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Publisher's Summary

Know thy enemy. That's what the wisdom of history teaches us. And Adolf Hitler was surely the greatest enemy ever faced by modern civilization. Over half a century later, the horror, fascination, and questions still linger:

How could a man like Hitler and a movement like Nazism come to power in 20th-century Germany – an industrially developed country with a highly educated population?
How were the Nazis able to establish the foundations of a totalitarian regime in such a short time and hurl all of Europe - and the world - into a devastating war that would consume so many millions of lives?
Professor Childers has designed this gripping 12-lecture course to shed light on these and other questions that have plagued generations. You'll start by looking at the catastrophic impact World War I had on Germany, and how the war and the humiliating Treaty of Versailles crippled the Weimar Republic. From there, you'll turn to the Third Reich – Nazism in power – with an investigation of how Hitler and his henchmen systematically and ruthlessly broke resistance, taking over the major institutions of state power and creating a totalitarian system of terror, propaganda, and pervasive regimentation. You'll also examine Hitler's foreign policy between 1933 and 1939, and discover how and why he puzzled the world by entering into an accommodation with his deadly enemy, Stalin, on the eve of World War II. In the final lectures, you'll focus on Hitler's war against the Jews from Mein Kampf to Auschwitz, dissecting the horrifying racial ideas of the Nazis and the policies adopted to transform those ideas into reality. Finally, you'll learn how Hitler's evil empire was destroyed by Allied might.
©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Dana Keish on 07-01-14

Forewarned is Forearmed

If you could sum up A History of Hitler's Empire, 2nd Edition in three words, what would they be?

Important, current and terrifying

What did you like best about this story?

“Forewarned is forearmed.” These are the last words of this lecture series and it sums up perfectly why this lecture should be listened to. In the course of 12 thirty minute lectures, Professor Thomas Childers of the University of Pennsylvania does an incredible job of explaining how the Nazi party rose to power in Germany. Beginning with the catastrophe of World War I, he guides the listener through the terrible economic conditions which confronted Germany. He then discusses how these abrupt changes left the German people looking for a “strong man”, someone who could not be any worse than the Social Democrats of the Weimar Republic. Unfortunately, they found the very worst.
Overall, one of the best lectures from The Great Courses series that I have listened to and would recommend to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of how the Nazis rose to power in such a cultured, sophisticated country as Germany.

What about Professor Thomas Childers’s performance did you like?

I was very impressed with Professor Childers and found his manner of speaking to be incredibly easy to listen to and the entire lecture felt entirely conversational. While I wish the lecture was longer because I was enjoying it so much, I still felt like the material was covered in great detail. I made notes throughout the lecture to guide my future reading on the topic.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The last two lectures which detailed the Holocaust were very moving and Professor Childers was very respectful of the subject.

Any additional comments?

Great lecture! Greater lecturer!

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

By James Francis on 06-19-14

Informative, but hard to hear

Any additional comments?

The presenter had a very low voice, and he got quiet at times, so it was hard to hear in my car. Very good otherwise

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Amazon Customer on 09-11-17

Very informative and important

These lectures are compelling, clear and informative. The lecturer is excellent and very engaging. I only wish the course was longer and more detailed as I learned an enormous amount from it. I will certainly seek out other courses by this speaker.

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Customer Reviews

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By Bevan Lewis on 12-24-15

Excellent overview of Nazi Germany

Thomas Childers is an excellent scholar. His early research was on German electoral patterns and the rise of support for the Nazi Party. This short course provides an excellent history of the Nazi movement from its origins in World War 1 through its extraordinary rise to power. Childers places the rise of Hitler's Empire within the context of German politics and society. He covers the party's tactics, Hitler's beliefs, the evolution of racial and foreign policy expertly. There is brief coverage of World War 2 but Professor Childers has another course specifically on this subject.

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