the ground if the Allies reached the city center. Neither of these plans would succeed. Hitler_Bunker_2-720x480Facebook/Marc Askat

This bunker was known to the Nazis as Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschlucht II. It was one of dozens of others just like it, though this was one integral to the Nazi’s hold on the Western Front. It would have held countless German officers, providing them with spaces to live and spaces to plan. 

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More than 60 million people (civilians and soldiers alike) were killed during the bloody horrors of World War II. It all started when Germany surprised the world by attacking an unsuspecting Poland in 1939. The Nazi party under the leadership of Adolph Hitler had their minds bent on world domination.

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While the Germans were not fighting alone (they had the support of Japan, Germany, and Italy) they were at the forefront of the war. Constructions like this bunker and all of the others exactly like it are proof of just how far they were willing to go to meet their nefarious ends. 

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It was Hitler who was the mastermind behind the construction of subterranean Nazi bunkers that would serve as strongholds in important areas during the war. The bunkers are less an example of Hitler’s military skills and more an example of his extremely paranoid nature. 

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Inside many of the creaky abandoned rooms and secret passageways within Hitler’s favorite bunker, Marc found tiny reminders of why this lair was constructed in the first place. Old canisters littered the floor, along with other debris. The pipes no longer work, but they still run throughout the lair. Hitler_Bunker_5-720x480Facebook/Marc Askat

While some of the rooms served obvious purposes, acting as places to meet, or living quarters for the men posted there, it was hard to figure out why other rooms existed. Marc walked for a long time down one passageway only to discover that it led to a small, concrete room that could only be locked from the outside. 

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Marc was happy to share photographs of everything he saw after breaking into the bunker, but there was one detail he didn’t share and it drove people crazy. Marc refused to reveal the exact location of the bunker. However, it turns out that he did this for a very good reason indeed! 

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The reason we have so much information about this site, including its name and its importance to Hitler, is because the site is now owned by the French Foreign Legion. The location is often used as a secret training area for new recruits, and revealing its location could put them all in danger. By going inside, Marc was accidentally trespassing.

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Marc’s exploration of this chilling part of history is truly haunting. Hopefully, the photos he took will serve as a reminder to keep us from repeating the mistakes of history.