Until now there has been no up-to-date, one-volume, international history of Nazi Germany, despite its being among the most studied historical subjects of modern times. The Third Reich restores a broad perspective and intellectual unity to issues that have become academic subspecialties and offers a brilliant new interpretation of Hilter's evil rule.
Filled with human and moral considerations that are missing from theoretical accounts, Burleigh's book gives full weight to the experience of ordinary people who were swept up in, or repelled by, Hilter's movement. It emphasizes, as well, the international themes—for Nazi Germany appealed to the political classes and the ordinary people of many European nations, its wartime conduct included efforts to dominate the entire continent's economy, and its murderous policies involved gigantic population transfers and exterminations, recruitment of foreign labor, and multinational armies.
What happened when many, or most, of Germany's elite as well as a majority of its citizenry chose not to think for themselves and to favor instead a politics based on faith, hope, hatred, and sentimental regard for their own race and nation? The consequences were catastrophic for Germany, Europe, and the wider world, but no more so than for European Jews. Burleigh's account of the moral breakdown and transformation of an advanced industrial society in the heart of Europe is a remarkably clearheaded assessment of the dangerous consequences when, in a country still obsessed with losses in a previous war, a political movement takes on the form of a pseudo, or substitute, religion.