Todt, Fritz, born 04-09-1891 in Pforzheim, to a father who owned a small factory. He studied at Technische Hochschule München and at Technische Hochschule Karlsruhe, receiving a Diploma degree in construction engineering from the latter. Later, he was awarded a Dr.-In. degree from the Technische Hochschule München with a thesis titled Fehlerquellen beim Bau von Landstraßen aus Teer und Asphalt, Sources of failure in building state roads from tar and asphalt. Todt joined the German Army and during the First World War won the Iron Cross . After the war Todt studied engineering before joining Sager and Woerner, a company which specialized in building roads and tunnels. Todt joined National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1922 and later the Schutz Staffel (SS). In 1930 Todt published a paper, Proposals and Financial Plans for the Employment of One Million Men. Adolf Hitler (did you know) (see Alois Hitler) was impressed by the paper and when he came to power in 1933 he appointed Todt as head of the new state-owned Reichsautobahnen Corporation and was given the task of building a national highway system.
Todt also helped to establish the Nationalsocialisticher Bund Deutscher Technik that helped to organize engineers and managers in the German construction industry. He also built the great defensive systems, the West Wall that protected Germany’s western frontier. The so called Siegfriedline, Westwall existed from 17.000 casemates and 22.000 smaller maintaining points. Moreover the line, which extended itself of Emmerik to the Swiss border, existed from pivot wire, artillery propositions and commando mails, All this work was carried out by the semi-military organisation O.T., Organisation Todt.
In 1940 Todt was appointed as Reich Minister for Munitions. The following year he was given responsibility for restoring the road and rail system in the Soviet Union. Todt’s growing importance in the party hierarchy brought him into conflict with Hermann Goering (did you know) and Martin Bormann (see Martin Bormann Jr). In 1941, he became increasingly distant from the commanders of the Wehrmacht and again from Goering, in particular. He did remain close to Hitler at this time; yet, after an inspection tour of the Eastern Front, he complained to Hitler that, without better equipment and supplies for the armed forces, it would be better to end the war with the USSR. Inevitably, Hitler rejected such an assessment of the situation and carried on the offensive against the Soviets regardless.
Death and burial ground of Todt, Fritz.
Fritz Todt, age 50, was killed when on 09-02-1942, the plane he was on exploded soon after taking off from the Wolfschanze for Munich, after a visit to Hitler. Albert Speer would also take this flight, and ” Surpresingly” he was replaced as Minister of Munitions by Albert Speer who had at the last moment cancelled flying on the same plane as Todt, mysterious. It was even suggested that Todt was the victim of an assassination plot, but this has never been confirmed. Albert Speer mentioned. the Reich Air Ministry enquiry into the plane accident, which he said ended with “The possibility of sabotage is ruled out. Further measures are therefore neither requisite nor intended”. Speer thought this wording was “curious”. What was never in dispute, however, was that the OT used millions of forced laborers, Zwangsarbeiter, from the occupied countries of the Reich during World War II, and that the judging panel at the Nuremberg Trials, in 1946 sentenced Speer to 20 years’ imprisonment for having headed this organisation and thus sanctioned the international illegal use of forced labor.
Todt is buried on the Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin, Gauleiter Josef Goebbels (did you know) and the gravestone was destroyed by the Russians after the war, but now there is a new stone. His neighbour there is the head of the Reinhard Heydrich and some futher away rest, Generaloberst der Flieger, Ernst Udet,
the Field Marshal Walther von Reichenau
and General der Flieger, Werner Mölders two flyer aces. There is also a remembrance cenotaph for Todt on the Bergfriedhof of Berchtesgaden