Study Guide

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Three-Act Plot Analysis

By William L. Shirer

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Act I: Books One and Two

In the first two books of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Shirer describes Adolf Hitler's life from his birth in 1889 up to the first four years of his term as Germany's Nazi Fuehrer. By the end of Book Two, Shirer has brought us up to Nazi Germany's "point of no return." By 1937, Hitler had decided to take the Third Reich to war.

Act II: Books Three, Four, and Five

Throughout the third, fourth, and fifth books of TRFTR, Shirer explains how Hitler's warmongering steadily pushed the Third Reich towards its final destruction while Germany was brutally subjugating and exterminating the peoples of Europe. Despite a series of initial victories that made it seem as though Hitler's vision of a Thousand-Year Reich would become a reality, by 1942 it was clear that Nazi Germany had nowhere to go but down. By the end of Book Five, Shirer's brought us up to the final moments before the Allied invasion of Nazi Germany.

Act III: Book Six

In Book Six, there's little left for Shirer to do but describe the Allied invasion of Nazi Germany and the Third Reich's inevitable fall. Within a short 50+ pages, he shows us how all of Hitler's aspirations crumbled around him. #literally #undergroundbunker #AlliedandSovietbombs