The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
No other powerful empire ever bequeathed such mountains of evidence about its birth and destruction as the Third Reich. When the bitter war was over, and before the Nazis could destroy their files,known.No ...more
Richard Evans' series are excellent, and very detailed, but this may be better read first, and is written by someone who was close to the events at the time.(less)
We all know the story- a misanthropic, racist, vegetarian, megalomaniac failed artist writes a book that taps into age-old German prejudices, seizes power, and embarks on a quest for European domination. In the process he starts the biggest war in history leading to the deaths of tens of millions of people, subjugates about a dozen other countries, ...more
You boil this book down, strip it to the foundations, and what the reader finds is darkness of the human soul. Bred in the alleyways and gutters of Vienna before the first World War, this was the angry and hateful opposite of God’s shining light, the ancient shadows that live in the basement of our souls, given life and expression on the palette of a failed artist.
Shirer’s scholarly, exhaustive masterpiece paints the portrait of the Third Reich from its beginnings in the back rooms an ...more
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany is a book by William L. Shirer chronicling the rise and fall of Nazi Germany from the birth of Adolf Hitler in 1889 to the end of World War II in 1945. It was first published in 1960, by Simon & Schuster in the United States, where it won a National Book Award. It was a bestseller in both the United States and Europe, and a critical success outsid ...more
My sole brother being almost eight years younger and no cousins being in the States, I was virtually an only child, condemned to the weekly dinner parties of my parents and paternal grandparents and their friends, most of them held elsewhere than our own home. At one particularly excruciatingly boring party held at Great Aunt Synnove's I was scanning the magazines and bookshelves for something to occupy the time. Being ten, ...more
That said, I decided to read this book in tiny increments alongside other books for the past few months, and at over 1,000 pages, it took a bit to finally knock this one out, but wow... what a book. I truly find it surprising that authors and journalists would bother to continue to write about the Third Rei ...more
I feel way over my head. There are so many layers to peel like some history-containing onion. Shirer wrote an entire college course worth of information. I regret that I will not retain it all. An impressive collection of memories and experience, we should feel so privileged to have this thorough documentation of one of the most horr ...more
A very detailed history of the entity of the Third Reich. It is not a biography of Hitler or a war history, but a comprehensive study of the entire organization. Shirer was witness to many events as a reporter and uses original source material. The resistance to the Third Reich is also covered in great detail along with the many deeply disturbing aspects of the concentration camps. A definitive history of on of mankind's greatest evils.
This would’ve been my first deep dive into Nazi history, but after half a dozen counts of listing homosexuality in the same breath as murder, and even going as far as attributing Naziism in part to many early Nazis being prone to “sexual perversion”, I started to wonder if this was going to be a reliable history at all.
It’s my fault for not properly researching the book beforehand. It appears the consensus is that it was outdated even upon its release, and in some cases e ...more
Like I said, the detail is mind-blowing - the story of this ...more
So I thought that Shirer’s book would be a simple re-hash – it wasn’t.
If I were to be asked to recommend only one book on Nazi Germany this would be it. I was also very moved by the elegance of Shirer’s writing. His prose is stirring and makes these cataclysm ...more
When I come back and look at it objectively, however, I have to admit that it’s not rea ...more
Buried deep inside is a brief section (copied below) that looks up from the statistics of the holocaust to give this harrowing eye-witness account, which has stayed with me for the 30 odds years since I read it. Particularly, the part where the girl points to herself and says her age - probably because I was around that age when I read it.
Equally the great weakne ...more
The book is an important reference to whoever is interested in the period; however there are a few issues with it:
- you can see that the author was a journalist writing as though he were a historian. On the positive side, this makes for a fresh, vivid and compelling narrative, ...more
This is a st ...more
The book is really long and goes into a lot of details, but that shouldn't be held against it. It seems like general knowledge about this subject is kept to the antisemitic atrocities, and stories tend to focus on concentration camps, military conflict, or underground movements and hiding. This leaves the Nazis as just some mystical thing that happened once upon a time. If there is any contextual knowledge known it is probably just remembered from highschool that the German ...more
No matter how many times I encounter Hitler's ascendency, I still cannot help but ask - 'how could it have happened'. These events, regardless of which author you prefer to tell them, are the scariest of Hallowe'en fodder. Taking a break now for some fun, the first of 7 x 8 hour audio tracks is enough for one go.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana
Taken a year of dipping in and out but now I'm done. Epic!
I finally finished my grail: the 1500+ page The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. I labored for two months, reading mostly at home to avoid the embarrassment of ...more
This is clearly very well researched and if you want a definitive book on Nazi Germany this is it. I would definitely recommend it as a college textbook. It doesn't work for me, I think mainly because through high school and college we learned so much about WWII and in particular Hitler, the Nazis, the Holocaust, and the European side of the war. So I feel like I already know everything this book is talking about and I find myself wondering what's the point of carrying on wi ...more
― Ken Burns
Nazi tactics never seem to go away. Just watched "I am not your Negro" based on the testimony of James Baldwin. It was the incitement of hate that got Medgar Evers, MLK, and Malcom X assassinated.
Trump's chant of "send her back" already caused death threats to spike way up for these Congresswomen. Now we have this abomination....
So why aren't more GOP speaking out? Interesting you ask. One of the lessons of Nazi Germany is that indifference can be as bad as active hostility. "it is not necessary that people be wicked, but only that they be spineless." (James Baldwin)
From other research, in addition to this book....
Nazi support started out with thugs, but eventually spread to most Christians and most non-Jewish academics and intellectuals, along with innumerable other members of German society
from my research....
"The term "German resistance" should not be understood as meaning that there was a united resistance movement in Germany at any time during the Nazi period.....The German resistance consisted of small and usually isolated groups. They were unable to mobilize political opposition."
in other words, most of the German people of that era were complicit, either actively or passively
In his introduction, Rob Rosenbaum suggests the importance of the release of "Rise and Fall" in 1961. Up until then, he says there was a "willed forgetfulness" about what happened. This is an important point. My father was drafted the day after he finished his medical residency at Boston General and spent four years in France, sometimes under fire. But when he returned home safely, he had no sense of the big picture. For him, Shirer provided that. The author, in his Foreword, describes the treasure trove of archives he was able to consult for his book, but also admits his book is not the final word on the subject because it usually takes "decades" for historians to absorb and write about a subject this complex. But he is also aware about the need to raise consciousness about this history, sooner than later, as well as provide some of the story to people such as my late father.
Rosenbaum also makes a powerful point about Karl Adolf Eichmann based on Shirer's account in his 1961 book, one that contradicts Hannah Arendt's notion of the "banality of evil."
"Shirer, who had been stationed in Berlin during Hitler’s rise, also had a take on Eichmann before he became Eichmann, the icon of evil. Shirer’s book had been completed before Eichmann’s capture. Shirer found the key damning document — the testimony of a fellow office who quoted the Chief Operating Officer of the Final Solution, Eichmann, toward the end of the war. Here was Eichmann not experiencing any regret or any of the misattributed “banality.” Instead, with a vengefully triumphant snarl (he knows who’s really won the war), Eichmann declared “he would leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had five million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction.”
This, of course, is not the Eichmann of Hannah Arendt described her), who credulously bought into this “poor schlub,” pen pusher of the trial defense — just following orders, moving things along deep within the bureaucracy, “nothing against the Jew” facade. Just doing a job, according to Arendt, equally credulous about her feverishly devoted “ex-Nazi” lover Heidegger, for whom she used her influence to help in his sham postwar “de-Nazification.”
“The simple truth is that truth is hard to come by, and that once found may easily be lost again.”
― Karl Popper
A brilliant new take on Hitler and the Holocaust. Hitler's aim, the author demonstrates, was to completely eliminate law (first in Germany, then elsewhere) and defined nation-states, so that all things were permissible, nothing was against the law, including the destruction of the Jews wherever they might reside.
Leonard Cohen, the Canadian poet and singer, was among the most tormented Jewish artists of his generation. The wound of the holocaust bled in his soul like a stigmata, and yet he was deeply fascinated by the omnipotent Nazi perpetrators, whose faces were becoming more and more familiar to the public in those years - the 60s - thanks to the greedy attention of the media. Wiesenthal's historical manhunt, Eichmann's trial, the r ...more
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Shirer first became famous through his account of those years in his Berlin Diary (published in 1941), but his greatest achievement was his 1960 book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, originally publish ...more