Book Review: The Oxford Illustrated History of the Third Reich


by Robert Gellately, editor

Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. x, 384. Illus., maps, tables, append., biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 019872828X

New Perspectives on the Rise and Fall of the Nazi State

Prof. Gellately (Florida State), who has written extensively on European totalitarianism and particularly the Hitlerite regime, opens this volume with an introduction in which he notes that historians “continue raising questions about the Third Reich, because of the unprecedented nature of its crimes, and the military aggression it unleashed”.

Gellately then lays out the principal themes of the book: the centrality of Hitler to Nazism and the Third Reich, how Hitler and the Nazis leveraged democratic institutions in their rise to power, the Nazi “social vision”, and the importance of war and empire to its realization.

There follow ten essays by scholars from Western Europe and North America, each concerned with a particular aspect of the life of the Third Reich, such as “The Nazi ‘Seizure of Power’”, by Hermann Beck, author of The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933, “The Holocaust”, by Omer Bartov, author of Stormtroopers, and “War and Empire”, by Dieter Pohl, author of Der deutsche Krieg im Osten 1941–1944. Other essays cover the collapse of the Weimar Republic, the Reich and the arts, the home front, the economy, and so forth.

A very impassively illustrated history, with some images in color, and many not before seen by this reviewer, this is also very scholarly work, and an important read for anyone with a serious interest in the Third Reich, a regime of such criminal character that even now, nearly 75 years since its demise, new horrors are still being uncovered.


Note: The Oxford Illustrated History of the Third Reich is also available in several e-editions.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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