Study Guide

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Characters

By William L. Shirer

Adolf Hitler

The man; the myth; the fanatical, megalomaniacal, and genocidal Fuehrer.The man whose name is a...

Martin Bormann

In 1941, when Rudolf Hess, the deputy leader of the Nazi Party, flew to Scotland in a harebrained...

Neville Chamberlain

Chamberlain was the Prime Minister of Great Britain (the United Kingdom) from 1937 to 1940. He's...

Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain as the British Prime Minister in May of 1940....

Paul Joseph Goebbels

Goebbels was one of Hitler's most trusted right-hand men throughout the rise and fall of the...

Hermann Goering

After joining the Nazi Party in the early 1920s, Hermann Goering quickly established himself as...

Rudolf Hess

Rudolph Hess makes his first appearance in the book as Hitler's "close friend" and "devoted...

Reinhard Heydrich

When he was twenty-six years old, Heydrich was a young naval intelligence officer being booted...

Heinrich Himmler

Next to Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler was one of the most notorious and sinister figures who...

Benito Mussolini

Mussolini—Il Duce—enters Shirer's narrative as a kind of role model for Hitler's...

Joseph Stalin

Like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin is too huge a historical figure for us to...

Hitler's Family and Friends

Eva Braun was Hitler's mistress throughout the final twelve years of his life, and on the day...

National Socialists and Nazis

Amann was, in Shirer's words, "the hard-headed manager of the Nazi publishing business" (1.4.1)....

German Statesmen and Politicos

Bruening served a brief term as the Chancellor of the German Reich in the early 1930s, and, in...

Dishonorable German Officers

Throughout The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Shirer names dozens of the captains, generals,...

Honorable Military Conspirators

Beck makes a brief appearance early on, where he appears as a colonel in the German Army. By the...

Other Military Leaders

Fritsch deserves a mention here, because, like General Werner von Blomberg, he was one of the...

The Americans

Although Eisenhower would be elected President in 1952,his position in our story is only as the...

Austrians

In his Introduction to the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of TRFTR, Ron Rosenbaum commends Shirer...

Belgians

Shirer first takes note of Leopold in Chapter 9: The First Steps, as he describes the shifting...

The Czechs

Eduard Beneš had the great misfortune of watching his country get broken up by Hitler and...

The French

Georges Bonnet was the Foreign Minister of France in the lead-up to the Second World War. He...

The British

Henderson was the British ambassador to Germany in the years leading up to the Second World War,...

Italians

Ciano was the son-in-law of Benito Mussolini, and he served as Italy's Foreign Minister from 1936...

The Japanese

Matsuoka Yosuke was the Japanese Foreign Minister during the early years of the Second World War....

The Poles

Colonel Beck was Poland's Foreign Minister from 1932 until the German invasion of Poland in 1939....

The Scandinavians

Birger Dahlerus was a Swedish businessman and personal friend of Hermann Goering. Shirer...

The Soviets

Maxim Litvinov was the Soviet Foreign Commissar in the years leading up to the Second World War,...