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The Third Reich at War Audio Download – Unabridged

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Format: Paperback
Richard J Evans has written a magnificent book. The structure, narrative and sources are of the highest quality and the notes make this volume a veritable encyclopedia of life in war time Germany. In particular, the way in which Evans weaves in the leadership's strategy with the experience of ordinary people is outstanding.

Although on occasion his interpretation is open to dispute and the coverage is brief, possibly because of the amount of knowledge available elsewhere, it should be remembered that the war lasted almost six years and to re-tell it in less than 800 pages is an achievement in itself. The bibliography is extensive and includes many works in German.

What is clear from the outset is that the Nazis were motivated by an anti-human racism in which they identified themselves as the master race with the absolute right of determining the individual and collective fates of those they considered inferior. This expression of social darwinism facilitated acts of extreme cruelty which were considered normal behaviour, especially amongst those soldiers who were inculcated into the army under the Nazi regime. Old soldiers had more qualms about shooting women and children.

What is also clear is that the policy of murdering all and sundry was carried out with a ruthlessness that makes one wonder just how firm the concept of civilisation is in reality. SS Task Units were "Beasts in Human Form" and it was rare (though not impossible) to find anyone prepared to deny the Nazis' philosophy of treating other races as subhuman. In so doing they managed to draw on the racial hatred against the Jews present in conquered countries, whether such hatred was based on the Jews' success in business, clannishness or desire to retain their separatist traditions.
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Format: Hardcover
With this third volume, Professor Evans brings his rightfully acclaimed "History of the Third Reich" to a very fruitful end indeed. All the major developments from 1939 till 1945 are at least touched upon in a very insightful and balanced manner, blending social history, the biographies of well-known heavyweights of the Nazi regime such as Hitler, Göring, Goebbels, Himmler or Speer and the lesser known experiences of ordinary Germans into one complex but highly readable narrative, exposing a good deal of the inner workings of Hitler's dictatorship rather than taking an overly abstract bird's eye view on this disastrous epoch.

Abstaining from any form of moralising, which is unnecessary anyway in the face of the well-known enormity of the crimes committed, there is, of course, a heavy emphasis on the horrifying genocidal activities of the Nazis and the political arena, yet economic, cultural and military events are also accounted for in a convincing way. Most of the major controversies concerning the historiography of Nazi Germany like Daniel Goldhagen's "Hitler's Willing Executioners" are mentioned, although Evans does not always take up a clear position and understandably refrains from making any new untested hypotheses, for which a book of this scope cannot be intended anyway.

For students of modern history the book offers a remarkably well-crafted starting-point to develop their own research interests, providing also a detailed bibliography of the major works on the Nazi era.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I leave the writing of a full review to those better versed in the period. I enjoyed this comprehensive and very readable text on the Nazi Germany, and an admirable successor to the volume on the Third Reich in power. If you want a thorough going introduction to the period you can do a lot worse that turn to Evans. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Third Reich at war is the third and final installment in a trilogy of books by Richard Evans on the Third Reich, the other two being The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power, 1933-1939. Although there have been many thousands of books and articles about the Third Reich in the second world war, this is the first book that I have read with this specific focus and so I am not in a position to say whether it adds anything 'new'.

However, coming to the subject as a relative novice, I can say that I found the book well written, informative, well paced and therefore very accessible for a layperson with a serious interest in popular history.

Firstly, the The Third Reich at War is not primarily about the German people, or Germany, in the Second World War; it is about the Nazi regime. In other words the focus is very much on the actions of state and party rather than the experiences of ordinary Germans, who feature only really in their relationship to that regime, whether as its victims (with the main emphasis on the mentally disabled and Jews) or as its passive or active supporters.

As Evans himself acknowledges, despite the best efforts of the Nazis, the German people and the Nazi regime where never one and the same entity. This was true even at the height of the regime's popularity, after the defeat of France and the reclamation of German speaking territories to the East and West in 1940-41.
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