A multitude of expatriate voices—including W.E.B. Du Bois, Charles Lindberg, and Samuel Beckett—record their impressions and experiences visiting the Third Reich, with varying degrees of comprehension of the fascistic oppression they were witnessing.
The author explores the feelings of kinship U.S. and British citizens felt toward Germans during and after World War I; their love of German culture and countryside; how confusing it was to interpret propaganda and define fascism; and the disbelief that the warm, hospitable Germans they met were capable of such heinous acts ... This compelling, intricate, and meticulous work of how outsiders viewed Hitler's Germany will appeal to readers of World War II and 20th-century history.
Boyd's book distinguishes itself not only for the breadth of its investigation but also for the palpable tone of frustration that runs throughout. Historians are professionally wary of hindsight, and Boyd never blames her subjects for not knowing the future. But even so, her moral outrage is often obvious ... The final chapters of Boyd's book take the story past the point of no return, into the war-days and their ruinous aftermath ... readers will likely share Boyd's quiet outrage that more Germans didn't see—or weren't willing to admit—what was happening right in front of their eyes.
Historian and biographer Julia Boyd opens her riveting Travelers in the Third Reich with ... firsthand accounts by foreigners to convey what it was really like to visit, study or vacation in Germany during the 1920s and ’30s. Throughout, Boyd draws on contemporary letters, diaries and memorandums written by diplomats and politicians, college students, social workers, famous authors and Englishwomen married to Germans ... Shockingly few of these observers managed to see through the Nazis’ smoke and mirrors ... As Julia Boyd emphasizes, too many people allowed reverence for a nation’s glorious past to warp their judgment about its morally repugnant present. That’s a lesson still worth thinking about.