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Travelers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism: 1919–1945

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,933 ratings  ·  227 reviews
Without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what’s right in front of your eyes?


The events that took place in Germany between 1919 and 1945 were dramatic and terrible, but there were also moments of confusion, of doubt—even of hope. How easy was it to know what was actually going on, to grasp the essence of National Socialism, to remain untouched by the propagand
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Hardcover, 464 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Pegasus Books (first published August 10th 2017)
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Gustavo von Bischoffshausen Mi familia viajo a Alemania en esa epoca (1925s) , y mi padre estuvo interno en un colegio esos años, si bien brevemente. Interesante conocer las opin…moreMi familia viajo a Alemania en esa epoca (1925s) , y mi padre estuvo interno en un colegio esos años, si bien brevemente. Interesante conocer las opiniones. (less)

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Greg Brozeit
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: german-history
If you have an interest in Weimar and Third Reich history, enjoy histories with views from the bottom—of how real people experience it—or like travel writing, you can’t go wrong with this thoroughly compelling book. Julia Boyd weaves together stories and anecdotes with such skill and fluidity, reading her account seemingly takes no effort whatsoever. It’s like sitting down with a good storyteller. We know where this story will eventually end, but the stories she recounts seem so fresh because th ...more
Paul
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2018
There are countless books on World War 2, from serious and weighty tomes, stories of daring do and detailed explanations of pivotal moments that changed the course of a continent. Whilst there has been lots of analysis about the failings of the post-World War 1 reparations and oppression by the victors led to the problems that Germany found itself in, there has been very little written about the way it was rapidly changing from the perceptive of holidaymakers and visitors to the country.

In Trave
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Chele Hipp
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly fascinating and terrifying. No, I don’t think Trump will try to exterminate people like Hitler. But, yes, I do believe he is attempting to lead us to fascism. And that he aspires to be a dictator.
This book BRILLIANTLY chronicles how and why ordinary people endured, accepted, and often cheered Hitler’s rise and if you don’t think you could do the same thing then you definitely need to read this book.

The primary reasons for the complacency and/or enthusiasm are happening here and now:
1. Pr
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Paul
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Travellers in the Third Reich – Germany Invites You

Julia Boyd has written what has to be one of the most fascinating books of the using new material for private collections and archives around the world. She also asks the poignant question of without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what’s right in front of your eyes? Clearly not an easy question to answer, but one Julia Boyd sets out to do with Travellers in the Third Reich.

Looking back as we do, it is hard for people today to und
...more
Emily
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, history, 2018
The author of this book has really done the legwork of trawling through the letters and diaries of many visitors to Germany in the 1930s, ranging from English aristocrats on tour to American high schoolers to a Chinese PhD student and W.E.B. DuBois. She doesn't succeed in truly reconciling what these visitors thought, because there are so many personalities and experiences involved, and she doesn't follow through to the obvious (if possibly unavailable) conclusion of what all these people though ...more
Beth
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, readable, thoroughly researched and horrifying. Books about WWII are trending, partly because of the anniversaries but perhaps too in response to the rise of extreme right-wing parties across Europe and elsewhere. It is very concerning and this book will not bring much comfort.

I had no idea there was such a healthy tourist industry in Germany right up to 1939 with large numbers coming from the UK and the USA. Many of the letters Boyd quotes are from these ordinary travellers, as wel
...more
Richard Durrans
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absorbing book...difficult to put down. Fast moving and fascinating glimpse into the 1930s in Germany - original accounts. Reflects day to day life and feelings from foreigners in Germany. Conflicting views of the third reich - the beauty of the german countryside and cities, the vibrancy and friendliness of the people, the discipline and purposefulness of life particular for the young people , the prospering of the economy and the richness of the music, art and culture seemed to dominate people ...more
Nancy
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly readable account based on mostly new sources. (I guess we couldn't skip Unity altogether.) Fascinating and rather depressing; people won't see what they don't want to see, and Germany was so pleasant and cheap! Nothing groundbreaking here, but a worthy addition to the literature about the interwar period.
Jo Chambers
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
My book of the year so far! Fascinating look at Nazi Germany, as told by travellers into Germany at the time. We look at this evil regime in hindsight, and wonder how it ever could have happened. For people at the time, it was not so obvious. Many British people visited the country to enjoy the beautiful scenery, medieval towns and sublime culture. Many were also entranced by the Nazis - they had brought hope, pride and prosperity back to the war-beaten country. Sure, they were harsh on the Jews ...more
Einu

Travellers in the Third Reich is a chronological overview of the history of the Third Reich, supplemented with the accounts of a wide variety of foreign visitors (mostly from the UK and the US). The book doesn’t put forward any grand conclusions. Rather, it offers a new perspective on Germany during this time and a glimpse into the political attitudes around the world.

The main takeaway is that whilst the warning signs of Hitler’s regime are obvious with the benefit of hindsight, the situation wa

...more
Stephen Goldenberg
An excellent idea for a book of popular history looking at the rise of Hitler and the Nazis from the end of World War 1 through to World War 2 through extracts from diaries, journals and reports written by mainly British and American visitors to Germany. Not all of them are ‘everyday people ‘ - there are sections on writers, musicians, actors and sports men and women (mainly those taking part in the 1936 Berlin Olympics). It’s organised chronologically so it is not so surprising that so many of ...more
Bill FromPA
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
An outstanding work. Boyd’s book forces the reader to look at the Third Reich through the eyes of contemporary observers, so that what we now think of as the “reality” of Nazi Germany was largely or entirely hidden from these visitors, who traveled for a range of reasons: pure holiday recreation, cultural tourism (one chapter concentrates on Bayreuth and Oberammergau), diplomacy, journalism, governmental fact finding, or improving German-Anglo relations, the latter shading at times into advocacy ...more
James
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Surprisingly fascinating. The author deftly ties in the accounts of tourists, intellectuals, business men and the curious, to shed new light on well covered ground. I just wish we could have found out what happened to Greta. Highly recommend to anyone who has ever wondered what it was like in the Third Reich.
Kirsty
I received a copy of Julia Boyd's Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Facism Through the Eyes of Everyday People for Christmas 2018, and it only took me some months to get to it due to my copy being at my parents' house whilst I was away at University.  Boyd's work of non-fiction has been called variously 'fascinating' (Spectator), 'compelling' (Daily Telegraph) and 'meticulously researched' (Literary Review).

The core question asked in Travellers in the Third Reich is as follows: 'Without
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Jenny Cooke (Bookish Shenanigans)
A wonderful way to get many outsiders' perspectives on the (sometimes hidden) manifestations of fascism during the 30s and WW2.
Rick Burin
What more can there possibly be to say about the Nazis? Actually quite a bit, it turns out, from this well-researched collection, which nevertheless feels more an anthology of interesting sources (many of them previously unpublished) than a book in its own right. The perspectives from artists, diplomats, politicians, writers, tourists, scholars, the hard left and the far-right, the duped and the clear-sighted, the oblivious and the righteous are full of fascinating details, from the sights, smel ...more
Henri
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Exceptionally Meh.
Libby
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I teach history and WWII is, quite rightly, an integral part of our curriculum at Key Stage 3 and 4, it is the topic I enjoy the least. Battles and sweeping military tactics have never really been my thing - I have always been more interested in social history and the story of the everyman. This book brings the social history of that period to life.

One of the questions I get asked every year is ‘why did nobody realise what the Germans were doing?’ and this book is a significant help in
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David Canford
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such an interesting read. It describes life in Germany from the end of WW1 right through into WW2 as seen through the eyes of those visiting the country, from diplomats and aristocracy to ordinary people. Much has been written about WW2 and the politics leading up to it. This book covers a longer period and is more a social history, and on a more human scale.
Myles Cowper-Coles
An interesting read, presenting Nazi Germany in a new light. I think it would have helped to have a better understanding of the period before looking for new perspectives, but I still enjoyed it. I found the first half, with the transformation for post WW1 Germany to the Third Reich and Hitler's rise to be more interesting than the slightly slower half exploring the Third Reich from perspective of different types of travellers.
Thelastwordreview
Travellers in the Third Reich is a look through the eyes of those who visited what is in a sense Hitler’s Germany between the 1920’s and 1930’s. With Germany on her knees after the First World War and then the rise of fascism and the then rise of Adolf Hitler those who visited Germany got a real first-hand look and a real glimpse of what was coming. Through this outstanding and well researched book Julia Boyd takes British, French and a few Americans and even a Chinese scholar notes and diary en ...more
Colin
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a generally well constructed compendium of letters and diary accounts from inter-war travellers to Germany. Although billed as focusing on the period of the "Third Reich" (19933-45), the accounts begin in the months following the end of the First World War and take the reader through the chaos of the immediate post-war period, the recovery of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s under Stresemann, the depression of 1929-33 and then the horrors of the Nazi period itself.

There is a uniformity t
...more
Adam Brennan
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read, looking at the rise and fall of Nazi Germany through the perspectives of people who were there. The book is balanced between people who were sympathetisers, those with no political leanings and those who were anti-nazi. Recommend to anyone, especially as many of the themes are similar to events happening now
Mark
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Julia Boyd's history is at home when she drawing on the diaries/reflections of mainly middle and upper class visitors, and she is good on showing how contradictory their responses were to the Nazi regime, especially post ’Kristallnacht',when it became increasingly difficult to hide attacks on Jews from foreigners and the procession of British dignatories lining up to ingratiate themselves with the Third Reich. Some details in the familiar narrative are still a shock,like Jews having to identify ...more
Carl
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Fascinating. Visitors to Germany from the Weimar years at the end of WWI all the way thru the hostilities of WWII speak in their own words of their impressions of Germany & especially the Nazis. Included are business people, vacationers, exchange students, politicians & amateur politicians & others. Their views are as they see them, not in the light of history. Almost all had positive feelings towards Germany for its cultural history &/or its natural beauty. Some felt positively towards what the ...more
Reza Amiri Praramadhan
While the Nazis are already an ubiquitous topic for a history book, reading this one seems to be refreshing to me for it brings the point of views of foreigners’ eyes and minds on the Third Reich. After the chaos of the Weimar Republic, the Nazis and their promises to bring order, coupled with innate Germanic cultural heritage and natural beauty seemed to enthralled many a journeymen. From the casual vacationers to rabid Nazi apologists, everyone enjoyed their visit to a totalitarian country whi ...more
Mary Arkless
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I don't rightly know what to write about this book. It isn't quite what I was expecting. It is a brief history of the Third Reich, with only one chapter devoted to the war, and barely touching on concentration camps. Points made are then supported by correspondence from various foreigners, mostly British and American, who either lived a while or travelled in Germany. Quite a number of these foreigners are upper class nobility. I expected it to be more the opposite. I thought more would be ...more
Sonja Tyson
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Wonderful book! While I've read a good deal on Hitler's Germany, to include the incredible The Taste Of Courage: The War, 1939-1945|18586312], Boyd provided an insightful narrative, putting the visitors into the context of their times. She goes easy on the naïve and less travelled while finding those who should have known better than to have admired and rationalized the Regime guilty of all sorts of character flaws. Young women, and younger people in general, were often quite insightful. My favo ...more
Iron Mike
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Wow, what a great read. Ms. Boyd did incredible research to bring us the words of travelers. Amazing how hard it was for many of them to see the horrors, or worse, to ignore them for those who were apologists and pro-Nazi fanatics. Truly sickening.

On the whole, the wives of diplomats and female travelers come out ahead as far as being more observant, more willing to call out the atrocities, more honest in their pleas.

The most disgusting were the academics. Horrible. They should be ashamed.
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Julia Boyd is the author of A Dance with the Dragon: The Vanished World of Peking's Foreign Colony, The Excellent Doctor Blackwell: The Life of the First Woman Physician and Hannah Riddell: An Englishwoman in Japan. An experienced researcher, she has scoured archives all over the world to find original material for her books. As the wife of a former diplomat, she lived in Germany from 1977 to 1981 ...more

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