The Third Reich in Power, 1933 - 1939
How the Nazis Won Over the Hearts and Minds of a Nation
The Third Reich in Power examines how it was possible for a group of ideological obsessive to remould a society famous for its sophistication and complexity into a one-party state directed at war and race hate. Richard J. Evans shows how the Nazis won over the hearts and minds of German citizens, twisted science, religion and culture, and transformed the economy, education, law and order to achieve total dominance in German politics and society. Drawing on an extraordinary range of research, blending narrative, description and analysis he creates a picture of a dictatorship consumed by visceral hatreds and ambitions and driven by war.
The second volume of Cambridge historian Evans's trilogy on the Third Reich (after The Coming of the Third Reich) is a major achievement. No other recent synthetic history has quite the range and narrative power of Evans's work. There are no surprises here. Instead, the reader will find careful, detailed analyses of all the major issues relating to the Third Reich between Hitler's assumption of power on January 31, 1933, and the start of WWII on September 1, 1939: the construction of the dictatorship, the propaganda, the economy, the racial policy and the planning for war. Evans shows just how difficult it was for Hitler to secure his power in Germany (it required unabashed terror to defeat the Nazis' many opponents), but also how successful was the establishment of the Volksgemeinschaft, the racial community. Once Hitler had successfully consolidated his power, every other aspect of Nazi policy, from education to the economy, became subordinated to the preparation for war. The war, Evans emphasizes, was never simply an effort to redraw the map of Europe. The vast, overarching aim of establishing a racial utopia, a newly modern, German-dominated Europe cleansed of Jews and other undesirables, could only be accomplished through war. When complete, Evans's trilogy will take its place alongside Ian Kershaw's monumental two-volume biography of Hitler as the standard works in English. Illus. and maps not seen by PW.(On sale Oct. 24)