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The Third Reich in Power, 1933-1939 Hardcover – October 20, 2005
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The second work in a planned three-volume series (after 2004's Coming of the Third Reich) this book starts with the Nazis' complete assumption of power and creation of a one-party state in 1933, and goes to September 1939 and the beginning of World War II. In sharp detail, Evans shows how Hitler seized upon his political victory and immediately began his plan for the Nazi infiltration of every aspect of German society. The Nazi propaganda blitz covered everything from local councils to social clubs to all voluntary associations. And when propaganda didn't work, coercion and fear did. At the behest of Hitler, the brownshirts and SS (secret police) ruthlessly harassed, beat, and murdered the Jews and Communists first, but later targeted anyone who showed even the slightest criticism of Nazi activities. Those Germans who disapproved of the Nazis were mainly confined to acts of passive resistance to Hitler's totalitarian rule. Nationalism proved to be the one issue capable of galvanizing the nation, as the Nazis' growing power helped to erase the shame and humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles that closed World War I.
Over the course of the book, Evans shows how everything Hitler did in this period was designed to prepare the nation for a war--"a life and death struggle"--whose aim was less geographical conquest than racial purity. Hitler's main objective was "to remould the minds, spirits and bodies of the German people to make them capable and worthy of the role of the new master-race that awaited them." Though Hitler did not work alone, Evans makes it clear that he was the overwhelming driving force behind it all, including policies regarding education, eugenics, and foreign affairs. Well written and logically organized, The Third Reich in Power is an impressive work of meticulous, readable history. --Shawn Carkonen
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The second volume of Cambridge historian Evans's trilogy on the Third Reich (after The Coming of the Third Reich) is a major achievement. No other recent synthetic history has quite the range and narrative power of Evans's work. There are no surprises here. Instead, the reader will find careful, detailed analyses of all the major issues relating to the Third Reich between Hitler's assumption of power on January 31, 1933, and the start of WWII on September 1, 1939: the construction of the dictatorship, the propaganda, the economy, the racial policy and the planning for war. Evans shows just how difficult it was for Hitler to secure his power in Germany (it required unabashed terror to defeat the Nazis' many opponents), but also how successful was the establishment of the Volksgemeinschaft, the racial community. Once Hitler had successfully consolidated his power, every other aspect of Nazi policy, from education to the economy, became subordinated to the preparation for war. The war, Evans emphasizes, was never simply an effort to redraw the map of Europe. The vast, overarching aim of establishing a racial utopia, a newly modern, German-dominated Europe cleansed of Jews and other undesirables, could only be accomplished through war. When complete, Evans's trilogy will take its place alongside Ian Kershaw's monumental two-volume biography of Hitler as the standard works in English. Illus. and maps not seen by PW.(On sale Oct. 24)
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Top customer reviews
This book is just as great and well written as the first, although I enjoyed the history of the rise of the Third Reich a little bit more. His writing style is wonderful. It doesn't feel like a long book and he keeps the topics flowing. It reads very freely and easily from one chapter to the next. I sit down to read for just a few minutes and I'm always sucked in to keep going.
Almost every chapter in this book has been incredibly interesting. I got a little bit bored with the chapter about how the Nazis Aryanized the artwork. But I got through it, and I'm glad I did.
Buy this whole trilogy and read it. It has been very enlightening so far.
This second book covers the years of Nazi Germany before the outbreak of war in 1939. The book takes a very systematic approach. It covers everything. How the Nazis changed the media, entertainment, music, education, marriage, etc. Evans tackles every single aspect of society one at a time throughout this book. I started this book expecting to read about the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 and other similar events, but none of that appears until the last quarter of the book. This is an impressive and useful approach because by discussing these things thematically, Evans can cover them in detail. Over the course of the book, some events or time periods are of course covered multiple times. But this book also gives a strong account for the emphasis of anti-Semitism in Germany before the outbreak of war.
I'm a little reluctant to give only four stars for this because it is just a definitive and impressive work. But, it's incredibly daunting to read. Now, I'm a history teacher and I've read many books of this size and scope before. But Evans' book still requires some effort to get through. Because he focuses on so many things that most casual readers aren't too interested in, some sections can become quite dull. This trilogy should be read only after reading several other accounts of ALL aspects of Nazi Germany (not just the war and not just from the US perspective). This is hard to do, but without significant background knowledge, much of the content of this book can be overwhelming or even worthless.
Nonetheless, it is well-written and an essential read for the true students of Nazi Germany.
This book answers these questions and more in a very accessible way. Much to learn..