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86 out of 90 people found the following review useful:

Amazing TV that gives a never before seen view into the events that led to WWII

Author: Enrico Fantozzi from United States
10 March 2011

Excellent program that is worth your time. If you are a WWII buff you will appreciate this very interesting look at the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I was intrigued by the writings of those who were disgusted at what was taking place in their homeland. People saw the coming storm of death and intolerance and did whatever they could to get out. I will be researching where they obtained these writings and trying to obtain them. The depiction of the mass group think that was going on at this time was astonishing, people were buying into Hitlers vision and ignored the atrocities that were being committed all around them. One package in particular stuck with me.."all around me people were celebrating, why? It was easier to celebrate..easier to howl with the wolves" Catch this on the History Channel whenever you get a chance..worth every second.

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83 out of 88 people found the following review useful:

Should be shown to students....A must see...important

Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
12 March 2011

This series was recently shown on History channel and it is a must see for any student, American citizen, teacher or human being.

It is based on actual footage from the many residents of Berlin and German villages, prior to, and then after the Third Reich and its rise and fall. It is a very human story as we see family movies, made by a German man who was later executed for not revealing his knowledge of an assassination plot against Hitler. He was, prior to that a devoted follower of the Third Reich. They also have film of the youth camps, the picturesque and lush Austrian villages (before they were decimated) and the Olympics which were staged in Berlin prior to the onslaught of Hitler's regime.

Ruth Andreas-Fridrich describes how in the late 30's she scrambled to get out of Germany before the war was initiated. One was required to leave all their assets to Germany in order to survive. The narration is very real and not melodramatic: It simply describes what it was like to have your life taken away by a regime bent on utter control and destruction.

Austrians, Polish in Warsaw (there are quite disturbing films of the Warsaw ghetto by the last American journalist who remained there). Including the eating of a dead horse, there was no food, the housing was demolished.

For those to whom war seems to be in a bubble,(especially when you view censored American corporate news today) this must be watched. The camps of Dachau, viewed in horror as the German people were at that time brought to see the reality of it. The Berlin Zoo, after it was bombed by Americans and British to stop the war. The animals and people reduced to a powdered mass.

The film is all encompassing as it shows the mass murder, and also the villagers who once believed their government. That the Third Reich would save Germany. In the end the utter destruction and alienation the German people had to return to: we see them in a futile fashion attempting to rebuild the rubble and trashed cannot be comprehended.

There were mass suicides once it was announced that Germany had lost, and its people must just "go back and rebuild it's up to them now". A very complex and important historical lesson here. Must-see. 10/10.

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76 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

An extraordinary look into the German psyche.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
6 November 2013

Most historical documentaries consist of film clips and recreations telling a larger story. This is, in many ways, the 'official' story--one that is interesting but detached in many ways. However, with "Third Reich" The Rise and Fall", something extraordinary has happened--the filmmakers have NOT used government films precedence but home movies showing the average person! These color home movies do a wonderful job of showing German life and how the people saw the things leading to World War Two as well as the war itself. It also does something important--it explains the thinking of the Germans at the time and how they justified the unjustifiable. As a result, you see the progression from a reasonable people to the monsters they eventually became. Because of this, it shows a much more interesting look at the people and times--the times as seen by the common man and showing clips that are surprising--such as clips of Oktoberfest just before the invasion of Czechoslovakia, children dressing up like soldiers and sending letters to their beloved leader and other children watching trainloads of Jews heading to death they waved! In addition, there are a few films made by journalists in Germany and Poland which show you what you won't see in other films--not just the horrors but the German adoration for their Fuhrer.

You really have to commend the folks who made this--it must have taken an incredible amount of effort to collect all these film and make the extraordinarily interesting film. Well worth seeing, compelling and a WWII documentary that is so different from all the rest. However, because you will see atrocities in the later portions of the documentary that were proudly filmed by the Nazi soldiers, it is NOT recommended for viewing by children. So, be forewarned.

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78 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

The best of its kind

Author: chez4541 from United States
4 June 2013

This review is concerned with the second part, the fall of the Third Reich. I've seen many documentaries about the Third Reich, but none of them is even in the same league with this one, none of them conveys the tragedy, the folly and the pure inhumanity that overtook Germany and the world during that period in history. The presentation is intended to be dramatic and it has been brilliantly constructed to do that without distorting the events. The narration, the camera clips, the background score and all the other things that make up the presentation are seamlessly integrated into a chilling vision of the madness that people can inflict on each other. Some of the other reviewers have faulted the story for not including some events they thought important, but its message is larger than the Third Reich; it defines what and how so many people can lose their humanity while some can give their lives to save it.

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22 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

The German Perspective on the 1920's - 1940's

Author: Clay Loomis from Arroyo Grande, California
18 April 2011

I found this a very interesting and informative documentary on the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich, WWII/Europe, and the defeat of Germany, from the perspective of the Germans. Through letters and remembrances from German soldiers and civilians alike, it gives Americans used to documentaries from "our" view a nice reverse angle look at those events. I'm still not sure whether more Germans were for or against Hitler at the time, but we hear both points of view here.

Having been a History Channel fan for 15 years, "Third Reich: The Rise & Fall" still managed to come up with a lot of material and film I had not seen before, some of which is still banned in Germany. (Nothing like seeing a starving man standing in rubble carve meat off of a bomb-killed, bloated horse to give you a sense of the moment.)

As networks, even the History Channel, are wont to do with these documentaries, silent film footage has added sound effects (bomb blasts, rifles shots, laughter, etc.). I find that highly insulting to the intelligence, and suppose they only do it for the kids with no familiarity with silent film. {Hey, if they weren't interested in the true history of the time, they wouldn't be watching anyway.} Also, all the cuts from one topic to the next had these little one to two second clips of "end of film reel" scenes where the screen goes to white and you see the film sprocket holes go by. I found that became annoying rather quickly. And although those are small gripes, they caused me to drop my rating to a 9.

Overall, a fine documentary on the Third Reich, which itself was proof positive of the principle of Cause and Effect. The Cause being Hitler bent on world domination, and the Effect being a Germany so thoroughly pummeled that it would take decades to fully recover.

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Okay but kind of juvenile

Author: Matthew Burch from United States
18 June 2017

I was going to give this a 5 but am upgrading slightly to a 6 just because of the video quality. This documentary suffers from taking itself but not the material serious enough. The edits are overdone and make the documentary seem more like a twitchy horror movie similar to the Ring rather than a good informative documentary.

Another issue I have is overuse of pauses during the speech, I assume for dramatic effect, but ends up being more like a way to draw out the documentary in a lazy way. For example, a narration would begin, quoting a victim our German citizen, then there would be a pause of about 5 seconds and I've thought they moved on, then suddenly the same person is saying something more. Often the narration repeats something that was said earlier in the same delayed fashion. I've seen some other reviewers talk about all that was left out in the first half (the rise), and they've said it better than I ever could. It makes it seem like they were just enamored with his speech and promises, which they were, but there was so much more to it. I'm glad it was covered, however briefly, how much the rest of the world seemed to like Hitler, too, because we share the blame for letting him get away with murder in his rise.

I suppose I'm also a little bitter about the title, which shares a name with probably the best nazi book ever written by shirer, and as far as detail goes they are polar opposites.

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23 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

Rare footage, other than that...

Author: yiapap from Greece
12 March 2012

I'm sorry but I can't accept that this is one of the best documentaries about the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Grant you, its focus on rare footage and home videos made by Germans during the era is a large plus.

Unfortunately, the first part of the story leaves so many points out that it is insulting to the Germans. I have no sympathy towards the Nazis, in fact I lost my grandfather during the occupation of Greece but the documentary is missing many points. For example there is no mention whatsoever about the fall of unemployment after Hitler took power. No mention of the support he got from the industrialists. About the massive state investments in infrastructure. About the rebuilding of the economy. It is as if the majority of Germans, at least those not persecuted, were suddenly enchanted by parades and flag waving and became supporters of the regime. There is no mention of the remilitarisation of the Rhineland one of Hitler's first diplomatic victories. There's only as brief mention of how the Annexation of Austria came to be, again as if Germans woke up one morning to find Vienna listed as a German city.

The second part(The Fall) is much more balanced and I have no serious complaints about it.

I would also prefer if the documentary was more balanced towards the victims of the Second World War. True, the Holocaust is the Nazis' largest crime against humanity. But it is extensively covered throughout the documentary while other crimes such as the brutal murdering of civilians in the USSR, in Poland and in most occupied countries or the slave labourers are mentioned for brief seconds or not at all.

Lastly, I too found the start/end fake frames of the footage overused and that some of the videos were uninteresting (toddlers walking/falling/playing). All in all not bad, but not one of the classics.

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