Week 28

"The other dictators of our time—Mussolini, Stalin, even Lenin—seem commonplace in comparison… Hitler had a depth and elaboration of evil all his own, as though something primitive had emerged from the bowels of the earth. At the same time, there was a superb cunning, which enabled him to exploit others. Perhaps there has never been a man who understood power better or who turned it to baser uses. He had unquestioning faith in the rubbish that filled his mind." (A.J.P. Taylor)

"In 1919, he had stood on Munich street corners, bawling seemingly lunatic slogans at indifferent or derisive passersby. By 1933, this same titanic mountebank was master of Germany. Nine years later, his rule extended from the Atlantic to the Urals, from the Norwegian Arctic to the outskirts of Cairo, from Sicily to the suburbs of Moscow. Three years after that, the promise of a thousand-year Reich had withered to catastrophe." (George Steiner)

"The quotations suggest the two problems that have dominated the vast literature on Hitler. First, how do we explain the extraordinary combination of evil and charisma in such an (apparently) insignificant person? Second, how could this "mountebank" have achieved so much power so quickly, in one of Europe's great nation-states?" (Bruce Thompson)


Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,


ISBN 0452010853


We want to recommend to you for extra reading about the Third Reich, the three-volume study written by Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans. It has been his work of a lifetime and it is now complete and available in fine quality paperback editions or in used/new hardcover. (I would buy the "used" hardcovers since they are like new and often prices are the same as a new paperback) Let me print here some reviews of the first volume and then we will list all three volumes for your attention.


"Richard J. Evans' The Coming of the Third Reich . . . gives the clearest and most gripping account I've read of German life before and during the rise of the Nazis." —A. S Byatt, Times Literary Supplement

"An enormous work of synthesis—knowledgable and reliable." —Mark Mazower, New York Times Book Review

"[A] first-rate narrative history that informs and educates and may inspire readers to delve even deeper into the subject." —Booklist

"Brilliant.” —Washington Post

“The generalist reader, it should be emphasized, is well served. . . . The book reads briskly, covers all important areas—social and cultural—and succeeds in its aim of giving “voice to the people who lived through the years with which it deals.” —Denver Post

“One finally puts down this magnificent volume thirsty, on the one hand, for the next installment in the Nazi saga yet still haunted by the questions Evan poses and so masterfully grapples with.” ―Abraham Brumberg, The Nation

“This first part of what is Evans’ three-volume history of Hitler’s regime is the most comprehensive and convincing work so far on the gall of Weimar and Hitler’s rise to power.” ―Foreign Affairs

Richard J. Evans,

The Coming of the Third Reich,


ISBN 9781594200045

Richard J. Evans,

The Third Reich in Power,


ISBN 0141009764

Richard J. Evans,

The Third Reich at War,

Penguin Books; Revised ed. Edition (January 18, 1991),

ISBN 0143116711

Trevor-Roper's most widely read and financially rewarding book was titled The Last Days of Hitler (1947). It emerged from his assignment as a British intelligence officer in 1945 to discover what happened in the last days of Hitler's bunker. From his interviews with a range of witnesses and study of surviving documents he demonstrated that Hitler was dead and had not escaped from Berlin. He also showed that Hitler's dictatorship was not an efficient unified machine but a hodge-podge of overlapping rivalries.

Hugh Trevor-Roper,

The Last Days of Hitler,

Pan Macmillan; 7th edition,

ISBN 9781447218616

“The Hitler biography of the twenty-first century” (Richard J. Evans), Ian Kershaw’s Hitler is a one-volume masterpiece that will become the standard work.

Ian Kershaw,

Hitler: A Biography,

W. W. Norton & Company,

ISBN 0393337618

"The world needs another Hitler biography like it needs another squirrel, but his one is different and worth the effort.... Hamann paints a fascinating picture of the events and readings that shaped the young Hitler. Highly recommended." -Library Journal

"A valuable social history of Vienna's netherworld and an attempt at explaining Hitler's anti-Semitism. We get a meticulous portrait of everyday life in the artistically and philosophically modernist metropolis. Hamann concludes that Vienna's fin-de-siecle malaise was a critical ingredient in the madness that became Nazi Germany." -Kirkus Reviews

Brigitte Hamann,

Hitler's Vienna: A Portrait of the Tyrant as a Young Man,

Tauris Parke Paperbacks,

ISBN 1848852770