on 31 August 2002
When this book was published roughly ten years ago, it revolutionised the historical profession's understanding of the Third Reich. Although it seems obvious now, before "The Racial State: Germany 1933 - 1945" had been published, it had simply not been stated that every single part of Nazi State policy revolved around race. The book provides an essential background to the pseudo-scientific racial obsession that gripped so many in Germany, as well as other European states.
Once it is recognised that every aspect of the German regime was directed by horrifying racial motivations, every action and facet of the Nazis' falls into place. The book is extremely well-written by the two authors who present detailed historical coverage in a highly accessible form. It charts all the aspects of Hitler's governance (minorities such as Jews, 'Gypsies', 'asocials' and homosexuals) and devotes chapters to German youth, men and women.
Of great interest is the book's conclusion, which addresses a central question that must concern anyone interested in understanding the Third Reich: was the regime profoundly modern, or completely reactionary?
I could not recommend this book more highly.
on 11 December 2008
Well known expert Michael Burleigh (also author of the well received 'The Third Reich a New History') gives us a clear, but not oversimplified, picture of Hitler's Germany from the perspective of its racial policies and actions. Avoiding sensationalism he attempts thoughtful explanations of the various policies towards the Jews, Gypsies and other minority groups. He also attempts to quantify the results, both in statistics, and in terms of whether these policies were a success in the view of those whom imposed or perpetrated them. The conclusion is that essentially the whole exercise was a failure from the point of view of the main actors as well as the victims.
The result is undoubtedly successful, and the reader finishes far better informed - for this is an accessible academic work that deserves wide circulation. There is little, if anything, to critcise though occassionally the reader can feel slightly patronised when being told how to react to the enormity of what was done.
A decent and comprehensive work of research, recommended for a wide audience.
on 12 January 2003
Burleigh and Wippermann describe in heart-rending detail the Nazis' project to biologically transform Germany and all nations that might eventually fall under its sway. The Nazis' attention to detail in their bizarre attempts to re-structure humanity is as insane as one might have expected, and one is struck by the wide acceptance these ideas received among both scientific communities and the public at large.
Although the book focuses on the Germans, it should not be forgotten that their warped views of eugenics and the 'health' of nations were common all over the world at the time, nor that they had thousands of willing helpers from other countries in their murderous endeavours. This book shows the dangers of blind faith in immoral science as much as the same uncritical belief in 'great' leaders. Essential reading for anyone trying to understand the modern world.