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The Third Reich at War

(The History of the Third Reich #3)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  4,016 ratings  ·  202 reviews
The final volume in Richard J. Evans's masterly trilogy on the history of Nazi Germany traces the rise and fall of German military might, the mobilization of a "people's community" to serve a war of conquest, and Hitler's campaign of racial subjugation and genocide.
Already hailed as "a masterpiece" (William Grimes in The New York Times) and "the most comprehensive histor
Hardcover, 926 pages
Published March 19th 2009 by Penguin
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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)

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4.33  · 
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Arghya Dutta
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 is about the interesting social, political and many other dimensions of German life under the Nazi rule and, finally, the third volume describes 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
Lewis Weinstein
This is too much of an overview to suit my need for detail. The selection of which items to include is sometimes surprising.
Loring Wirbel
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
(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 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, world-war-ii
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
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
When reading this book, the third volume of Richard Evans’s massive study of the Third Reich, scenes from the TV show "The Man in the High Castle" kept flashing before my eyes. That show (based on a Philip K. Dick book) posits a Nazi victory in World War II, and depicts how the postwar Greater German Reich affects the people who live under it. The problem with Evans’s book is that it fails to paint such scenes for the actual Third Reich. Rather, it is an endless litany of dead innocents and how ...more
Patrick Cook
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Czarny Pies
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one. There are too many better books available on the Third Reich.
Shelves: european-history
Those giving this work four or five stars can only have done so in order to have congratulated themselves on having had the persistence to slog their way through this tedious long work which is totally inept from beginning to end. The Third Reich during WWII is a very crowded field and every other work that I have read on the topic is dramatically better. William L. Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" has best focus and narrative force. Volume II of Ian Kershaw's biography of Hiltler "Ne ...more
Russ Smith
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book with only a vague sense of whether I would read books 1 or 2 in this series. Reading the last book first was not a problem if the reader has a general sense of the history. However, I am now reading the others and they do build in a well structured flow.

Structured flow, well constructed, and organized are in deed words that describe this book. It is one of the best histories I have read on the topic. Mr. Evans explains the underlying motivations, the nuances and of course the d
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 rated it it was amazing
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 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.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Ah yes, "The Third Reich at war": the critically acclaimed World War 2 book with almost none of the actual straight up, front line war in it. Following the style and approach that was introduced in the first two books, Richard J. Evans' trilogy ending work focuses primarily on domestic events in Germany (and occupied territories), trying to show how the life was organized, and how the death was industrialized by the ruling Nazi structures, in the period of 1939-45.

Along with the ever present abu
Adam Balshan
3.5 stars [History]
Richard J. Evans writes 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 rating system is a bell curve, so 3 stars for writing actually constitutes the top 25%. Evans writes in fairly good academic prose that almost never devolves into pedantry. The syntax does not suff
3.75 stars. While there are certainly aspects of Evans's book that remove it from the typical broad appraisal of the Nazi period, there are points where he relies upon old saws, as well as some peculiar opinions, somewhat understandably but still distracting. On the whole, however, it's a very capable work and worth reading for a general understanding of the regime and the peoples who lived through it.
Jeff Swystun
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review is based on my second read of Evans' third and final instalment in his series. I must have been so overwhelmed when I first read to concoct a review. This is a masterful work on its own and that much more impressive given the previous works detailing the Nazi rise to power and its time in power. This book covers the actual war years of 1939-1945.

Part of Evans' skill is organization. How he presents the sheer volume of content is beneficial to the reader without dumbing down or making
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The last tome of Evans' historical insight into the third reich was full of details some other books lack. It does also give some insight into what was believed at some point but then corrected. An amazing read!
Alan   Mauldin
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-ii
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Christian V
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
As I have stated about the previous books in this trilogy, it is a decent start for someone who knows very little.

My assessment and of course my critique of this one, is that Richard Evans is at times dull and boring. He repeats himself so many times as well that it becomes again boring and I find myself skipping over areas entirely. These 3 volumes could have easily made it into 1 as there is so much repetition and details that could have easily been left out. Evans is contradictory, at times m
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The third volume of this series which together with the first 2 volumes, provides a comprehensive review of the rise of the Nazi political movement from its earliest days of post World War I Germany to its inevitable failure in ruined Berlin. Massively researched and written in clear comfortable prose, it is a real eye opener in respect of the scope of the Nazi efforts to reinvent society and culture in Germany during that period. Don’t expect a detailed description of the war time campaigns of ...more
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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.


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)
“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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