Translated by Joachim Neugroschel. New York: Macmillan. He served Hitler faithfully, but his heart was in architecture, not in politics. In his memoir ''Inside the Third Reich'' - an important source for the history of the Nazi era - he wrote that for the chance to put up a great building, he would have, like Fa ust, sold his soul. In the Nuremberg trials, in which hereceived a 20 -year sentence, he was virtually the only def endant who did not attempt to deny his personal responsibility.

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A close ally of Adolf Hitler , he was convicted at the Nuremberg trials and sentenced to 20 years in prison. An architect by training, Speer joined the Nazi Party in His architectural skills made him increasingly prominent within the Party, and he became a member of Hitler's inner circle. Hitler instructed him to design and construct structures including the Reich Chancellery and the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg.

In this capacity he was responsible for the Central Department for Resettlement that evicted Jewish tenants from their homes in Berlin. Using doctored statistics, he promoted himself as having performed an "armaments miracle" that was widely credited with keeping Germany in the war.

In , Speer established a task force to increase production of fighter aircraft. It became instrumental in the exploitation of slave labor for the benefit of the German war effort.

After the war, Speer was among the 24 "major war criminals " arrested and charged with the crimes of the Nazi regime at the Nuremberg trials. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity , principally for the use of slave labor, narrowly avoiding a death sentence. Having served his full term, Speer was released in He used his writings from the time of imprisonment as the basis for two autobiographical books, Inside the Third Reich and Spandau: The Secret Diaries.

Speer's books were a success; the public was fascinated by an inside view of the Third Reich. Speer died of a stroke in Little remains of his personal architectural work.

Through his autobiographies and interviews, Speer carefully constructed an image of himself as a man who deeply regretted having failed to discover the monstrous crimes of the Third Reich. He continued to deny explicit knowledge of, and responsibility for, the Holocaust.

This image dominated his historiography in the decades following the war, giving rise to the "Speer Myth": the perception of him as an apolitical technocrat responsible for revolutionizing the German war machine. The myth began to fall apart in the s, when the armaments miracle was attributed to Nazi propaganda. Adam Tooze wrote in The Wages of Destruction that the idea that Speer was an apolitical technocrat was "absurd". Martin Kitchen , writing in Speer: Hitler's Architect , stated that much of the increase in Germany's arms production was actually due to systems instituted by Speer's predecessor Fritz Todt and furthermore that Speer was intimately involved in the " Final Solution ".

Speer was born in Mannheim , into an upper-middle-class family. King , deputy prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials who later wrote a book about Speer said, "Love and warmth were lacking in the household of Speer's youth. Speer began his architectural studies at the University of Karlsruhe instead of a more highly acclaimed institution because the hyperinflation crisis of limited his parents' income. In mid, Speer began courting Margarete Margret Weber — , the daughter of a successful craftsman who employed 50 workers.

The relationship was frowned upon by Speer's class-conscious mother, who felt the Webers were socially inferior. Despite this opposition, the two married in Berlin on August 28, ; seven years elapsed before Margarete was invited to stay at her in-laws' home. He remained so even after his release from imprisonment in , despite their efforts to forge closer bonds. In January , Speer applied for Nazi Party membership, and on March 1, , he became member number , After he failed to do so, his father gave him a part-time job as manager of his properties.

While they were there his friend, Nazi Party official Karl Hanke recommended the young architect to Joseph Goebbels to help renovate the Party's Berlin headquarters. The organizers of the Nuremberg Rally asked Speer to submit designs for the rally, bringing him into contact with Hitler for the first time. Neither the organizers nor Rudolf Hess were willing to decide whether to approve the plans, and Hess sent Speer to Hitler's Munich apartment to seek his approval.

Shortly after Hitler came into power, he began to make plans to rebuild the chancellery. At the end of , he contracted Paul Troost to renovate the entire building. Hitler appointed Speer, whose work for Goebbels had impressed him, to manage the building site for Troost.

After one of these briefings, Hitler invited Speer to lunch, to the architect's great excitement. Most days he was invited to dinner. In the English version of his memoirs, Speer says that his political commitment merely consisted of paying his "monthly dues". He assumed his German readers would not be so gullible and told them the Nazi Party offered a "new mission. Like many of those in power in the Third Reich, he was not an ideologue, "nor was he anything more than an instinctive anti-Semite.

When Troost died on January 21, , Speer effectively replaced him as the Party's chief architect. Hitler appointed Speer as head of the Chief Office for Construction, which placed him nominally on Hess's staff. One of Speer's first commissions after Troost's death was the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg. It was used for Nazi propaganda rallies and can be seen in Leni Riefenstahl 's propaganda film Triumph of the Will.

The building was able to hold , people. Many more buildings were planned. If built, the German Stadium would have accommodated , spectators. He added a stone exterior that pleased Hitler.

This carried with it the rank of undersecretary of state in the Reich government and gave him extraordinary powers over the Berlin city government. These centered on a three-mile-long grand boulevard running from north to south, which Speer called the Prachtstrasse , or Street of Magnificence; [32] he also referred to it as the "North-South Axis".

The existing Berlin railroad termini were to be dismantled, and two large new stations built. Plans to build a new Reich chancellery had been underway since In June he charged a personal honorarium of 30, Reichsmark and estimated the chancellery would be completed within three to four years. Detailed plans were completed in July and the first shell of the new chancellery was complete on January 1, On January 27, , Speer received plenipotentiary powers from Hitler to finish the new chancellery by January 1, For propaganda Hitler claimed during the topping-out ceremony on August 2, , that he had ordered Speer to complete the new chancellery that year.

A brick factory was built near the Oranienburg concentration camp at Speer's behest; when someone commented on the poor conditions there, Speer stated, "The Yids got used to making bricks while in Egyptian captivity".

During the Chancellery project, the pogrom of Kristallnacht took place. Speer made no mention of it in the first draft of Inside the Third Reich. It was only on the urgent advice of his publisher that he added a mention of seeing the ruins of the Central Synagogue in Berlin from his car.

From on, Speer's Department used the Nuremberg Laws to evict Jewish tenants of non-Jewish landlords in Berlin, to make way for non-Jewish tenants displaced by redevelopment or bombing. I knew that these must be Berlin Jews who were being evacuated.

I am sure that an oppressive feeling struck me as I drove past. I presumably had a sense of somber events. As Germany started World War II in Europe, Speer instituted quick-reaction squads to construct roads or clear away debris; before long, these units would be used to clear bomb sites.

Though stockpiling of materials and other work continued, this slowed to a halt as more resources were needed for the armament industry. On February 8, , Minister of Armaments Fritz Todt died in a plane crash shortly after taking off from Hitler's eastern headquarters at Rastenburg. Speer arrived there the previous evening and accepted Todt's offer to fly with him to Berlin. Speer cancelled some hours before take-off because the previous night he had been up late in a meeting with Hitler.

Martin Kitchen , a British historian, says that the choice was not surprising. Speer was loyal to Hitler, and his experience building prisoner of war camps and other structures for the military qualified him for the job.

He proved to be ambitious, unrelenting and ruthless. This "miracle" was brought to a halt in the summer of by, among other factors, the first sustained Allied bombing. Germany's armaments production had already begun to result in increases under his predecessor, Todt. Naval armaments were not under Speer's supervision until October , nor the Luftwaffe's armaments until June of the following year.

Yet each showed comparable increases in production despite not being under Speer's control. Oil production became so low any possibility of offensive action became impossible and weaponry lay idle.

As Minister of Armaments, Speer was responsible for supplying weapons to the army. This delayed the program, and Speer was unable to remedy the situation. In consequence, despite tank production having the highest priority, relatively little of the armaments budget was spent on it. As head of Organisation Todt, Speer was directly involved in the construction and alteration of concentration camps.

He agreed to expand Auschwitz and some other camps, allocating This allowed an extra huts to be built at Auschwitz, increasing the total human capacity to , Included in the building works was material to build gas chambers , crematoria and morgues. Speer realized that with six million workers drafted into the armed forces, there was a labor shortage in the war economy, and not enough workers for his factories. In response, Hitler appointed Fritz Sauckel as a "manpower dictator" to obtain new workers.

Sauckel had whole villages in France, Holland and Belgium forcibly rounded up and shipped to Speer's factories. It was for the maltreatment of these people, that Speer was principally convicted at the Nuremberg Trials. Following his appointment as Minister of Armaments, Speer was in control of armaments production solely for the Army.

He coveted control of the production of armaments for the Luftwaffe airforce and Kriegsmarine navy. He set about extending his power and influence with unexpected ambition.

Hitler's cabinet was dismayed at his tactics, but, regardless, he was able to accumulate new responsibilities and more power. He had become one of the most powerful people in Nazi Germany. Speer and his hand-picked director of submarine construction Otto Merker believed that the shipbuilding industry was being held back by outdated methods, and revolutionary new approaches imposed by outsiders would dramatically improve output.

The designs were rushed into production, and the completed submarines were crippled by flaws which resulted from the way they had been constructed. While dozens of submarines were built, few ever entered service.

In December , Speer visited Organisation Todt workers in Lapland , while there he seriously damaged his knee and was incapacitated for several months. Concerned about retaining power, he did not appoint a deputy and continued to direct work of the Armaments Ministry from his bedside.


Rereading Albert Speer’s “Inside the Third Reich”

The book was a worn, thick burgundy paperback, spine splintered in three parts, tiny print crammed on its pages. I read it in the bedroom downstairs, our family dumping ground of books and newspapers, old clothes, forgotten things. I must have been about ten. On the University of Nigeria campus, where I grew up, books and videocassettes drifted in and out of homes, borrowed and returned, creased and torn, passed around. I read everything—thrillers, history, romance, classics—some in a cursory way, with passages skipped. But this book absorbed me.


Infiltration by Albert Speer

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ISBN 13: 9780026128001

A close ally of Adolf Hitler , he was convicted at the Nuremberg trials and sentenced to 20 years in prison. An architect by training, Speer joined the Nazi Party in His architectural skills made him increasingly prominent within the Party, and he became a member of Hitler's inner circle. Hitler instructed him to design and construct structures including the Reich Chancellery and the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg.

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