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The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard…
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The Coming of the Third Reich (original 2003; edition 2005)

by Richard Evans

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1,441317,631 (4.27)33
Member:grunin
Title:The Coming of the Third Reich
Authors:Richard Evans
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2005), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library
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Tags:History, u

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The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Evans account of the ascent of Nazism in Germany is a masterful narrative that includes not only the Weimar years, but also unearths the ideological roots of this totalitarian regime in the Bismarckian Empire. Evans skilfully navigates between the big picture and detailed description of every-day life, using powerful excerpts from primary sources to underline his descriptions. ( )
  historytoby | Dec 26, 2017 |
Because we are marking the 100th anniversary of WWl and because I knew little about the War and its causes I embarked on a reading journey about a year ago to fill the gap. I began with Christopher Clark's excellent "The Sleepwalkers" to learn of pre-War events and causes, followed with Tuchman's "The Guns of August" and I was off to the races - but things quickly bogged down. Tuchman's book was literally about the month of August 1914, but hey, there was still another 4 years of war to follow. What happened? So I read more books, and noted references to the forthcoming and flawed Versailles Treaty. Well, you get the picture.

But which book to read about the intervening years between WWl and WWll? Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" was clearly the most popular (over 1660 Amazon reviews), but Evans book (200+ reviews) appeared to be favored by critics and students of 20th century world history. One of the most significant criticisms of Shirer seemed to be that he traced origins from Hitler's early years to explain how the third Reich came to be whereas Evans believed that events must be traced back further(Bismarck, 1870s) into German history to explain the German mindset post- WWl. Another reason I did not choose Shirer was that his book concludes with the end of WWll and the scope I was interested in was pre-WWll. Therefore Shirer's book is more than twice the length of Evan's 461 pages.

Evans book is very comprehensive. Much of the emphasis is on the political parties, and their ups and downs. There were many of them and hence coalitions changed constantly. Leadership was weak, elections were frequent. Economic conditions were appalling, unemployment was high, hyperinflation set in and citizens purchased bread, when it was available, with wheelbarrows full on marks; the next day the same loaf of bread might cost twice as much. And the Bolsheviks were attempting to get a foothold in German Government. And so Hitler's Nazi party was able to gain control of the government after a 10 year battle though winning less than 38% of the vote in every election. And Germany was bound to pay reparations to the WWl victors. Hitler as we all know didn't win because he ran a slick campaign. Violence grew more and more each year. Many opponents were beaten to death by stormtroopers. Many were sent to concentration camps, mostly for months at a time although others had long sentences for their political opposition. Many died in the camps, forerunners of the camps of the Holocaust.

The story of course is not just about Hitler's political successes. It covers the economic problems and recovery made by Germany, Germany's focus on nationalism, the origins of eugenics, and of course the steadily increasing portrayal of German Jews as the enemy, an enemy to be driven out of Germany. But not all Jews, at least not right away. Apparently, Hitler was a bit of a pragmatist, and did not want the country to suffer economically with a devastating loss of doctors, bankers and some other professions, at least not immediately. A complex story, told in great detail by Evans. This book ends mid 1933. Evans has two companion books, one on the 3rd Reich in power, and the third at war.

I found it difficult to hold my concentration with this book for very long. Lots and lots of text. At times it felt nothing was left out. There were some charts, but most showed how well political parties did from one election to the next. I would like to have seen more economic data, particularly over the 1920-40 span. I would like to have seen less about political parties #6,7,8,and 9 and more about the economy. Especially how a country who lost a major war and owed millions in reparations, suffered hyperinflation, yet managed to have resources in place to launch another major war 20 years later. ( )
  maneekuhi | May 21, 2017 |
OK, in one sense this is kind of reassuring, in that one of Evans’ central arguments is that Weimar democracy was never strong—it never had large parties fully committed to the democratic experiment; it never had a truly independent civil service or court system that was fully committed; it began haunted by the “betrayals” of WWI and with a whole lot of former soldiers committed to German militarism who thought that violence solved things. On the other, there are way too many other parallels to the current US for any comfort. Evans emphasizes the Nazis’ ability to create a movement sweeping the German people into the future, without concrete solutions to Germany’s actual problems but a promise of future greatness. Also, the Nazis’ use of violence created perceptions of public disorder that they then capitalized on, successfully blaming Communists for stormtroopers’ violence. There were already deep-seated vulnerabilities on which the Nazis were able to capitalize. Hitler came to power in significant part because of mistakes made by other people and parties; the Germans didn’t elect him Reich Chancellor—what Evans calls “political suicide rather than political murder.”

And yet. Here are some parallels to make you nervous: “Voters were not really looking for anything very concrete from the Nazi Party in 1930. They were, instead, protesting against the failure of the Weimar Republic. Many of them, too, particularly in rural areas, small towns, small workshops, culturally conservative families, may have been registering their alienation from the cultural and political modernity for which the Republic stood …. The vagueness of the Nazi programme, its symbolic mixture of old and new, its eclectic, often inconsistent character, to a large extent allowed people to read into it what they wanted to and edit out anything they might have found disturbing.” Also, a timely quote from one of Hitler’s opponents: “Referring to Hitler’s constantly reiterated assurances that he intended to come to power legally, Brüning said: ‘If one declares that, having come to power by legal means, one will then break the bounds of the law, that is not legality.’”

Goebbels, soon after coming to power, told newspapermen attending his first official press conference, “You are to know not only what is happening, but also the government’s view of it and how you can convey that to the people most effectively.” Goebbels also mocked “The stupidity of democracy. It will always remain one of democracy’s best jokes that it provided its deadly enemies with the means by which it was destroyed.” The Nazis opposed academic freedom because, as Heidegger told academics, “this freedom was not genuine, because it is only negative.” It didn’t have anything to do with the mission of following the leader. When the Chairman of the Board of I.G. Farben, the Nobel-winning chemist Carl Bosch, met Hitler in 1933, he complained about the damage that dismissal of Jewish professors did to German science, Hitler told him that “Germany could go on for another hundred years without any physics or chemistry at all” and kicked him out. ( )
1 vote rivkat | Apr 10, 2017 |
Madness As Human Achievement
The historical circunstances that precede the Third Reich are examined in this well researched and written book. Richard J. Evans analysed the main factors that caused the end of Weimar Republic and the birth of the Nazi Regime. German political development in the end of XIX and the beginning of the XX century is considered. The fate of the First World War and the consequences experienced by german people are linked with the economic and social environment of the time, in order to explain the progressive advance of such a violent and totalitarian regime. Along the way, the central figures of the Nazi Regime - Hitler, Goebbels, Göring - are caracterized and situated in the events of the time. Combining facts descriptions with narratives, the author gave a good portrait of this pivotal moment in western history. ( )
  MarcusBastos | Jul 14, 2016 |
The prose isn't incandescent, but the overall book is a very solid addition to the literature on Hitler's Germany. Evans has a relatively objective approach in this first volume of a trilogy that argues well for the rest of the work. The portrait of the German state is very informative, and enough space is used to define the pre-Nazi atmosphere, and the conditions of Germany and the other political parties are well presented. i'm up for the other two volumes, though the second one, on the Nazi state prior to the outbreak of the war is bound to be a bit of a slog for the war buff in me.
The maps are useful, and though a little sparse, the material doesn't easily lend itself to a graphics-heavy approach. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Feb 20, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143034693, Paperback)

There is no story in twentieth-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time. A masterful synthesis of a vast body of scholarly work integrated with important new research and interpretations, Evans’s history restores drama and contingency to the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis, even as it shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. The Coming of the Third Reich is a masterwork of the historian’s art and the book by which all others on the subject will be judged.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:00 -0400)

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There is no story in twentieth-century history more important to understand. In 1900 Germany was the most progressive and dynamic nation in Europe, the only country whose rapid technological and social growth and change challenged that of the United States. Its political culture was less authoritarian than Russia's and less anti-Semitic than France's; representative institutions were thriving, and competing political parties and elections were a central part of life. How then can we explain the fact that in little more than a generation this stable modern country would be in the hands of a violent, racist, extremist political movement that would lead it and all of Europe into utter moral, physical, and cultural ruin? A synthesis of a vast body of scholarly work integrated with important new research and interpretations, Evans's history restores drama and contingency to the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis, even as he shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. The first book of what will be a three-volume history of Nazi Germany.--From publisher description.… (more)

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