Book Reviews: A Regime of Terror under the Swastika; the Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J Evans. Published by Penguin Allen Lane. Pounds 25.00

Article excerpt


THIS 20th century horror story probes the seed-bed from which Nazism sprouted in Germany after the First World War.

It shows how Hitler and his gang succeeded, quite legally, in taking over the country and turning it into a one-party police state with no general elections.

From then on, "might is right" became the watchword. Violence, terror, torture and murder were used against opponents and those who did not fit in with the Nazis racial delusions. The country's relatively small but influential Jewish population became scapegoats and outcasts, destined for extermination.

Never, in the history of the human race, has one regime been responsible for so much suffering, death and destruction. It caused a second world war and, by the time it was toppled in 1945, much of Germany lay in ruins.

Richard Evans has researched his subject well and his book is packed with interesting detail about life in Germany in the turbulent 1920s. He is alert to the ways in which an advanced, civilised democracy began to let itself be led so far astray. …