Lately I have been on a Nazi/Hitler/Holocaust knowledge craving conquest. Anything and everything to know about, I want to know it. After exhausting all the videos available on Netflix’s Instant Streaming, I ventured out in search of material to buy. I ran across several reviews for the History Channel’s The Third Reich: Rise & Fall. It was much cheaper on Amazon—sorry History Channel–so I purchased it there.
This two-disc set was excellent. Exceptionally informative, and eye-opening. I can highly recommend it.
I would imagine that most people have the same thought process about Germany during Hitler’s reign.
How could an entire nation sit back, support, or even take part in the persecution of Jews, gypsies, blacks, homosexuals, the mentally disabled and other “inferior groups” during the Holocaust?
To answers in one quick sentence, “They didn’t have a choice.”
In watching this documentary–which, by the way, is FULL of “never-before-seen” footage from this time period–you see an entirely different side of Germany during the 30’s-40’s. In this documentary you will hear stories of those that tried to stop the rise of the Nazi Party, and for this they were killed. You will also hear stories about men being killed after falsely being accused of being a communist or the story of another man who hanged for having knowledge of one of a Hitler assassination attempt, even though he personally had no part in it.
There were several anti-Nazi groups that attempted to stop Hitler’s rise to power and continued madness. In fact, there were over forty attempted assassinations. But none of this were enough. There is a trend in the movie: disagree, die; fight back, die; refuse to Heil Hitler, you guessed it..die. So there came a time where any opposition was thwarted and the risk was too high.
The documentary explains the fragile state of Germany after World War I, and its need for a new form of leadership. It explains the use of propaganda that fooled not only the Germans, but the world. If anything else this movie allows you to get deep down in the mind of a German citizen. It allows you to feel the feelings and think the thoughts that the average citizen felt and thought.
Then comes the war. In the last years, the state of Nazi Germany was nothing. There were continual bomb attacks from Britain and the United States, and on the ground the Soviet soldiers were ravaging the land. Boys as young as 13 were forced to join a division of Hitler’s Youth which put them in the battlefield. When Berlin was defeated, by the Soviet Army, and the war was over, the only words spoken after the defeat were:
The Nazi government has surrendered unconditionally on the seventh of May. We are not here to restore the civil life of Germany. That is the task of the German people.
And with this Germany was on its own. It really is sad what happened to the Germany people. The majority of people’s homes were destroyed and the German population lived in poverty, without electricity or running water. Food supplies were low, so low that most Germans lived off rations so small that these citizen’s lived in a constant state of starvation for years. In fact, over one-million people died from starvation in the years to come.
There was also mass suicide in Germany, more than ever before seen in western Europe. In April and May of 1945, there were over five-thousand suicides in Berlin alone. On one day, May 1, 1945, mass suicide took as much as 10% of the Demmin, Germany, population. Estimates are that the suicide count on this day was between 1000-2500.  (If interested, here is a list of other mass suicides in Germany.
Life Magazine said in their May 1945, issue: 
In the last days of the war the overwhelming realization of utter defeat was too much for many Germans. Stripped of the bayonets and bombast which had given them power, they could not face a reckoning with either their conquerors or their consciences. These found the quickest and surest escape in what Germans call selbstmord, self-murder.
And the guilt; yes, there was guilt. But there was stronger emotion in play, fear. Psychiatrist Erich Menninger-Lerchenthal stated that: 
…organised mass suicide on a large scale which had previously not occurred in the history of Europe . . . there are suicides which do not have anything to do with mental illness or some moral and intellectual deviance, but predominantly with the continuity of a heavy political defeat and the fear of being held responsible.
Not only were the German’s left to fend for themselves, but estimates say that over two-million German women were raped by soldiers of the Soviet’s Red Army. (Women is a loose term since many of these “women” were children, under the age of thirteen.) One-in-ten of these women died after being raped, most from suicide. Below is a video about it, with an interview with children that were raped. Be advised, there is some graphic content (No more disturbing than the picture above.)