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Life in the Third Reich [Paperback]

Richard Bessel

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Book Description

25 Oct 2001
The Third Reich, a regime which instigated the most destructive war in modern history, still evokes fascination and horror today. Yet how were the lives of ordinary German people of the 1930s and 1940s affected by the politics of Hitler and his folllowers? Looking beyond the catalogue of events, this book reveals that daily life involved a complex mixture of bribery and terror, of fear and concessions, of barbarism and appeals to conventional moral values, employed to maintain a grip upon society. The essays presented here by eight leading historians shed fresh light on familiar topics, the role of political violence in Nazi seizure of power, the German view of Hitler himself, and also focus upon less well-known aspects of life in the Third Reich, such as village life, the treatment of 'social outcasts', and the Germans own retrospective view of this period of their history.

Frequently Bought Together

Life in the Third Reich + The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation: 11 (Hodder Arnold Publication) + The Third Reich in Power, 1933 - 1939: How the Nazis Won Over the Hearts and Minds of a Nation
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'Altogether a most welcome addition to the ever-increasing pile of books on this topic and likely to prove more attractive to our pupils than many of them.' (Teaching History Review)

` (Catherine Merridale, Journal of European Studies)

is an excellent book. It aims, successfully, to present the fruits of recent scholarship in an accessible form.'

About the Author

` (Helen L. Boak, City of London Polytechnic, German History)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
MANY contemporary observers of the Nazi takeover in 1933, and many Nazis themselves, were at pains to stress the peaceful nature of the 'German revolution'. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Collection of Essays 17 April 2003
By mwreview - Published on
Life in the Third Reich offers eight essays on various aspects of Nazi culture. As Richard Bessel notes in his introduction, the Third Reich is not just the story of good versus evil but is a more complex study characterized by contradictions and paradoxes. Germans who disapproved of the violence of Hitler's SA may also have appreciated the Nazis' efforts to put down crime and restore social order to a nation influx. Germans who feared the Gestapo agents and the nation's drive toward war also welcomed the Anschluss with Austria and the incorporation of the Sudetenland.
Bessel's essay is entitled "Political Violence and the Nazi Seizure of Power." Bessel looks at the violence that helped the Nazi party gain power, which was often seen as legitimate when working as an "auxiliary police" force, and the violence against Jews, which was seen as excessive and hindered Nazi support. Still, the old guard allowed Hitler to come the power and Nazi violence at that time had its limits (i.e. there was no terrorist activity). Gerhard Wilke's "Village Life in Nazi Germany" looks at Koerle in north Hesse and how Nazism altered social relationships. A very interesting essay is "Youth in the Third Reich" by Detlev Peukert. Peukert describes how the increasingly coercive and drill-minded nature of the Hitler Jugend led to a youth subculture of gangs like the Edelweiss Pirates and movements like Swing jazz. Ian Kershaw explains the seven bases of the Hitler myth in "Hitler and the Germans." "Social Outcasts in the Third Reich" by Jeremy Noakes includes information on such topics as eugenics and sterilization. Other essays cover the Nazi state, policies against the Jews, and "Good Times, Bad Times: Memories of the Third Reich."
This book is an excellent source of topics not often covered in other books. It is well-researched by some of the best historians of Nazi Germany and includes two sections of b&w photos.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daily life on the streets.... 21 Mar 2010
By Michael Valdivielso - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has a series of essays about daily life of the Third Reich, from how politics effected family life to how the children were educated and trained under the ideals of the Nazi party. History seen from street level, not from high above. This is about individuals and families, not about movements and parties. I learned more about the Nazi take over of power, and how it caused changes within the villages, businesses, and governments, in this one book then all of the other books on the Third Reich and the Nazi Party that I have in my collection.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good information 1 Jun 2000
By Tom Robinson - Published on
This is a book of collected essays by several authors, including the famous Ian Kershaw, that features some very good information. The book deals with several aspects of life within Nazi Germany including how the Nazis came to power, youth, the "Hitler myth", the policy against the Jews, and the way the Nazi state was run. The differing installments are well-written, and although some parts can be dry this book is a good introduction to what daily life was like within the Reich.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life in the Third Reich is a thin volume of eight essays by British historians on the horrible Nazi regime 11 July 2011
By C. M Mills - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Historian Richard Bessel is the editor of "Life in the Third Reich. The tiny book of a little over 100 pages was first published in the British periodical "History Today" between October 1985 and February 1986. The essays are short but important contributions to the way we view Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945. The essays are:
1. Political Violence and the Nazi Seizure of Power-Richard Bessel. The author points out how effective a tool was the SA against the Communists in the rise of Hitler to the Chancellorship in 1933.
2. Village Life in Nazi Germany-Gerhard Wilke-The Nazis took over village life. Many young men died in Hitler's service. Over 16 million Germans served in the German miltary.
3. Youth in the Third Reich-Detlev Peukert-Youth were forced into Hitler Youth group type groups though their were dissident young people who loved jazz and the Edelweiss Pirates group. These groups were relentlessly pursued by authorities and were often given draconian punishments including death.
4. Hitler and the Germans-Ian Kershaw-Hitler rose to mythic status and was beloved of the vast majority of Germans until thing went all wrong for the Third Reich. He was applauded for:
a. Being viewed as a strong advocate of law and order in the streets.
b. He was viewed as having the national interests of Germany as a prime motivator in his career.
c. Hitler received kudos for the economic miracle recovery from the devastations wrought by the Great Depression.\
d. The Fuhrer as viewed as a moderate in Nazi Party disputes.
e. Hitler was applauded for his ruthless actions against the Jews and Communists.
f. Hitler was viewed as a genius in his foreign policy diplomacy
g. Many Germans viewed Hitler as a military genius.
5. The Nazi State Reconsidered-Michael Geyer-Instead of a smooth running machine the odious Nazi government was made up of a dizzying maze of competing organizations.
6. Nazi Policy Against the Jew-William Carr-The journey to the Jewish Hoocaust is traced.
7. Social Outcasts Among the Third Reich-Gypsies, Jews and others were persecuted.
8. Good Times Bad Times: Memories of the Third Reich-Many Germans thought the Nazi years were good since they were employed and had a decent standard of living. This comfort level was destroyed by warfare.
This material is somewhat dry and the book is overpriced. It is, however, a valuable text for students of the Nazi era in Germany history.
4.0 out of 5 stars Life in Nazi Society. 5 May 2014
By Kevin M Quigg - Published on
This is a good volume to read. If you have read about the Nazi regime, this brings a more practical view of German society than those reading about the Nazi regime. Some gems include a youth movement which hated the Hitler youth and battled them. That Germans hated the night of broken glass because of the economic disruption it caused to their lives. This was not a monolithic soceity which dreamed of imperial conquest. This society was very divided, with the middle class supporting Hitler, and the working class tolerating his regime. Hitler himself was admired by the Nazi Party was slowly hated away in German society.

A good read about a horrible regime and how it survived.
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