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The Coming of the Third Reich (2003)

Tekijä: Richard J. Evans

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

Sarjat: The Third Reich trilogy (1)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2,133477,601 (4.27)39
Publisher description: From one of the world's most distinguished historians, a magisterial new reckoning with Hitler's rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. In 1900 Germany was the most progressive and dynamic nation in Europe, the only country whose rapid technological and social growth and change challenged that of the United States. Its political culture was less authoritarian than Russia's and less anti-Semitic than France's; representative institutions were thriving, and competing political parties and elections were a central part of life. How then can we explain the fact that in little more than a generation this stable modern country would be in the hands of a violent, racist, extremist political movement that would lead it and all of Europe into utter moral, physical, and cultural ruin? There is no story in twentieth-century history more important to understand, and Richard Evans has written the definitive account for our time. A masterful synthesis of a vast body of scholarly work integrated with important new research and interpretations, Evans's history restores drama and contingency to the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis, even as he shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. With many people angry and embittered by military defeat and economic ruin; a state undermined by a civil service, an army, and a law enforcement system deeply alienated from the democratic order introduced in 1918; beset by the growing extremism of voters prey to panic about the increasing popularity of communism; home to a tiny but quite successful Jewish community subject to widespread suspicion and resentment, Germany proved to be fertile ground in which Nazism's ideology of hatred could take root. The first book of what will ultimately be a complete three-volume history of Nazi Germany, The Coming of the Third Reich is a masterwork of the historian's art and the book by which all others on this subject will be judged.… (lisätietoja)
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englanti (42)  brasilianportugali (1)  portugali (1)  unkari (1)  italia (1)  espanja (1)  Kaikki kielet (47)
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A compellingly readable narrative history of the particular parts of German history 1918-1933 (with a very brief recap of the Bismarck era that created German conservatism) that led to the rise of the Nazi Party. It's hard for me to judge if there are notable omissions as someone with only a basic understanding of the period. Obviously there are lots of parts where you could want extra information but that's the nature of a summary work.

I did wonder if there could have been more on the inter-left struggles that so doomed any SPD/KPD collaboration - the murders of Luxemburg and Liebknecht are mentioned but not even the event that led to them. There's also little on where the upper class support and funding came from - there's mention of aristocratic connections and also one little note about how the richer funders were small and medium businessmen with the big businesses preferring other parties until Hitler's ascension but minimal details unfortunately.

What stands out most is his emphasising of the Nazis as coming from continuity and the utter failure of the SPD to ever take the very real threat of the far right (including pre-nazi nationalist parties and the inherited aristocracy) seriously.

I know this book doesn't even cover a lot of things the SDP did, or at least not in detail (for example the Ruhr uprising is mentioned and the SDP moving to crush it but it's only a few sentences), but there were still things that surprised me even as someone who was exposed to a lot of communist anger about social democrats. Friedrich Ebert comes across as a particularly unpleasant figure. His interventions in the days of 1918 allowed many of the worst parts of the second Reich to carry over - the embedded aristocratic reactionaries in the army and civil service, the dominance of the Junkers, and even the more bland administrative issues like the imperfect federal system. Then as president he immediately legitimised ruling by decree instead of through the Reichstag and dissolved 2 state legislatures, paving the way for a similar move by Von Papen 10 years later for SDP governed Prussia, because although they were ruled by his party the SDP he considered them too dangerously left wing!

The SDP in general constantly failed to see the threat from the right, or at least meaningfully act on it, even as the Reichstag became dominated by anti-weimar parties. Weimar was created as a compromise to at least partly satisfy the right and it didn't stop them hating it from the start. Outside of actions against the left the SDP had a completely useless fixation on "legality" even to the very end (Sidenote: apparently in the night of the long knives Von Papen was roughed up by the SA and he just futilely protested that it was illegal to do this to him as he was vice chancellor). By the 1932 elections they were the only party that had a genuine interest in the Weimar constitution. They were reduced to the pathetic state of mobilising their party machine to vote for Hindenburg, who hated the SDP and the Weimar Republic, in order to try and desperately prop up the constitution under an authoritarian right wing chancellor from the centre party who had barely any Reichstag support and also hated the SDP. Evans points to this as the point where the SDP essentially lost any influence over the situation, demoralising their organised base and handing the state to the far right. Their later refusal to countenance a general strike or organise their paramilitary to fight back on Hitler's ascension was abysmal but almost understandable because by that point they'd failed for so long fighting back would have led to a massacre.

Evans also emphasises the long mainstream right wing ideological roots of the Nazi party. To many of the voters it attracted (predominantly middle class - workers and the unemployed overall stuck to the SDP and communists to the very end) it didn't seem that different in message from the other conservative parties, just with a new vibrancy and style. Anti semitism was just normal from all parties except the SDP and KPD (and even there the occasional party journal would use anti Semitic caricatures). The idea of an all powerful dictator and the crushing of meaningful parliamentarianism and who would lead a German militaristic reawakening to create a new German empire - this was all common imagery on the right and throughout educated society. Of the 3 major parties that formed the "Weimar coalition" at its founding - the Social Democratic Party, the Catholic Centre party, and the liberals of the democratic party - only the SDP held out to the end. The liberals quickly fell apart and declined into near irrelevance (except for 1 who became chancellor but was disliked by his party), the major part moving to the right. The centre party's Weimar supporting faction fell out of power by the time of the great depression under heavy pressure from the pope who much preferred an authoritarian far right state using the godless Reds as a bogeyman. Even if the Nazis hadn't existed in the form they did, by the 1930s there would have been some kind of authoritarian coup, most likely led by the army.

Evans focuses on the hyperinflation of the early 1920s and the great depression as the key events that made it near impossible for the republic to survive. The first destroyed the possibility of the middle class bourgeoisie reconciling themselves to the republic as they blamed it for their losses and the massive instability - also connecting it to the effects of the Versailles treaty. The great depression created massive unemployment which destroyed government budgets again and destroyed the last Reichstag coalition because there was no agreement on how to deal with it, putting government power entirely in Hindenburg's hands as chancellors were appointed by him without reference to the Reichstag and required his powers to rule by decree. The succeeding cabinets then completely failed to address the problems.

There was a sense in which the non-nazi forces just ran out of road - if there'd been another year, maybe things could have stabilised economically. In the second elections of 1932 the Nazis lost seats and could have lost momentum. But by that point things had reached crisis point and there was just not enough active support for the state as-is. There's a sort of grim inevitability to the final months of events - in the end nobody was willing to fight and just gave in. The communists may have done but they catastrophically misjudged just how urgent it was to react immediately to Hitler and assumed they could lie low under a period of repression without being destroyed. The SDP never raised a finger and let their paramilitaries and union members be disarmed without a fight. Even to the last, their deputies unanimously voted to support a Nazi motion in parliament to avoid being deemed unpatriotic before they were kicked out for good. The German aristocratic far right vastly overestimated their own strength and just assumed they could control events through legality and were anyway mostly soon reconciled to the Nazis after their parties were forcibly dissolved.

Depressing, but enlightening. ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
Very good introduction to the Third Reich for the beginner. ( )
  everettroberts | Oct 20, 2023 |
I don’t usually make a habit of reading about WWII (either fiction or non-fiction). I’ve read some about it but my general view is that it’s a topic that has been done to death and then some, particularly in the historical fiction sphere it seems not a week goes by except there’s a new offering of some historical drama set in WWII. I tend to think the market is completely saturated and that other periods of history could benefit from some of the massive attention lavished on these six years in human history (even given their massive impact and importance).

However, this book came highly recommended to me and I realized my limited reading on WWII never dealt specifically with the central theme of this volume, namely how Weimar Germany fell and was replaced with the one party Nazi state. The recommendations are well deserved as this book is simultaneously sweeping in scope and deeply personal in its account of a country on the brink of a fascist takeover. The obviously immense amounts of research are balanced with first hand accounts from primary sources that show the human face of this turbulent time.

I’m planning on finishing the trilogy on the strength of this wonderfully written first volume. Whether or not I finish the remaining two books this is an excellent non-fiction title that hardly feels as dry or daunting as many history books.
( )
  Autolycus21 | Oct 10, 2023 |
Neste A chegada do Terceiro Reich, Richard Evans, um dos mais importantes estudiosos da história alemã, apresenta uma profunda análise sobre a chegada de Hitler ao poder e o colapso da civilização na Alemanha nazista. 'Com um domínio impressionante da literatura sobre o tema, uma análise perspicaz e um texto fluente, este livro não deixa dúvidas de que foi escrito por uma autoridade em História. As obras de Richard Evans sobre o terceiro Reich proporcionam uma compreensão completa sobre uma das épocas mais obscuras da História.' ― Sir Ian Kershaw (Professor de História em Sheffield, reconhecida autoridade em Hitler)
  Twerp1231 | Oct 8, 2023 |
Great account of rise of Nazis in Germany. ( )
  kslade | Nov 29, 2022 |
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (13 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Evans, Richard J.Tekijäensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Hochstedt, BarbaraKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Montgomery, JoeKannen suunnittelijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu

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Publisher description: From one of the world's most distinguished historians, a magisterial new reckoning with Hitler's rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. In 1900 Germany was the most progressive and dynamic nation in Europe, the only country whose rapid technological and social growth and change challenged that of the United States. Its political culture was less authoritarian than Russia's and less anti-Semitic than France's; representative institutions were thriving, and competing political parties and elections were a central part of life. How then can we explain the fact that in little more than a generation this stable modern country would be in the hands of a violent, racist, extremist political movement that would lead it and all of Europe into utter moral, physical, and cultural ruin? There is no story in twentieth-century history more important to understand, and Richard Evans has written the definitive account for our time. A masterful synthesis of a vast body of scholarly work integrated with important new research and interpretations, Evans's history restores drama and contingency to the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis, even as he shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. With many people angry and embittered by military defeat and economic ruin; a state undermined by a civil service, an army, and a law enforcement system deeply alienated from the democratic order introduced in 1918; beset by the growing extremism of voters prey to panic about the increasing popularity of communism; home to a tiny but quite successful Jewish community subject to widespread suspicion and resentment, Germany proved to be fertile ground in which Nazism's ideology of hatred could take root. The first book of what will ultimately be a complete three-volume history of Nazi Germany, The Coming of the Third Reich is a masterwork of the historian's art and the book by which all others on this subject will be judged.

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