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A Village in the Third Reich: How Ordinary Lives Were Transformed By the Rise of Fascism – from the author of Sunday Times bestseller Travellers in the Third Reich

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Russia is now more isolated from the rest of the world than at any time since the Brezhnev era, and the Putin regime has become increasingly repressive and Margarita Simonyan’s propaganda machine increasingly strident and intense.

Even churches were forced to incorporate the swastika and Nazi rhetoric into their services, resulting in a schism between German Christians who went along with this and those who bravely resisted. Because all over Europe there are political parties which wouldn’t be seen dead supporting anything that might be perceived as a NAZI policy or ideology, but which are none-the-less well-honed instruments for implementing their leader’s will rather than representing that of their membership or the wider electorate. The much-admired leaders of the resistance group started to behave authoritarian after the War and quickly lost all respect.This policy wasn’t publicly proclaimed, but local NAZI officials in Oberstdorf knew it was coming and the NAZI Mayor Fink brought his own handicapped son back from an institution, to the village where he was less likely to be selected and killed. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CERV.

It is clear that Fink and some even higher-ranking colleagues didn’t think that this sort of policy held any benefits at all. The local newspaper, for example, does not even mention NSDAP until the 1932 election that led to Hitler becoming the chancellor. Boyd notes that, in 1936, even so astute and well-intentioned an observer as the African-American educator W.We rarely think or hear about the resistance in Germany, except perhaps with regards to the protection of Jewish families. For most inhabitants, they feared war, disliked the fact that Nazi ideology changed their lives and often took the line of least resistance and hoped to come through unscathed. There are a lot of tragic stories here, though there are reconstructions of the willing Nazi's there are also big questions about Good Germans and perhaps the unthinkable, Good Nazis. There were also people critical of the regime who continued to be so during the whole period, though generally they needed to ‘keep their heads down’. This is one of those books that is hard to rate because the content has such a somber air around it.

Boyd's prose is clear, confident and measured, connecting national events to Oberstdorf as often as possible, a device that never feels forced — only human. I remember reading an article stating that Nazi Germany and World War II are the most popular subjects among young students of history.There is even a tale at the end about the resistance whose names are still being protected seventy five years on.

Nevertheless it does get a little relentless in places, and the nature of the archive is such that it favours dates, arrests and official actions and the authors are loathe to fill in additional speculative colour if they can help it. An intimate portrait of German life during World War II, shining a light on ordinary people living in a picturesque Bavarian village under Nazi rule, from a past winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History. To Franz, German soldiers were noble warriors fighting for a just cause, not indiscriminate killers dropping bombs.

An incredible read - one that I found especially helpful because it is such a large topic but focussing on one small village allowed us readers to really get into the topic at hand.

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