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The Coming of the Third Reich Critical Essay

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Updated: Jul 10th, 2019

The book The Coming of the Third Reich written Richard Evans is aimed at examining the factors that could have contributed to the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany.

The author presents a chronological account of the events that shaped the cultural and political landscape of this country in the first half of the twentieth century.

Additionally, the scholar shows how Germany could be affected by various macro-environmental forces such as the global economic recession.

However, at the same time, Richard Evans speaks about the individual narratives of people who witnessed the rapid transformation of the community. Their accounts can show how people’s lives were influenced by the political and economic upheavals.

On the whole, one can say that the author gives a thought-provoking and interesting analysis of how the Third Reich came into existence. Admittedly, this book does not contain the information which has not been familiar to historians.

The text was published in 2005, at the time, when thousands of books related to this topic had been written.

However, this text can help the reader systematize his/her knowledge of this period; for instance, student can learn more about the political, cultural, social, and economic environment of Germany.

This is probably the author’s main rationale for writing this book. Overall, this work can be of great interest to a wide reading audience.

There are several themes that are of great importance to Richard Evans. One should focus on such a problem as the sustainability of democracy.

In his book, the author attempts to analyze the reasons why the Weimar Republic was transformed into one of the most totalitarian states in the history of the twentieth century.

Richard Evans pays attention to the confrontations and disagreements between the main political parties which played an important role in the Weimar Republic. For instance, one can speak the conflicts between the Social Democrats and the Communist Party.

These political organizations were opposed to the Nazi party. However, they could not develop a common political agenda. In many cases, the legislative process in the Reichstag was extremely time-consuming (80).

The author shows that these political organizations did not fully recognize the threat posed by the Nazis. This discussion helps the scholar demonstrate that the lack of political consensus can pave the way to the totalitarian regime.

Additionally, one should not forget that the democratic government was often blamed for the results of the Versailles Treaty (75). The representatives of the Nazi Party emphasized the idea that the ratification of this treaty was an act of treason.

Moreover, they laid stress on the notion that German liberalism led to the collapse of Germany (445). It seems that this evidence is quite valid because it can show how and why the National Socialist German Workers’ Party gained the trust of many voters.

Certainly, the author does not argue that a democracy is essentially unstable. However, he provides an in-depth analysis of the political factors which enabled the Nazis to rise to power. On the whole, the author shows that the Weimar Republic was exposed to a great number of threats.

It seems that Richard Evans is able to highlight the weaknesses of the German liberalism and democracy. One can say that the scholar’s analysis can enable the reader to see how Germany turned into a totalitarian and autocratic regime.

While examining this issue, the writer examines both primary and secondary sources. In particular, he discusses the speeches made by various German politicians.

For instance, Richard Evans provides an example of a speech made by Adolf Hitler in which he criticizes German democracy (324). Overall, these primary sources can highlight the internal conflicts within the Weimar Republic.

Additionally, Richard Evans looks at the economy as one of the forces that shapes the values and priorities of people. This theme is also of great concern to this scholar.

For instance, the author attaches much importance the outbreak of the Great Depression which became an important turning point in the history of Germany (232).

One should remember that before the beginning of this global recession, the National Socialist Party did not have many supporters.

However, they derived some political benefits from this situation because they accused the existing political regime of being the underlying cause of hardships faced by German people.

The scholar incorporates a great number of sources that can throw light on the impact of economic changes on the attitudes of people. For instance, he looks at the diaries of people who live in severe poverty (232).

It should be kept in mind that the Great Depression affected many western countries and in Germany its effects were very palpable because at that time, this country was struggling with the legacies of World War I.

Yet, the author’s analysis has an important limitation that should be examined more closely. For instance, the Great Depression was even more severe in the United States.

However, the country was able to pass through these hardships. Similarly, the United Kingdom did not turn into an autocratic regime.

These exceptions do not quite fit the arguments which lay stress on the role of economic performance. These are some of the limitations that should not be overlooked.

The author also focuses on such a theme as anti-Semitism which affected the attitudes and decisions of many people in Germany. He shows that these prejudices and stereotypes attitudes were extremely widespread among many people (150).

However, people, who held these views, did not have the authority to shape the lives of others. In turn, the rise of the Nazi party gave the political and administrative platform to these individuals. This is one of the aspects that can be identified.

Moreover, anti-Semitism was widely used by many indiscriminate politicians who wanted to show that the problems faced by Germany could be explained by the actions of some very small group of people. This is why Jews were accused of “undermining the German nation” (150).

Nevertheless, the accusers did not give any examples to back up their arguments (150). To a great extent, these people relied on anti-Semitism in effort to create the image of enemies who are willing to prevent the German nation from achieving greatness.

Richard Evans eloquently demonstrates the dangers of anti-Semitism or any other ideology which dehumanizes an individual on the basis of his/her race, ethnicity, or religion.

This ideology becomes particularly dangerous at the time when a country passes through a period of economic and political difficulties.

This is one of the aspects that can be identified. Richard Evans’ discussion of this theme can show why this rhetoric of racism eventually became the dominant ideology of the Third Reich and why it was used to justify many atrocities. So, the author’s discussion should be considered by students.

On the whole, this book can be recommended to people who want to learn more about the history of Germany. This source is particularly helpful for explaining the origins of the political upheavals that engulfed Europe in the first half of the twentieth century.

More importantly, this text can be useful for explaining the rise of the totalitarian regimes in some western countries. Overall, this text can be of great interest to students who study history. However, this book can be regarded only as starting point.

There are some limitations that should not be disregarded. For instance, Richard Evans attempts to carry out a survey of various forces that shaped the political landscape of Germany. However, such books cannot capture every detail that can be important for explaining the rise of the Nazi party.

In turn, there are many textbooks are aimed at examining one specific aspect of German history; for example, the culture of that period, the economic development of the country, or its political life.

Such sources can be used by historians who want to have an in-depth understanding of how the Third Reich was established. Yet, this book can enable the readers systematize their knowledge of this historical period, especially its political conflicts. This is why it should not be overlooked.

This text can be used during lessons. Richard Evans expresses several important ideas that can be discussed by educators and students during classes. For instance, the author illustrates the dangers of political populism and populists who reject the principles of critical thinking, logic, and realism.

He shows that such people can stick at nothing in order to achieve power; moreover, the effects of their actions are usually disastrous. This idea can be illustrated by showing the logical inconsistencies within the rhetoric of the Nazi Party.

In the course of his political career, Adolf Hitler never tried to enter into debates with his opponents who could highlight the flaws of his rhetoric. For instance, he often accused the democratic government of economic and geopolitical difficulties faced by Germans.

However, he avoided mentioning that Germany had been brought into World War I by the autocratic rule. Moreover, he did not say that at that time, the majority of Germans had wanted to end this war. As a rule, he made claims that could appeal to the self-esteem of many people.

This is why he emphasized the superiority of the Aryan race over other nations (177). The sole purpose of this strategy was to gain the trust of voters, but not to improve the quality of life in the country.

It seems this lesson can be of great relevance to the citizens of various countries since people should be able to know what kind of goals politicians try to achieve. By discussing these issues, a teacher can achieve several objectives.

First of all, it is possible to show why the Nazis managed to win the loyalty of many people and come to power.

However, at the same time, one can demonstrate the political choices made by citizens should be based critical evaluation of arguments and claims that are made by other people, especially political leaders. These are the main results that can be achieved in this way.

Works Cited

Evans, Richard. The Coming of the Third Reich, New York: Penguin, 2004. Print.

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