Albert Speer’s personality was a complex one, having a terrible childhood then leading into joining the Nazi Party on March 1st 1931. Becoming member number 474 481 of the party.
After joining the Nazi party, Speer met Karl Hanke. Hanke was a major part of the Nazi propaganda regime in 1931 when Speer joined. Speers way to the top was somewhat lucky to get to the his final position of First Architect of the Reich.
Karl Hanke gave Speer the job of redecorating the headquarters of district branch, Grunewald. This design raised a few eyebrows because of the bright red vestibule and yellow office walls. Hanke then gave Speer the option to redesign Goebbels headquarters. Speer described this as the ‘luckiest turning point in my life. I had reached the junction’. From this point here, Speer was given many opportunities with his architectural skills to show Hitler what he was capable of. Speer was elected to the First Architect of the Reich by Hitler, this lead to him being one of Hitler’s highest men. Speer was to design what he called his ‘masterpiece’, the ‘Cathedral of Light’ in 1934.
Speer’s close relationship with Hitler aided his rise to prominence both within Germany and all around the world. His personal relationship with Hitler raised his status within the German Nazi party allowing him to make a run for the second most powerful man in Germany. Hitler invited peer to dine with him and Speer hesitated because of the stain on his jacket. Hitler then instead gave him one of his own to wear, with its unique badge containing an eagle holding a swastika in its talons. When arriving, Goebbels demanded an explanation- Hitler quietened him and then had Speer sit at his right hand side. This starts to show the close relationship between the two in the early stages of Speer’s rise to prominence.
Hitler appointed Speer his dominant position as he knew he could trust Speer and rely on him. Speer was also suited for the job with his architectural skills. An example of this would be the job given to Speer by Hitler to design the new edifice and ensured its completion by January 1939.
Speers Nazi war effort cannot be underestimated. Thanks to the work of Speer, Germany was probably able to sustain its war effort for an extra two years. The death of Fritz Todt was suspicious to say the least. Speer accepted the opportunity to fly with Todt on the 7th of February 1942. But in the early hours of the morning Speer spent a big night with Hitler and therefore did not fly to Berlin with Todt. On the way to Berlin, Todt’s plane crashed, killing him.
‘Hitler might have had Todt eliminated, or knew who did- he shrugged and didn’t reply’. This statement shows how it was suspicious that Speer did not indeed take that plane flight and he was with Hitler the night before and then the plane crashes and kills Todt. Replacing Todt would be difficult. He was the supreme head of all building operations and in charge of all navigable waterways. In no time Hitler appointed Speer as Todt’s successor.
With this power, Speer gained Hitler’s permission to use non=political experts and i so doing eliminated direct party control from his Ministry. This meant that Speer freed himself or for a partial amount of time from Bormann’s watchful eye. On the 13th of February, Speer gained a meeting of his top bureaucrats and army supply people to sign a document giving himself full power and control over the armaments decisions. With this, Hitler told Speer that anyone who had any problems with Speer to bring them to his office and for them to face him. Speer had quickly moved himself into a very dominant position. ‘Speer certainly showed no diffidence’.
A major conference of Nazi leaders was held at Posen on the 6th of October 1943. That morning, Speer launched an attack on the gauleiters because of their selfish behaviour had been hurting the overall war effort. A crucial moment that day was that Speer was denied knowledge of what was happening in the camps. Speer denies never listening to Himmler’s speech in ‘Inside the third Reich’. But in the meeting, Himmler turned to Speer and spoke directly to him about the situation inside one of the camps.
Hitler did never have ‘friends’ as he would always put up a wall between himself and other people. But Speer and Hitler’s relationship was much deeper than a mutual love for architecture.
ii) ‘History highlights both virtues and faults’.
To what extent does the study of Albert Speer support this view?
The study of Albert Speer guides the view of that ‘History highlights both virtues and faults’ by the decision making of Speer and the way he conducts himself under Hitler. Albert Speer was a man who liked having power but his actions also highlighted the fact that he didn’t care about some things that happened under his watch. Speer showed his anger and hatred towards the mistreatment of Jews in the concentration camps and gas chambers. However, Speer’s contribution to the third reich when he was Minister of Armaments and Munitions. Speer highlights a sense of guilt when leader, showcased at the Nuremberg trials, he also created some misinterpretations by historians for his deep regret in some of his crimes. In all, through different historians analysis and interpretations of Speer, this shows that ‘History highlights both virtues and faults’.
Albert Speer was a man that didnt have much significance but then in a short amount of time became very important. This is was the case