Customer Reviews for

The Coming of the Third Reich

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2004

    Masterful 1st Volume Of Planned Trilogy On Third Reich!

    As Karl Marx once wrote, people make their own history, but not under conditions of their own choosing. So it is that academic Richard J. Evans from Cambridge University approaches the superb first volume of the planned trilogy of a complete history of the rise and fall of the Third Reich, ¿The Coming Of the Third Reich¿, recognizing the existential constraints people living in the era of National Socialism faced. As Professor Evans puts it, not only are men constrained and shaped by the unique and quite specific web of cultural and social conditions in which they are enmeshed, but they also view these particular conditions through a particular perspective, and through the prism of a socially prescribed set of values, beliefs, and ideologies. Thus, the author argues that in the vast bibliography of works covering the history of the Nazi era, no one has yet covered the epoch in a fashion that does justice to the complex welter of ways, as sociologist C. Wright Mills would phrase it, in which biography and history meaningfully intersect such that one can appreciate what it was like for an individual to live in the times of the National Socialists, and to experience life on the ground as real people who lived through the turbulent 1930s and 1940s did. Indeed, this trilogy is offered in a brilliant attempt to render such a comprehensive history that makes sense of how it that such a baffling and troubling phenomenon could arise in what was considered the most economically, socially, and culturally advanced society of the early 20th century. This volume recounts the story of the origins of the Third Reich in 19th century Germany, from the its very beginnings as Bismarck¿s foundling empire, through the events of the First World War, and the turbulent unrest and dissatisfaction of the Weimar years. It also describes the rise of the National Socialists through what the author describes as being an ingenuous combination of electoral success and massive political violence that took place in the chaotic epoch of the Great Depression. The books central theme centers around how the Nazis managed to forge a one-party dictatorship in a democratic society so quickly, and with so little organized resistance. This volume is, much like William Shirer¿s classic effort in ¿The Rise And Fall of the Third Reich¿, a narrative account of the events surrounding the events of the Nazi era. It is a massively documented effort to document the story of the Third Reich in chronological order, and much as Shirer did, attempts to ¿give voice to the people who lived through the years¿ of Nazi rule. The author is quite passionate in voicing his own concern that history once more render for the reader an intelligence recounting of the experiences of ordinary individuals, of the sheer complexity of the their existential constraints and available options, and the often incomprehensible choices they faced. So, what Evans aims to give to the reader in the early 21st century is a better understanding of the Nazi era by recreating all of its elements, in all their complexity and interweaving perplexity, thus reminding readers that, as L.P. Hartley said, ¿the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there¿. Given the fact that it remains as important today as ever to understand both how and why the Nazis came to power with such speed and relative ease, it is critical to better appreciate the nature of life in the Third Reich, to comprehend why their opponents failed to stop them, and to better realize the nature and the operation of the machinery of the Nazi regime once it had grasped the reins of power. Moreover, it remains crucial to understand the complex mechanism through which the operation and goals of the Third Reich so quickly and fatefully engulfed the rest of Europe and then the world in such a bloodbath of carnage and ruin. For while the 20th century has no shortages of such catastrophes, including the Soviet purge of the 1930s, no

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Superb and Readable

    Truly, destined to become a classic and, together with his two further volumes, will replace William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as the standard history for the educated public, as well as for the more academically inclined in allied fields. The great thing about Evans is that his familiarity with this period is so broad, that he is able to write a detailed, comprehensive account, bolstered by copious footnotes, founded on an astonishing range of primary and secondary material, that reads with a clarity, fluidity and excitement possessed by no other equally-comprehensive account. It genuinely reads easily, and even rather quickly, and can make you forget how many facts, figures and observations are crammed into each paragraph. Another wonderful thing about Evans, is that he combines a general survey and account of the broad sweep of European events, with fascinating individual stories, incidents and anecdotes that give his book that extra flavor of bringing you closer to the actual events. If you are very well-read on this period (like myself), you can follow the footnotes, and you will learn more even from them. But, you can omit them with not too-devastating results. But I tell you one thing: You won't be able to put it down. Allen Roth

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2009

    This book is instrumental to truly understanding why Hitler and the Nazis were able to came to power, and why Germany, specifically and Europe generally ignored the international presses condemnation of the anti-semetic violence that spread.

    A general overview of the ideas and ideologies that were common currency in Germany prior to the Nazi take over, and how easy certain ideas and policies were to implement for the Nazis. Some of these find that origins in the Middle Ages others in the Thirty years war others at the end of the nineteenth century some even gained acceptance during the Weimar years.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2007

    From Chaotic Disaster to Disasterous Order

    This is a well-written and informative book that I would recommend over some lengthy 'and drier' volumes on the subject 'e.g. The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany'. Richard Evans' book follows the rise of German fanatical nationalism from the early Weimar years to the Nazi's assumption of state power in 1933. However, he starts his analysis by examining the roots of authoritarian politics 'monarchist, nationalist, authoritarian, conservative' in Wilhelmine Germany. In essence, like so many other nations in the early 20th Century Germany faced a bewildering array of change in lifestyle, technology, and economics. And like many nations to the present, many people clung to the reassuring steadiness of conservatism in turbulent times. Where social democrats and moderates were interested in promoting personal freedoms and rights, the conservatives opted to focus on retaining economic and political power combined with financial and social stability. In a country torn apart by an undeclared civil war in 1918-1919, the choice was a difficult one. And it was a compromise - superficial moderate social democrat rule reliant on dangerously ambivalent and authoritarian military support. And yet, this need not have led to Nazi Germany. The one man who would lead Germany down that path spent the early Weimar years observing the anarchic, democratic, and economic disasters unfolding before his eyes. Convinced 'like many other Germans' that Germany's greatness was being subsumed by malign foreign influences, he decided to join in the political fray. Shortly after joining the German Worker's Party, he discovered 'and practiced' his tremendous public-speaking abilities. As the party's main draw at all its assemblies, Hitler demanded and won uncontested leadership of the party, thus instituting 'the leadership principle' which Germany itself would hold a decade later. Since most Germans wouldn't have been to a Baptist sermon, Hitler's emotional and dramatic speeches were a unique, entertaining, and compelling performance. His was a searingly ruthless nationalistic and ethnic belief, though. Evans recounts how Hitler, like any good professional speaker, adjusts his message according to his audience. Speaking with workers, he promised more jobs and to free up those held by anti-Germans 'i.e. communists, Jews, etc.'. When speaking with business leaders, he offered control over many workers and a competing dogma to worrisome communism. When speaking with the middle classes, he offered a return to stability, prosperity, and German greatness. But unlike most modern-day politicians, he also had a violently effective weapon immediately at hand, the Brownshirts, to follow his orders. 'This tradition was common among political parties at the time, though.' And though bent on authoritism, Hitler used all the modern technology available to successfully spread his gospel - airplanes, radio, films. And he needed to do so, as it turned out that the earliest enthusiastic Nazi supporters were located in hard-to-reach conservative rural areas and small towns across Germany. Hitler also realized the importance of pageantry and ritual, such as awe-inspiring assemblies and dramatic torchlight parades, keying in on many people's psychological need of being part of something greater than themselves. And Hitler successfully used these tactics throughout his rise from political oblivion to the threshold of power. However, after the Nazis' great election victories in the early 1930's, the Communists and Social Democrats caught on by successfully copying the Nazi's PR tactics. At this point, Hitler began to intrigue with Weimar officials to inveigle his way into power, despite holding less than a majority in the Reichstag. After some near-run victories by the Communists, the Weimar leaders sought Hitler's support in forming a gov't. Hitler refused to accept anything less than the leading position - the Chancellorship - which he won.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2012

    First class! Not to be missed!

    A work which readily takes its place on any bookshelf.Evans writes in a readable style which is free from esoteric arguments and the narrative flows easily.For anyone seeking to expand his/her knowledge of this period,it is an indispensable book.

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J Evans is the first in a three volume history of Nazi Germany. In this volume the author discuesses how Adloph Hitler and the Nazi "movement." came to power. Mr Evans traces many of the Nazi believes back to the 19t6h century. The belief in German superioritory is nothing new. It can be traced to such 19th French raciest Count Joseph Author de Gobineau.

    Gobineaur influences a crackpot German thinker with the name of Wilhelm Marr. He coined the term antisemitism. Marr borrowed heavily for Gobineaur who wrote a book called An Essey in the the Inequality of the Human Races which developed the theory of an Aryan master race. The book was written in 1853 and 1855.

    Core Nazi beliefs were taken from many sources from many countryies. They were organized under the banner of nazism after the disaster of World War I. The war was a military disaster for Germany. Kaiser Wilhelm II was forced to abdicate. A new government was able to e stabliesh Germany's attempt at a democratic goverrnment. Unfortnately it was doomed from the start.

    The victors of WWI forced upon the new leadeers of Germany a bitter peace known as the Versailes Treaty. Germany was forced to admit it bore responsibly for the war. Germany was also forcerd to accept huge reparation payments. She lost a considerable amount of territyr and the military was severely limited. Fro example the Army was limited to 100,000 men.

    The German people felt very humiliated. They grew to hate the new democratifc government. The thought calling its leaders the Novembver Criminals. Although defeated the military blamed the civilin government and claimed the German Army was stabled in the back. The So called Weimmar Republic was never fully accepted.

    There was no peace in Germany after the war. Germany experienced went through years of polical chaos and hyperinflation. Rvolutionaries of both right and left threatened the fldging democracies. Because Germany could not or would not pay back the war repearations France and Belgium troups occupied the Rhur from 1923 1925. This futther weakened the government.

    These chaotic conditions set the stage for Adolph Hitler and the National Socialist. The author tells how Hitler was able to organized the Nazi party from a small gathering of macontents to one of the largest po;litical parties in Germany. Hitler swore to do away t=wht the Republic, rearm Germany return the nation to first class status. He was able to use antisemitism to blame all of Germany's problem o n the Jews.

    I thought this was a facinating book and I thought the author did veryh important servie retelling the story of the Nazi era. Hitler offerend nothing new for the German people; his polices of hate destoryed Germany. But there are some people who still believe Hitler to be a compelling leader. There are some people who will deny the hollocaust. Evans gave a true, straight forward and compelling account of the history of that era which must be reotld or we might make the same mistakes.

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    One of the best Accounts on the Subject

    Unlike William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (which is bent more on entertaining the reader) Evans presents himself as a serious historian. Evans takes us back to the rise of military Prussia and the attitudes and ideologies which made Germany a comfortable bed for the NSDAP to lay its head; and then moves forward to the timultous and chaotic street fights between brownshirts and communists which defined many Weimar cities. Drawing from primary sources of the everyday German and high ranking officials Evan's work is a must for any fan of history and most especially the history of the third reich as political party.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2005

    Generaly Well Written

    Overall, I would say that this book was well written and provided some very interesting insight into Pre-Nazi history originating in the Bismark era. Good analysis of the social, philosophical, economic, scientific, historical, and political factors which contributed to the rise of the Third Reich. The only thing I found disturbing, or lacking, was in the discussion of the Reichstagg fire. There is only discussion of the 'official' Nazi story that it was caused entirely by a 'lone wolf', so to speak. There is barely any reference to the pretty well accepted theory that the fire was likely started by the Nazi's themselves and that van den Lubbe was a Patsi. I would have expected a purported historical work to have presented that in more depth, even to refute the theory, should that be the opinion of the author. To have almost entirely ignored it, I feel was irresponsible. Other that that glitch, I found the work well written and a very quick read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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