Hitler was building the Third Reich. What were Reichs One and Two?
Adolf Hitler spoke of the empire he was trying to build as the Third Reich. What were Reichs One and Two?
According to a fascinating tome called The Hitler Fact Book by Thomas Fuchs (like I say, I get the most amazing stuff in the mail), "the first Reich was the Holy Roman Empire of the Middle Ages; the second, the one established by Bismarck and ended by Germany's defeat in 1918." The term was a favorite of Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. Hitler himself wasn't that crazy about it, Fuchs notes; he outlawed the term at the beginning of World War II and referred to his realm merely as the Reich.
Another Nazi term, "Thousand Year Reich," supposedly had its origin in a remark by Hitler following the purge of June 1934, when he had many of his onetime supporters murdered. Hitler said the victims had been plotting a revolt, and promised there would be no more such strife for a thousand years.