111 Facts About Albert Speer


Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer was a German architect who served as the Minister of Armaments and War Production in Nazi Germany during most of World War II.

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In February 1942, Albert Speer was appointed as Reich Minister of Armaments and War Production.

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In 1944, Albert Speer established a task force to increase production of fighter aircraft.

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Albert Speer was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, principally for the use of slave labor, narrowly avoiding a death sentence.

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Albert Speer used his writings from the time of imprisonment as the basis for two autobiographical books, Inside the Third Reich and Spandau: The Secret Diaries.

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Albert Speer's books were a success; the public was fascinated by an inside view of the Third Reich.

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Albert Speer continued to deny explicit knowledge of, and responsibility for the Holocaust.

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Adam Tooze wrote in The Wages of Destruction that the idea that Albert Speer was an apolitical technocrat was "absurd".

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Albert Speer was the second of three sons of Luise Mathilde Wilhelmine and Albert Friedrich Speer.

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Albert Speer was active in sports, taking up skiing and mountaineering.

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Albert Speer followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and studied architecture.

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Albert Speer began his architectural studies at the University of Karlsruhe instead of a more highly acclaimed institution because the hyperinflation crisis of 1923 limited his parents' income.

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In Munich Albert Speer began a close friendship, ultimately spanning over 50 years, with Rudolf Wolters, who studied under Tessenow.

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In mid-1922, Albert Speer began courting Margarete Weber, the daughter of a successful craftsman who employed 50 workers.

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The couple would have six children together, but Albert Speer grew increasingly distant from his family after 1933.

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Albert Speer remained so even after his release from imprisonment in 1966, despite their efforts to forge closer bonds.

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Organizers of the 1933 Nuremberg Rally asked Albert Speer to submit designs for the rally, bringing him into contact with Hitler for the first time.

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Albert Speer quickly became part of Hitler's inner circle; he was expected to call on him in the morning for a walk or chat, to provide consultation on architectural matters, and to discuss Hitler's ideas.

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Albert Speer assumed his German readers would not be so gullible and told them the Nazi Party offered a "new mission".

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Albert Speer was more forthright in an interview with William Hamsher in which he said he joined the party in order to save "Germany from Communism".

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When Troost died on 21 January 1934, Albert Speer effectively replaced him as the Party's chief architect.

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Albert 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 overweight Nazis.

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Albert Speer modified Werner March's design for the Olympic Stadium being built for the 1936 Summer Olympics.

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Albert Speer designed the German Pavilion for the 1937 international exposition in Paris.

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Albert Speer hired Wolters as part of his design team, with special responsibility for the Prachtstrasse.

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Albert Speer completed the preliminary work for the new chancellery by May 1936.

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On 27 January 1938, Albert Speer received plenipotentiary powers from Hitler to finish the new chancellery by 1 January 1939.

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Albert Speer made no mention of it in the first draft of Inside the Third Reich.

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From 1939 on, Albert Speer's Department used the Nuremberg Laws to evict Jewish tenants of non-Jewish landlords in Berlin, to make way for non-Jewish tenants displaced by redevelopment or bombing.

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Albert Speer denied he knew they were being put on Holocaust trains and claimed that those displaced were, "Completely free and their families were still in their apartments".

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Martin Kitchen described Albert Speer's often repeated line that he knew nothing of the "dreadful things" as hollow—because not only was he fully aware of the fate of the Jews he was actively participating in their persecution.

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Albert Speer used forced Jewish labor on these projects, in addition to regular German workers.

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Albert Speer's offices undertook building work for each branch of the military, and for the SS, using slave labor.

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Albert Speer's building work made him among the wealthiest of the Nazi elite.

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In 1941, Albert Speer was elected to the Reichstag from electoral constituency 2 .

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Albert Speer arrived there the previous evening and accepted Todt's offer to fly with him to Berlin.

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Albert Speer cancelled some hours before take-off because the previous night he had been up late in a meeting with Hitler.

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Albert Speer was loyal to Hitler, and his experience building prisoner of war camps and other structures for the military qualified him for the job.

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Albert Speer succeeded Todt not only as Reich Minister but in all his other powerful positions, including Inspector General of German Roadways, Inspector General for Water and Energy and Head of the Nazi Party's Office of Technology.

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However Albert Speer secured Hitler's support, and on 1 March 1942, Goring signed a decree naming Albert Speer "General Plenipotentiary for Armament Tasks" in the Four Year Plan.

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Albert Speer set out to gain control not just of armaments production in the army, but in the whole armed forces.

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Albert Speer was feted at the time, and in the post-war era, for performing an "armaments miracle" in which German war production dramatically increased.

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Albert Speer agreed to expand Auschwitz and some other camps, allocating 13.

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Albert Speer realized that with six million workers drafted into the armed forces, there was a labor shortage in the war economy, and not enough workers for his factories.

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Albert Speer coveted control of the production of armaments for the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine as well.

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Albert Speer set about extending his power and influence with unexpected ambition.

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Albert Speer had become one of the most powerful people in Nazi Germany.

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In December 1943, Albert Speer visited Organisation Todt workers in Lapland, while there he seriously damaged his knee and was incapacitated for several months.

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Albert Speer was under the dubious care of Professor Karl Gebhardt at a medical clinic called Hohenlychen where patients "mysteriously failed to survive".

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Albert Speer's illness coincided with the Allied "Big Week", a series of bombing raids on the German aircraft factories that were a devastating blow to aircraft production.

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Albert Speer lost Hitler's unconditional support and began to lose power.

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On 1 August 1944, Albert Speer merged the Fighter Staff into a newly formed Armament Staff committee.

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Albert Speer enthusiastically supported the program and in March 1942 made an order for A4 rockets, the predecessor of the world's first ballistic missile, the V-2 rocket.

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On 14 April 1944, Albert Speer lost control of Organisation Todt to his Deputy, Franz Xaver Dorsch.

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Albert Speer opposed the assassination attempt against Hitler on 20 July 1944.

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Albert Speer was not involved in the plot, and played a minor role in the regime's efforts to regain control over Berlin after Hitler survived.

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In January 1945, Albert Speer told Goebbels that armaments production could be sustained for at least a year.

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Nevertheless, Albert Speer believed that Germany should continue the war for as long as possible with the goal of winning better conditions from the Allies than the unconditional surrender they insisted upon.

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Albert Speer was appalled by this order, and persuaded several key military and political leaders to ignore it.

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Albert Speer ended them, though the army continued to blow up bridges.

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Albert Speer met Hitler and toured the damaged Chancellery before leaving Berlin to return to Hamburg.

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Albert Speer was to be replaced by his subordinate, Karl-Otto Saur.

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Albert Speer was disappointed that Hitler had not selected him as his successor.

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Albert Speer took a role in that short-lived regime as Minister of Industry and Production.

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Albert Speer was taken to several internment centres for Nazi officials and interrogated.

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Albert Speer was indicted on all four counts: participating in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace; war crimes; and crimes against humanity.

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Albert Speer was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, principally for the use of slave labor and forced labor.

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Albert Speer had claimed that he was unaware of Nazi extermination plans, and the Allies had no proof that he was aware.

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Albert Speer's claim was revealed to be false in a private correspondence written in 1971 and publicly disclosed in 2007.

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On 18 July 1947, Albert Speer was transferred to Spandau Prison in Berlin to serve his prison term.

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In 1949, Wolters opened a bank account for Albert Speer and began fundraising among those architects and industrialists who had benefited from Albert Speer's activities during the war.

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Once Albert Speer became aware of the existence of the fund, he sent detailed instructions about what to do with the money.

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Albert Speer had completed his memoirs by November 1953, which became the basis of Inside the Third Reich.

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In Spandau Diaries, Albert Speer aimed to present himself as a tragic hero who had made a Faustian bargain for which he endured a harsh prison sentence.

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Much of Albert Speer's energy was dedicated to keeping fit, both physically and mentally, during his long confinement.

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Albert Speer created an elaborate garden complete with lawns, flower beds, shrubbery, and fruit trees.

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Albert Speer read, studied architectural journals, and brushed up on English and French.

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Albert Speer served a full term and was released at midnight on 1 October 1966.

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Albert Speer said little, reserving most comments for a major interview published in Der Spiegel in November 1966.

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Albert Speer was aided in shaping the works by Joachim Fest and Wolf Jobst Siedler from the publishing house Ullstein.

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Albert Speer found himself unable to re-establish a relationship with his children, even with his son Albert who had become an architect.

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Albert Speer asked Wolters to destroy the material he had omitted from his donation but Wolters refused and retained an original copy.

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Wolters' friendship with Albert Speer deteriorated and one year before Albert Speer's death Wolters gave Matthias Schmidt access to the unedited Chronicle.

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Albert Speer made himself widely available to historians and other enquirers.

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Albert Speer returned to London in 1981 to participate in the BBC Newsnight programme.

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Albert Speer had remained married to his wife, but he had formed a relationship with a German woman living in London and was with her at the time of his death.

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Albert Speer was well-educated, middle class, and bourgeois, and could contrast himself with those who, in the popular mind, typified "bad Nazis".

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Albert Speer even invented his own birth's circumstances, stating falsely that he was born at midday amid crashes of thunder and bells of the nearby Christ Church, whereas it was between three and five o'clock, and the church was built only some years after.

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Albert Speer took his myth-making to a mass media level and his "cunning apologies" were reproduced frequently in post-war Germany.

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Albert Speer had carefully constructed an image of himself as an apolitical technocrat who deeply regretted having failed to discover the monstrous crimes of the Third Reich.

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Adam Tooze in his book The Wages of Destruction said Albert Speer had manoeuvred himself through the ranks of the regime skillfully and ruthlessly and that the idea he was a technocrat blindly carrying out orders was "absurd".

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Albert Speer was credited with a dramatic increase in the shipment of arms that was widely reported as keeping Germany in the war.

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The journalist described an invented scenario in which Albert Speer had refused Hitler's orders and Hitler had left with tears in his eyes.

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Albert Speer liked the scenario so much that he wrote it into his memoirs.

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Albert Speer sought to portray himself as an opponent of Hitler's leadership.

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Albert Speer maintained Hitler was cool towards him for the remainder of his life after learning they had included him on a list of potential ministers.

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Albert Speer falsely claimed that he had realised the war was lost at an early stage, and thereafter worked to preserve the resources needed for the civilian population's survival.

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Albert Speer maintained at the Nuremberg trials and in his memoirs that he had no direct knowledge of the Holocaust.

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Albert Speer admitted only to being uncomfortable around Jews in the published version of the Spandau Diaries.

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Brechtken said Albert Speer only admitted to a generalized responsibility for the Holocaust to hide his direct and actual responsibility.

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Albert Speer was photographed with slave laborers at Mauthausen concentration camp during a visit on 31 March 1943; he visited Gusen concentration camp.

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In 2005, The Daily Telegraph reported that documents had surfaced indicating that Albert Speer had approved the allocation of materials for the expansion of Auschwitz concentration camp after two of his assistants inspected the facility on a day when almost a thousand Jews were massacred.

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Albert Speer did not deny being present at the Posen speeches to Nazi leaders at a conference in Posen on 6 October 1943, but claimed to have left the auditorium before Himmler said during his speech: "The grave decision had to be taken to cause this people to vanish from the earth", and later, "The Jews must be exterminated".

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Albert Speer is mentioned several times in the speech, and Himmler addresses him directly.

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In 2007, The Guardian reported that a letter from Albert Speer dated 23 December 1971, had been found in a collection of his correspondence with Helene Jeanty, the widow of a Belgian resistance fighter.

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Albert Speer produced spectacular statistics, claiming a sixfold increase in munitions production, a fourfold increase in artillery production, and he sent further propaganda to the newsreels of the country.

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Albert Speer was able to curtail the discussion that the war should be ended.

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Armaments "miracle" was a myth; Albert Speer had used statistical manipulation to support his claims.

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The production of armaments did go up; however, this was due to the normal causes of reorganization before Albert Speer came to office, the relentless mobilization of slave labor and a deliberate reduction in the quality of output to favor quantity.

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Brechtken writes that Albert Speer knew Germany was going to lose the war and deliberately extended its length, thus causing the deaths of millions of people in the death camps and on the battlefield who would have otherwise lived.

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Kitchen said, "There can be no doubt that Albert Speer did indeed help to prolong the war longer than many thought possible, as a result of which millions were killed and Germany reduced to a pile of rubble".

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