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4.6 out of 5 stars
51
4.6 out of 5 stars
The Nazis: A Warning From History
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on 5 August 2017
Gives an inciteful view into the rise and fall of the Nazis.
Also how all layers of society were involved both in Germany and the occupied territories
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on 18 April 2017
Very good book.
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on 12 September 2017
very well researched.
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on 6 April 2017
Fascinating and relevant
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on 25 September 2017
Basically the television series with words,not bad but have read better Mr Rees commits the basic flaw of book writing by letting his own opinions and judgments colour the story,he should leave that to the reader.
Of course what the Nazis did in Occupied Eastern Europe was appalling (as what the Russians did) when they invaded Germany.
Does convey the sheer waste that war brings .
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on 10 January 2009
I have high praise for Laurence Rees' excellent books on Auschwitz and his analysis of how war and the individual interact in "Their Darkest Hour". "The Nazis" meets the same standard, compressing the vast amount of available information into an accessible length, without sacrificing important detail. It is a fascinating read, which both demonstrates how easy it can be for totalitarians to establish themselves, if the time is ripe and also blows away some of the myths about how the Nazis operated. The idea that the Nazi state was fanatically well ordered and planned is false for example: there was no "top down" system of bureaucracy, instead Hitler would issue edicts along the lines of "I want Germany to be a racially pure state" and then let everyone else work out what that meant. There was tremendous waste and duplicated effort as the Fuhrer liked to assign tasks to several departments and then let them fight it out to see whose system would come out on top. Bit like the NHS then. But saddest of all is Rees' discovery that the Gestapo, long depicted as having agents and spies on every street corner, were in fact seriously undermanned and depended on the denouncements of ordinary Germans to do their "job". In that way, the Nazi system seems to have exactly mirrored Stalin's Russia, where you could easily find yourself freezing in Siberia if your neighbour took a fancy to your slightly bigger apartment.

So what warning should we take from this intelligent and balanced analysis? I think we all have to draw our own conclusions, but for the record the message I took is that while the unfairness of the Versailles Treaty, the depression of the thirties might have made the rise of the Nazis inevitable, what sustained it and made the unthinkable possible was the mundane human desire to conform, to go along with the prevailing opinion, and that this is often the biggest enemy we face.
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on 8 August 2007
I cannot agree with a previous reviewer who says the author is firing cheap shots with the benefit of hindsight.
Rees tries to explain the rationale behind people's actions but nevertheless at times is at a loss to understand the dreadful atrocities that were committed.
It is fascinating to see how the Nazi's rose to power and Rees gives a great insight into how easily this could happen in the prevailing circumstances.
The chapters on the Eastern Front are quite chilling and hearing what many of the Russian civilians went through (being attacked by their own people as well as the Germans) makes you realise how lucky we are to live in a peaceful time.
All in all, a fantastic read and although I have always been very interested in WW2, this book enlightened me on new facts considerably.
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on 3 March 2006
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in the Subject having watched the documentary that the book accompanies it has alot of information on the role that the Nazis played in the Second World War and it also shows the ideologies of Hitler and his men.
It is written in a such a way that it is accessible to anyone, whether you are a historian or just interested in the subject
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on 15 August 2010
Well written and informative. Having read a few Laurence Rees books I throughly recommend his work.
A good view of the structure and surprising chaos under Nazi leadership. A book that should be read and the lessons from history learned.
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VINE VOICEon 8 July 2004
Great read for anyone wanting to be enlightened about Nazi rule. It dispels the myth of teutonic efficiency, Nazi rule was chaotic and mostly unplanned. Eye witness accounts add an authenticity to the realities of life under the bullying tyrannical rule of Hitler.
The sheer brutality of the Nazis to the vanquished inhabitants is staggering and hard to imagine, people dispossed overnight of all their worldly belongings, women and children gunned down like dogs - please read it and make sure the human race never goes through this hell again.
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