Life in the Third Reich

Richard Bessel outlines the new perspectives in this series on Nazi Germany.

Few historical subjects are so emotive as the 'Third Reich', and few have stimulated as much general interest. The main outlines of the history of Nazi Germany are well known: the rise of Hitler, the destruction of Weimar democracy, rearmament, the launching of the Second World War, the persecution and mass murder of European Jews, the total defeat of the German Reich. Yet in the past few years the interests of many historians of modern Germany have gone beyond the familiar contours of that country's recent political history. Local and regional studies, examinations of social questions, and investigations into how people lived their everyday lives have done much to enrich our understanding of the 'course of German history'. There has been a growing awareness of the connections between major political decisions in the Third Reich and what was happening on the ground; historians of Nazi Germany have at last discovered the German people.

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