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ALBERT SPEER- prepared question 1: [10 marks]

Describe the personal background and historic context of the personality you have studied.

Albert Speer, an individual of much controversy and debate
His childhood was crucial in the development of his apolitical attitudes and sense of
social superiority which strongly influenced his role in the Nazi party.

Speers family background and experiences of his youth played a critical part in the
shaping of a career as an architect and involvement with the Nazi Party and the
perceptions which formed the basis of such.
Born into an upper middle class family known as haute bourgeoise Speer grew up in a
hostile environment fuelled by his parents and brothers coldness.
His father, Albert Senior was largely preoccupied with his career and his mother with
leading and extravagant social life, while Speer experienced frequent bullying from his
elder and younger brother Herman and Ernst.
Despite this, Speers familys wealth and social position presented hm with many
academic and sporting opportunities and other priviledged pursuits such as skiing,
hiking and rowing.
The life of priviledge and high social position gave Speer an early sense of social
superiority, setting the premise for his pursuit of prestige and manipulative nature.

Upon graduating from school in 1923, Speer hoped to pursue studies in the field of
mathematics at university, for which he had a great passion.
However his father, a committed and successful architect pushed for his son to follow in
his footsteps and the family tradition and pursue a career in architecture. Speer acted
accordingly, an obedience to authority certainly mirrored in his relationship with Hitler
in his later years.
Speer studied at the University of Technology in Kansruhe and in 1924 transferred to the
University of Munich, where he was mentored by Professor Tessenow for whom he had
strong feelings of admiration and respect.

In 1922 Speer met Margaret Weber, whom he would marry six years later in 1928.
Because Weber was from a lower class background her family was essentially rejected
and snubbed by SPeers parents and as such they were married without the consent or
knowledge of SPeers parents.

On the fourth of December 1930, Speer agreed to attend a Nazi rally in the Berlin inner
city area of Neukoul. Aware that Hitler would be speaking at the rally, SPeer expected
not much more than a figurehead due to a lack of political awareness. Speer was
therefore surprised greatly by the well dressed and articulate man who was perfectly
fitting for the highly educated, upper middle class audience.

Speer was taken by Hitler who offered hope and confidence for Germanys future in
critical areas such as the economy, unemployment and dealing with communism. This, in
conjunction with Hitlers magnetic charisma drew SPeer to the Nazi party which he
joined in March 1931.

It cannot be denied the significance of SPeers personal background and historic context,
for this provides a basis for his character and thus otives and perceptions which shaped
his contribution to Nazism in later years.
His youth formed the basis of the apolitical attitudes which were central to his case at
the Nuremberg trials.
His priviledged education and family status gave him an early sense of social superiority
And finally his cold yet obedient relationship with his father set the pretense for
compliance to authority and the search for a more paternal figure, as illustrated in his
relationship with Hitler.