Speer, Albert Berthold Konrad Hermann

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Speer, Albert, born 19-03-1905 in Mannheim, Baden Württemberg, was active in sports, taking up skiing and mountaineering. Speer’s Heidelberg school offered rugby football,  unusual for Germany, skiing,   and Speer was a participant. He wanted to become a mathematician, 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 was educated in architectural studies at the Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe and later at the Universities of Munich and Berlin. In the summer of 1922 Speer got to know Magarete Weber from Heidelberg. They married in Berlin on 28-08-1928 despite Speer’s mother being against the relationship. Between 1934 and 1942 Margret gave birth to six children: Albert (*1934), Hilde (*1936), Fritz (*1937), Margarete (*1938), Arnold (* 1940, born Adolf, renamed after Adolf Hitler and Ernst (*1942), but Albert didn’t have much time for his kids.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor albert speer family   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 seen on Nazi Party posters, and was greatly impressed, not only with Hitler’s proposals, but also with the man himself. Inspired by Hitler’s (see Parents)

  oratory prowess, he joined the National Socialist party in January 1931, where he developed a close friendship with Hitler. Albert Speer first met Adolf Hitler in May 1933 when he was twenty eight old.  Speer had been an architect by trade and had been invited to refurbish the chancellor’s residence in Berlin. The job was done quickly and efficietly, so he was subsequently invited to design settings for the 1933 May Day rally at Templehofer– then for the Nuremberg Party Rally in 1934. He believed Hitler and the Nazis could answer the communist threat and restore the glory of the German empire that he considered lacking under the Weimar Republic. Speer quickly proved his worth by his efficient and creative staging of Nazi events. 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, (see Did you know) which guaranteed him a flood of commissions from the government and from the highest ranks of the Party. He designed monuments and decorations, as well as the parade grounds at Nuremberg where a party congress was held in 1934 and captured on film, in 1934, by Leni Riefenstahl in Triumph of the Will. That Nuremberg rally was the archetype of what became identifiable as a Nazi-style of public rallies as spectacles, characterized by huge crowds of uniformed marchers, striking lighting effects, and impressive flag displays directed by Speer.

       In 1937, Hitler gave Speer the opportunity to fulfil his youthful architectural ambitions by appointing him Inspector General of the Reich. Hitler selected Speer, his “architect of genius,” to construct the Reich Chancellery in Berlin and the Party palace in Nuremberg. Hitler also commissioned him to refurbish Berlin, a project for which Speer prepared grandiose designs that were never completed. Speer became one of the most loyal members of the Nazi regime, like Party Chancellery (Parteikanzlei), Martin Bormann and was a member of Hitler’s inner circle, with his wife Magarete. Eva Braun (see Braun parents) was good friends with Albert speer and his wife. In 1938, he was awarded the Nazi Golden Party Badge of Honor. File:Golden Party Badge.png Speer lived in a house with a studio on the Obersalzberg near the Berghof on the Obersalzberg and Adolf Hitler often walked there to dream about his great constructions. Hitler wanted Speer to build a new impressive Berlin.

   A year later, Speer’s office assumed control of the allocation of apartments belonging to Berlin Jews who were evicted. His workload grew in 1941 after Berlin’s Jews were deported to the east. When Fritz Todt was killed in an air accident in February 1942, he crashed after a visit to Hitler in the Wolfschanze. Albert Speer who had at the last moment cancelled flying on the same plane as Todt, mysterious, was appointed to succeed him as Minister of Armaments. He later took on the grander title of Minister of Armaments and War Production and became the principal planner of the German war economy, responsible for the construction of strategic roads and defences, as well as military hardware. Despite the unrelenting Allied bombing attacks designed to disrupt war production, Speer managed to increase armament production dramatically. In 1941, Germany produced 9.540 front-line machines and 4.900 heavy tanks; in 1944, output reached 35.350 machines and 17.300 tanks. This impressive growth was achieved as a result of Speer’s use of prisoners of war and civilian slave labourers in the munitions factories. By September 1944, some seven and a half million foreigners worked as slave labourers and, in violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions, Speer exploited two million prisoners of war in the production effort.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor albert speer release from prison Image   Speer’s relations with Hitler deteriorated when Speer disobeyed Hitler’s order to destroy Nazi industrial installations in areas close to the advancing Allies. Speer at the end of the war rescued Hitler’s doctor, Dr. Karl Brandt Karl Brandt SS-Arzt.jpg Afbeeldingsresultaat voor albert speer with carl brandt condemned to death by Hitler for leaving Berlin with his family, but Brandt was still hanged for war crimes in Landsberg, age 44 on 02-06-1948. Speer’s younger brother Ernst was missed in action in the pocket of Stalingrad and Albert couldn’t get him out earlier, as Hitler had forbidden all high Nazis to protect their family members. Albert Speer was taken prisoner by the English forces, while shaving in his temporary headquarter of Buckeburg castle
 395px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1984-1206-511,_Albert_Speer Afbeeldingsresultaat voor albert speer family Speer later claimed that he independently conspired to assassinate Hitler, though historians doubt whether he ever meant to execute this plan. Speer was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal in 1946. He had been charged with employing forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners in the German armaments industry. His testimony was notable because he was the lone defendant to accept responsibility for the practices of the Nazi regime, both for his actions and for those not under his control.
 Afbeeldingsresultaat voor albert speer family He was sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment in Spandau prison, just like Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach, after which he published his best-selling memoir. He described himself in this account as a technician unconcerned with politics, but he still took responsibility for his role in aiding the Nazis, and expressed his regret at having done so. Again, he assumed responsibility for those actions beyond his immediate control and expressed regret for his inaction during the slaughter of the Jews. Speer’s release from Spandau prison
 Afbeeldingsresultaat voor albert speer release from prison oct-10-1966-war-criminals-speer-and-schirach-released-from-spandau-E0XH3R on 10-10-1966, age 61, 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.

Death and burial ground of Speer, Albert Berthold Konrad Hermann.

  .tumblr_m9n7h1XcZP1r07ipbo5_1280  Speer died, age 76 of a heart attack, in bed with his mistress in London, on 01-09-1981, where he was invited to give a TV interview. The lady ones wrote him a  letter for admiration and he invited her for a personal meeting with a love affair as result. She, living in London, thirty years younger then Speer, was from German nationality, married with a English man. The couple had 2 children. Speer’s wife Magarete and his children knew of the relation. Afbeeldingsresultaat voor albert speer family Albert Speer is buried in the family grave of his wife Magarete Weber on the Bergfriedhof of Heidelberg and has famous neighbors are, conductor and Hitler favorite Wilhelm Fürtwangler, and flyer ace, Kommodore Jagd Gruppe 300, Walther Dahl.
 

Cemetery location of Speer, Albert Berthold Konrad Hermann.

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  • Lita Oppegard

    I read Albert Speer’s book, “Inside the Third Reich” and saw him interviewed on TV about the war. His background and involvement in the Nazi regime is a compelling history. I appreciated this website for posting information that had not been available before. One thing I’ve wanted clarity about is although Speer expressed his regrets and responsibility for crimes of the regime, what was his official plea at the Nuremberg Trial? I’ve read that all defendants plead “not guilty”.

    • Natty Bumpo

      It was a plea of “not guilty,” but he was the only member of the defense who outright admitted his culpability and expressed remorse.