The Rise and Fall Of The Third Reich- William L. Shirer
History always has many witnesses. Audio, video, word of mouth and the written word serve as the recorders for the events that are occurring. When Adolf Hitler began his rise to power, all of Europe took notice. Governments in the west also took notice but never imagined that the menace from Austria would become the ruler of Germany and unleash a wave of terror never before seen in Europe. His rise and eventual fall is a case study that has been the subject of debates and discussion since the end of the war in 1945. Even today we continue to learn more about Hitler and the many secrets of The Third Reich. William L. Shirer (1904-1993) lived briefly in Germany as correspondent for CBS news. He witnessed Hitler’s rise to power and the outbreak of the war but returned to the United States prior to changing tide of the war to the Allies’ favor. His memories of his time in Germany served as the basis for the classic ‘Berlin Diary’. At one point he was forbidden from speaking on radio by the Nazi regime. During his time off the air he started this book which went on to become the definitive account the rise and fall of the Third Reich.
Hitler’s seizure of power by means of annexation of the smaller countries surrounding Germany showed to the world the true nature of his regime and the pending doom that awaited Europe. By the time the war was over, nearly 50 million people had lost their lives. Germany was split in half become a catalyst for the future Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union. The story of the Nazi empire has caused many to ask how did Hitler assume power and why did the German people give it to him? And if the Germany military was supreme as their leaders thought, then why did Germany suffer defeat in another world war? Shirer answers these questions and much more in this classic that continues to improve with each revision. The book is divided into several smaller books with each focusing on a different period in the war. Shirer covers the Reich from start to finish giving the reader a complete account of one of history’s darkest moments.
Shirer once said that “the cardinal error of the Germans who opposed Nazism was their failure to unite against it”. A danger to society grew like a malignant tumor until he was too large to be excised from Germany society. Many of those who did oppose Hitler remained quiet out of ear. Others feigned ignorance out of convenience. But no matter which path was taken, the actions of the Nazis under Hitler’s command threatened to bring shame to Germany for an eternity. The Germany of today is far different from the time of the Third Reich. Right-wing National Socialists do currently exist but the country is long gone from the days where Hitler ruled with an iron fist. But less than 80 years ago, Germany instilled fear and paranoia in nearly every country in the continent of Europe and raised concerns in the western hemisphere. Shirer has left us the go to guide to understand the rise and fall of feared Third Reich.