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What was the Third Reich?

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The Third Reich was Nazi Germany (1933-45). The First Reich (962-1806) was the Holy Roman Empire, which included modern day Germany, Austria, the Czech lands, Northern Italy, and various other territories. Already in the Middle Ages it consisted of several almost independent states, often at war with one another. After the Reformation the authority of the Emperor was further weakened. It was often said that it was "neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire." The Second Reich was Imperial Germany (1871-1918), as unified by Bismarck in 1871.
Note. During the Weimar period (1919-33) the official name of Germany was still "Deutsches Reich."


Hitler's regime was never officially known as the Third Reich. The term was first discussed in 1923 by German historian Arthur Moeller van den Bruck in his Book Das dritte Reich (The Third Empire), which he hoped would soon come into beling. The expression "Third Reich" was quickly taken up by the propaganda machine of the Nazis, to express their rejection of the Weimar Republic but they soon dropped the "Third", preferring instead to build up a pseudo-religious culture around the term "Empire" based on German mythology.

The term Third Reich as a term became popular in English literature to delineate between Nazi Germany and the Weimar Republic (1918-1933), which, although a republic, had maintained the title Deutsches Reich after the abdication of the emperor.
"Third Reich" was a term adopted by Adolf Hitler in the 1920's to describe his thousand-yewhayar imperium he intended to create.k
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