Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: The Third Reich was more like high school than you think.
Quick synopsis: The story of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle throughout the rise and fall of the Nazi party focused on Hitler’s underlings.
Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: Hugo Boss was a Nazi! He wasn’t just a garden variety Nazi either. He designed some of their uniforms!
Fun Fact for History Nerds: There were varying levels of antisemitism in Hitler’s inner circle. Goebbel’s probably gets the “super antisemitic” award while Goring fell much lower on the scale. Himmler would probably have killed anyone with a specific color eyes if he thought Hitler would like it.
My Take: Welcome to the most evil popularity contest of all time: the Third Reich!
This miniseries takes you through the formation and destruction (hell yeah!) of the Third Reich by focusing entirely on Hitler’s inner circle and how the power shifted between them. It’s as petty as you expect!
You get some wonderful heartwarming stories such as the reconciliation of Joseph Goebbel’s and his wife, Magda. Oh wait, that only happened because Goring spied on him and turned evidence of his affairs into Hitler. But c’mon, putting two lovebirds back together is a good thing right? Oh wait, they both committed suicide after murdering their 6 children at the end of WWII.
Another beautiful story is the creation of Hitler’s retreat home in the mountains where he can relax with his subordinates and really get to know them. What’s that you say? It was a Machiavellian retreat where everyone backstabbed each other, and the Holocaust was planned? Sick.
My favorite part is when the various authors and historians who provide commentary talk about Martin Bormann. He is the only subject of the entire series that is explicitly called a psychopath. That is some kind of award when you are hanging around Himmler and Goebbels but you get painted as the arch-psychopath.
I will say I have one quibble with the series. It really seems to take agency away from Hitler as the leader of all this evil. It is inevitable when you are focusing on his underlings, but you don’t ever want to forget to hate Hitler the most.
Verdict: Really great series and very interesting for all audiences (but not kids, duh).
If You Liked This Try: Pretty much any WWII documentary on Netflix. Even the bad ones are pretty good.