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Inside Hitler's Germany Kindle Edition
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In this highly insightful book the reader really gets to look at what dayly life for average Germans was during the days of Hitler's dictatorship. Unless you were of Jewish ancestry or devout or left of centery or part of some group on the nazi hit list and unwilling to compromise your morals to the new regime, dayly life for the average German portrayed here was really not that bad as compared to what life was like for the average serf of the Soviet state.
The chapters are well illustrated by pictures and provide an infomative peak for what every aspect of dayly life was like for the average German of this period.
However, for me, like Spock says in Star Trek, Understanding does not mean approval.
The photos are numerous and very well selected. For example, included are several rarely seen photos of major figures in the Third Reich (Hitler, Himmler, and Goering) at different stages of their lives.
What prevents a stellar rating, however, is that the book at times contains misinformation and even disinformation, including the text used for the captions of several of the photos.
One example is the book states that Hitler's party had enough seats in the Reichstag to make him Chancellor, which is true enough, but the context leads the reader to believe that Hitler's party had won both a majority of the popular vote and a majority of the seats in the Reichstag, neither of which is true.
Another example is the book states that upon capture German soldiers were just as likely to be treated well as mistreated by the Allies, which is generally true, then goes on for several pages recounting 6-7 stories by German soldiers who were treated well but only a single account where the Allies mistreated German prisoners of war, leaving the false impression that 9 times out of 10 German prisoners were treated with compassion by the Allies. (To its credit the book goes on to describe the inhumane conditions in the prisoner of war camps.)
By and large the book is an excellent and fairly balanced overview of the Third Reich, from the factors that led to its creation to the conditions in Germany after its downfall, and is far superior to a similar book I read some time ago (now out of print). Although several irksome misstatements in this book preclude a true 5-star rating, it is still recommended as a very fine general introduction to life in Germany before, during, and after the Third Reich.
"Insider Hitler's Germany", on the other hand, is a very approachable book that chronciles life in Germany after the Great War and during the Third Reich. The authors write in a clear and informative style, letting the facts speak for themselves.
Most of us assume that totalitarian Germany must have been a nightmare for the German citizens who lived through it. It certainly was for Germans who were Jewish or Communist or otherwise gave the slightest hint of being out of step with the Nazi Party. But many Germans experienced the 1930s as a golden age of low unemployment, vacations for the average worker, and resurgent national pride. For them, it was only the catastrophe of World War II that exposed the true horrors of Nazism.
The most striking feature of this book is the photography that it reproduces. All of the photos are in black and white, but many are amazingly crisp and filled with a chilling immediacy. One that really caught my attention was a photo of the Hauptstrasse in Heidelberg, which is now a pedestrian mall filled with the usual shops (including, of course, a McDonald's). I have walked down that street many times. The photo shows a procession of scholars from the university, but all of the buildings along the street are festooned with flags displaying the swastika of the Nazi party. The stunning contrast between then and now is sobering, and this photo (like the book as a whole) is a useful reminder that the abyss is often just a very short step away.