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The Third Reich in Power (The History of the Third Reich #2)

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  2,014 ratings  ·  126 reviews
The definitive account of Germany's malign transformation under Hitler's total rule and the implacable march to war
This magnificent second volume of Richard J. Evans's three-volume history of Nazi Germany was hailed by Benjamin Schwartz of the "Atlantic Monthly" as "the definitive English-language account... gripping and precise." It chronicles the incredible story of Ger...more
ebook, 960 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Arghya Dutta
This is a splendid book. Without obsessing over the brutality and sadism of individual Nazi party members, this book provides a complete and unnerving account of how the Nazis, after coming in power, "won" the support of German people. It also vividly portrays the important contribution of Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Propaganda minister, in mobilizing the people to a war for the "Living space". I am simply swept away by the coherent representation of the details of the Nazi regime. I am surprised...more
AC
This book is a bit harder to read (though it reads well) than vol. I -- largely because of its subject matter which, until the final chapter, necessarily takes a topical approach -- and because so much of the specifics of fascist and nazi social organization (such as the educational organization, the Italian's dopolavoro and Germany's Kraft durch Freude, social policy, etc. etc.) offers this reader (at least) the picture of a vast and squalid tedium. For all that, there of much of great interest...more
Mikey B.
This is a detailed and sociological analysis of Hitler and the Nazi regime’s years in power prior to the outbreak of war in 1939.

The author pursues various themes: Germany as a police state, the suppression and take-over of all media, the struggle with the Churches, the appropriation of business and putting it on a war footing, the indoctrination and manipulation of the people (by the Hitler Youth, subsidized vacations…), the war against German Jews for the support of racial purification and fin...more
Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
"...by 1938 it had become clear that the neglect of intellectual abilities was causing serious problems, since a large proportion of the pupils could not grasp even the fairly basic political ideas that the teachers were trying to transmit to them."

Is anti-intellectualism the designed obsolescence of totalitarianism?

"At the Belgian border crossing, huge numbers of rabbits appear one day and declare that they are political refugees. "The Gestapo wants to arrest all giraffes as enemies of the stat...more
James Murphy
The Third Reich in Power is the 2d volume of Richard J. Evans's comprehensive trilogy detailing the history of Nazi Germany. To say that this volume of 826 pages of text and notes covers only 6 years--1933 to 1939--gives you some idea of how thorough this history is. This volume has to concern itself with how the new Nazi government solidified its philosophical dominance over the German people, the many steps taken toward rearmament, and, late in the decade, the political maneuvering which broug...more
Steve
I read this book and the third book of this series back to back, and so this review pertains to both to some extent. If I could, I would give this series 4.5 stars or 4.75 stars. Evans' work really is excellent. The primary strength of this trilogy is how it focuses on the experience of the Germans before and during the war. For the first time in all my reading on WWII, I have a real sense of what it was like to have lived in Nazi Germany.

My only real issue with the books is that there is a gre...more
Rogier
With the same ability to avoid easy stereotyping that was evident in the first book, this book also provides a very nuanced overview of exactly how the Nazis took over the hearts and minds of the German people, but also demonstrates the limits of all that, which were a lot more evident a lot earlier than you would think.

What perhaps interests me most is the clues you get from this book in terms of how early the Nazi's did begin to lose steam. Quite evidently already by 1936 a certain level of fa...more
Themistocles
Like The Coming of the Third Reich, Evans presents us with a second volume of exhaustive work. An instant reference work, it leaves no stone unturned and gives a really accurate and detailed image of the transformation of the german society from 1933 to 1939.

Where it suffers (though it's a rather heavy word) is that, because the era is arguably not as interesting as the one preceding it in the first volume of Evan's work, some times it becomes a bit tedious - unless you're a sociology scholar or...more
Rich
Not exactly the kind of book one sits around and discusses with your colleagues. My fascination with the rise of the Third Reich and how an entire nation succumbed to the total arrogance of power. How a small band of right wing radicals could wrap themselves in family values, nationalism, use fear to motivate and blame, and in a very short time take over a nation needs attention paid to it.

Every page leads me to wonder about the occurring circumstances taking place at the time. Once the inertia...more
Conrad
The second in a series of three. The first covers the Nazi Party before it came to power, this one covers prewar Germany, and the next will cover 1936-1945. I just dove right in without having read the first one; it was still good. It looks at different aspects of German society on a chapter-by-chapter basis. Particularly interesting were the chapters on law under the Nazis (which shows how arbitrarily they exercised their power, and legitimized terror by deemphasizing reason as a basis for legi...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Fans of William Shirer's classic Rise and Fall of the Third Reich might be disappointed by Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans's ongoing history of Nazi power. This second volume is not a gripping yarn of Hitler's cult of personality but an evenhanded, intensively researched, synthesized history. That said, it's no stuffy academic tome; the New York Times Book Review dubs Evans an "Heir to a British tradition of dons who write engagingly for a broad public." A few reviewers take aesthetic umbra

...more
Chris
Evans traces the history of the Third Reich in the years leading up to the Second World War. The book is extremely readable. In fact, it is engrossing. Evans shows the effects of the Third Reich not only on minority groups but also on the every day Germans, answering the question about how the Reich was able to do what it did.
Nilesh
The pre-war years are not something many like to spend much time on, but the period is critical for anyone trying to derive lessons from the sorry period of human history. The book clearly reveals how a civil society began to accept and participate in collective barbarism.

The first book provided historical context to this period. The second book shows what most societies can degenerate to in the worst case. We often see that good people do not have enough courage, guile or collective power to r...more
Kelly
The second book in Richard J. Evans' Third Reich trilogy, "The Third Reich in Power," covers the life of Germany from 1933 through the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Longer than its predecessor, and at times significantly drier, it nonetheless paints an intriguing portrait of daily life under the Third Reich. Most interesting are the descriptions of how the Reich was (as was not) able to leverage political and economic support from interests as varied as academia, labor, medicine, agri...more
Melanie
Let's see...Hitler's eliminated many rivals, both in and out of the party, and locked up lots of opposition. The camps are starting, but they're not up to the Jews yet. Right now, they're onto the "asocials"--if you haven't worked in a few months--during the economic depression, remember--you could be sent to the work camps at Dachau or Mauthausen, for example, to work the quarries for the stone to erect the new buildings of the fascist architecture for an indefinite period of time. That improve...more
Sarah Finch
Meticulously researched and lucidly presented, the second installment in Richard J. Evans' Third Reich trilogy (following "The Coming of the Third Reich") is a rigorous tour of life under the Reich up to the end of 1939. This is not for those readers who lack prior knowledge of the Third Reich or the political landscape of Europe following the Treaty of Versailles, and it should optimally be read only after reading "The Coming of the Third Reich." That said, for those readers unintimidated by it...more
Maureen
The second book in a trilogy has a hard job to fulfill: it delineates most of the "meat and bones" of its subject matter, without either the newness and excitement of the introductory volume, or the anticipation of a satisfactory conclusion, waiting to be experienced in the third. That being said, this book is indispensable to understanding how in six and a half short years, Hitler and his associates were able to transform Germany from an economically ravaged, morally, emotionally and physically...more
Jason Russell
As one who lived in Germany for a couple years and has deep family roots in Switzerland and Germany, I have been fascinated with the question of how Hitler and National Socialism could happen. My study of the Third Reich began with Ian Kershaw's superb two-volume biography of Hitler, which as a matter of course explored the ins and outs of the NSDAP, and WWII.

Evan's three-volume exploration of the Third Reich added much to my understanding of this brief period of European history. Of the three...more
Nathan
The second volume of Richard Evans' towering new history suffers a little from being the in-between place of an historical epic. The overarching focus of the book is not a historical narrative, but a more abstract ideological and political preparation for the commencement of historical events. Continuing the emphasis of the first book, Evans reveals the universal influence of Nazi totalitarian ideology by cataloging its influence in the arena of contemporary national and international politics....more
Jim
In The Third Reich In Power Richard Evans abandons linear historical narrative in favor of an approach that analyzes how the Nazi regime worked to reshape government institutions, the education system, the economy, the law, medicine, religion, and the arts to build the new People's Society and prepare it for war. While the image the Nazis sought to project during the 1930s was one of uniformity and singleness of purpose, the reality was that Nazi ideology was too inconsistent and poorly conceive...more
M.J.
Aug 09, 2014 M.J. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to M.J. by: Dan Boothby
Shelves: non-fiction, history
The second book in Evans' trilogy on the Nazi regime in Germany is a worthy successor to 'The Coming of the Third Reich', providing a slightly less compelling read, but a deeper experience. The flaws—if they can be called that—rest in the great breadth of the subject matter, as the writing remains a strong point driving the reader deeper into the reign of tyranny in the 1930s.

'The Third Reich in Power' deals with the short period of time between the seizure of power in 1933 and the invasion of P...more
Maryellen
I'm giving it five stars just for the scope of the book. Also, it covers an area of scholarship that historians haven't explored. Evans writes about the Nazi impact on everyday German life. How it worked it's way through academic life, arts, business and social networks until it reached all the way into the private lives of Germans. Every step of the way it promised one thing and did another. It was a creeping, crawling insidiousness that caught people off guard. In the end the Germans diluded t...more
Shane
A most interesting look at what was for me the least well-known period of the rise and fall of Nazi German. Mr. Evans moves methodically through the six years from Hitler's appointment as Chancellor until the outbreak of the war with Poland.

At the same time he touches on such lesser-known aspects of the Third Reich is how it dealt with existing institutions, art and music in Nazi Germany, the beginnings of the genocidal horrors perpetrated against various minorities (most especially of course t...more
Don
This is the second volume in Evans' history of the Third Reich. I covers the period from the Nazi ascension in 1933 to the outbreak of war in 1939. Evans describes in detail how Hitler and the Nazis accumulated total power and how they implemented their policies. The one overriding goal was the preparation for war; everything else--policies to protect small farmers, the drive to force the Jews out of Germany--was secondary to war preparation.

Aimed at both amateurs (like me) and historians, it's...more
Michael
This second volume of this trilogy shows how the nazis took over German society in a way never seen before.
The troubles in Germany caused in no small part by the peace settlement after WW1,gradualy lead to the need for strong leadership and a sense of pride to be restored almost above all else.

The latent Antisemitism present not just in Germany but in many parts of Europe at the time was eventually given full reign,and the eugenics was already talked about many years before.

This book is highly r...more
Christopher Carbone
This is the second of 3 books on the Third Reich and does a prime job of explaining how the Nazi's organized, achieved, and remained in power from 1933 to 1939. It also does a harrowing job describing life under the Reich= from the average citizen, to doctors, to lawyers, to homosexuals, to military men, to women, to Jews, to foreigners, (even Africans living in the Rhineland), etc. It goes so far as to describe the people who became so trapped by Hitler's Germany that it invaded their dreams. T...more
Mark
I really enjoy Richard Evan's history books. There are so many histories of the Third Reich that it's hard to learn something new. This book gave me a much better understanding of how the TR actually worked and how it maintained its power. It also re-assured me that we are not likely to see this kind of thing happen in the USA unless we see the rise of private or party based militias in a big way.
Ginny Allan
Hooray, finally finished this tome. It was something of a slog, alternating between terribly oppressive when interesting and overly detailed when not. Nevertheless, it seemed like a necessary read, and I gained some insight into Nazi Germany in the 1930s as well as how world (European) events contributed to permitting a totalitarian state to take hold there. Gearing up for Vol. 3 ...
Sean
The best book on the period I've read. No revisionism here; just a well-crafted, nicely written, thematic treatment of German history from 1933 to the outbreak of the war. A good mix of top-down, social, cultural and man-on-the street.

I haven't read RJE's first volume on the rise to power, but am adding this to my reading list.
João Henrique
This is an amazing book. It makes extensive use if diaries and letters to provide an intimate glimpse into the life of regular Germans under the Third Reich. As the persecution of Jews increased, I found myself rooting for Victor Klemperer and other people whose lives were destroyed by the Nazi regime. I highly recommend it.
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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 Coming of the Third Reich (The History of the Third Reich, #1) 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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“In each of the following chapters, dealing in turn with policing and repression, culture and propaganda, religion and education, the economy, society and everyday life, racial policy and antisemitism, and foreign policy, the overriding imperative of preparing Germany and its people for a major war emerges clearly as the common thread. But that imperative was neither rational in itself, nor followed in a coherent way. In one area after another, the contradictions and inner irrationalities of the regime emerge; the Nazi's headlong rush to war contained the seeds of the Third Reich's eventual destruction. How and why this should be so is one of the major questions that run through this book and binds its separate parts together. So do many further questions: about the extent to which the Third Reich won over the German people; the manner in which it worked; the degree to which Hitler, rather than broader systematic factors inherent in the structure of the Third Reich as a whole, drove policy onward; the possibilities of opposition, resistence, and dissent or even non-conformity to the dictates of National Socialism under a dictatorship that claimed the total allegiance of all its citizens; the nature of the Third Reich's relationship with modernity; the ways in which its policies in different areas resembled, or differed from, those pursued elsewhere in Europe and beyond during the 1930s; and much more besides.” 1 likes
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