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The Social History of the Third Reich, 1933-1945
Synopses & Reviews
Though questions posed by Nazi Germany continue to haunt us today, attempts to explain the behavior of ordinary Germans during those fateful years have failed to rise above the level of polemic, Daniel Goldhagen's controversial Hitler's Willing Executioners being a prime example. Now, Pierre Ayçoberry, author of the highly-praised The Nazi Question, combines an extraordinary mastery of German history with original research to give us a uniquely balanced account of all aspects of German life under Hitler.
Ayçoberry uncovers the struggles of individuals and social and professional groups who stood up to the pressure of the Nazi Party, often paying a high price, and the attempts of others mainly upper- and middle-class professionals to salvage or improve their positions by casting their lot with the Führer. He also shows the devastation wrought on the once-vibrant German labor movement, leaving workers to choose between hopeless deÞance or complicity and nationalism.
In this complex answer to the easy judgments passed by many, Pierre Ayçoberry paints a rich portrait of a society at once victim and accomplice to one of the greatest crimes of all time.
"Erudite, clear, and nuanced....Written with the zesty skepticism that indicates full mastery of the historian's craft." L'Express
"Victims or perpetrators? The judgments passed upon the Germans of the Third Reich vary wildly, from the unqualified condemnation of Daniel Goldhagen to the nuanced responses of historians such as Ian Kershaw. The debate remains alive and open, but Pierre Ayçoberry, in this remarkable book, finally moves it to solid ground." Le Monde
Though questions posed by Nazi Germany continue to haunt society, attempts to explain the behaviour of ordinary Germans rarely rise above the level of polemic. This book provides a balanced account of life under Hitler and uncovers the struggles of those who stood up to Nazi Party pressure.
In this highly praised study hailed by Booklist as “disturbing, brutally honest, and scrupulously fair,” Pierre Ayçoberry, the celebrated author of The Nazi Question,combines extraordinary mastery of German history with original research for an unparalleled account of life under Hitler’s Third Reich.
Ayçoberry uncovers the struggles of individuals and social and professional groups who stood up to the pressures of the Nazi Party and often paid a high price, while he also sheds light on the attempts of others—mainly upper- and middle-class professionals—to salvage or improve their positions by casting their lot with the Fuhrer. In this complex answer to the easy judgments passed by many, Pierre Ayçoberry writes what the Washington Post Book World has called “a subtle book that eschews facile generalizations and sensational accusations, and is full of prudent qualifications and warnings that what was true in one place and one time was not necessarily true twenty miles away or one year later.”
A balanced, thorough study of Germany during the Nazi years, by the celebrated author of The Nazi Question.
About the Author
Pierre Ayçoberry is the author of The Nazi Question and an emeritus professor of contemporary history at the University of Human Sciences in Strasbourg, France. Janet Lloyd's many translations include Philippe Burrin's France Under the Germans (The New Press). She lives in England.
What Our Readers Are Saying
History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » Nazi Germany