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

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  5,639 Ratings  ·  358 Reviews
From one of the world's most distinguished historians, a magisterial new reckoning with Hitler's rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany.

In 1900 Germany was the most progressive and dynamic nation in Europe, the only country whose rapid technological and social growth and change challenged that of the United States. Its political culture was less aut
Paperback, 622 pages
Published January 25th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published February 5th 2003)
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Bryan I am reading the Kindle edition right now. The several maps the author has included so far are converted well and easy to understand. I haven't see…moreI am reading the Kindle edition right now. The several maps the author has included so far are converted well and easy to understand. I haven't see any photos yet. If there are photos in the print edition, it would appear they have may been eliminated in the Kindle edition.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Riku Sayuj
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Nishant Singh
Many questions perplex us about the Nazis, about the atrocities they committed and about the beginnings of 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
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read this for a variety of reasons, but the main reason was that I wanted to get a clearer picture of how a Western democracy - 1920s Germany in this instance - could devolve into a violent terroristic regime like the Nazis. I'm worried about some of the parallels I'm seeing today, I get eery feelings that what happened in Germany, the circumstances that allowed for democracy to devolve into violent terroristic regime, is being replicated in today's circumstances facing contemporary ...more
Feb 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii, nazis
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
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, life-is-shit
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
howl of minerva
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, ww1-ww2
The current gold-standard survey. Clear and well written. No stunning new insights which is probably a good thing.

Evans argues the collapse of Weimar was inevitable and desired by all parties, left and right. Brüning, Hindenburg and von Papen had already dug its grave and collected the nails. The only question was which form of autocratic government would follow. Of course they thought they could "save themselves from the wolf by inviting him into the sheepfold".

Popular support for Hitler was
Important survey of how a society as brilliant yet troubled as Germany could succumb to the threat of Nazism. Evans believes that German militarism and economic catastrophe made an extremist takeover inevitable, with only too disastrous effects for the world.
Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well that explains quite a bit. Evans does a good job of tracing the development of the Nazi movement in Germany. It is also somewhat frightening to read this while the RNC was on.
May 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, european-history
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
Apr 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mosca by: Lots of Goodreads Reviews

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
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
James Murphy
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jeffrey Owens
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-history-etc
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
Tom Loftus
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read. Very well-researched, well-written, without ever losing momentum. "The Weimar Republic" would actually have been a more accurate title (but would probably have attracted less of a readership). How a democracy can be undermined from within by anti-democratic elements, and how well-meaning citizens and politicians let it happen. One is reminded of certain contemporary politicians who obviously must have studied this period closely, because they are copying many of the exact same ...more
Matt Brady
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish everyone who wants to claim so and so is the new hitler, or this is exactly like nazi germany, was forced to read this book
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
For the past few months, we have been subjected to a tedious, hysterical stream of comparisons of Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. As a reader of this book, The Coming of the Third Reich, will quickly figure out, such comparisons are both vicious and ignorant. One thing is clear to the reader of this book, the first of massive trilogy covering the Third Reich, and that is there is little evidence that we are heading the way of 1920s and 1930s Germany—but that if we are, it has nothing at all to do ...more
M.J. Johnson
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J Evans charts the forces at work in Germany from the end of the Bismarck era, through the Wilhelmine period which led up to the end of WWI, then on through the years of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazis from fringe group to power. I always believed Hitler was elected Reich Chancellor by popular vote. This wasn’t the case; he was installed as Chancellor through a deal with some right-wing politicians who were under the woeful misapprehension t ...more
Jan 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
David Becker
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Albert Lusnia
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Easily the best book I read this year. This is a well written and good explanation of the events leading up to the Nazi regime coming to power in Germany. It starts dating back to the failures of the Weimar republic (government) and how those failures led to the ability of the Nazi ideas for change to come to fruition in the minds of the electorate. It also goes a great job of explaining the violence used by the Nazi's to overcome the shortcomings of not winning elections out-right.

Thoroughly re
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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Historical Ironies 10 76 Aug 21, 2013 12:05PM  
  • Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris (Hitler, #1)
  • Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe
  • Berlin at War: Life and Death in Hitler's Capital, 1939-45
  • Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939
  • The Third Reich: A New History
  • Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
  • Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War
  • After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation
  • The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia
  • The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy
  • Germany 1945: From War to Peace
  • The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS
  • The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle
  • Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947
  • Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941
  • Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth
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 Third Reich in Power (The History of the Third Reich, #2)
  • The Third Reich at War (The History of the Third Reich, #3)

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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.” 11 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.” 8 likes
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