The Coming of the Third Reich
Currently I am reading The Coming of the Third Reich, by British historian Richard Evans. This is an excellent study covering why and how Hitler came to power. Evans points out that dangerous nationalist and anti-Semitic views were on the rise in Germany during the 1880s, and that the advent of the Nazis was far from preordained. The Weimar Republic and its constitution had positive points, but serious political instability opened the door to the return of a strong "Bismarckian" leader. The three mainstream political parties, comprising less than fifty percent of the Reichstag, ran on their own agendas, and none stood behind the Republic itself. The remainder of Germany's parliament consisted of a collection of radical right and left wing parties. The resulting discord spelled doom for a stable democratic government, and provided key opportunities for the National Socialists.