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National Book Award Winner: The definitive account of Nazi Germany and “one of the most important works of history of our time” (The New York Times). When the Third Reich fell, it fell swiftly. The Nazis had little time to destroy their memos, their letters, or their diaries. William L. Shirer’s sweeping account of the Third Reich uses these unique sources, combined with his experience living in Germany as an international correspondent throughout the war. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich earned Shirer a National Book Award and continues to be recognized as one of the most important and authoritative books about the Third Reich and Nazi Germany ever written. The diaries of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, as well as evidence and other testimony gained at the Nuremberg Trials, could not have found more artful hands. Shirer gives a clear, detailed, and well-documented account of how it was that Adolf Hitler almost succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a chilling and illuminating portrait of mankind’s darkest hours. “A monumental work.” —Theodore H. White
*Includes pictures *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading "I cannot remember in my entire life such a change in the attitude of a crowd in a few minutes, almost a few seconds ... Hitler had turned them inside out, as one turns a glove inside out, with a few sentences. It had almost something of hocus-pocus, or magic about it." - Dr. Karl Alexander von Mueller The early 1930s were a tumultuous period for German politics, even in comparison to the ongoing transition to the modern era that caused various forms of chaos throughout the rest of the world. In the United States, reliance on the outdated gold standard and an absurdly parsimonious monetary policy helped bring about the Great Depression. Meanwhile, the Empire of Japan began its ultimately fatal adventurism with the invasion of Manchuria, alienating the rest of the world with the atrocities it committed. Around the same time, Gandhi began his drive for the peaceful independence of India through nonviolent protests against the British. It was in Germany, however, that the strongest seeds of future tragedy were sown. The struggling Weimar Republic had become a breeding ground for extremist politics, including two opposed and powerful authoritarian entities: the right-wing National Socialists and the left-wing KPD Communist Party. As the 1930s dawned, these two totalitarian groups held one another in a temporary stalemate, enabling the fragile ghost of democracy to continue a largely illusory survival for a few more years. That stalemate was broken in dramatic fashion on a bitterly cold night in late February 1933, and it was the Nazis who emerged decisively as the victors. A single act of arson against the famous Reichstag building proved to be the catalyst that propelled Adolf Hitler to victory in the elections of March 1933, which set the German nation irrevocably on the path towards World War II. That war would plunge much of the planet into an existential battle that ultimately cost an estimated 60 million lives. Like other totalitarian regimes, the leader of the Nazis kept an iron grip on power in part by making sure nobody else could attain too much of it, leading to purges of high-ranking officials in the Nazi party. Of these purges, the most notorious was the Night of the Long Knives, a purge in the summer of 1934 that came about when Hitler ordered the surprise executions of several dozen leaders of the SA. This fanatically National Socialist paramilitary organization had been a key instrument in overthrowing democratic government in Germany and raising Hitler to dictatorial power in the first place. However, the SA was an arm of the Nazi phenomenon which had socialist leanings and which was the private army of Ernst Röhm, which was enough for Hitler to consider the organization dangerous. Röhm was a challenger to the Fuhrer's position with his mushrooming SA ranks, which were more loyal to him than to the nominal head of Nazi Germany. Europe's attempts to appease Hitler, most notably at Munich in 1938, failed, as Nazi Germany swallowed up Austria and Czechoslovakia by 1939. Italy was on the march as well, invading Albania in April of 1939. The straw that broke the camel's back, however, was Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1 of that year. Two days later, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany, and World War II had begun in earnest. In the wake of the war, the European continent was devastated, leaving the Soviet Union and the United States as uncontested superpowers. This ushered in over 45 years of the Cold War, and a political alignment of Western democracies against the Communist Soviet bloc that literally split Berlin in two. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: The History and Legacy of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler chronicles the rise and fall of the Nazi regime.
A concise and timely account of Hitler’s—and Fascism’s—rise to power and ultimate defeat, from one of America’s most famous journalists. American journalist and author William L. Shirer was a correspondent for six years in Nazi Germany—and had a front-row seat for Hitler’s rise to power. His most definitive work on the subject, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, is a riveting account defined by first-person experience interviewing Hitler, watching his impassioned speeches, and living in a country transformed by war and dictatorship. William Shirer was originally commissioned to write The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler for a young adult audience. This account loses none of the immediacy of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich—capturing Hitler’s rise from obscurity, the horror of Nazi Germany’s mass killings, and the paranoia and insanity that marked Hitler’s downfall. This book is by no means simplified—and is sure to appeal to adults as well as young people with an interest in World War II history. “For nearly 100 years William L Shirer has spoken to us of fascism, Nazis, and Hitler . . . [He] tells the unvarnished truth as he experienced it . . . I figured this school-type book wasn’t going to tell me anything new. But when I started reading, I realized that I wasn’t reading for the facts anymore. I listened to his story and heard the urgency in his voice: a voice from nearly 60 years ago telling us the truth about today.” —Daily Kos
Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer's monumental study of Hitler's German Empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of this century's blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.
The story of legendary American journalist William L. Shirer and how his first-hand reporting on the rise of the Nazis and on World War II brought the devastation alive for millions of Americans When William L. Shirer started up the Berlin bureau of Edward R. Murrow's CBS News in the 1930s, he quickly became the most trusted reporter in all of Europe. Shirer hit the streets to talk to both the everyman and the disenfranchised, yet he gained the trust of the Nazi elite and through these contacts obtained a unique perspective of the party's rise to power. Unlike some of his esteemed colleagues, he did not fall for Nazi propaganda and warned early of the consequences if the Third Reich was not stopped. When the Germans swept into Austria in 1938 Shirer was the only American reporter in Vienna, and he broadcast an eyewitness account of the annexation. In 1940 he was embedded with the invading German army as it stormed into France and occupied Paris. The Nazis insisted that the armistice be reported through their channels, yet Shirer managed to circumvent the German censors and again provided the only live eyewitness account. His notoriety grew inside the Gestapo, who began to build a charge of espionage against him. His life at risk, Shirer had to escape from Berlin early in the war. When he returned in 1946 to cover the Nuremberg trials, Shirer had seen the full arc of the Nazi menace. It was that experience that inspired him to write The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich—the magisterial, definitive history of the most brutal ten years the modern world had known—which has sold millions of copies and has become a classic. Drawing on never-before-seen journals and letters from Shirer's time in Germany, award-winning reporter Steve Wick brings to life the maverick journalist as he watched history unfold and first shared it with the world.
“Riveting…An elegantly composed study, important and even timely” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) history of the Third Reich—how Adolf Hitler and a core group of Nazis rose from obscurity to power and plunged the world into World War II. In “the new definitive volume on the subject” (Houston Press), Thomas Childers shows how the young Hitler became passionately political and anti-Semitic as he lived on the margins of society. Fueled by outrage at the punitive terms imposed on Germany by the Versailles Treaty, he found his voice and drew a loyal following. As his views developed, Hitler attracted like-minded colleagues who formed the nucleus of the nascent Nazi party. 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 gave them the opportunity to move into the mainstream. Hitler blamed 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, and within six months they 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’ unlikely rise and how they consolidated their power once they achieved it. Based in part on German documents seldom used by previous historians, The Third Reich is a “powerful…reminder of what happens when power goes unchecked” (San Francisco Book Review). This is the most comprehensive and readable one-volume history of Nazi Germany since the classic The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Told through first-hand accounts, detailed scenes, and a convincing and personality-driven overview, A Brief History of the Third Reich is a complete history of the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. It is an essential book that will explore the personalities and ideas that informed the rise of Hitler and his party, from the earliest origins in the Munich beer halls to the final fall of Berlin in 1945.