Albert Speer

Albert Speer

Overview
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, (ˈʃpeːɐ̯; March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981) was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. Speer was Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's chief architect before assuming ministerial office. As "the Nazi who said sorry", he accepted responsibility at the Nuremberg trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 and in his memoirs for crimes of the Nazi regime.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Albert Speer'
Start a new discussion about 'Albert Speer'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, (ˈʃpeːɐ̯; March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981) was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. Speer was Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's chief architect before assuming ministerial office. As "the Nazi who said sorry", he accepted responsibility at the Nuremberg trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 and in his memoirs for crimes of the Nazi regime. His level of involvement in the persecution of the Jews and his level of knowledge of the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 remain matters of dispute.

Speer joined the Nazi Party in 1931, launching him on a political and governmental career
Political career of Albert Speer
The Political career of Albert Speer refers to various political and government appointments held by Albert Speer between 1931 and 1945 under the authority of Nazi Germany and the Nazi Party.-Nazi Party Positions:...

 which lasted fourteen years. His architectural skills made him increasingly prominent within the Party and he became a member of Hitler's inner circle. Hitler commanded him to design and construct a number of structures, including the Reich Chancellery
Reich Chancellery
The Reich Chancellery was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945...

 and the Zeppelinfeld
Nazi party rally grounds
The Nazi party rally grounds consist of about 11 square kilometres in the southeast of Nuremberg, Germany...

stadium in Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

 where Party rallies
Nuremberg Rally
The Nuremberg Rally was the annual rally of the NSDAP in Germany, held from 1923 to 1938. Especially after Hitler's rise to power in 1933, they were large Nazi propaganda events...

 were held. Speer also made plans to reconstruct Berlin
Welthauptstadt Germania
Welthauptstadt Germania refers to the projected renewal of the German capital Berlin during the Nazi period, part of Adolf Hitler's vision for the future of Germany after the planned victory in World War II...

 on a grand scale, with huge buildings, wide boulevards, and a reorganized transportation system.

As Hitler's Minister of Armaments and War Production, Speer was so successful that Germany's war production continued to increase despite massive and devastating Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 bombing
Strategic bombing during World War II
Strategic bombing during World War II is a term which refers to all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature between 1939 and 1945 involving any nations engaged in World War II...

. After the war, he was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the Nazi regime, principally for the use of forced labor
Forced labor in Germany during World War II
The use of forced labour in Nazi Germany and throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II took place on an unprecedented scale. It was a vital part of the German economic exploitation of conquered territories. It also contributed to the mass extermination of populations in German-occupied...

. He served his full sentence, most of it at Spandau Prison
Spandau Prison
Spandau Prison was a prison situated in the borough of Spandau in western Berlin, constructed in 1876 and demolished in 1987 after the death of its last prisoner, Rudolf Hess, to prevent it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine. The prison was near, though not part of, the Renaissance-era Spandau Citadel...

 in West Berlin.

Following his release from Spandau in 1966, Speer published two bestselling autobiographical works, Inside the Third Reich
Inside the Third Reich
Inside the Third Reich is a memoir written by Albert Speer, the Nazi Minister of Armaments from 1942 to 1945, serving as Hitler's main architect before this period...

and Spandau: The Secret Diaries
Spandau: The Secret Diaries
Spandau: The Secret Diaries was a 1976 best selling book by Albert Speer. While it principally deals with Speer's time while incarcerated at Spandau Prison, it also contains much material on his role in the Third Reich and his relationship with Adolf Hitler....

, detailing his often close personal relationship with Hitler, and providing readers and historians with a unique perspective on the workings of the Nazi regime. He later wrote a third book, Infiltration, about the SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

. Speer died of natural causes in 1981 while on a visit to London, England.

Early years


Speer was born in Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

, into a wealthy middle class family. He was the second of three sons of Albert and Luise Speer. In 1918, the family moved permanently to their summer home, Schloss-Wolfsbrunnenweg, in Heidelberg
Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

. According to Henry T. King
Henry T. King
Henry T. King Jr. was an attorney who served as a U.S. Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946-47. Late in his career, he became a law professor and an activist, writer, and lecturer working on international law and war crimes; David M...

, deputy prosecutor at Nürnberg who later wrote a book about Speer, "Love and warmth were lacking in the household of Speer's youth." Speer was active in sports, taking up skiing and mountaineering. Speer's Heidelberg school offered rugby football
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

, unusual for Germany, and Speer was a participant. He wanted to become a mathematician
Mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

, but his father said if Speer chose this occupation he would "lead a life without money, without a position, and without a future". Instead, Speer followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and studied architecture.

Speer began his architectural studies at the University of Karlsruhe instead of a more highly acclaimed institution because the hyperinflation
Inflation in the Weimar Republic
The hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic was a three year period of hyperinflation in Germany between June 1921 and July 1924.- Analysis :...

 crisis of 1923 limited his parents' income. In 1924 when the crisis had abated, he transferred to the "much more reputable" Technical University of Munich
Technical University of Munich
The Technische Universität München is a research university with campuses in Munich, Garching, and Weihenstephan...

. In 1925 he transferred again, this time to the Technical University of Berlin
Technical University of Berlin
The Technische Universität Berlin is a research university located in Berlin, Germany. Translating the name into English is discouraged by the university, however paraphrasing as Berlin Institute of Technology is recommended by the university if necessary .The TU Berlin was founded...

 where he studied under Heinrich Tessenow
Heinrich Tessenow
Heinrich Tessenow was a German architect, professor, and urban planner active in the Weimar era.-Biography:...

, whom Speer greatly admired. After passing his exams in 1927, Speer became Tessenow's assistant, a high honor for a man of 22. As such, Speer taught some of Tessenow's classes while continuing his own postgraduate studies. In Munich, and continuing in Berlin, Speer began a close friendship, ultimately spanning over 50 years, with Rudolf Wolters
Rudolf Wolters
Rudolf Wolters was a German architect and government official, known for his longtime association with fellow architect and Third Reich official Albert Speer...

, who also studied under Tessenow.

In mid-1922, Speer began courting Margarete (Margret) Weber (1905–1987). The relationship was frowned upon by Speer's class-conscious mother, who felt that the Webers were socially inferior (Weber's father was a successful craftsman who employed 50 workers). Despite this opposition, the two married in Berlin on August 28, 1928; seven years were to elapse before Margarete Speer was invited to stay at her in-laws' home.

Joining the Nazis (1930–1934)


Speer stated he was apolitical when he was a young man, and that he attended a Berlin Nazi rally in December 1930 at the urging of some of his students. He was surprised to find Hitler dressed in a neat blue suit, rather than the brown uniform
Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

 seen on Nazi Party posters, and was greatly impressed, not only with Hitler's proposals, but also with the man himself. Several weeks later he attended another rally: this one was presided over by Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

. Speer was disturbed by the way Goebbels whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Despite this unease, Speer could not shake the impression Hitler had made on him. On March 1, 1931, he applied to join the Nazi Party and became member number 474,481.

Speer's first Nazi Party position was as head of the Party's motorist association
National Socialist Motor Corps
The National Socialist Motor Corps , also known as the National Socialist Drivers Corps, was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party that existed from 1931 to 1945. The group was a successor organization to the older National Socialist Automobile Corps, which had existed since the beginning...

 for the Berlin suburb of Wannsee
Wannsee
Wannsee is a locality in the southwestern Berlin borough of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Germany. It is the westernmost locality of Berlin. In the quarter there are two lakes, the larger Großer Wannsee and the Kleiner Wannsee , are located on the river Havel and are separated only by the Wannsee bridge...

; he was the only Nazi in the town with a car. Speer reported to the Party's leader for the West End of Berlin
Westend (Berlin)
Westend is a locality of the Berlin borough Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf situated on the Spandauer Berg, the northern peak of the Teltow plateau between the river valleys of Spree and Havel...

, Karl Hanke
Karl Hanke
Karl August Hanke was an official of the National Socialist German Workers Party . He served as governor of Lower Silesia from 1941 to 1945 and as the final Reichsführer-SS for a few days in 1945.- Early life :Hanke was born in Lauban in Silesia, on 24 August 1903, the son of a locomotive...

, who hired Speer—without fee—to redecorate a villa he had just rented. Hanke was enthusiastic about the resulting work.

In 1931, Speer surrendered his position as Tessenow's assistant because of pay cuts and moved to Mannheim, hoping to use his father's connections to get commissions. He had little success, and his father gave him a job as manager of the elder Speer's properties. In July 1932, the Speers visited Berlin to help out the Party prior to the Reichstag
Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

elections. While they were there, Hanke recommended the young architect to Goebbels to help renovate the Party's Berlin headquarters. Speer, who had been about to leave with his wife for a vacation in East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

, agreed to do the work. When the commission was completed, Speer returned to Mannheim and remained there as Hitler took office
Machtergreifung
Machtergreifung is a German word meaning "seizure of power". It is normally used specifically to refer to the Nazi takeover of power in the democratic Weimar Republic on 30 January 1933, the day Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany, turning it into the Nazi German dictatorship.-Term:The...

 in January 1933.

After the Nazis took control, Hanke recalled Speer to Berlin. Goebbels, the new Propaganda Minister, commissioned Speer to renovate his Ministry's building on Wilhelmplatz
Wilhelmplatz
Wilhelmplatz is a former square in the Mitte district of Berlin, Germany at the corner of Wilhelmstrasse and Voßstraße. The square also gave its name to a Berlin U-Bahn station which has since been renamed Mohrenstraße...

. Speer also designed the 1933 May Day commemoration in Berlin. In Inside the Third Reich, he wrote that, on seeing the original design for the Berlin rally on Hanke's desk, he remarked that the site would resemble a Schützenfest
Schützenfest
A Schützenfest is a traditional festival or fair featuring a target shooting competition in the cultures of both Germany and Switzerland....

– a rifle club meet. Hanke, now Goebbels' State Secretary, challenged him to create a better design. As Speer learned later, Hitler was enthusiastic about Speer's design (which used giant flags), though Goebbels took credit for it. Tessenow was dismissive: "Do you think you have created something? It's showy, that's all."
The organizers of the 1933 Nürnberg Nazi Party 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
Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s...

 were willing to decide whether to approve the plans, and Hess sent Speer to Hitler's Munich apartment to seek his approval. When Speer entered, the new Chancellor was busy cleaning a pistol, which he briefly laid aside to cast a short, interested glance at the plans, approving them without even looking at the young architect. This work won Speer his first national post, as Nazi Party "Commissioner for the Artistic and Technical Presentation of Party Rallies and Demonstrations".

Speer's next major assignment was as liaison to the Berlin building trades for Paul Troost
Paul Troost
Paul Ludwig Troost , born in Elberfeld, was a German architect. An extremely tall, spare-looking, reserved Westphalian with a close-shaven head, Troost belonged to a school of architects, Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius who, even before 1914, reacted sharply against the highly ornamental...

's renovation of the Chancellery. As Chancellor, Hitler had a residence in the building and came by every day to be briefed by Speer and the building supervisor on the progress of the renovations. After one of these briefings, Hitler invited Speer to lunch, to the architect's great excitement. Hitler evinced considerable interest in Speer during the luncheon, and later told Speer that he had been looking for a young architect capable of carrying out his architectural dreams for the new Germany. Speer quickly became part of Hitler's inner circle; he was expected to call on Hitler in the morning for a walk or chat, to provide consultation on architectural matters, and to discuss Hitler's ideas. Most days he was invited to dinner.

The two men found much in common: Hitler spoke of Speer as a "kindred spirit" for whom he had always maintained "the warmest human feelings". The young, ambitious architect was dazzled by his rapid rise and close proximity to Hitler, which guaranteed him a flood of commissions from the government and from the highest ranks of the Party. Speer testified at Nürnberg, "I belonged to a circle which consisted of other artists and his personal staff. If Hitler had had any friends at all, I certainly would have been one of his close friends."

First Architect of the Third Reich (1934–1939)


When Troost died on January 21, 1934, 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—the Nürnberg parade grounds
Nazi party rally grounds
The Nazi party rally grounds consist of about 11 square kilometres in the southeast of Nuremberg, Germany...

 seen in Leni Riefenstahl
Leni Riefenstahl
Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl was a German film director, actress and dancer widely noted for her aesthetics and innovations as a filmmaker. Her most famous film was Triumph des Willens , a propaganda film made at the 1934 Nuremberg congress of the Nazi Party...

's propaganda masterpiece Triumph of the Will
Triumph of the Will
Triumph of the Will is a propaganda film made by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by various Nazi leaders at the Congress, including portions of...

. This huge work was capable of holding 340,000 people. The tribune
Tribune (architecture)
Tribune is an ambiguous — and often misused — architectural term which can have several meanings. Today it most often refers to a dais or stage-like platform, or — in a vaguer sense — any place from which a speech can be prominently made.-Etymology:...

 was influenced by the Pergamon Altar
Pergamon Altar
The Pergamon Altar is a monumental construction built during the reign of King Eumenes II in the first half of the 2nd century BC on one of the terraces of the acropolis of the ancient city of Pergamon in Asia Minor....

 in Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

, but was magnified to an enormous scale. Speer insisted that as many events as possible be held at night, both to give greater prominence to his lighting effects and to hide the individual Nazis, many of whom were overweight. Speer surrounded the site with 130 anti-aircraft searchlight
Searchlight
A searchlight is an apparatus that combines a bright light source with some form of curved reflector or other optics to project a powerful beam of light of approximately parallel rays in a particular direction, usually constructed so that it can be swiveled about.-Military use:The Royal Navy used...

s. This created the effect of a "cathedral of light
Cathedral of light
The cathedral of light was a main aesthetic feature of the Nuremberg Rallies that consisted of 130 anti-aircraft searchlights, at intervals of 12 metres , aimed skyward to create a series of vertical bars surrounding the audience. The effect was a brilliant one, both from within the design and on...

" or, as it was called by British Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson
Nevile Henderson
Sir Nevile Meyrick Henderson, KCMG , was the third child of Robert and Emma Henderson and was born at Sedgwick Park near Horsham, West Sussex. Ambassador of Great Britain to Germany from 1937 to 1939, he believed that Adolf Hitler could be controlled and pushed toward peace and cooperation with...

, a "cathedral of ice". Speer described this as his most beautiful work, and as the only one that stood the test of time.

Nürnberg was to be the site of many more official Nazi buildings, most of which were never built; for example, the German Stadium
Deutsches Stadion
The Deutsches Stadion was a monumental stadium designed by Albert Speer for the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg, southern Germany. Its construction began in September 1937, and was slated for completion in 1943...

 would have accommodated 400,000 spectators, while an even larger rally ground would have held half a million Nazis. While planning these structures, Speer invented the concept of "ruin value
Ruin value
Ruin value is the concept that a building be designed such that if it eventually collapsed, it would leave behind aesthetically pleasing ruins that would last far longer without any maintenance at all...

": that major buildings should be constructed in such a way that they would leave aesthetically pleasing ruins for thousands of years into the future. Such ruins would be a testament to the greatness of the Third Reich, just as ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 or Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 ruins were symbols of the greatness of those civilizations. Hitler enthusiastically embraced this concept, and ordered that all the Reich's important buildings be constructed in accord with it.


Speer could not avoid seeing the brutal excesses of the Nazi regime. Shortly after Hitler consolidated power in the Night of the Long Knives
Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives , sometimes called "Operation Hummingbird " or in Germany the "Röhm-Putsch," was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders...

, Hitler ordered Speer to take workmen and go to the building housing the offices of Vice-Chancellor
Vice-Chancellor of Germany
The Vice-Chancellor of Germany is, according to protocol, the second highest position in the Cabinet of GermanyIn case of the Chancellor's absence, the vice-chancellor acts in his or her place, for instance by heading cabinet meetings...

 Franz von Papen
Franz von Papen
Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen zu Köningen was a German nobleman, Roman Catholic monarchist politician, General Staff officer, and diplomat, who served as Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and as Vice-Chancellor under Adolf Hitler in 1933–1934...

 to begin its conversion into a security headquarters, even though it was still occupied by von Papen's officials. Speer and his group entered the building, to be confronted with a pool of blood, apparently from the body of Herbert von Bose
Herbert von Bose
Herbert von Bose was head of the press division of the Vice Chancellery in Germany under Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen.- Imperial Germany and Weimar Republic :...

, von Papen's secretary, who had been killed there. Speer related that the sight had no effect on him, other than to cause him to avoid that room.

When Hitler deprecated Werner March
Werner March
Werner Julius March was a German architect.He was born in Charlottenburg and died in Berlin.For the 1936 Summer Olympics in Germany, March created his most famous work, Berlin's Olympic Stadium...

's design for the Olympic Stadium for the 1936 Summer Olympics
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

 as too modern
Modern architecture
Modern architecture is generally characterized by simplification of form and creation of ornament from the structure and theme of the building. It is a term applied to an overarching movement, with its exact definition and scope varying widely...

, Speer modified the plans by adding a stone exterior. Speer designed the German Pavilion for the 1937 international exposition in Paris. The German and Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 pavilion sites were opposite each other. On learning (through a clandestine look at the Soviet plans) that the Soviet design included two colossal figures
Worker and Kolkhoz Woman
Worker and Kolkhoz Woman is a 24.5 meter high sculpture made from stainless steel by Vera Mukhina for the 1937 World's Fair in Paris, and subsequently moved to Moscow. The sculpture is an example of the socialist realistic style, as well as Art Deco style...

 seemingly about to overrun the German site, Speer modified his design to include a cubic mass which would check their advance, with a huge eagle on top looking down on the Soviet figures. Both pavilions were awarded gold medals for their designs. Speer would also receive, from Hitler Youth
Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...

 Leader and later fellow Spandau prisoner Baldur von Schirach
Baldur von Schirach
Baldur Benedikt von Schirach was a Nazi youth leader later convicted of being a war criminal. Schirach was the head of the Hitler-Jugend and Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter of Vienna....

, the Golden Hitler Youth Honor Badge with oak leaves.
In 1937, Hitler appointed Speer as General Building Inspector for the Reich Capital with the rank of undersecretary of state in the Reich government. The position carried with it extraordinary powers over the Berlin city government and made Speer answerable to Hitler alone. It also made Speer a member of the Reichstag, though the body by then had little effective power. Hitler ordered Speer to make plans to rebuild Berlin. The plans centered on a three-mile long grand boulevard running from north to south, which Speer called the Prachtstrasse, or Street of Magnificence; he also referred to it as the "North-South Axis". At the north end of the boulevard, Speer planned to build the Volkshalle
Volkshalle
The ' , also called ' or ' , was a huge domed monumental building planned by Adolf Hitler and his architect Albert Speer for Germania. The project was never accomplished....

, a huge assembly hall with a dome which would have been over 700 feet (213.4 m) high, with floor space for 180,000 people. At the southern end of the avenue would be a huge triumphal arch; it would be almost 400 feet (121.9 m) high, and able to fit the Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe
-The design:The astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin , in the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture . Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe: Jean-Pierre Cortot; François Rude; Antoine Étex; James Pradier and Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire...

 inside its opening. The outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in 1939 led to the postponement, and eventual abandonment, of these plans. Part of the land for the boulevard was to be obtained by consolidating Berlin's railway system. Speer hired Wolters as part of his design team, with special responsibility for the Prachtstrasse. When Speer's father saw the model for the new Berlin, he said to his son, "You've all gone completely insane."
In January 1938, Hitler asked Speer to build a new Reich Chancellery on the same site as the existing structure, and said he needed it for urgent foreign policy reasons no later than his next New Year's reception for diplomats on January 10, 1939. This was a huge undertaking, especially since the existing Chancellery was in full operation. After consultation with his assistants, Speer agreed. Although the site could not be cleared until April, Speer was successful in building the large, impressive structure in nine months. The structure included the "Marble Gallery": at 146 metres long, almost twice as long as the Hall of Mirrors
Hall of Mirrors (Palace of Versailles)
The Hall of Mirrors is the central gallery of the Palace of Versailles and is renowned as being one of the most famous rooms in the world.As the principal and most remarkable feature of King Louis XIV of France's third building campaign of the Palace of Versailles , construction of the Hall of...

 in the Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

. Speer employed thousands of workers in two shifts. Hitler, who had remained away from the project, was overwhelmed when Speer turned it over, fully furnished, two days early. In appreciation for the architect's work on the Chancellery, Hitler awarded Speer the Nazi Golden Party Badge
Golden Party Badge
The Golden Party Badge was a special badge of the Nazi Party. The first 100,000 members who had joined and had uninterrupted service in the Party were given the right to wear it...

. Tessenow was less impressed, suggesting to Speer that he should have taken nine years over the project. The second Chancellery was damaged by the Battle of Berlin
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

 in 1945 and was eventually dismantled by the Soviets, its stone used for a war memorial
Soviet War Memorial (Treptower Park)
The Soviet War Memorial, is a vast war memorial and military cemetery in Berlin's Treptower Park. It was built to the design of the Soviet architect Yakov Belopolsky to commemorate 5,000 of the 80,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in the Battle of Berlin in April–May 1945...

.

During the Chancellery project, the pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

 of Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, and also Reichskristallnacht, Pogromnacht, and Novemberpogrome, was a pogrom or series of attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.Jewish homes were ransacked, as were shops, towns and...

 took place. Speer would make no mention of it in the first draft of Inside the Third Reich, and 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.

Speer was under significant psychological pressure during this period of his life. He would later remember:

Soon after Hitler had given me the first large architectural commissions, I began to suffer from anxiety in long tunnels, in airplanes, or in small rooms. My heart would begin to race, I would become breathless, the diaphragm would seem to grow heavy, and I would get the impression that my blood pressure was rising tremendously ... Anxiety amidst all my freedom and power!

Wartime architect (1939–1942)



Speer supported the German invasion of Poland and subsequent war
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, though he recognized that it would lead to the postponement, at the least, of his architectural dreams. In his later years, Speer, talking with his biographer-to-be Gitta Sereny
Gitta Sereny
Gitta Sereny is an Austrian-born biographer, historian and investigative journalist whose writing focuses mainly on the Holocaust and child abuse. She is the stepdaughter of the economist Ludwig von Mises....

, explained how he felt in 1939: "Of course I was perfectly aware that [Hitler] sought world domination ... [A]t that time I asked for nothing better. That was the whole point of my buildings. They would have looked grotesque if Hitler had sat still in Germany. All I wanted was for this great man to dominate the globe."

Speer placed his department at the disposal of the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

. When Hitler remonstrated, and said it was not for Speer to decide how his workers should be used, Speer simply ignored him. Among Speer's innovations were quick-reaction squads to construct roads or clear away debris; before long, these units would be used to clear bomb sites. As the war progressed, initially to great German success, Speer continued preliminary work on the Berlin and Nürnberg plans, at Hitler's insistence, but failed to convince him of the need to suspend peacetime construction projects. Speer also oversaw the construction of buildings for the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

, and developed a considerable organization to deal with this work.

In 1940, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 proposed that Speer pay a visit to Moscow. Stalin had been particularly impressed by Speer's work in Paris, and wished to meet the "Architect of the Reich". Hitler, alternating between amusement and anger, did not allow Speer to go, fearing that Stalin would put Speer in a "rat hole" until a new Moscow arose. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 in 1941, Speer came to doubt, despite Hitler's reassurances, that his projects for Berlin would ever be completed.

Appointment and increasing power


On February 8, 1942, Minister of Armaments Fritz Todt
Fritz Todt
Fritz Todt was a German engineer and senior Nazi figure, the founder of Organisation Todt. He died in a plane crash during World War II.- Life :Todt was born in Pforzheim to a father who owned a small factory...

 died in a plane crash shortly after taking off from Hitler's eastern headquarters at Rastenburg
Ketrzyn
Kętrzyn , is a town in northeastern Poland with 28,351 inhabitants . Situated in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship , Kętrzyn was previously in Olsztyn Voivodeship . It is the capital of Kętrzyn County...

. Speer, who had arrived in Rastenburg the previous evening, had accepted Todt's offer to fly with him to Berlin, but had canceled some hours before takeoff (Speer stated in his memoirs that the cancellation was because of exhaustion from travel and a late-night meeting with Hitler). Later that day, Hitler appointed Speer as Todt's successor to all of his posts. In Inside the Third Reich, Speer recounts his meeting with Hitler and his reluctance to take ministerial office, only doing so because Hitler commanded it. Speer also states that Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 raced to Hitler's headquarters on hearing of Todt's death, hoping to claim Todt's powers. Hitler instead presented Göring with the fait accompli of Speer's appointment.

At the time of Speer's accession to the office, the German economy, unlike the British one, was not fully geared for war production. Consumer goods were still being produced at nearly as high a level as during peacetime. No fewer than five "Supreme Authorities" had jurisdiction over armament production—one of which, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, had declared in November 1941 that conditions did not permit an increase in armament production. Few women were employed in the factories, which were running only one shift. One evening soon after his appointment, Speer went to visit a Berlin armament factory; he found no one on the premises.
Speer overcame these difficulties by centralizing power over the war economy in himself. Factories were given autonomy, or as Speer put it, "self-responsibility", and each factory concentrated on a single product. Backed by Hitler's strong support (the dictator stated, "Speer, I'll sign anything that comes from you"), he divided the armament field according to weapon system, with experts rather than civil servants overseeing each department. No department head could be older than 55—anyone older being susceptible to "routine and arrogance"—and no deputy older than 40. Over these departments was a central planning committee headed by Speer, which took increasing responsibility for war production, and as time went by, for the German economy itself. According to the minutes of a conference at Wehrmacht High Command in March 1942, "It is only Speer's word that counts nowadays. He can interfere in all departments. Already he overrides all departments ... On the whole, Speer's attitude is to the point." Goebbels would note in his diary in June 1943, "Speer is still tops with the Führer. He is truly a genius with organization." Speer was so successful in his position that by late 1943, he was widely regarded among the Nazi elite as a possible successor to Hitler.

While Speer had tremendous power, he was of course subordinate to Hitler. Nazi officials sometimes went around Speer by seeking direct orders from the dictator. When Speer ordered peacetime building work suspended, the Gauleiter
Gauleiter
A Gauleiter was the party leader of a regional branch of the NSDAP or the head of a Gau or of a Reichsgau.-Creation and Early Usage:...

s
(Nazi Party district leaders) obtained an exemption for their pet projects. When Speer sought the appointment of Hanke as a labor czar to optimize the use of German labor, Hitler, under the influence of Martin Bormann
Martin Bormann
Martin Ludwig Bormann was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler...

, instead appointed Fritz Sauckel
Fritz Sauckel
Ernst Friedrich Christoph "Fritz" Sauckel was a Nazi war criminal, who organized the systematic enslavement of millions from lands occupied by Nazi Germany...

. Rather than increasing female labor and taking other steps to better organize German labor, as Speer favored, Sauckel advocated importing labor from the occupied nations – and did so, obtaining workers for (among other things) Speer's armament factories, using the most brutal methods.

On December 10, 1943, Speer visited the underground Mittelwerk
Mittelwerk
Central Works was a World War II factory that used Mittelbau-Dora forced labor in 2 main tunnels in the Kohnstein. The underground facility produced V-2 rockets, V-1 flying bombs, and other Nazi weapons.-Mittelwerk GmbH:...

 V-2 rocket
V-2 rocket
The V-2 rocket , technical name Aggregat-4 , was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp. The liquid-propellant rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known...

 factory that used concentration camp labor. Shocked by the conditions there (5.7 percent of the work force died that month), and to ensure the workers were in good enough shape to perform the labor, Speer ordered improved conditions for the workers and the construction of the above-ground Dora camp
Mittelbau-Dora
Mittelbau-Dora was a Nazi Germany labour camp that provided workers for the Mittelwerk V-2 rocket factory in the Kohnstein, situated near Nordhausen, Germany....

. In spite of these changes, half of the workers at Mittelwerk eventually died. Speer later commented, "[t]he conditions for these prisoners were in fact barbarous, and a sense of profound involvement and personal guilt seizes me whenever I think of them."
By 1943, the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 had gained air superiority over Germany, and bombings of German cities and industry had become commonplace. However, the Allies in their strategic bombing campaign
Strategic bombing during World War II
Strategic bombing during World War II is a term which refers to all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature between 1939 and 1945 involving any nations engaged in World War II...

 did not concentrate on industry, and Speer, with his improvisational skill, was able to overcome bombing losses. In spite of these losses, German production of tanks
German tanks in World War II
Nazi Germany had several tank designs during World War II. In addition to these domestic designs, Germany also made use of various captured and foreign-built tanks.- Development and uses :...

 more than doubled in 1943, production of planes increased by 80 percent, and production time for Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

s submarines was reduced from one year to two months. Production would continue to increase until the second half of 1944, by which time enough equipment to supply 270 army divisions was being produced—although the
Wehrmacht had only 150 divisions in the field.

In January 1944, Speer fell ill with complications from an inflamed knee, and was away from the office for three months. During his absence, his political rivals (mainly Göring, and Martin Bormann
Martin Bormann
Martin Ludwig Bormann was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler...

), attempted to have some of his powers permanently transferred to them. According to Speer, SS chief Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 tried to have him physically isolated by having Himmler's personal physician Karl Gebhardt
Karl Gebhardt
Karl Gebhardt was a German medical doctor; personal physician of Heinrich Himmler; and one of the main coordinators and perpetrators of surgical experiments performed on inmates of the concentration camps at Ravensbrück and Auschwitz.-Career in the Third Reich:Gebhardt's Nazi career began with his...

 treat him, though his "care" did not improve his health. Speer's wife and friends managed to have his case transferred to his friend Dr. Karl Brandt
Karl Brandt (Nazi physician)
Karl Brandt was a German Nazi war criminal. He rose to the rank of SS-Gruppenführer in the Allgemeine-SS and SS-Brigadeführer in the Waffen-SS. Among other positions, Brandt headed the administration of the Nazi euthanasia program from 1939 onwards and was selected as Adolf Hitler's personal...

, and he slowly recovered. In April, Speer's rivals for power succeeded in having him deprived of responsibility for construction, and Speer promptly sent Hitler a bitter letter, concluding with an offer of his resignation. Judging Speer indispensable to the war effort, Field Marshal Erhard Milch
Erhard Milch
Erhard Milch was a German Field Marshal who oversaw the development of the Luftwaffe as part of the re-armament of Germany following World War I, and served as founding Director of Deutsche Luft Hansa...

 persuaded Hitler to try to get his minister to reconsider. Hitler sent Milch to Speer with a message not addressing the dispute but instead stating that he still regarded Speer as highly as ever. According to Milch, upon hearing the message, Speer burst out, "The Führer
Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

 can kiss my ass!" After a lengthy argument, Milch persuaded Speer to withdraw his offer of resignation, on the condition his powers were restored. On April 23, 1944, Speer went to see Hitler who agreed that "everything [will] stay as it was, [Speer will] remain the head of all German construction". According to Speer, while he was successful in this debate, Hitler had also won, "because he wanted and needed me back in his corner, and he got me".

Fall of the Reich


Speer's name was included on the list of members of a post-Hitler government drawn up by the conspirators behind the July 1944 assassination plot
July 20 Plot
On 20 July 1944, an attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The plot was the culmination of the efforts of several groups in the German Resistance to overthrow the Nazi-led German government...

 to kill Hitler. The list had a question mark and the annotation "to be won over" by his name, which likely saved him from the extensive purges that followed the scheme's failure.

By February 1945, Speer, who had long concluded that the war was lost, was working to supply areas about to be occupied with food and materials to get them through the hard times ahead. On March 19, 1945, Hitler issued his Nero Decree
Nero Decree
The Nero Decree was issued by Adolf Hitler on March 19, 1945 ordering the destruction of German infrastructure to prevent their use by Allied forces as they penetrated deep within Germany...

, ordering a scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 policy in both Germany and the occupied territories. Hitler's order, by its terms, deprived Speer of any power to interfere with the decree, and Speer went to confront Hitler, telling him the war was lost. Hitler gave Speer 24 hours to reconsider his position, and when the two met the following day, Speer answered, "I stand unconditionally behind you." However, he demanded the exclusive power to implement the Nero Decree, and Hitler signed an order to that effect. Using this order, Speer worked to persuade generals and Gauleiters to evade the Nero Decree and avoid needless sacrifice of personnel and destruction of industry that would be needed after the war.

Speer managed to reach a relatively safe area near Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 as the Nazi regime finally collapsed, but decided on a final, risky visit to Berlin to see Hitler one more time. Speer stated at Nuremberg, "I felt that it was my duty not to run away like a coward, but to stand up to him again." Speer visited the Führerbunker
Führerbunker
The Führerbunker was located beneath Hitler's New Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex which was constructed in two major phases, one part in 1936 and the other in 1943...

on April 22. Hitler seemed calm and somewhat distracted, and the two had a long, disjointed conversation in which the dictator defended his actions and informed Speer of his intent to commit suicide and have his body burned. In the published edition of Inside the Third Reich, Speer relates that he confessed to Hitler that he had defied the Nero Decree, but then assured Hitler of his personal loyalty, bringing tears to the dictator's eyes. Speer biographer Gitta Sereny argued, "Psychologically, it is possible that this is the way he remembered the occasion, because it was how he would have liked to behave, and the way he would have liked Hitler to react. But the fact is that none of it happened; our witness to this is Speer himself." Sereny goes on to note that Speer's original draft of his memoirs lacks the confession and Hitler's tearful reaction, and contains an explicit denial that any confession or emotional exchange took place, as had been alleged in a French magazine article.

The following morning, Speer left the Führerbunker, with Hitler curtly bidding him farewell. Speer toured the damaged Chancellery one last time before leaving Berlin to return to Hamburg. On April 29, the day before committing suicide, Hitler dictated a final political testament
Last will and testament of Adolf Hitler
The last will and testament of Adolf Hitler was dictated by Hitler to his secretary Traudl Junge in his Berlin Führerbunker on April 29, 1945, the day he and Eva Braun married. They committed suicide the next day , two days before the surrender of Berlin to the Soviets on May 2, and just over a...

 which dropped Speer from the successor government. Speer was to be replaced by his own subordinate, Karl-Otto Saur
Karl Saur
Karl-Otto Saur was State Secretary in the Reich Ministry for armaments and war production in Germany during the Nazi era and de jure last defence minister of the Third Reich....

.

Nuremberg trial


After Hitler's death, Speer offered his services to the so-called Flensburg Government
Flensburg government
The Flensburg Government , also known as the Flensburg Cabinet and the Dönitz Government , was the short-lived administration that attempted to rule the Third Reich during most of May 1945 at the end of World War II in Europe...

, headed by Hitler's successor, Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz was a German naval commander during World War II. He started his career in the German Navy during World War I. In 1918, while he was in command of , the submarine was sunk by British forces and Dönitz was taken prisoner...

, and took a significant role in that short-lived regime. On May 15, the Americans arrived and asked Speer if he would be willing to provide information on the effects of the air war. Speer agreed, and over the next several days, provided information on a broad range of subjects. On May 23, two weeks after the surrender of German troops, the Allies arrested the members of the Flensburg Government and brought Nazi Germany to a formal end.

Speer was taken to several internment centers for Nazi officials and interrogated. In September 1945, he was told that he would be tried for war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s, and several days later, he was taken to Nuremberg and incarcerated there. Speer was indicted on all four possible counts: first, participating in a common plan or conspiracy
Conspiracy (crime)
In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement...

 for the accomplishment of crime against peace
Crime against peace
A crime against peace, in international law, refers to "planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of wars of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing"...

, second, planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression
War of aggression
A war of aggression, sometimes also war of conquest, is a military conflict waged without the justification of self-defense usually for territorial gain and subjugation. The phrase is distinctly modern and diametrically opposed to the prior legal international standard of "might makes right", under...

 and other crimes against peace, third, war crimes, and lastly, crimes against humanity
Crime against humanity
Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings...

.


U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 Justice
Associate Justice
Associate Justice or Associate Judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the Chief Justice in some jurisdictions. The title "Associate Justice" is used for members of the United States Supreme Court and some state supreme courts, and for some other courts in Commonwealth...

 Robert Jackson
Robert H. Jackson
Robert Houghwout Jackson was United States Attorney General and an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court . He was also the chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials...

, the chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg, alleged, "Speer joined in planning and executing the program to dragoon prisoners of war and foreign worker
Foreign worker
A foreign worker is a person who works in a country other than the one of which he or she is a citizen. The term migrant worker as discussed in the migrant worker page is used in a particular UN resolution as a synonym for "foreign worker"...

s into German war industries, which waxed in output while the workers waned in starvation." Speer's attorney, Dr. Hans Flächsner, presented Speer as an artist thrust into political life, who had always remained a non-ideologue and who had been promised by Hitler that he could return to architecture after the war. During his testimony, Speer accepted responsibility for the Nazi regime's actions:


In political life, there is a responsibility for a man's own sector. For that he is of course fully responsible. But beyond that there is a collective responsibility when he has been one of the leaders. Who else is to be held responsible for the course of events, if not the closest associates around the Chief of State?


An observer at the trial, journalist and author William L. Shirer
William L. Shirer
William Lawrence Shirer was an American journalist, war correspondent, and historian, who wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a history of Nazi Germany read and cited in scholarly works for more than 50 years...

, wrote that, compared to his codefendants, Speer “made the most straightforward impression of all and ... during the long trial spoke honestly and with no attempt to shirk his responsibility and his guilt”. Speer also testified that he had planned to kill Hitler in early 1945 by dropping a canister of poison gas into the bunker's air intake. He said his efforts were frustrated by a high wall that had been built around the air intake. Speer stated his motive was despair at realizing that Hitler intended to take the German people down with him. Speer's supposed assassination plan subsequently met with some skepticism, with Speer's architectural rival Hermann Giesler
Hermann Giesler
Hermann Giesler was a German architect during the Nazi era, one of the two architects most favored and rewarded by Adolf Hitler ....

 sneering, "the second most powerful man in the state did not have a ladder."
Speer was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, though he was acquitted on the other two counts. On October 1, 1946, he was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. While three of the eight judges (two Soviet and one American
Francis Biddle
Francis Beverley Biddle was an American lawyer and judge who was Attorney General of the United States during World War II and who served as the primary American judge during the postwar Nuremberg trials....

) initially advocated the death penalty for Speer, the other judges did not, and a compromise sentence was reached "after two days' discussion and some rather bitter horse-trading".

The court's judgment stated that:
... in the closing stages of the war [Speer] was one of the few men who had the courage to tell Hitler that the war was lost and to take steps to prevent the senseless destruction of production facilities, both in occupied territories and in Germany. He carried out his opposition to Hitler's scorched earth program ... by deliberately sabotaging it at considerable personal risk.


Twelve of the defendants were sentenced to death (including Bormann, in absentia) and three acquitted; only seven of the defendants were sentenced to imprisonment. They remained in the cells at Nuremberg as the Allies debated where, and under what conditions, they should be incarcerated.

Imprisonment


For additional detail on Speer's time at Spandau Prison, see Rudolf Wolter's account


On July 18, 1947, Speer and his six fellow prisoners, all former high officials of the Nazi regime, were flown from Nuremberg to Berlin under heavy guard. The prisoners were taken to Spandau Prison in the British Sector of what would become West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

, where they would be designated by number, with Speer given Number Five. Initially, the prisoners were kept in solitary confinement for all but half an hour a day, and were not permitted to address each other or their guards. As time passed, the strict regimen was relaxed, especially during the three months in four that the three Western powers were in control; the four occupying powers
Allied Control Council
The Allied Control Council or Allied Control Authority, known in the German language as the Alliierter Kontrollrat and also referred to as the Four Powers , was a military occupation governing body of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany after the end of World War II in Europe...

 took overall control on a monthly rotation. Speer considered himself an outcast among his fellow prisoners for his acceptance of responsibility at Nuremberg.

Speer made a deliberate effort to make as productive a use of his time as possible. He wrote, "I am obsessed with the idea of using this time of confinement for writing a book of major importance ... That could mean transforming prison cell into scholar's den." The prisoners were forbidden to write memoirs, and mail was severely limited and censored. However, as a result of an offer from a sympathetic orderly, Speer was able to have his writings, which eventually amounted to 20,000 sheets, sent to Wolters. By 1954, Speer had completed his memoirs, which became the basis of Inside the Third Reich, and which Wolters arranged to have transcribed onto 1,100 typewritten pages. He was also able to send letters and financial instructions, and to obtain writing paper and letters from the outside. His many letters to his children, all secretly transmitted, eventually formed the basis for Spandau: The Secret Diaries.

With the draft memoir complete and clandestinely transmitted, Speer sought a new project. He found one while taking his daily exercise, walking in circles around the prison yard. Measuring the path's distance carefully, Speer set out to walk the distance from Berlin to Heidelberg. He then expanded his idea into a worldwide journey, visualizing the places he was "traveling" through while walking the path around the prison yard. Speer ordered guidebooks and other materials about the nations through which he imagined he was passing, so as to envisage as accurate a picture as possible. Meticulously calculating every meter traveled, and mapping distances to the real-world geography, he began in northern Germany, passed through Asia by a southern route before entering Siberia, then crossed the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

 and continued southwards, finally ending his sentence 35 kilometers south of Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Jalisco
Guadalajara is the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. The city is located in the central region of Jalisco in the western-pacific area of Mexico. With a population of 1,564,514 it is Mexico's second most populous municipality...

, Mexico.

Speer devoted much of his time and energy to reading. Though the prisoners brought some books with them in their personal property, Spandau Prison had no library so books were sent from Spandau's municipal library.
From 1952 the prisoners were also able to order books from the Berlin central library in Wilmersdorf
Wilmersdorf
Wilmersdorf is an inner city locality of Berlin, formerly a borough by itself but since Berlin's 2001 administrative reform a part of the new borough of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.-History:...

. Speer was a voracious reader and he completed well over 500 books in the first three years at Spandau alone. He read classic novels, travelogues, books on ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, and biographies of such figures as Lucas Cranach
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder , was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving...

, Friedrich Preller
Friedrich Preller
Friedrich Preller may refer to one of two German painters:*Friedrich Preller the Elder , landscape painter, etcher and professor*Friedrich Preller the Younger , landscape and marine painter...

, and Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

. Speer took to the prison garden for enjoyment and work, at first to do something constructive while afflicted with writer's block. He was allowed to build an ambitious garden, transforming what he initially described as a "wilderness" into what the American commander at Spandau described as "Speer's Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

".

Speer's supporters maintained a continual call for his release. Among those who pledged support for Speer's sentence to be commuted were Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

, U.S. diplomat George Ball, former U.S. High Commissioner John J. McCloy
John J. McCloy
John Jay McCloy was a lawyer and banker who served as Assistant Secretary of War during World War II, president of the World Bank and U.S. High Commissioner for Germany...

, and former Nuremberg prosecutor Hartley Shawcross
Hartley Shawcross, Baron Shawcross
Hartley William Shawcross, Baron Shawcross, GBE, PC, KC was a British barrister and politician and the lead British prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal.- Early life :...

. Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt, born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm , was a German politician, Mayor of West Berlin 1957–1966, Chancellor of West Germany 1969–1974, and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany 1964–1987....

 was a strong advocate of Speer's, supporting his release, sending flowers to his daughter
Hilde Schramm
Hilde Schramm is a German politician. Internationally she is known mainly as the daughter of the German architect, senior Nazi official and war criminal Albert Speer....

 on the day of his release, and putting an end to the de-Nazification proceedings against Speer, which could have caused his property to be confiscated. A reduced sentence required the consent of all four of the occupying powers, and the Soviets adamantly opposed any such proposal. Speer served his full sentence, and was released on the stroke of midnight as October 1, 1966 began.

Release and later life


Speer's release from prison was a worldwide media event, as reporters and photographers crowded both the street outside Spandau and the lobby of the Berlin hotel where Speer spent his first hours of freedom in over 20 years. However, Speer said little, reserving most comments for a major interview published in Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of more than one million.-Overview:...

in November 1966, in which he again took personal responsibility for crimes of the Nazi regime. Abandoning plans to return to architecture (two proposed partners died shortly before his release), he revised his Spandau writings into two autobiographical
Autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

 books, and later researched and published a third work, about Himmler and the SS. His books, most notably
Inside the Third Reich (in German, Erinnerungen, or Reminiscences) and Spandau: The Secret Diaries, provide a unique and personal look into the personalities of the Nazi era, and have become much valued by historians. Speer was aided in shaping the works by Joachim Fest
Joachim Fest
Joachim Clemens Fest was a German historian, journalist, critic and editor, best known for his writings and public commentary on Nazi Germany, including an important biography of Adolf Hitler and books about Albert Speer and the German Resistance...

 and Wolf Jobst Siedler
Wolf Jobst Siedler
Wolf Jobst Siedler is a German publisher and writer.He studied at the Freie Universität Berlin and worked as a journalist...

 from the publishing house Ullstein. However, Speer found himself unable to re-establish his relationship with his children, even with his son Albert, who had also become an architect. According to Speer's daughter Hilde
Hilde Schramm
Hilde Schramm is a German politician. Internationally she is known mainly as the daughter of the German architect, senior Nazi official and war criminal Albert Speer....

, "One by one my sister and brothers gave up. There was no communication."

Following the publication of his bestselling books, Speer donated a considerable amount of money to Jewish charities. According to Siedler, these donations were as high as 80% of his royalties. Speer kept the donations anonymous, both for fear of rejection, and for fear of being called a hypocrite.

As early as 1953, when Wolters strongly objected to Speer referring to Hitler in the memoirs draft as a criminal, Speer had predicted that were the writings to be published, he would lose a "good many friends". This came to pass, as following the publication of Inside the Third Reich, close friends, such as Wolters and sculptor Arno Breker
Arno Breker
Arno Breker was a German sculptor, best known for his public works in Nazi Germany, which were endorsed by the authorities as the antithesis of degenerate art....

, distanced themselves from him. Hans Baur
Hans Baur
General Hans Baur was German dictator Adolf Hitler's pilot during his political campaigns of the 1920s and 1930s...

, Hitler's personal pilot, suggested, "Speer must have taken leave of his senses." Wolters wondered that Speer did not now "walk through life in a hair shirt, distributing his fortune among the victims of National Socialism, forswear all the vanities and pleasures of life and live on locusts and wild honey
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

".

Speer made himself widely available to historians and other enquirers. He did an extensive, in-depth interview for the June 1971 issue of Playboy
Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

magazine, in which he stated, "If I didn't see it, then it was because I didn't want to see it." In October 1973, Speer made his first trip to Britain, flying to London under an assumed name to be interviewed on the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 
Midweek programme by Ludovic Kennedy
Ludovic Kennedy
Sir Ludovic Henry Coverley Kennedy was a British journalist, broadcaster, humanist and author best known for re-examining cases such as the Lindbergh kidnapping and the murder convictions of Timothy Evans and Derek Bentley, and for his role in the abolition of the death penalty in the United...

. Upon arrival, he was detained for almost 8 hours at Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

 when British immigration authorities discovered his true identity. The Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

, Robert Carr
Robert Carr
Leonard Robert Carr, Baron Carr of Hadley, PC is a British Conservative politician.Robert Carr was educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where he read Natural Sciences, graduating in 1938....

, allowed Speer into the country for 48 hours. While in London eight years later to participate in the BBC
Newsnight
Newsnight
Newsnight is a BBC Television current affairs programme noted for its in-depth analysis and often robust cross-examination of senior politicians. Jeremy Paxman has been its main presenter for over two decades....

programme, Speer suffered a stroke and died on September 1, 1981. Speer had formed a relationship with a German-born Englishwoman, and was with her at the time of his death.

Even to the end of his life, Speer continued to question his actions under Hitler. In his final book,
Infiltration, he asks, "What would have happened if Hitler had asked me to make decisions that required the utmost hardness? ... How far would I have gone? ... If I had occupied a different position, to what extent would I have ordered atrocities if Hitler had told me to do so?" Speer leaves the questions unanswered.

Legacy and controversy


The view of Speer as an unpolitical "miracle man" is challenged by Yale historian Adam Tooze
Adam Tooze
Adam Tooze is a British historian and was Reader in Modern European Economic History at the University of Cambridge. In 2002, he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Modern History. As of Summer 2010, he is a professor of history at Yale University.He is currently best known for his economic...

. In his 2006 book, The Wages of Destruction
The Wages of Destruction
The Wages of Destruction is an award-winning non-fiction book detailing the economic history of Nazi Germany. Written by Adam Tooze, it was first published by Allen Lane in 2006....

, Tooze, following Gitta Sereny, argues that Speer's ideological commitment to the Nazi cause was greater than he claimed. Tooze further contends that an insufficiently challenged Speer "mythology" (partly fostered by Speer himself through politically-motivated, tendentious use of statistics and other propaganda) had led many historians to assign Speer far more credit for the increases in armaments production than was warranted and give insufficient consideration to the "highly political" function of the so-called armaments miracle.

Architectural legacy



Little remains of Speer's personal architectural works, other than the plans and photographs. No buildings designed by Speer in the Nazi era remain in Berlin; a double row of lampposts along the Strasse des 17. Juni
Straße des 17. Juni
The Straße des 17. Juni is a street in central Berlin, the capital of Germany. It is the western continuation of the Unter den Linden. It runs east-west through the Tiergarten, a large forest park to the west of the city centre. At the eastern end is the Brandenburg Gate and at the western end is...

 designed by Speer still stands. The tribune of the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg, though partly demolished, may also be seen. Speer's work may also be seen in London, where he redesigned the interior of the German Embassy
Embassy of Germany in London
The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Court of St. James's is Germany's diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom.The embassy is currently located at 23 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PZ, in Belgravia. It occupies three of the original terraced houses in Belgrave Square and a late...

 to the United Kingdom, then located at 7–9 Carlton House Terrace
Carlton House Terrace
Carlton House Terrace refers to a street in the St. James's district of the City of Westminster in London, England, and in particular to two terraces of white stucco-faced houses on the south side of the street overlooking St. James's Park. These terraces were built in 1827–32 to overall designs by...

. Since 1967, it has served as the offices of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

. His work there, stripped of its Nazi fixtures and partially covered by carpets, survives in part.

Another legacy was the Arbeitsstab Wiederaufbau zerstörter Städte (Working group on Reconstruction of destroyed cities), authorized by Speer in 1943 to rebuild bombed German cities to make them more livable in the age of the automobile.Träume in Trümmern, ("Dreams in rumbles") by Werner Durth and Niels Gutschow, Vieweg Friedr. + Sohn Ver (1988) ISBN 3-528-08706-4 Headed by Wolters, the working group took a possible military defeat into their calculations. The Arbeitsstabs recommendations served as the basis of the postwar redevelopment plans in many cities, and Arbeitsstab members became prominent in the rebuilding.

Actions regarding the Jews


As General Building Inspector, Speer was responsible for the Central Department for Resettlement. From 1939 onward, the Department used the Nuremberg Laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

 to evict Jewish tenants of non-Jewish landlords in Berlin, to make way for non-Jewish tenants displaced by redevelopment or bombing. Eventually, 75,000 Jews were displaced by these measures. Speer was aware of these activities, and inquired as to their progress. At least one original memo from Speer so inquiring still exists, as does the Chronicle of the Department's activities, kept by Wolters.

Following his release from Spandau, Speer presented to the German Federal Archives
German Federal Archives
The German Federal Archives or Bundesarchiv are the National Archives of Germany. They were established at the current location in Koblenz in 1952....

 an edited version of the Chronicle, stripped by Wolters of any mention of the Jews. When David Irving
David Irving
David John Cawdell Irving is an English writer,best known for his denial of the Holocaust, who specialises in the military and political history of World War II, with a focus on Nazi Germany...

 discovered discrepancies between the edited Chronicle and other documents, Wolters explained the situation to Speer, who responded by suggesting to Wolters that the relevant pages of the original Chronicle should "cease to exist". Wolters did not destroy the Chronicle, and, as his friendship with Speer deteriorated, allowed access to the original Chronicle to doctoral student Matthias Schmidt (who, after obtaining his doctorate, developed his thesis into a book, Albert Speer: The End of a Myth). Speer considered Wolters' actions to be a "betrayal" and a "stab in the back". The original Chronicle reached the Archives in 1983, after both Speer and Wolters had died.

Knowledge of the Holocaust


Speer maintained at Nuremberg and in his memoirs that he had no knowledge of the Holocaust. In Inside the Third Reich, he wrote that in mid-1944, he was told by Hanke (by then Gauleiter of Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia ; is the northwestern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia; Upper Silesia is to the southeast.Throughout its history Lower Silesia has been under the control of the medieval Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy from 1526...

) that the minister should never accept an invitation to inspect a concentration camp in neighboring Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia. Since the 9th century, Upper Silesia has been part of Greater Moravia, the Duchy of Bohemia, the Piast Kingdom of Poland, again of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as of...

, as "he had seen something there which he was not permitted to describe and moreover could not describe". Speer later concluded that Hanke must have been speaking of Auschwitz
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

, and blamed himself for not inquiring further of Hanke or seeking information from Himmler or Hitler:

These seconds [when Hanke told Speer this, and Speer did not inquire] were uppermost in my mind when I stated to the international court at the Nuremberg Trial that, as an important member of the leadership of the Reich, I had to share the total responsibility for all that had happened. For from that moment on I was inescapably contaminated morally; from fear of discovering something which might have made me turn from my course, I had closed my eyes ... Because I failed at that time, I still feel, to this day, responsible for Auschwitz in a wholly personal sense.


Much of the controversy over Speer's knowledge of the Holocaust has centered on his presence at the Posen Conference
Posen Conference
The Posen Conference was a meeting attended by Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, high ranking German Nazi Party officials and Gauleiters on October 6, 1943 in the city of Posen in Reichsgau Posen...

 on October 6, 1943, at which Himmler gave a speech detailing the ongoing Holocaust to Nazi leaders. Himmler said, "The grave decision had to be taken to cause this people to vanish from the earth ... In the lands we occupy, the Jewish question will be dealt with by the end of the year." Speer is mentioned several times in the speech, and Himmler seems to address him directly. In Inside the Third Reich, Speer mentions his own address to the officials (which took place earlier in the day) but does not mention Himmler's speech.


In 1971, American historian Erich Goldhagen published an article arguing that Speer was present for Himmler's speech. According to Fest in his biography of Speer, "Goldhagen's accusation certainly would have been more convincing" had he not placed supposed incriminating statements linking Speer with the Holocaust in quotation marks, attributed to Himmler, which were in fact invented by Goldhagen. In response, after considerable research in the German Federal Archives in Koblenz
Koblenz
Koblenz is a German city situated on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle, where the Deutsches Eck and its monument are situated.As Koblenz was one of the military posts established by Drusus about 8 BC, the...

, Speer said he had left Posen around noon (long before Himmler's speech) in order to journey to Hitler's headquarters at Rastenburg. In Inside the Third Reich, published before the Goldhagen article, Speer recalled that on the evening after the conference, many Nazi officials were so drunk that they needed help boarding the special train which was to take them to a meeting with Hitler. One of his biographers, Dan van der Vat
Dan van der Vat
Daniel Francis Jeroen van der Vat is a journalist, writer and military historian, with a focus on naval history. Van der Vat grew up in Nazi-German occupied Holland...

, suggests this necessarily implies he must have still been present at Posen then, and must have heard Himmler's speech. In response to Goldhagen's article, Speer had alleged that in writing Inside the Third Reich, he erred in reporting an incident that happened at another conference at Posen a year later, as happening in 1943.

In 2005, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

reported that documents had surfaced indicating that Speer had approved the allocation of materials for the expansion of Auschwitz after two of his assistants toured the facility on a day when almost a thousand Jews were murdered. The documents supposedly bore annotations in Speer's own handwriting. Speer biographer Gitta Sereny
Gitta Sereny
Gitta Sereny is an Austrian-born biographer, historian and investigative journalist whose writing focuses mainly on the Holocaust and child abuse. She is the stepdaughter of the economist Ludwig von Mises....

 stated that, due to his workload, Speer would not have been personally aware of such activities.

The debate over Speer's knowledge of, or complicity in, the Holocaust made him a symbol for people who were involved with the Nazi regime yet did not have (or claimed not to have had) an active part in the regime's atrocities. As film director Heinrich Breloer remarked, "[Speer created] a market for people who said, 'Believe me, I didn't know anything about [the Holocaust]. Just look at the Führer's friend, he didn't know about it either.

External links