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The Coming of the Third Reich (2003)

by Richard J. Evans

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Third Reich trilogy (1)

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1,859417,472 (4.26)37
Publisher description: From one of the world's most distinguished historians, a magisterial new reckoning with Hitler's rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. 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? There is no story in twentieth-century history more important to understand, and Richard Evans 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 he shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. With many people angry and embittered by military defeat and economic ruin; a state undermined by a civil service, an army, and a law enforcement system deeply alienated from the democratic order introduced in 1918; beset by the growing extremism of voters prey to panic about the increasing popularity of communism; home to a tiny but quite successful Jewish community subject to widespread suspicion and resentment, Germany proved to be fertile ground in which Nazism's ideology of hatred could take root. The first book of what will ultimately be a complete three-volume history of Nazi Germany, The Coming of the Third Reich is a masterwork of the historian's art and the book by which all others on this subject will be judged.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Megnyugtató úgy gondolni a második világháborúra, mint egy eseményre, amit bizonyos démoni személyek robbantottak ki olyan körülmények között, amelyek soha nem ismétlődhetnek meg. Evans könyve pont azért nyomaszt és rémít, mert pontról pontra bemutatja, hogy ezek az események felfogható emberi indulatokból születtek, és közönséges emberi és politikai hibák következtében logikusan jutottak el a végkifejletig. Vagyis megismételhetőek. Pedig Evans nem hoz be forradalmian új szempontokat a történelembe, csak egyszerűen felsorolja és vonalba rendezi a bőséges tényanyagot – ettől olyan félelmetes az egész. Szigorúan e könyv kapcsán két dolgot emelnék ki.

Ha egy konzervatív párt elnézést tanúsít a szélsőséges mozgalmak iránt abban bízva, hogy az ő támogatásukkal megőrzi hatalmát, és egyben arra számít, hogy majd kontroll alatt tartja őket, jó eséllyel nemcsak önmagát veszejti el, hanem a demokráciát és a nemzetet is. Mégpedig azért, mert képtelen felfogni: a szélsőséges pártokat nem lehet politikai machinációkkal irányítgatni, ők egyszerűen nem azok szerint a játékszabályok szerint játszanak, mint a demokratikus pártok. Ahol a hagyományos párt hazudik és időt akar nyerni, ott a szélsőséges mozgalom brutális és átgázol.

Másrészt: a forradalmi dinamizmus, az agresszió ideig-óráig sikeressé tehet egy pártot, de hosszú távon kaotikus állapotokat szül. A folyamatos aktivitás szükségessége olyan helyzetet teremt, ahol a mozgalom kénytelen egyre nagyobb és nagyobb problémákat állítani maga elé, mert tagjai igénylik a folyamatos konfrontációt. Így a csoport függővé válik, és addig rohan neki az egyre masszívabb akadályoknak, amíg egyszer csak betörik a feje.

Evans könyvét hiba úgy olvasni, hogy csak a párhuzamokat keresünk benne a jelenkorral. Ugyanakkor fontos látni még idejében minden dolgok mögött azt, ami lehet belőlük, ha hagyjuk kiterebélyesedni őket. ( )
  Kuszma | Jul 2, 2022 |
"The death of democracy in Germany was part of a much broader European pattern in the interwar years; but it also had very specific roots in German history and drew on ideas that were part of a very specific German tradition."

In this sweeping and arching chronicle of history, Richard J. Evans examines every nook and cranny of German society and culture from the looming spectre of the Bismarckian era to the fall of the Weimar Republic in delineating the causes of the rise of The Third Reich. Indeed, it also takes into account the turmoil, the overall attitude prevalent across the European continent when providing complicated answers to the perhaps most boggling and important questions of the 20th century: why did no one stop the Nazi Regime? Why did the German population engage in such silent acquiescence?

With a myriad of cultural anxieties, from the threat of Communism to the perceived collapse of the traditional family due to the First Wave Feminist movement to the perceived unfairness of the stipulations of the Treaty of Versailles to modernism gaining traction across art, literature, and cinema to the 1929 hyperinflation to the Great Depression era, and most of all the 'stabbed-in-the-back' myth after Germany's defeat in the First World War, and conspiracy theories of Jewish domination, Evans never leaves a stone unturned with his lucid narrative-style, where every section is gripping. No reason can be attributed as the single cause of Nazi Germany's seizure of power. Rather, several historical incidents, a tensed political ambience, etc., etc., each of them helped form its inception and strengthen its hold on the already-feeble Weimar Republic. History, unsurprisingly, is also full of complications and contradictions. And interspersed here and there are excerpts from diaries of German citizens, which share a glimpse of both the panic and fanaticism circulating across the masses. The steadily worsening state in every area of German society, with the brandishing of racial hierarchy and distorted Social Darwinism, in the last chapters was a terrifying read. Absolutely accessible for people who has little to limited knowledge on one of the darkest periods in history, The Coming of the Third Reich is an undeniably definitive work. ( )
  lethalmauve | Jan 2, 2022 |
Very informative, but I picked up on two errors which were worrying:

1. When discussing the Reichstag Fire and Marinus van der Lubbe, Evans suggests that anarcho-syndicalists call for the "propaganda of the deed" tactic. They definitely do not. This seems like a big error, especially since we're dealing with a historical controversy like the Reichstag Fire. Plus, I'm an anarchist so I'm just grumpy that Evans got facts about anarchy wrong. From this, I suspect his slightly condescending treatment of the "regime of the coffeehouse anarchists" is unfair and uninformed.

2. The French Revolution's Republican Calendar did not begin with 1789. (page 460 in the first American edition) Year One started in 1792, when the king was removed from power.

I'm only sorta being nit-picky. These two errors make me think that there are many more. ( )
  100sheets | Jun 7, 2021 |
I selected this book for background reading regarding World War II and my ongoing study of the United States presidents. Since I am currently "studying" FDR I felt that I needed to understand what the war was all about. Before reading this book, my total understanding of Nazi Germany was a dictator who wanted to rule the world while eliminating the Jewish people and showing the world Aryan supremacy. Wow, did I get an education! And now I know I need more information.

This book showed the dangers of following blindly the dictates of a charismatic leader who has his own agenda which may or may not be the best for all. IMO what I saw in Hitler from this book, was a man who originally wanted to free the German people from the penalties that had been inflicted on Germany by the Allies at the end of World War I. And that cause was probably valid, however, once he managed to gain power he went to the extremes of controlling everything forcing the German Jews before the war to leave or buckle under. Those that left survived, those that chose to remain were annihilated. Hitler took a fledgling democratic society and within a few short years, forced those that were not part of the Nazi party (5 major political parties) and wiped them out with violence and intimidation.

Reading of how artists and scientists were treated if they were Jewish or married to a Jew is shocking, but seeing the numbers and names of those who were involved even more so. Three of the displaced scientists—Einstein, Franck, and Schrödinger
had already received the Nobel prize in physics. five more would eventually receive the prize. Artists were also driven out in a "cultural cleansing". Wikipedia states it better than I can. "In 1937 in Munich, two simultaneous events demonstrated the Nazis’ views about art. One exhibition displayed art that should be eliminated (“The Degenerate Art Exhibition”), while the other promoted, by contrast, the official aesthetic (“The Great German Art Exhibition”)." Modern artists were said to be compromising the purity of the German race and lost their jobs at galleries and such while artwork was removed and destroyed. If they remained in Germany, many ended up in concentration camps.

The revelations in this book are alarming. Similarities are noticeable with today's society. We must not let this ever happen again. ( )
  cyderry | Mar 21, 2021 |
Not scintillating, but perfectly solid history. Evans is an awe-inspiring organizer of information, he writes clearly, and he's sceptical towards historical revisionism that hasn't entirely proved its case... but will also let you know what the revisionists say, while cautioning that they're only telling part of the story. One of the great public-facing historians of our time. I'm already enjoying the next volume of this one, and can't wait to read his Hobsbawm biography. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Evans, Richard J.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hochstedt, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montgomery, JoeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Publisher description: From one of the world's most distinguished historians, a magisterial new reckoning with Hitler's rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. 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? There is no story in twentieth-century history more important to understand, and Richard Evans 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 he shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. With many people angry and embittered by military defeat and economic ruin; a state undermined by a civil service, an army, and a law enforcement system deeply alienated from the democratic order introduced in 1918; beset by the growing extremism of voters prey to panic about the increasing popularity of communism; home to a tiny but quite successful Jewish community subject to widespread suspicion and resentment, Germany proved to be fertile ground in which Nazism's ideology of hatred could take root. The first book of what will ultimately be a complete three-volume history of Nazi Germany, The Coming of the Third Reich is a masterwork of the historian's art and the book by which all others on this subject will be judged.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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