The Third Reich at War

In This Review

The Third Reich at War
By Richard J. Evans
Penguin, 2009
944 pp. $40.00
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World War II was the defining international conflict of the twentieth century. Evans' magisterial trilogy, of which this is the final volume, is the best account of the regime that caused it. The book is not simply an informative reference but also a riveting read, drawing piquant details from mass statistics and individual lives alike. Three themes dominate: first, that Germany's defeat was likely from the start, given that the Allied coalition was, in industrial and military might, five times as powerful as the Reich; second, that the brutality of German occupation was not only immoral but self-defeating, undermining potential supporters and allies, particularly in the Soviet Union; and third, that Germans backed this futile effort because a minority truly believed in it and the rest were caught up in Hitler's clever policy of incrementally implicating the population in his own crimes.