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The Third Reich at War (The History of the Third Reich #3)

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  3,161 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
An absorbing, revelatory, and definitive account of one of the greatest tragedies in human history

Adroitly blending narrative, description, and analysis, Richard J. Evans portrays a society rushing headlong to self-destruction and taking much of Europe with it. Interweaving a broad narrative of the war's progress from a wide range of people, Evans reveals the dynamics o
Paperback, 926 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by Penguin Books (first published 2009)
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Pat Walsh Yes it does cover that. For instance what happened to the education system once all the professors/teacher were involved in the war effort and also…moreYes it does cover that. For instance what happened to the education system once all the professors/teacher were involved in the war effort and also once censorship went out of control.(less)

Community Reviews

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Arghya Dutta
Finally! I have finished reading this 3 volume tome on the history of Germany during the period of 1933 to 1945 on yesterday.
The first volume The Coming of the Third Reich deals with the coming in power of the Nazi party, the second volume The Third Reich in Power deals with the interesting social, political and many other dimensions of German life under the Nazi rule and finally, the third volume is about the expansion of the Third Reich and its subsequent downfall in 1945.

I liked these books f
Volume 3 of the trilogy. I'll put my whole review here.

Massive, all encompassing view of Hitler's Germany - its social programs, its military success - a whole nation structured and subservient to a narrow ethnocentric worldview of a mad warlord.

Exhausting. Evans' use of diary entries, in order to capture the thoughts of the people of Germany at the time, is heart-rending and terrifying. He is unflinching in his detail. A brilliant and terrifying look at how an organized system of terror and dea
Loring Wirbel
Aug 05, 2012 Loring Wirbel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The final book in Evans' Third Reich trilogy was bound to be the most crisply written, if only because the subject matter demanded it. With a long and complex war to cover in less than 800 pages, the author simply didn't have the time to expand into realms that occasionally bogged down the first two books.

Evans makes clear in the introduction that this is not a book about the war itself, nor about the Holocaust. That is particularly evident in the former point. While detailed observations of t
Apr 01, 2009 AC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Of the three volumes, I think the first remains in all aspects the best. But the whole trilogy is excellent and a sound corrective to Kershaw. It is the best and most judicious survey of the whole topic in English that I am aware of. That said, it is a long trilogy, and it is nice to have it behind me rather than before me.)

This book, as expected, is excellent -- and marks the entire trilogy as a valuable achievement. Evans is best when dealing with the more granular -- his treatment of the bro
Mar 29, 2010 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three thick volumes is the new minimum for a survey of Nazi Germany geared toward the general reader. The final installment of this series seamlessly continues the story to its conclusion, which is welcome indeed. Being steeped in Nazi history for the duration of three long books is a fatiguing exercise in misery; one can only imagine what it must have been like to actually live (or die) amongst the carnage of such a hideous moral vacuum. "The Third Reich at War" does a spectacular job answering ...more
After Evans' two first books in the trilogy, this came as a disappointment. I had very high expectations to read about the conditions in the Third Reich during war, learn something new about the social, economical, political etc process that took place during the war years. Instead I got a mash-up of various topics that totally lack focus and do not add much to the historiography of the third reich.

The first 400 pages, for instance, are almost wholly devoted to the war in the East and the Jewish
Jan 18, 2012 Bou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is (in the words of the writer) about the Germans and Germany, not about the Second World War. Having read a lot of books about the Second World war, I have found it very refreshing and interesting. It covers a lot of topics that are usually not touched upon in a book about this area. It handles the German conquests, the treatment of the Jews and other minorites by the Nazi's, every day life for the Germans during the war and economic, social and cultural consequences. If you're into h ...more
The Third Reich at War: 1939-1945, by Richard J. Evans, is the final book in The History of the Third Reich trilogy, and an excellent conclusion to the series. Evans has written a magnum opus on the Nazi's rise to power (The Coming of the Third Reich), their rule (The Third Reich in Power), and finally, the world war they initiated, and eventually lost (this title). The Third Reich at War examines the Nazi's opening of the Second World War, beginning with political maneuverings before the war, H ...more
Patrick Cook
Nov 02, 2016 Patrick Cook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sir Richard Evans is the leading Anglophone proponent of a certain school of history. This might be termed neo-empiricism or neo-Rankeanism. He has famously defended his approach, in somewhat curmudgeonly fashion, in his book 'In Defence of History', which is widely assigned to first year undergraduates in history departments throughout the Anglophone world (and perhaps beyond). Suffice it to say that, as an academic historian of a rather different period, I have serious methodological disagreem ...more
Urey Patrick
This the last volume in Evans monumental history of the Third Reich. It is a breathtakingly comprehensive, perceptive immersion in the society, government, economy, culture, everyday life, military and political figures, policies and programs of Nazi Germany during the war years. It is spellbinding - informative - hard to put down. Evans dispels myths and conventional wisdom about Hitler's Germany, the relentless racial impetus underlying the ideology, the ruthless nature of the regime. He provi ...more
Oct 16, 2011 Colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ww2
So, it took me roughly eight years to finish Evan's opus. His first two books (Coming of the Third Reich & Third Reich in Power) are perhaps the two best books I've read on World War 2, so I was looking forward to this last one. It didn't disappoint.

I almost want to go back and read the first one again--since towards the end of the war, he comments how support for Nazism had substantially dried up throughout Germany--but I vaguely remember political charts in the first one showing how enthu
Nov 03, 2011 4triplezed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, world-war-2
I genuinely ask the question, what more could anyone ask for in a 3 volume history of the Third Reich? Exceptional.
Adam Balshan
3.5 stars [History]
Richard J. Evans wrote a magisterial history of the Third Reich, in three volumes spanning 2,000 pages.
This review will combine content from all three books: The Coming of the Third Reich (2003), The Third Reich in Power (2005), and The Third Reich at War (2008).

Writing: 3 stars.
My [rather complex] rating system is a bell curve, so while 3 stars out of 5 is not a very high score, it is superior to 75% of all writers. Evans writes in fairly good academic prose which almost neve
Alan   Mauldin
Jun 24, 2017 Alan Mauldin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler alert: Hitler and his goons, after an improbable rise to power and lengthy reign of terror and butchery, get their Nazi asses pounded by a seemingly infinite number of T-34s and Sherman tanks.


In the final volume of his trilogy, author Richard J. Evans recounts how Adolf Hitler launched a global conflagration that he then blamed on the Jews running the show in the U.S. and Britain, the early successes, hubris that allowed the Russians to eliminate Germany's army as an offensive force at
Lisa Ahn
Feb 24, 2017 Lisa Ahn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
In Evans' third volume of this history set, he provides a comprehensive and precisely detailed account of the Third Reich from September 1939 through the end of the war and its aftermath. In Evans careful reporting, the horrors of the Holocaust are meticulously and clearly set on record. This is a history that cannot be forgotten. In his final paragraph, Evans writes: "The Third Reich raises in the most acute form the possibilities and consequences of the human hatred and destructiveness that ex ...more
After reading Evans' third and final book on the history of the Third Reich, I understand how Hitler was able to exert such a complete command over the Reichland and its denizens, and I also have a much better idea of the duties of the historian. Evans presents the atrocities of the Nazis matter-of-factly, which makes them even more chilling in a way. It took me six weeks to read this book, because I often had to put it down after a few pages, unable to fully assimilate the magnitude of what I w ...more
The death throes of the Third Reich are chronicled in the final volume of Evans' epic trilogy. The narrative stands on its own, yet continues the strengths and weaknesses of its predecessors. This is an impressively capable work of overview and synthesis. Evans references and contextualizes the major figures of Holocaust history, placing such various figures as Wladyslaw Szpilman, Oskar Schindler and Sophie Scholl in their roles in the grander drama. To anyone familiar with these people's storie ...more
Maku Sato
Jan 04, 2014 Maku Sato rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the prodigious conclusion to the epic 3 part Nazi history by Robert J. Evans. It is interesting to compare THE THIRD REICH AT WAR with William Shirer's classic THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH to find out the effect of new records released by Russian archives. It destroys the Nazi myth of a monolithic culture of evil, to show the fallacy of a German government based on an insipid goal: to obtain living space by killing off populations and living off the stolen land and to kill J ...more
Jul 05, 2012 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: german-history
It took me years to read this, largely because after finishing a volume I wanted to spend some time away from the Third Reich. Evans covers them in exhausting detail, and does something very important: he makes them human. It's far too easy to demonize these men, to turn them into the evil empire. But when we do that, we forget that these men were human. They were cowards, fools, drunks, deviants, monsters, and perhaps most frighteningly of all, normal. They had normal, human motivations. What a ...more
Mar 23, 2011 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
This is the final book in a trilogy spanning Nazi Germany right through from its origins in the years after the First World War through to the end of the war in the 1945, but it's just as good as a stand-alone read. This book deals with the war itself, purely from the pespective of the Germans. It's quite interesting to read about the book from this one angle, since most histories of the period deal with the whole thing or all of the combatants or a particular front.

What comes across very clearl
Nov 25, 2013 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Molto bello, anche se necessariamente conciso, vista la vastità dell'argomento trattato (ed è il terzo volume di una trilogia!). Insieme a "storia del Terzo Reich" di Shirer, l'ideale punto di partenza per chi si avvicina all'argomento. Raccomandato.
May 15, 2017 Paulcbry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third volume in the series of the Third Reich by the author. In some ways it is the most difficult of the three to read. A few of the chapters focus on the extermination camps which makes for tough reading. the author not only explains what happened in Germany under Hitler but why it happened. This is a very important although difficult book and the author is to be commended.
Antonio Nunez
Jul 11, 2013 Antonio Nunez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Volume 3 of Richard J. Evans's history of the Third Reich does not disappoint the reader. It is as well-written, lucid and interesting as its predecessors. It is less focused than they, but that is not the fault of the author. A single volume history of WW2, of domestic policies in Germany during the War and of its aftermath cannot but be a bit shapeless. The driving personality of the two earlier volumes, Hitler, is somewhat diluted in the third because during the War the role of underlings, al ...more
James Murphy
Dec 13, 2010 James Murphy rated it it was amazing
This is the 3d volume in the masterful trilogy covering the rise of Nazism in Germany following World War I and the 12 years of their power. This final volume is concerned with the war years 1939-1945. Though obviously the major military events and currents are touched on, this isn't a military history. Rather, it's a social history of Germany at war as a nation, a society, and an ideology. I feel that taken all together these 3 volumes are the definitive chronicle of the Third Reich for our tim ...more
Sep 17, 2016 Shane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've now read Richard Evan's entire Third Reich series. For someone interested in the topic it's definitely worth tackling. It's a long book, capping a long series, but I've read a good number of books on World War 2 and related topics before and there was still much here I didn't know.

People ask me why I read books about Nazism. It's certainly not because I harbor any common ideology with them. Quite the opposite actually - I'm pretty much a Lefty. But the European tragedy of the early and mid-
Jim Martin
May 05, 2015 Jim Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is nothing good that can be said about the Third Reich except that thank goodness it has passed into history and soon will pass beyond living memory. The Third Reich destroyed German society, murdered millions of individuals solely because of the accident of their birth, waged aggressive war lacking any valid justification, and came very close to destroying European civilization. This is not an account that will likely please individuals who are interested primarily in the story of the mil ...more
Dec 14, 2013 M.J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to M.J. by: Daniel Boothby
Shelves: non-fiction, history
"The Third Reich at War" is a worthy final act to Evans trilogy on Nazi Germany. Beginning with the events that launched World War II, the book takes the reader from the early phases of the war through to the days following the final surrender. Like the other books, it is not a military history—though it does inevitably speak to key moments in the conflict and to the actions of soldiers at the front with some detail—but is more a social history, exploring the role played by Nazism and the war af ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would strongly recommended "The Second World War" by Anthony Beevor over this book. I don't mean to say that I didn't like this book, I did, but he takes too much of the emotion out of the time period and doesn't always know how to tell a good story. I do appreciate that he purposely only talks about the war itself as a background story (I hate learning the minutiae of war itself and Beevor did linger on strategy and counter tactics but Beevor knew how to tell a much better story).

Every time
May 01, 2012 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the concluding chapter of history's most terrifying horror story. In this final part of the Evan's Third Reich trilogy, we see the deadly flower that Hitler and his Nazi party cultivated in The Rise of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power blossom to deadly effect. At one point in 1942 nearly all of Europe was controlled by Axis powers, and in this book we see how every facet of German society was turned into feeders for the six death camps responsible for the annihilation of 6 mi ...more
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  • The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany 1944-45
  • Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps
  • Berlin at War: Life and Death in Hitler's Capital, 1939-45
  • Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Extermination, 1939-1945
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  • Russia's War: A History of the Soviet Effort: 1941-1945
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  • Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45
  • The German War: A Nation Under Arms
  • Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust
  • Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe
  • Ostkrieg: Hitler's War of Extermination in the East
  • Germany 1945: From War to Peace
  • Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying
  • Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
  • Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich
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.

More about Richard J. Evans...

Other Books in the Series

The History of the Third Reich (3 books)
  • The Coming of the Third Reich (The History of the Third Reich, #1)
  • The Third Reich in Power (The History of the Third Reich, #2)

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“In Hamburg on 30 April 1945, hearing of Hitler’s death, which she believed to have been caused by his having poisoned himself, Luise Solmitz at last felt free to release the hatred that she had been building up for him over the previous months. He was, she wrote in her diary, ‘the shabbiest failure in world history’. He was ‘uncompromising, unbridled, irresponsible’, qualities that had at first brought him success but then led to catastrophe. ‘National” 2 likes
“Some judicial officials began to notice the unusual frequency of deaths among the inmates of institutions and some prosecutors even considered asking the Gestapo to investigate the killings. However, none went so far as Lothar Kreyssig, a judge in Brandenburg who specialized in matters of wardship and adoption. A war veteran and a member of the Confessing Church, Kreyssig became suspicious when psychiatric patients who were wards of the court and therefore fell within his area of responsibility began to be transferred from their institutions and were shortly afterwards reported to have died suddenly. Kreyssig wrote Justice Minister Gortner to protest against what he described as an illegal and immoral programme of mass murder. The Justice Minister's response to this and other, similar, queries from local law officers was to try once more to draft a law giving effective immunity to the murderers, only to have it vetoed by Hitler on the grounds that the publicity would give dangerous ammunition to Allied propaganda. Late in April 1941 the Justice Ministry organized a briefing of senior judges and prosecutors by Brack and Heyde, to try to set their minds at rest. In the meantime, Kreyssig was summoned to an interview with the Ministry's top official, State Secretary Roland Freisler, who informed him that the killings were being carried out on Hitler's orders. Refusing to accept this explanation, Kreyssig wrote to the directors of psychiatric hospitals in his district informing them that transfers to killing centres were illegal, and threatening legal action should they transport any of their patients who came within his jurisdiction. It was his legal duty, he proclaimed, to protect the interests and indeed the lives of his charges. A further interview with Gortner failed to persuade him that he was wrong to do this, and he was compulsorily retired in December 1941.” 2 likes
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