The Coming of the Third Reich (The History of the Third Reich, #1)
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The Coming of the Third Reich (The History of the Third Reich #1)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  2,972 ratings  ·  216 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 622 pages
Published January 25th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published 2004)
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John Adams by David McCullough1776 by David McCulloughTeam of Rivals by Doris Kearns GoodwinThe Guns of August by Barbara W. TuchmanThe Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
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60th out of 1,338 books — 1,277 voters
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German History
3rd out of 308 books — 77 voters


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Riku Sayuj
Mar 05, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nishant Singh
Many questions perplex us about the Nazis, about the atrocities they committed and about thebeginningsof the Second World War. How could one of the most advanced, highly cultured, industrialized and modern nation states in Europe allow such horrors to come to pass? How could democracy be replaced so easily? How did an extremist party lurking at the fringes of political life take over the entire government in such a shot time without ever raising the wrath of the bigger parties or of the people?...more
Lewis Weinstein
UPDATE 3/7/14 ...

Evans presents a powerful picture of the Nazi takeover before and after Hitler's appointment as Chancellor on Jan 30, 1933.

However - and it is a huge however - I am finding too many examples where statements are made by Evans without any footnotes, and also omissions of "inconvenient evidence" which contradicts his conclusions.

For example, Evans totally buys the story that a Dutch Communist named Lubbe was the sole perpetrator of the Reichstag fire ... Evans: Lubbe confessed to...more
Matt
In the life of every World War II buff, there comes a point where he or she must ask this question: Have I read enough books about the Nazis? Actually, with the arrogance of youth, I thought I’d never come to that point.

Let’s face it, the Nazis are fascinating. There has never been, and God willing will never be again, anything like them. It’s not just that they killed a lot of people because, unfortunately, genocide is nothing new to history. It’s the way they did it. The concept of evil is mu...more
Greg
This book is an overview of how or why the Third Reich happened. It's a great big sweeping survey with like a hundred pages of footnotes and a bibliography to point readers towards just about every fact and source Evans used.

It's a complicated story. Unlike what my (and maybe your) high school teacher said, it wasn't inflation. It wasn't because the Germans hate Jews, it wasn't because of the Treaty of Versailles, or any other one reason. It was a whole slew of reasons that all came together wi...more
Maureen
Every question I had about how and why Hitler was able to rise to prominence and so swiftly overtake not just the political but also the cultural, educational, and military institutions in Germany has been answered. Drawing upon documents that were only released after the downfall of the U.S.S.R. as well as other newly discovered source materials, Evans has written a new benchmark by which all other histories of the rise of Nazism will be measured.

Evans demonstrates an ability that every good h...more
Erik Simon
Reading Furst's novels set in Europe before and during WWII reminded me that I read this book last winter and liked it quite enough that I should have read the second volume in the proposed trilogy by now. It is very readable, very accessible. Too, Evans traces the roots of Naziism back to Bismarck in such a way that convinced me. Scholars haggle over whether the Nazis were inevitable; Evans seems to think not but that the Depression coupled with the failure of Weimar made them inescapable. I'm...more
Mosca
Aug 28, 2012 Mosca rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mosca by: Lots of Goodreads Reviews
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This work of history takes on the task, in the author’s words: “to recount the Nazi’s rise to power through a combination of electoral success and massive political violence”. It also sets out to clarify “how the Nazis managed to establish a one-party dictatorship in Germany within a very short space of time, and with seemingly little real resistance from the German people.” In this it does an admirable job.

I, for one, have many times puzzled over the moral...more
Jeffrey Owens
This is the first book in Richard J Evan's Third Reich trilogy, and it is a brilliantly written, thoroughly researched, and engrossing journey through the history of Germany from the nineteenth century to 1933 when Adolf Hitler became Chancellor. Evans has a particularily unique backstory as a historian. When the so-called historian David Irving, who was a blatent Holocaust denier, sued some of his collegues for accusing him skuing historical sources to make his arguments, Richard J. Evans was a...more
Lobstergirl
The bulk of this is a synthesis of Germany's increasingly horrifying history from 1919 to 1933. Only in the last chapter does Evans address how Nazism could have taken root. Why was Germany such fertile soil? How could the German people have been so accepting of Hitler? Of state terror - hideous street violence, beatings and murders of political enemies in public places? I'm not sure it's possible to ever answer these questions adequately, but Evans does a good job finding reasons. The Great Dep...more
Nick Black
Much better than the second book in the series, an expert, bone-rattling survey of the years prior to the Enabling Act. Excellent coverage of the Weimar's economic problems during the years of Versailles, the Young Plan and the hyperinflationary era. The preface is also noteworthy, explaining Evans's plan and answering (what seemed to me an important question) why these books are necessary despite epics like Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and Kerhsaw's biography Hitler.
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Bord...more
Tom Loftus
New (for me) insights into the general features of ultra right-wing or nationalist movements and the unfortunate social / economic forces that enable them to thrive. Less Hitler-centric than Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich;" provides a more comprehensive treatment of the various factors (many that pre-date WW1) that ultimately led to the collapse of Weimar democracy.

It's amazing how many of the tactics perfected by the NSDAP are still in use today: rallying voters around vague nationa...more
Mark
This is a great book on how Hitler and the Nazis came to power. It places that event within the politics and culture of Germany of the time. I was shocked to learn how the Nazis were abetted by parties that were conservative or anti-democratic or pro-monarchist and even Catholic.

Our era has so many parallels to the Weimar Republic era - harsh political rhetoric, a disrespect for reasoned dialogue, the conservative use of the "big lie", violent overtones (like people showing up with guns when th...more
David
A nicely written book that goes into some detail giving the context and conditions that allowed the Nazi party's rise to power. Many aspects of the political and societal impact were covered, including the immediate attacks on the arts and culture in general that were carried out by the Nazis and other citizens (esp. university students!) This book aptly conveys the loss that these events betokened -- even before they started exterminating people en masse. The rich and literate culture of German...more
Bill
With a mother raised in Nazi Germany, I have a real interest in how the Nazis came to power, and this book provides a lucid and readable explanation. I'm no historian so cannot comment on the accuracy of what Evans writes, but I was impressed with his thoroughness and readability. The book starts 60 years before the rise of Hitler to the Chancellorship so that the reader gets a feeling for the political and cultural environment that led to the rise of this terrible movement. I've read many diffe...more
Nilesh
For a variety of reasons, this unique book is perhaps much more important than other books on Third Reich or WW2.



If we do not ever want to see genocide or state murder perpetuated by a government elected by an educated democratic society, this book is a must. We often forget the blindsides of a democracy not supported by undemocratic basic or constitutionally protected principles. After reading this book, one may be able to realize why everything can not simply be left to majority - there are so...more
James Murphy
This, the 1st volume of the celebrated trilogy by Richard J Evans, is a long way from my reading of William L Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. That opus is in my distant teenaged past, and for that reason it's hard for me to say definitely that Evans's work is an improvement on the understanding of those tumultuous years. My inclination is that it is because so much more has been revealed in the intervening years and because Evans has left out much drama and personality to focus on...more
Kelly
This is a deftly constructed, comprehensive survey of German history from approximately the First World War to the ascension of Hitler as chancellor in 1933. Writing for the general reader with little or no familiarity with the subject, Evans has set out to synthesize a variety of historical perspectives in the existing literature on the subject. The consequence is a welcome achievement. If nothing else, this compendium ("The Coming of the Third Reich" is the first of three books in a narrative...more
mandy
Apr 12, 2008 mandy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history buffs--especially world war II
i started this book (the first of 3) awhile ago. it's taken me awhile to get through it b/c of its heavy subject matter. i have to take a break every once in a while and read some fiction! also, and i hate admitting this--the author uses some 'big words' that i don't know so i'm constantly hitting up my little notebook dictionary! but i'm definitely learning alot, and it's interesting. evans goes into great detail about germany before the nazis came to power. the only thing i wish he had describ...more
Becky
I selected this book because of being curious how the Nazi's gained power and how such insanity took over. I was not disappointed. This is the first of a trilogy about Nazi Germany written by an English history professor. It's fairly new (2004) and examines many aspects of German politics, society, art, education, science leading up to and post World War I. I knew that the WWI defeat of Germany and the subsequent treatment, followed by the Great Depression were part of what enabled Hitler and hi...more
Chris
From the beginning let me say that I'm not one of those history nerds who obsesses about Nazi Germany. This is my first book on it, okay? That said, it was really good. This book is VERY thorough, almost overwhelming, but it's well-written so that it's easy to follow along and stay engaged. I could never understand before how a government like the Third Reich could come into power without a full military coup; this book made it clear both how cultural and historical factors created a society in...more
Eric Bauman
I have always been interested in World War II (almost said a fan, but I realized that really doesn’t sound right). I have read a few histories of the war in general (usually centering on the war in Europe) and a couple of biographies of Hitler himself (including taking a class at UVa on the subject). In all of these histories, however, the story of the rise and fall of the Third Reich have usually been treated at a high level, with no real detail of what happened, why and how. More importantly,...more
Melanie
This book was so good, I'm not on page 100 of the second volume, "The Third Reich in Power." What's so good about it? A few things. Of course, it adds to what I knew or was taught about the Third Reich already. But what's more interesting is how there is more to know, as well, by which I mean, there are more declassified sources and, as the events recede into the past, we can get a wider view. Evans starts his book with the terrific opening sentence, "Is it wrong to start with Bismark?" Not in t...more
Bill
This is the first volume in a three volume series. The author has succeeded in writing a comprehensive history that in my opinion will replace The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich as the most authoritative source for an horrific and fascinating era. This book can easily be read by the general audience with little knowledge of the topic and at the same time is full of detail based upon the extensive research shown in eighty pages of footnotes and a fifty page bibliography. The author's analysis o...more
David Becker
This is the way popular history should be written. Not only is Evans' writing lively and full of telling anecdotes, his work bears the authority of serious research and thoughtful analysis. In the end, you get a book that is not only a gripping read but one that explains serious and timely matters.

Evans carefully and powerfully builds a case for the Nazis being different from other autocratic regimes (at a time when autocratic regimes were flourishing in Europe and elsewhere) in the cunning way...more
Albert Lusnia
The next time someone comes into the library and asks for a book that "talks about all the good the Nazis did, you know, in the early years," this will be the one I recommend. If you do not read German and you do not have a specialized interest in the roots of Nazism and their seizure of power this work is the best resource available. If you are a specialist, I would suggest that this is an excellent summary of developments with and amply sourced survey of the secondary literature in German and...more
Nathan
Richard Evans begins his history of the Third Reich with, fortunately, more of a bang than a whimper. The focus of this initial volume is the contemporary political climates from which Nazism arose, against which it fought, and which were subsumed into the growing political ideology that would be refined into the Hitlerian worldview. Evans is not always sufficiently clear in characterizing and differentiating these several political movements, especially in light of our current binary Left/Right...more
Marks54
I had been wanting to read the three book series by Evans on the Third Reich and when I saw Audible.com had a new membership program with two free credits, I decided to attack the series on my Ipod Classic. This book is the first volume. It is very well done and very thorough in its depiction of how the Nazis came to power in Germany. This book takes the story up to the point where Hitler becomes Chancellor, so it goes from some general historical background, through the 1920's, and up through t...more
Mcgyver5
This was easily the best of the trilogy for me, perhaps because it went over ground I wasn't familiar with. It does a wonderful job of making the political culture of Weimar Germany come to life.

This trilogy supplants "The Rise and Fall of the Third Riech".

the author goes further back into German history and tracks various movements from their infancy, makes the sting of Versailles more understandable, and shows how the instability of post-WWI Germany affected ordinary people. Then, he ties the...more
Ray
Many people must have wondered how a Country such as Germany ended up with the Nazi's in power with a leader such as Hitler. If so, this is a great book to read. Evans provides a very detailed review of German politics, economics, and leadership in the 1920's through the 1930's. With a suffering economy and a succession of ineffective governments, Hitler was able to gradually build a base of protest voters. While never gaining a majority, Hitler was able to ultimately gain power and then impleme...more
Adam
As far as surveys of the rise of the Nazi Party and the introduction of the Third Reich go, this is a gem. Probably the most up-to-date and coherent synthesis of the area's massive historiography available in the English language, in fact. Specialists will want more, of course. Evans even admits that the style and speed with which he covers a vast literature might put off some. Yet most introductory readers will find this gripping and convincing, and they should. Evans clearly delineates facts f...more
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Historical Ironies 10 68 Aug 21, 2013 12:05PM  
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He was born in London, of Welsh parentage, and is now Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Gonville & Caius College. Evans has also taught at the University of Stirling, University of East Anglia and Birkbeck College, London. Having been a Visiting Professor in History at Gresham College during 2008/09, he is now the Gresham Professor of Rhetoric.

He...more
More about Richard J. Evans...
The Third Reich in Power (The History of the Third Reich, #2) The Third Reich At War (The History of the Third Reich, #3) Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial In Defence of History Death in Hamburg: Society and Politics in the Cholera Years, 1830-1910

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“Recounting the experience of individuals brings home, as nothing else can, the sheer complexity of the choices they had to make, and the difficult and often opaque nature of the situations they confronted. Contemporaries could not see things as clearly as we can, with the gift of hindsight: they could not know in 1930 what was to come in 1933, they could not know in 1933 what was to come in 1939 or 1942 or 1945. If they had known, doubtless the choices they made would have been different. One of the greatest problems in writing history is to imagine oneself back in the world of the past, with all the doubts and uncertianties people faced in dealing with a future that for the historian has also become the past. Developments that seem inevitable in retrospect were by no means so at the time, and in writing this book I have tried to remind the reader repeatedly that things could easily have turned out very differently to the way they did at a number of points in the history of Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. People make their own history, as Karl Marx once memorably observed, but not under conditions of their own choosing. These conditions included not only the historical context in which they lived, but also the way in which they thought, the assumptions they acted upon, and the principles and beliefs that informed their behavior. A central aim of this book is to re-create all these things for a modern readership, and to remind readers that, to quote another well-known aphorism about history, 'the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” 6 likes
“Narrative history fell out of fashion for many years in the 1970s and 1980s, as historians everywhere focused on analytical approaches derived mainly from the social sciences. But a variety of recent, large-scale narrative histories have shown that it can be done without sacrificing analytical rigour or explanatory power.” 3 likes
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