Third reich - What about the first and the second?

Discussions on the propaganda, architecture and culture in the Third Reich.
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Third reich - What about the first and the second?

Post by Fredrik Hultman » 20 Jul 2004 18:44

This question was brought up on another forum I sometimes frequent and it left me wondering. Which where the other two?

Also, where does the expression "third reich" come from? Was it coined by Hitler or...?



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Post by Marcus » 20 Jul 2004 18:46

The First Reich was the Holy Roman Empire (the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, Heiliges Römisches Reich deutscher Nation, not the ancient Roman Empire), 800 - 1806. Charlemagne (Charles the Great) was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III in Rome on Christmas Day 800, this is normally seen as the founding of the Empire, but sometimes the year of 962 is used, that was when Otto I (Otto the Great) was crowned.
The Empire existed almost in name only following the Peace of Westphalia at the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648, but was not formally dissolved until 6 Aug 1806 when Emperor Francis II (Franz II) abdicated.

The Second Reich was the Hohenzollern Germany, from the unification of Germany following the Franco-Prussian War (1870 - 1871) and crowning of Wilhelm I as German Emperor at the Palace of Versailles, with Otto von Bismarck as the first Reichskanzler, to the abdication of Wilhelm II in 1919 following the German defeat in the First World War.

The Hohenzollern Empire was followed by the Weimar Republic (1919-1933), but this was not seen as the Third Reich, but rather as an Interim Reich.

The term Third Reich was most likely taken from the book "Das dritte Reich" published by Arthur Möller van den Bruck (1876-1925) in 1923.


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Post by Fredrik Hultman » 20 Jul 2004 18:55

Wow, that was a fast reply. Thanks!

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Post by Eden Zhang » 21 Jul 2004 02:47

Does modern Germany still call itself a Reich? or has the use of that word ended because of its associations to the Nazis?

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Post by DarExc » 21 Jul 2004 06:01

Reich simply means an Empire or realm of influence (or it can mean rich). Germany is now called a Bundes Republik (Federal Republic). The Reichstag is now the Bundestag though the building is still called Reichstag Building. There was a group wanting to start a 4th Reich but they were banned as an illegal party in the 60's I believe after winning a number of seats.

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Post by Loki » 21 Jul 2004 23:54

You're probably talking about the "Sozialistische Reichspartei" (SRP". This party was made up from former members of the "Deutsche Reichspartei". It's members glorifierd Hitler, copyied the entire program of the NSDAP (inculding SA, called Reichsfront) and got 11% of the votes in the Niedersachsen elections and 7% in the elections of Bremen, both member states of the Federal German Republic. Because of it's fanatism and open glorifing of the Nazis, the party was banned in 1952.

Today, there are three right-wing parties in Germany:

The NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands), the most fanatic of the three, lead by a former officer of the Bundeswehr. Holds no seats in any parlament in germany.

The DVU (Deutsche VolksUnion), gained serveral seats in the late 90ties in some of the new east german member states, for example Sachsen.

And the Republicans, the moderatest of all, holds currently some seats in several city parlaments.

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Post by gotenhafen » 23 Jul 2004 14:43

In some parts of Poland, especially among Silesians, there is still said "Rajch" (Reich) for Germany. But it's rather connected to 2nd Reich, not the Nazi one.

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Post by Reich Ruin » 24 Jul 2004 04:44

There is an interesting book I found in my local library that talks about the German economy of the 20th century and is also somewhat politcal and idealistic. It's called " The Rise of The Fourth Reich: A Guide To The German Economic Superpower ".

I personally call the modern day German Republic the Fourth Reich since I believe the German people should be proud of their past and present culture ( with the obvious exception of the so-called "Third Reich" ). Even though I am not German nor have ever visited Germany I admire it's people since my great grandfather was part German and a priest I have known is German. They are a great people with a bright future ahead... personally I see modern day Germany as what the third reich should have been... 8)

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Post by maxxx » 24 Jul 2004 11:28

Todays Germany is what it is because the Third Reich failed so horrible. The system of Democracy had no great value to the germans in the 20ies or 30ies. It took the desaster of nazism and war to show that it may be not the best of all systems, but that there is no better at hand- especially not the "strong man with the simple solutions). As always the germans became "the best in class" also in democracy.

ReichRuin, as I see it, your "4th Reich"-term should actually be a compliment- but please DONT USE it on germans! It makes them rather angry. They had to work very hard for decades to get the evil shadow of the reich away from them...

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Re: Third reich - What about the first and the second?

Post by Cantankerous » 12 Feb 2021 00:23

When was "First Reich" used in published histories for the Holy Roman Empire?

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Re: Third reich - What about the first and the second?

Post by David Thompson » 12 Feb 2021 06:07

From the forum rules (posted for all to see at app.php/rules):
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Noncomplying posts are subject to deletion after warning.

If you have a question, please let the readers know what steps you have taken to answer it when you post the inquiry. This will eliminate misunderstandings and give responding posters a better idea of your familiarity with the subject

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Re: Third reich - What about the first and the second?

Post by ManfredV » 12 Feb 2021 10:11

Nazis used "Third Reich" for their propaganda. In this context "First Reich" stood for HRE and "Second Reich" for 1871 - 1918 Kaiserreich.
But these terms weren't common in public or used by historians. Germans use "Altes Reich" or "Heiliges Römisches Reich" for pre 1806 empire and "Neues Reich", "Deutsches Reich" or "Kaiserreich" for 1871 nation.
Curiously prussian kings /Deutsche Kaiser used prussian tradition for numerate their names and didn't continue HRE.
So we had Wilhelm I, Friedrich III and Wilhelm II in "Kaiserreich" and we had king Wilhelm (1254 - 1256) and king/emperor Friedrich (1440 - 1493) in HRE. Historians use "Wilhelm von Holland" for the old one and "Friedrich III (HRR)" and "Friedrich III (Kaiserreich)" to differ.

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