Non­fic­tion

The Third Reich

  • From the Publisher
May 16, 2017

In The Third Reich, Thomas Childers shows how the young Hitler became pas­sion­ate­ly polit­i­cal and anti­se­mit­ic as he lived on the mar­gins of soci­ety. Fueled by out­rage at the puni­tive terms of the Ver­sailles Treaty that end­ed the Great War, he found his voice and drew a following.


As his views devel­oped, Hitler attract­ed like-mind­ed col­leagues who formed the nucle­us of the nascent Nazi par­ty. The failed Munich putsch of 1923 and sub­se­quent tri­al gave Hitler a plat­form for his views, which he skill­ful­ly exploit­ed. Between 1924 and 1929 Hitler and his par­ty lan­guished in obscu­ri­ty on the rad­i­cal fringes of Ger­man pol­i­tics, but the onset of the Great Depres­sion pro­vid­ed Hitler the issues he need­ed to move into the main­stream of Ger­man polit­i­cal life. He seized the oppor­tu­ni­ty to blame Germany’s mis­ery on the vic­to­ri­ous allies, the Marx­ists, the Jews, and big busi­ness — and the polit­i­cal par­ties that rep­re­sent­ed them. By 1932 the Nazis had become the largest polit­i­cal par­ty in Ger­many. Although Hitler became chan­cel­lor in 1933, his par­ty had nev­er achieved a major­i­ty in free elec­tions. With­in six months the Nazis trans­formed a dys­func­tion­al democ­ra­cy into a total­i­tar­i­an state and began the inex­orable march to World War II and the Holocaust.


It is these fraught times that Childers brings to life: the Nazis’ rise to pow­er and their use and abuse of pow­er once they achieved it. Based in part on Ger­man doc­u­ments sel­dom used by pre­vi­ous his­to­ri­ans, The Third Reich charts the dra­mat­ic, improb­a­ble rise of the Nazis; the suf­fer­ing of ordi­nary Ger­mans under Nazi rule; and the hor­rors of World War II and the Holocaust.

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