Albert Speer
1905 - 1981
Early Years
Born in Mannheim, the son of a wealth middle class
In 1925 he studied architecture at the renowned
Technical University of Berlin
On March 1st 1931 he applied to the Nazi party after
being impressed by Hitler’s oratory skills at a rally, he
became number 474, 481
Speer was asked to design the 1933 Nuremberg rally
and met Hitler for the first time so he could approve
the design
For these plans he was granted his first Nazi position:
“Commissioner for the Artistic and Technical
Presentation of Party Rallies and Demonstrations”
Speer then acted as a liaison in the renovation of the
chancellery, during this time Speer and Hitler met
regularly for lunch, becoming close friends
Role in the Nazi party
During the years 1934-39 Speer designed many
famous Nazi buildings, including a redesign of the
1936 Olympic stadium
At the outbreak of WW2 Speer was in support of
the war, but knew it would interfere with his
architectural aspirations
On February 8th 1942 Speer was appointed by
Hitler as the “Minister of Armaments”
He began to gear the economy towards armament
production by centralizing power over the war
economy to himself
During the later years of Nazi rule Speer
accumulated more and more power, combined with
his good relations with Hitler, many of the Nazi
elite had him as a possible successor of Hitler
Speer obtained exclusive power to implement
Hitler’s Nero Decree, and with this power
persuaded many Gauleiters not to carry out
needless destruction on the German people
After the War
Speer was charged with various war crimes a the
Nuremburg trials and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment
While in Spandau prison he was determined to make use
of his time and by 1954 had finished his memoirs which
became the basis for his book, ‘Inside the Third Reich’
Much of the rest of his time Speer spent reading hundreds
of books
After he was released, he published three books, ‘Inside
the Third Reich’, ‘Spandau: the secret diaries’ and
‘Himmler and the SS’
Of the royalties for these books, his publisher claimed
Speer donated up to 80% to Jewish charities
His criticism of Hitler, and describing him as a criminal
lost Speer a great many friends
In his last book ‘Infiltration’ Speer says “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?”