The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
Stewart Binns is a former academic, soldier, and documentary filmmaker, who became a writer quite late in life. He has since written a wide range of books in both fiction and non-fiction. His passions are history and sport. He has completed a medieval quartet called the Making of England Series, two books about the Great War and a novel set during Northern Ireland’s Troubles. His latest work of non-fiction, Barbarossa, tells the story of the Eastern Front (1945 to 1944) from the perspective of the peoples of Eastern Europe. He is now working on a history of modern Japan.
On June 22nd 1941, the largest military invasion in human history was launched - an attack on the Soviet Union by almost four million men of Nazi Germany's brutal war machine. Operation Barbarossa led to the bloodiest military campaign mankind has ever known. The statistics of death and destruction are almost impossible to believe. The cruelty, suffering and destitution it wrought are unimaginable . . . over forty million people lost their lives.
Yet, the real story of the Eastern Front is still not truly understood outside of Germany and Eastern Europe. Little is known of those who suffered in the horror of Hitler's 'War of Annihilation' - the soldiers and civilians of Eastern Europe who fought and died trying to save their homelands and their loved ones.
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We think you will like Hitler's War and the Germans, In the Ruins of the Reich, and Wolfram: The Boy Who Went to War if you like this list.
From Neil's list on the best biographical studies of Hitler.
This is not a full biography – the biography Steinert wrote later in her career is not available in English – but many of the ideas in Steinert’s biography can also be found in this earlier work, which has faded into posterity slightly but can be read with great profit. Here, Steinert is concerned to give texture to a hitherto often two-dimensional image of German society and its attitudes to Hitler’s War. The result is an interesting, differentiated account of public opinion in Nazi Germany. In many respects, it was pioneering and opened up questions surrounding the relationship between state and society that other historians went on to explore further in the 1980s. Steinert’s Francophone background, and perhaps the fact that she was a female writer working in a profession that was then very male-dominated, probably account for the fact that her work is less well-known in the English-speaking world than it might be.
From Keith's list on the best books on the immediate aftermath of World War 2.
There are dozens of excellent books about Germany and Germans in the wake of defeat – I could mention Giles MacDonogh’s After the Reich, or R.M. Douglas’s Orderly and Humane – but Douglas Botting’s book is by far the most engaging history of the subject that I’ve ever read. It was written in the 1980s, so it is not quite as up-to-date as the more recent histories, but what it lacks in cutting-edge research it more than makes up for in narrative immediacy. It is impossible not to be moved by Botting’s descriptions of postwar chaos, of orphans hiding in the ruins, of lawlessness, starvation, desperation and retribution. An absolute classic.
From Karen's list on the best books about World War II that may surprise you.
Giles Milton is an extraordinary historian whose history books read like novels. Wolfram tells the story of a young German soldier who was only nine years old when Hitler came to power, raised by free-thinking parents who were not Nazi supporters, his formative years living under the most brutal regimes in history. This book explores a subject this is often ignored, ordinary German people trying to live normal, decent lives and who suffered the consequences of Hitler’s war. "I’d rather be anywhere else in the world," Wolfram writes to his parents from the fighting in Ukraine in 1942. This is a story of a decent young man caught up in the German war machine, and it is a reminder that people on all sides of the war suffered.