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The Third Reich at War: 1939-1945 (The History of the Third Reich #3)

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  1,991 ratings  ·  118 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 March 18th 2008)
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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
Loring Wirbel
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
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
(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
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
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
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
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
Maku Sato
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
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
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
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.
Glenn Boreham
Richard J. Evans has capped off his trilogy of the Third Reich with a meticulous, yet very readable, account of it's horrifying history. Utilizing contemporary accounts of troop and POW movements, the reader is forced to relive some of the most barbaric actions of the war, and not just that of German soldiers. The account of the German occupation and resettlement of large segments of Polish, Ukrainian and Russian lands is presented in fascinating detail I have not encountered before. I would not ...more
Aug 09, 2014 M.J. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
This is a review of both this book and the previous volume in the trilogy, The Third Reich in Power, since I read them consecutively.

Primarily domestic histories of Germany while under Nazi rule, Evans details how they tried to not only dominate but actively control virtually every aspect of life in Germany: religious, intellectual, scientific, cultural, financial, professional, academic, social, media and entertainment; no aspect of life was ignored. And the results were surprisingly varied, pa
The most difficult book one is ever likely to read. As with the previous two, the book is more from the events on the ground rather than what was going on with politicians, war battles etc. There is enough of those things too, but the author sticks true to the subject and talks about events that should have never happened.

The failure of the rest of the world to stop a lying, murderous and truly evil regime is a tragedy by itself. So many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives could hav
I'm rating this for the full 3-volume series. This is the last of a trilogy about Nazi Germany written fairly recently (2006) by an British professor. Besides looking at the Nazi war-machine as it rolled over countries - it looks at the attrocities inflicted on the Jews, and other people who didn't fit their opinion of the German race should be (Slavs, Poles, gypsies, homosexuals, "work-shy", alcoholics, etc).

Like the other volumes, it also examines many aspects of German politics, society, art
David Becker
The final volume of Evan's brilliant trilogy hurtles the reader through WWII with insight and tremendous narrative drive. By concentrating on life in Germany as much as the on the battlefront, Evans deals decisively with several historical questions:

* The Holocaust was no secret. Anti-Semitism was omnipresent throughout the Reich, and ordinary citizens happily participated in its application, especially as the Reich expanded into Eastern lands.

* Evans' vivid description of Allied firebombing cam
a long-due freshening or update of the Barbarossa Campaign amid the general WW2 international conflagaration. Evans has a fingernail's edge in fluency of prose against which he was not actually present as Shirer was during the run-up of the Nazis. crisp, sharp, maybe even brilliant prose.

this is the Panther rather than Panzer III of WW2 histories. what is to say it came later and was better designed, but of course there is no substitute for the original Panzer III or Shirer text.

maybe it is eve
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
Jeffrey Owens
An excellent conculsion to Evan's masterful trilogy. If you are looking for a military history, however, you won't find it here. Evan's expertise is social history, and he spends a great deal of time focusing on the evolution of the Final Solution, Nazi tyrany over conquered lands, the inner workings of the German government, and most especially, the trials and tribulations of the German people themselves. Furthermore, if you have a weak stomach for violence, this is also not the book for you. F ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Evans receives a hero's welcome in the press as he lays his final World War II tome, a towering, somber achievement of scholarship and narrative, to rest. As in the preceding volumes, Evans judiciously employs first-hand sources, measured judgments, and impeccable research to craft what most reviewers hail as the definitive work on the Third Reich of our generation. Evans never flinches from the gruesome details of this tragic historical period, yet as the Guardian notes, "in anÜalmost Wagnerian

Christopher Telcontar
Well... it's the best of the trilogy, if only because it's got all the action and little of the drudgery, but having to steer a line between not being a military history of the war and not being a history of the Holocaust was too much of a strain. HIs military commentary is not acute, his conclusions lean heavily on standard British economic determinism and he has an occasional soft spot for the communist cause. The American effort gets short changed as is the vogue amongst British historians in ...more
This is the third and final book in this history of the Third Reich. As Evans says in his Preface, it is not a military history, but rather a book about how the Reich operated during the war. Coupled with the first two books, this is an excellent, engrossing and detailed account of the Nazi era in Germany.

I think that Evans handles the "Final Solution" quite well. He places it in the context of the Nazi's general violence and murder of other groups (e.g., the mentally ill and disabled, Gypsies,
I found the entire trilogy useful as a non-historian. Includes many details that you wouldn't have learned in a basic history course, such as the intellectual history of Nazism -- including links to German Romanticism -- and the state of German universities under the regime. The third book is particularly helpful from an international relations perspective, as it provides detailed narrative about how enthusiastically some countries in the German sphere of influence participated in the Holocaust ...more
This was the hardest to read of the three volumes of this series. This isn't the fault of the author. The story he has to tell is simply unrelievedly gruesome. What the Germans did to the people of Europe, particularly eastern Europe, is hard to believe and hard to understand. And, of course, the Germans weren't alone: facist governments in the Balkans as well as Stalin did things which are hard to read about.

I grew up in the years directly after WWII in the midwest. I'm staggered in retrospect
Evans' final in his Third Reich series is, as I've come to expect by this point, extremely well researched and notated. What I've primarily taken from the trilogy is that modern-day accusations of Nazism in the US political environment betrays a willed ignorance of what actually happened in the run-up to WWII and the events that led to the end of the war. It is clear that authoritarian streaks run through all political systems, and that tendency, taken to an extreme, will result in a political d ...more
Kathy Stone
Although this is a disturbing book to read because of content it was well worth the long read. I learned a lot about what life was like in Germany and its Eastern European Allies during the long decade of World War II. This is not a tight, chronological read so it may be difficult for someone who knows nothing of the war to grasp in some places. Evans concentrates on Hitler's relationship with Stalin so the book is more focused towards Eastern Europe than towards Western Europe.
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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.

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)
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) 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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“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.” 1 likes
“His order [Hitler's] to stand firm not only created clarity about what the army was doing but also had some effect in improving morale. On the other hand, the rigidity with which he now implemented it began to have an effect on the smaller-scale tactical withdrawals that the desperate situation frequently necessitated at various parts of the front. Gotthard Henrici in particular became increasingly frustrated at the repeated orders to stand firm, when all this brought was a repeated danger of being surrounded.
'The distaster continues,' he wrote to his wife on Christmas Eve 1941. 'And at the top, in Berlin, at the very top, nobody wants to admit it. Whom the gods wish to destroy they first make blind. Every day we experience this anew. But for reasons of prestige nobody dares to take a determined step backwards. They don't want to admit that their army is surrounded before Moscow. They refuse to recognize that the Russians can do such a thing. And in complete blindness they are kneeling over into the abyss. And they will end in 4 weeks by losing their army before Moscow and later on by losing the whole war.”
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