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A1bert

Speer
1,942 +
Historiography

Webb, K. , (2008) ^.!^^. Kiinberley Broadbridge: St Ives pp. 69-73

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Section 4 . A1bert Speer and the HSC

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Chapter 9:

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Responding to questions on the HSC

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General advice

. The personality section of the HSC examination paper is in Section ill:


. There are 27 personalities available for study.

. A1bert Speer is listed at N0 21.

. It is. a good idea for students to do the personality as their third question:
. The World War I questions (Questions I, 2 and 3) should be attempted first. Students have

five minutes reading time before the examination and this time is best spent reading the
sources, This means they will be ready to immediately tackle the Core questions.

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.

. The 20th century study question is best done next. Students will still be fresh and ready to

. Then the personality question should be attempted.

attempt a complex essay response.


. The personality question is: Question I3.

. It is worth 25 marks, the same as the other questions on the paper.

. Thus, it requires 45 minutes, the same as the other questions on the paper,

. The personality question is generic, ie the question is the same for all27 personalities.
. The question has two parts and BOTH parts of the question must be answered.

. Each part of the question should be answered separately. Do not start part (b) on the same

page as part (a). Begin a new page.

Question I3 - Part (a)

The Part (a) question is worth I O marks (out of 25) :

. Answer this question first.

. Students should not spend more than I8 minutes on this part; in fact 1.5-16 minutes will
probably be enough time to answer this part.

Part (a) questions require simple descriptive, narrative responses. Questions for this part will often

be worded as follows:

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. "Describe the role played by. ......"


. "Outline the main events in the career of. . ..."

. "Describe the significant events in the life of. ...."

. "Identify the major features in. ....."

. "Wrlte a brief biography of. ...."

. "Outline the main features. ....."

. "Outline the major contributions of. .."

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.

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@ Keri Webb, Kiinberley Broadbridge 2008

69

I^
CHAPTER 9 . Responding to questions on the HSC

SECTION 4 . Abert Speer and the HSC

IF
Therefore Part (a) responses should have the following features:
. There should be copious factual detail.

. There does not need to be an argument because students are not being asked to analyse in this
question; they are simply being asked to describe or narrate.

IF
IF
tlF

. This requires accurate, relevant, factual detail.

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. There is no need for historiography. Students will obviously not lose marks if it is included but
the descriptive/ narrative nature of the part (a) question means that students will be better served

I. =

by not using historiography here.

I. =

Students should avoid making some of the following common errors often present in HSC
responses to the part (a) question.

I . Identify clearly what the question is asking. If a question is asking for a description of the role
played by the personality in the national history of his/ her country, students must make sure
they focus their information on what the question is asking;
a. do not waste time with lengthy descriptions of Speer's family life, his relationship with his
parents and his marriage to Margret Weber;
b. do not spend ages describing his love of mathematics and his father's opposition to his son
pursuing this field of study;

c. do not get carried away with Speer's architecture studies.


2. If the question is asking for a brief biography, .it would be appropriate to go back to the family
background, though students should not get carried away with the minutiae of Speer's early life.
3. If the question is asking for a description of the personality's rise to prominence, problems can

fir
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arise:

a. should students stop at the point just before he really makes his name with the Nazis?
b. should they stop at the point he has become Armaments Minister?

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c. should students take the story to the end of the war?

d. the syllabus takes rise to prominence' to mean Speer's work as Armaments Minister so
students should go this far and include detail from this period of Speer's life,

4. Students should avoid falling into the trap of getting carried away with lengthy descriptions of
'pet interests':

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a. a page and half on "Germania" is not a good idea;

b. a detailed page and a half account of Speer's work on the new Reich Chancellery is similarly

unlikely to be required.

Question 13- Part (by

The Part (b) question is worth 15 marks (out of 25):

. Answer this question second.

. Students should spend at least 27 minutes on this part; if part (a) has been answered in I5-16
minutes, students can spend up to 30 minutes on this part.

70

This book is subject to Copyright. No more than 10% is permitted to be photocopied.


@ Keri Webb, Kiinbertey Broadbridge 2008

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SECTION 4 . A1bert Speer and the HSC

;I,

CHAPTER 9 . Responding to questions on the HSC

Part (b) questions require complex, anal^ICai responses. Questions for this part will often be

worded as follows:

. "Assess the role of. ,..."

. "Evaluate the role of. ..."

. "To what extent was. ...."

. "Assess the impact of. .."

. "Assess the significance of. .. "


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Part (by questions may well be preceded by a quotation. Students will then b k d

the
idea(s) contained within the quotation as they affect their personalit . Q t t' f
might be similar to these:

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. Great people in history attract their critics as well as thei d "

. "People shape the events of their time more than the events h th "

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. The importance of the role of the individual is often real "


. The significance of the role of the individual in the life of t' "

Questions that follow quotations like these might be in the form of:

. In the light of this statement, assess the impact of the ers I't "

. How accurate is this statement as it applies to the personality you have studied?"
. "To what extent does this statement accurately reflect your personality?"

Students should avoid making some of the following common err ft

responses to the part (b) question.

I . Students must ensure that the quotation is addressed:


a. if the quotation is simply ignored, it becomes next to impossible to answer the question;

b.

students must avoid jumping in with a prepared response of the kind "D'd S
about the concentration camps?" - the quotation in a not want th'

c. This does not mean that students must be mention in the uotat' f
2, Students do not have to agree with the idea contained within th

permissible to challenge it

It is quite

a. however, this does not mean students reject the quotation in the ' t d
their own response;

b.

any refutation must be in terms of the ideas in the quotation; havin d th' ,

then introduce a new line of thought;

C.

the normal "to what extent" rules apply - students must make sure at I t 50-6 O
response is dealing with the quotation, even if it is to ar ue a ainst 't.

I opyright. No more than 10% is permitted to be photocopied


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71

SECT10" 4 . A1berl Speer and the HSC

CHAPTER 9 . Responding to questions on the HSC

3. Quotation or no quotation, students must understand that part (b) questions require analysis; an
argument has to be presented and developed. Part (b) responses are, in effect, mini-essays,
and so the normal rules of essay-writing therefore apply :
a. there must be an introduction in which the argument is presented;
b. the argument must be developed throughout the answer;

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c. the argument must be supported with accurate, relevant, factual evidence;


d. paragraph structure must assist the flow of the argument;

e. there should be a topic sentence(s) to show the marker what the paragraph is going to say;
then comes the evidence to back this up;

f. students should ensure that there are links between paragraphs so that the response flows
rather than become a series of disconnected paragraphs;
g. there must be a concluding paragraph to sum up the argument.

Do students have to include the views of specific historians in part (b) responses? The syllabus
page on A1bert Speer says nothing about the views of historians. However, one of the outcomes

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listed for the personality section is :

H3.4 explain and evaluate differing perspectives and interpretations of the past
Students are therefore strongly advised to make sure that the views of historians are included in a

part (b) response. However, students should note:

. It is a waste of time throwing in the names of twenty three historians and dropping names every

third line:

. markers will know students have not read them all.

. Dropping historians' names all over a response prevents the flow of the argument.

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.

. Historians' views should only be used to support the ideas being presented by the student.

. A student might develop a line of argument, support this with factual detail and then choose to
support it further with historiogrpahical evidence.

IF

. In other words, the historians are there to support the ideas of the student, not to become the

basis of the answer,

. The only exception to this is if a response is based on a historiographical debate which is not
advised for a part (b) response.

. How many historians should be mentioned? As a rule, the fewer the better. A few detailed,
accurate, relevant references will strengthen a response; twenty three references can make a
response look rather ridiculous. 2

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Finally, should students quote directly? Learning piles of quotations is a waste of time; it merely
shows you can remember quotes. It is much better if students 'paraphrase' what a historian is
saying and therefore show the marker that they 'understand' what the historian is saying. Short,
pithy quotes of a few words can be effective but lengthy quotations - even if they are accurate merely serve to hinder the flow of an argument.
I Stage 6 SIIabus Modern History. Board of Studies, Sydney, 2004, p38
2 These are Ihe author^ personal views gained from many years of HSC marking. Different Ieachers have different ideas and students should discuss all
of these issues with their teachers

72

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This bookls subject to Copyright. No more than 10% is permitted to be photocopied.


@ Ken Webb, Kiinberley Broadbridge 2008

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4.5

A1bert Speer

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Event

1905/9 Mar

Born in Mannheim into an upper middle class


family. Father was a successful architect.
Leaves School. Speer has a desire to pursue
mathematics but his father insists his son studies
architect

Began his architectural studies at Institute of


Technology in Karlsruhe.
Transferred to Institute of Technology in Munich.

Came under the tutelage of Professor Hein rich


Tessenow.

Tessenow

promoted

German

craftsmanship, architectural simplicity and was


influenced by the monumental neo-Classical Greek
style. Ideals that Speer to was influenced by.
Qualified as an architect.

,. 927

Married Margarete Weber, from a lower class


family.

After graduation, worked as Professor He in rich


Tessenow's assistant,
19304 Dec

Attends a political meeting at Neue We It (beer hall),


in an inner city area of Berlin, where Hitler is

speaking to students at the Berlin Institute of


Technology. Speer was impressed with Hitler's
shyness, restraint and Yet his conviction.
A few weeks later Speer went to hear Goebbels at
the Berlin Sportzpalatz. He was unimpressed with
his strident tones and claims "I felt repelled; the

positive effect Hitler had upon me was diminished,


though not extinguished. "
,. 931. I Mar
1,932

Joined Nazi Party. He was member number 474481.


Joined his local Motorist Association of the National

Socialist Party (NSKK) and he used his car to drive


Nazis dignitaries to functions. He meets Karl Hanke,
Nazi district leader.
June

Received the commission to redesign Party

Headquarters in Berlin by Hanke, (By now, was


Reichstag deputy and head of the whole Berlin
1933 March

section of Nazi Party)


Asked to renovate the Propaganda Ministry

(Goebbels' Office) in Berlin by Hanke (who is now


Goebbels' private secretary). He completes this in
just two months!

" \

Significance

Date

1,924

..,

Chronology & Significance (,. 905-1990s)

a\,-

,. 923

lit\,^:\. ...jilt
1:1

Renovates the private residence of Kar! Hanke, Nazi


Official

April

Speer criticises the design plans for the I May


Tempelhof Field Night Rally whilst in Hanke's office.
Hanke invites Speer to come up with something
better.

He designed a large raised platform with speakers


o0king down on the masses. Behind the platform
were three gigantic banners - two vertical swatiska
banner each ten storeys high. When Hitler stood to
speak he was picked out by a spotlight while
powerful spotlights used elsewhere.

July

Appointed the Commissioner for Artistic and


Technical Presentation of Party Rallies and
Presentations - events manager for Nazi rallies.

Sept

Drew up plans for the decorations for the 1,933


Nuremberg Rally. His plans included a 30 metre high
eagle and two 1.0 storey high Nazi banners
dominating the Zeppelin Field. Speer met Hitler for
the first time.

Placed in charge of supervising the renovation work


of the Chancellor's Residence, under Hitler's own
official architect Paul Ludwig Troost. This led to

many informal meetings with Hitler. Hitler


impressed by Speer's work invites him to dinner.
Later, he spends time at the ObersalzbeTg (Hitler's
high-secu rity mountain estate)

Appointed the head of the building Department of


1934

Jan

21 Mar

Deputy Fuhrer, Rudolf Hess' staff.


Placed in charge of the Beauty of Labour
Movement, whose aim was to improve the physical
working conditions of German workers'
First major commission to build the permanent
reviewing

stand for the Nuremburg Rally. He

designed a massive stone structure 400 metres long


and 24 metres high.

September

Troost, Hitler's longstanding architect dies. Speer

appointed as Hitler's personal architect

- First

Architect of the Reich


October

Construction of Nuremburg Rally reviewing stand

completed. He created his 'Cathedral of Light' for


the Nuremburg Party Rally - 1.30 anti-aircraft search

lights. Filmed by Leni Riefenstahl in Triumph of the


Wi".

Appointed to build a permanent complex of


buildings at the Nuremberg Rally site. These plans
included a huge horse-shoed Great Stadium

(Deutschland Stadium) which was to be three times


the size of the Great Pyramid and seat 400,000

spectators the equally Impressive glass domed


Congress Hall designed to seat 50,000. Nearby the
new Marching Field would have a two kilometre
parade avenue with seating for ,. 60,000 people.
Redesigned the Olympic Stadium to overcome some

a. 935

of Hitler's objections to modernist elements of the


original design.

Designed the German Pavilion for the World Trade

1936

Fair to be held in Paris in 1937. (Speer managed to

get hold of the plans for the Soviet pavilion which


was to be built opposite Germany's pavilion. Speer
ensured that he increased the size of the German

design so that it dwarfed the Soviet structure. )


(The German Pavilion shared the Gold Award (with
USSR) for his design for the at the World Trade Fair
in Paris in 1937, )
1,937

ian

Appointed Inspector General of Construction for


Berlin (GB! - Inspector General of Buildings for
Construction). This effective Iy made Speer a State
Secretary with a place at all high level Nazi
meetings.

In this role Speer was to design Germonio-the new


Berlin. The emphasis was on colossal architecture.

The railway stations were to be moved so that


visitors arriving at the South Station would be
confronted with a six kilometre North-South

avenue-longer and grander than the Champs Elysee.


At the southern end the skyline would be
dominated by an Arch of Triumph- a stone

monument higher than the Eiffel Tower on which


were to be engraved the names of the 1.8 million
Germans who had died in WWi. ,
At the northern end of the avenue over

SIX

kilometres away would stand the Great Hall which


would boast the world's largest dome over 200
metres in diameter. The intersecting East-West
Avenue would contain government buildings,

offices, theatres and residences. Germania was due


to be completed by 1950.
1,938

Jan

Commissioned to build the new Reich Chancellery in

the neo-classical style. It was designed and


completed within a year!

Over 4,500 men on site worked around the clock


while 3,500 men worked preparing materials,
The building was designed to impress and
intimidate. The impressive entrance was called the
Court of Honour and the doors were flanked by two

statues by Arnold Breker representing the Army and

the Nazi Party. Visitors would then pass through a


series of halls each one longer than the previous
one' To reach Hitler's reception visiting diplomats
had to work over 220 metres! Hitler's office was 400

square metres with 9 metre high ceilings. The


nearby Cabinet Room were designed for meeting
between Hitler and his ministers. The chairs were

embossed with swastikas and eagles although no


cabinet meeting were ever held there.
It was beneath this building in a bunker that Hitler
committed suicide In April 1,945. Ironically this was

the only new building Speer completed in his


career I
,. 939

Jan

Reich Chancellery completed.


Awarded the Gold Party Badge from Hitler for his
work on the Reich Chancellery.

April

Speer's Germania plans required the demolition of


50,000 flats near the city centre. With 23,000 flat
occupied by Jewish tenants the Berlin project and
the resettlement plans went hand in hand with the
Party's anti-Semitic policies and passing of 'Law on
Rental Contracts with Iews'. Speer created the Main
Resettlement Division which together with the SS
made a list of all Jewish occupied apartments, evict
Jewish tenants, and organise the reallocation of

Uewish flats' to Aryan Germans who were to lose


their apartments because of Speer's demolition
work.

August
1940 Mar

World War 11 breaks out.

Halt to construction on the Nuremberg site and


Berlin

June

French signed

an

armistice. Construction

recommenced on NurembeTg site and Berlin.

Appointed Department Chief of Public Works


oversees building projects for the army and air
force. His early projects included three Junker 88
bomber factories and several air-raid shelters.
1940-,. 941
,. 942

7 Feb

Speer approves the use of forced labour


Appointed Minister for Armaments and Munitions
after Fritz Todt's is killed in a plane crash.

1.3 Feb

Speer has top bureaucrats and army suppliers sign a


document giving him full power over armaments
decisions. Hitler told Speer If he had any difficulties

with anyone, they should bring them to face him.

He set up the Central Planning Board to control the


allocation of raw materials to industry.
April

He requested women join the workforce, Despite


Hitler's initial opposition due to ideological reasons,
German women entered the workforce as the war
worsened.

Mar -July

In his first 6 months, Speer had increased


armaments production by 55%.

Mar

Visits Mauthausen Concentration Camp near Linz.

1943

Claimed only shown the positive and 'sanitised


view of the camp.
May

Speer had increased armaments production by a


further So%,

September

Appointed Minister for Armaments and War


Production

6 Oct

Attended Posen Conference, major conference for


Nazi leaders. In morning, Speer made a stinging

attack on Nazi gauleiters, arguing they were selfish


and hurting the war effort. Bormann reported this
back to Hitler in order to weaken Speer's position.

Later in the day, Him in Ier made explicit the 'Final

Solution'. Speer claims that he left the conference


before Him in Ier's speech.
Autumn

Hitler seeks armament information from Speer's

department al head, Karl Saur, rather than Speer


himself
1.0 Dec

Visits Dora missile factory in Harz Mountains, where

V2 weapons were produced. Speer witnessed the


harsh SS treatment of prisoners, who worked in

permanent semi-darkness, no medical support, poor


ventilation, high death rate (60 000 men sent to

Dora, 30 000 died). He demanded conditions be


improved, for economic reasons rather than
humanitarian. He never checks to see if they are
carried out.
1944

Feb

Speer falls seriously ill, spends 3 months recovering.


His enemies make moves to try and discredit him

April

Speer visits Hitler at Berghof to discuss differences


on policies. Their relationship is beginning to crack.

September

War production reached its peak. 7 million foreign


labourers and 400 000 prisoners of war working a
slave labour.

,. 945 March

Began to resist Hitter's 'scorched earth policy'


Speer (claimed that he) colludes with Dieter Stahl,
Head of Munitions production, about a plot to
assassinate Hitler using poison gas.

23 April

Speer flew back to Berlin. Visits Hitler in his bunker


and tells him he counter inarided his orders. Last

time he sees Hitler (Hitler commits suicide a week


later).
8 May
1,945-1,946

World War 11 ended.

Imprisoned by the Allies and then put to trial at


Nuremburg.
Speer denied knowledge of mass murders of Jews in

Eastern Europe, but unlike other Nazis who claimed


they were merely 'following order, Speer accepted
responsibility for the actions of the regime. He
argued he was not involved in the political
decisions, that he was a technocrat, carrying out the
duties he had been given.

Found guilty of two counts of four counts, crime


against humanity and war crimes. Avoided the
death penalty and was sentenced to 20 Years'
1946-,. 966

Served 20 Year in Spaudau prison. Write his


memoirs.

Meets Georges Casalis, the French prison chaplain.


He helps Speer work towards acknowledging his
guilt.
1,969

Published German version of Inside the Third Reich

(Speer's memoirs of life In Nazi Germany)


1981.

Died on a visit to London at age 76.

1983

The full and unedited Wolter's Chronik was released

to the Bundesorchiv after his death. Rudolf Wolters,

Speer's assistant, began keeping a daily written


record of the work done by Speer from 1941to

1944. Despite Speer's effort to have parts of the


Chronik changed for fear of incrimination it was
released unedited. Within it were references to the

meeting held by Goebbels on Berlin Jews attended


by one of Speer's representatives, Dietrich Clahes.
Late ,. 980s

and a. 990s
1,989

Speers is the subject of a number of books


examining his life and war guilt.
Matthias Schmidt, German historian, published

A1bert Speer: The End of o Myth


Condemns Speer unequivocally. He criticises Speer's
writing as too much myth and little truth.

1995

(Schmidt gets access to the Chronik and writes his


thesis in early 1980s)
Gitta Sereny wrote Abert Speer: His Bottle with
Truth after numerous interviews and meeting with
Speer.

Critical of Speer's behaviour, she believes that he


undoubtedly knew about the murder of the Jews
and his constant refusal to face the issue was the

greatest lie of his life. However, Sereny was willing


to believe that after the Nuremburg trial Speer had
made a genuine attempt to repent.

1,997

Dan van der Vat, Dutch historian, The Good Nozi


Argues that 5peer saw enough to know what was
happening and in fact was a 'liar, a fraud and a
hyocrite'.

A1bert Speer:
Architecture representing Nazi Ideals
Fuhrer Prinzip
Nuremberg Rally Site
Reich Chancellory - magnitude empathise Hitler's importance
'Triumph of Will' - provided technology needed to make film and his work features in her film
Monumental ism

Tempelhof - 1.30 aircraft spotlights

Extended plans for Nuremberg site" make Hitler more impressive


Reich Chancellery - dimensions

Germania - 'Great Hall' made larger than Hitler's original ideas


Anti-Communism - Paris World Fair Exhibition 1937

Paris remained after WWII - A staggering Victory Arch was to be erected on the model of the Arc d' Triumph in
Paris but bigger.

Symbolism
Nuremberg - 1.0 storey high flags and Gold Eagle
1000 Year Reich

Theory of Ruin Value


Admirer of Imperial Rome
Nazi architecture was similar to Roman style

Hitler looked to Roman ruins and their eternal aspect.


Totalitarian Nature of Regime Art style submissive to State
Neo-classical architecture

Building represented national rebirth


Anti-Semitism

Jewish Flats
Slave labour
Economic

Use of stone
Militarism

Armaments

Germany government post WW2 demolished remaining Speer's buildings - link to Nazis

A1bert Speer: An Assessment

Role in Nazi Architecture

Architectural Megalomaniac

Technocrat
t:. ,

";Aichit^dural' Mega16fiidi11ab',"^vtdej^;ai':\\*;;.!'

Technocrat -'Evidence

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Personalities in the 20th Century

I. Historical Context

295

in 1933. Forexample, as 'Coriumissioner fortheArtistic


and Technical Presentation of Party Rallies and
Demonstrations', it was his responsibility to arrange
the Nuremberg rallies. They became spectacular
successes, thanks in large part to his organisation and

. Of considerable interest to historians are the

imagination^;tlis use of 130 anti-aircraft searchlights

reasons for the support Hitler undoubtedly rectaived


from much of the Gennan public, especially the middle
class. Speer 's decision in 1931, as a member of that
class, to join the Nazis constitutes a useful case study.

with their vertically pointing beams produced a


'cathedral of light' effect, and, together with gigantic
stylised eagles and swastika"bearing flags, helped
create a monumental sense of occasion.

. How the members of the Nazi elite interacted, and

the parts they played in the exerci^e of power, are


especially of interest. In his role, first as Hitler's
favourite architect and especially, from 1942, as
Armaments Minister, Speer provides an important
study of the contribution made by one of the key
players' Hitler was, and remained, by far the most
powerful person in the Nazi regime - but he did not
seek to monopolise power for himself, He allowed
considerable latitude to key individuals such as Speer
- and, like the others, Speer worked towards achieving

A1bert Speer Chronology


1905

Born in Maimheim.

1927

Qualified as an architect.
March: Joined the Nazi Party.
May: Redesigiied Goebbels' office.
Placed in charge of Beauty of Labour

1931
1933
1934

movement.

1934

what he understood Hitler desired.

. With the fall of the Nazi regime, the Allies used


means such as the Nutemberg War Crimes Trials to
identify and punish co- called crimes against humanity
When Speer was brought to trial in 1946, the Court
had indisputable evidence of his involvement in the
exploitation of slave labour - for which he was
sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. However, at that
time, evidence had yet to be discovered of Speer's
involvement in anti-Jewish activities and so he escaped

1937

a death sentence.

March: Began to resist Hitler's 'scorched


earth' policy.
1945-19461mprisoned by the Allies and then put on
trial at NUTemberg.
1946-1966Served 20 years in Spandau prison

2. Background
A1bert Speer was born into an upper middle class family
in 1905. After qualifying as an architect in 1927, his
career did not take off as he had hoped. Finding it
difficult to get architectural work on his own, he ended
up working for his father. Thus, while Speer did not
experience material hardship like so Inariy other
Gennans in the 1920s and early 1930s, as a young man
he was probably frustrated with his lack of professional

achievement.

3. Rise to Prominence
Soon after hearing Hitler speak at a meeting in Berlin,
Speer joined the Nazi Party in March 1931. And in
contrast to his previous lack of professional
advancement, Speer was soon appointed to a succession
of increasingly more important positions within the
Nazi Party and Nazi regime after Hitler came to power

*
I ,SE:*

Created his 'cathedral of light' for the


Nuremberg party rally. Filmed by Leni
Riefenstahl in Triumph of the 17/11
Appointed Inspector General of
Construction for Berlin.

1942
1943

Feb: Appointed Minister for Annaments


and Munitions to replace Fritz Todt,
Sept: Appointed Minister for Annaments
and War Production.

1943

Oct: Attended Posen Conference where

Himruler made explicit the 'Final


Solution'
1945

1969

Published Gennan version of Iris^de Ihe

1981

Died on a visit to London.

1990s

Subject of a spare of books examining his


life and war guilt.

Third Reich.

On 21 January 1934 Hitler's chief architect, Paul


Troost, died. Speer replaced him, One of the projects
on which Troost had been working was the
development of a pennanent site at NUTemberg for Nazi
Party rallies. Speer took over the project. Amongst
other things he was the designer of its 'German
stadium' intended to hold 405,000 spectators (and
where it was also intended the Olympic Games would
permanently take place, once Germany had achieved a
position of world domination), Speer secured his
reputation when he oversaw the reconstruction of

It,
296
,

HTA Modern History Study Guide

Hitler's Reich Chancellery in less than twelve months, Hitler provided undreami of opportunities in

So shocked was Hitler when he discovered what was organisations when he visited theirfactories: near Line
happening that, in order to rectify the situation, he gave in Austria in March 1943; at Nodiausen in the Han
Speer the type of backing that Do other leading Nazi Mountainsin Central Gennanyin December I943; and

The key positions Speer held were those of (a) General and in the process became what he describes as the
Building Inspector fortheNationalCapital(GBD from ' closest thing to a personal friend Hitler had

had ever received. For his part, Speer lacked any at Landsberg in Bavaria in February 1945. Following
detailed knowledge of the amiamenis industry but he the first visit he complained about the 'luxurious'

30 January 1937, and then (b) Minister for Armaments


and Munitions from 8 February 1942. In these Redevelopment or Berth,

was a very talented organiser, ever ready to recruit accommodation he saw and went on to recommend

I;

I;.
if
..

IF

I- ,
{t :
.L
..
.

,;*

;:
I

. .. ^

:; I

experts, listen 10theirrecommendaiions and to delegate that savings could be made by using cheaper building
authority. Consequently. the influence of the inilitsry materials. On one occasion he was so appalled that he
was replaced by that of industrialists, who Ihen did intervene to improve the living conditions of the

positions, Sneer had considerable power at his disposal. Hitler's long-standing interest in arebitecture produced
The crucial question is, how did he use that power? jin him a desire 10 rebuild German cities, in particular
According to Speer, he conducted himself in an Berlin, on a grand scale and in a manner that would
extremely efficient and - by any obieciive standards - endure a thousand years, To this end, Speer's
highly professional fashion. Indeed there are solid suggestion that the main construction material be
grounds 'for agreeing with the claim he made in his nanaral stone was adopted. The particularresponsibility

achieved the desired eruciencies. In general, they did inmates - in order that production could be increased
this by limiting production as much aspossibleto those

weapons models best suited to mass production, and Speer always maintained he had rin knowledge of the
concentrating their production in the most efficient Holocaust. However, from line text or a speech

last memo to Hitler that 'without my work the war for the redevelopment of Berlin was given to SpeeT. In
order to secure row materials such as stone, a Europeanwould perhaps have been lost in 1942/43'.
wide network of quarry sites was established overthe

factories. Construction of the Me 109 fightsr aircraft, delivered at Posen on 6 October 1943 by SS chier
for example, was concenimted in three factories rather He innch Himinlet it appears that Speer was in the
than the previous seven, and monthly production audience when a lengthy explanation was given for

On the other hand, Speer's ministry was also implicated next eiglit years. This involved a pomership with the

and 1944, labour productivity per worker in Ihe

increased from 180 to 1000. Overall, between 1942 the on-going extennination of the Jews

in the use of slave labour - for which he was found SS andexploitationofthelabourofconcentrationcamp

armaments industry increased by more than 100 In 1946. during his NUTembern. trial, when it seemed
percent. (Butaner January 1945 production plummeted certain he would he found guilty and executed, Speer

guilty at the Nuremberg inals in 1946 and sentenced inmates. In 1942 the GBlorganisation also constructed
to twenty years imprisonment. Since then, however, a large reception camp on the outskirts of Berlin

as a result of Allied strategic bombing. )

.more information has been uncovered raising Ihe capable of processing up to 1500 conscriptsd workers
,.
..

.*
,I
,.
,

.,

297

architecture and, eventually, at the highesi levels of


government. In return, Speer offered uncritical service

between late January 1938 and 10 January 1939.


4:

Personalities in the 20'' Century

possibility that Speer's crimes against humanity were per day from Eastern Earope.

Reaction to Hi"er's 'Scorched Earth' directive

more extensive than at first suspected

The ediiorial of the Nazi Party newspaper P61kiscl, e,


Beoboeh, er of 7 September 1944 called upon all

Rein, io"ship willI Hitler

Hitler's original scheme was expanded considerably


by Speer 10 involve most of Berlin. As part of the

nothing but dealli, annihilation and hale will meet him'

he even eniertained the idea of filling Hitler's bunker

Hitler's personal support. Again in IF, side file naild numerous design changes. Forexample, production or
Reich. Speer offers a clue to his commitment to Hitler: the Junkers Ju 88 bomber was slowed by recoinmended
My position as Hitler's architect soon became modifications 10 the original design which, by late
indispensable 10 me. Not yet 111irty, I saw before me I 942, numbered 18,000.
tile niOSi exciting prospects an axiliteci can dream of

as Hitler gave me orders and I carried Ihem out. I

with poison gas. What were his motives? Perhaps it was bear responsibility for them. ..
purely for the good of Germany: so that, after niiljinry
defeat, 11is nation still Ichined some infrastructure that This admission of gum by association \\, as sufficient
would be needed to begin a recovery, OJ. perhaps, he 10 enable 11imio escape the hangman. But ho\\. genuine
was cunning Iy distancing himself from Ihe regimc in was Speer in admitting to his 'share in responsibility'

111e hope that Ile could play an imporkin! role in post- but not actual jinolveii:eniin criii, es ariainst humanity?

could Inove lowards economic recovery. .. h must as Minister for Annaments and Muniiions. He bolstered
nave been during these moriihs Ithat my mother saw Germany's defence to such an extent that the war

architect became a \\, elcome member of the Nazi weapons of the highest possible quality. To achieve
leader's dose circle of acquaintances. And nothing what they wanted, military officers continually
ensured advancement in Nazi Germany more Ihan inIerfered in Ihe manufacturing process, demanding

government ti. e. Hitler, who had committed suicidal

Despite the enormous danger involved, Speer set about nation and Ihe world. As an important member of

on 111e way, could be checked, Hitler persuaded us, In the last three years of the war, SPCer made a minor
and instead of IIOPeless unemploymeni, Gentiany contribution to Germany's mintory effort in his capacity

Hitler caprured11isimanination. Given Hitler's artistic/ actually declined by 24 percent. Mass production was
architecturel pretensions, it is no surpriseihaiihe young noi a priority - rather, the military authorities demanded

is therefore ^y obvious duty to answer for this

openly couniennanding \\, harm referred to a colleague the leadership of the Reich I therefore share in the
as being 'these insane plans or desiruciion'. Apparently,
genemliesponsibilicy from 1942 onwards ... Irisolbr

Here it seemed to me was hope. Here new ideals ...


The perils orcommunism which seemed inexorably Armaments Minister

In the first two years of the \\, ar, output per \\. orkerliad

German nati and caused a world catastrophe. It

It was Hitler who inspired this 'scorched earth' policy. 11as escaped his responsibility before the German

after his death

an SA parade in the streets of Heidelberg. The sighi probably lasted at least two years longer than would
of discipline in a lime of universal chaos. the otherwise have been the case. Before Hiller's
impression of energyin an atmosphere uruniversal appointment of Speer to oversee the war economy,
hopelessness, seems to have won her over also. production of weapons 11ad been extremely inemcieni

I have something fundamental 10 say ... This war


has brought an unimaginable catastrophe on the

Gehnans to ensure Ihat the approaching enemy found misfortune, including 10 the Gennan nation. I have
'every footbridge destroyed, every road blocked - this duly all the more because the head of

Unlike millions of o111ers, Speerjoined the Nazi Party process, -Speerordered the eviction oftens of thousands
before Hitler came 10 power. This suggests he was of inhabitants from apartments in the inner city, of
aciing out of conviction rather than simply jumping whom 75 000 were Jews according to records compiled
on the bandwagon. While he claims riot to have been by Speer's own organization. Whilst at the time the
'poliiical'. it is clear he was attracted to Hitler. This fate of these Jews was of ino concern to him, after the
explanation, given in his memoirs Inside Ihe Third war Speer made Era"Iic efforts to suppress this
Reich. gives an insight into why so many middle class information, and it did not become widely known until
Gennans voted for Hitler:

delivered this dramatic statement

war Germany - possibly becon, ing its leader. IF it were


the latter, his sclTerne came badly uusiuck: Ile was
arrested on 23 May 1945,10 be put oiitrlal by the Allies
us part of their 'denazificaiioii' campaign
*

RESOURCES
Fest. J.

SPC"', Tile F1'""! ladit,

Frappe;. S

London, \\Einen!bld & Nicholsoii. 2001


filcht id""If in Am del"i HisIon. .' Lull

Rig/',,,$1,111 & 4thu'I Spar, '

4, Significance and Evaluation

Melbourne. Macmillaii. 2002

Sureiiy, G. A1be, '1511eeJ': His Bafflei, ill, 71'111h


Involvement in the crimes of the Natzi re"jinc?

There was a serious downside 10 ho\\, Speer was able SPeer, A


to achieve increased output in the armTameiits industry.
More and more use was made of coilscripied foreigners,
prisoners of war and concentTatioii camp in males
working under SS supervision. \Viih Hiller's direct
support, at one stage Speer imponed 200,000 niineTs
from occupied Russia. On at least three occasions,
Speer witnessed at first hand Ihe conditions
experienced by slave labourers \\. orking for his

London. Picador. 1996


hayM* Ihe 71/11dRe, 'c/I

London. PIToenix. 1995

Van der Vat. D. 71, " tilt, fir, d Lic$ 44the, ',.$11eeJ
me GadN, ,=i. London, Phoenix. 1997
\'ideo/Film

'Soeer: TlIe Archiieci'. an episode in


the 1996 SBS series Hille, .$
Ile, ,cm^^e, I

:liee, tind Hille, U Gennariia -111eMadness.


11 Nu, eniburg - rite Trial. 1/1 Spandau - The
Punish ritent)

Student Number: 12027850

Modem History: A1bert Speer

Describe A1bert Speer's role in the Nazi Party from 1931 to 1945,
Overview:

This report will give a backg'ound to A1bert Speer, including his introduction to his career. It
will then outline the role of A1bert Speer as Hitter's friend and confidante within his inner circle.

Furthermore it will describe his role as Hitler's architect in the Nazi Party, and following this it will
convey facts regarding his role in the Nazi Party as the Minister of Armaments.
Introduction to Career

rubert Speer was born on the 19th of March, 1905in Mannheim, the son of an architect.

Speer studied at schools in Karlsruhe, Munich and Berlin and following this he sought to acquire his
architectural license which he obtained in 1927.

Following this Speer was witness to one of Hitler's speeches at the student rallies in Berlin in
December 1930, and became "captured by the magic of Hitter's voice". This inspired him to join the
socialists three months later.

Speer was asked by Josef Goebbels to redesign his official residence in 1932, which he did

efficiency and skin, impressing Hitler, This was the beginning of a long, active relationship between
Hitler and Speer.
A1bert Speer in Hitter's Inner Circle

Through close contact and work relations, Speer and Hitler quickly developed trust within
their relationship, which led to Speer's introduction to Hitler's inner circle. This inner circle consisted

of Hitler's close friends which acted as advisors towards him. Hitler's trust of Speer is supported by
the fact that Speer was petrixitted to enter Berkoff with his wife Margarete Weber. This emphasised
the relationship that Hitler and Speer shared as this was a privileged activity and serves to
demonstrate Speer's close contact with the leader of the Nazi Party.
A1bert Speer as Hitler's Architect

Speer was held in higli regard by Hitler, and it was this respect that led Hitler to give Speer
the task of designng the Noremberg rally sites for May 1st, 1933. Hitler hintselfwas an enthusiastic

architect but he lacked the skills of architectural action which became the role of Speer. He surpassed
Hitler's expectations which impressed Hitler.

in January 1934, Paul Ludwig Troost, Hitler's architect, died and was replaced only six hours
following his death by Speer hilliself. A1bert Speer then became the first architect to the Fuher. This
marked the beginning of Speer's active involvement in the Nazi Party.

Student Number: 12027850

Modem History: A1bert Speer


Speer was initially given two tasks, The first was to redesigi the NUTemberg rally sites, the
second was to create a penmanent headquarters for the NSDAF Speer carried both of these tasks out
efficaciously and brought further respect to his name.
in 1937 Speer became the subsection leader of the realm propaganda, inspector General of

the construction of the Reich's capital, which meant that he was a part of the department that was
responsible for evictions of the Jewish in 1939.

1938 Trunked Speer's debut as an active yet silent participant in the violence carried out by the
Nazi Party against Jews. This was due to the intense racism of the Party and Hitler's aspirations to
build an entirely new chancellery (Gennania). In order to achieve this, Speer was given unlinxited
financial assistance and was periliitted and supported in demolishing 52 000 flats and renting 23 000
of these Jewish flats the Aryan people of Gentruiy,
in 1941 Speer was selected as a representative of the electoral district of Berlin West, thus
increasing his decision junking power within the Nazi Party. It was also in this year the deportation of
Jewish people from Gennany began.

Speer conducted his architectural duties througli the Fuller and his support, providing new
premises for the Nazi Party, as Hitler's riglit hand man.
A1bert Speer as nunister of Armaments

On the 7th of February, 1942, Fritz Todt, the Minister of Armaments, was killed in a plane
crash and Speer was appointed by Hitler himself as the succeeding Minister.

Under his new title, Speer was given ''itee reign" over his district with the goal of
reorganising armaments productions. He immediately demanded the increase of armaments

production and this was accomplished through the use of concentration camp labour. Speer had
indirect control of the Gennan economy and his dedication to war efforts was vast. As a result,
armaments production had doubled by 1942 and continued to rise tiltougliout Speer's control of this
area of the economy.

in September 1943 Speer was rewarded for his efforts with the Fritz Todt ring of honour for
his work.

Speer continued his work for the Nazi Party as Minister of Aimaments and in 1944 he
created a series of underground factories, which were 20 kiri in length and he used 600 000 slaves to
carry out further demands of the war effort. These slaves worked 13 hour days and one in three of
them died partly as a result of their hard labour ordered by Speer.
It was also in this year that Speer was asked to declare his part in the 'final solution' scheme
executed by the Nazi Party, He denied any kilowledge of this policy.

Himaler stated to the 'Observer', a British newspaper, that "in him is the epitome of the
managerial revolution". This is useful to show that Speer's part in the Nazi Party was to act based on

Student Number: 12027850

Modern History: A1bert Speer

the wishes of Hitler hintself. Speer fellill in this year and was moved to the countryside where Hitler
sent him the best doctors in the country,

in May 1944 Speer returned to work and immediately pleaded for the completion of the war.
Speer appeared to be unaware that his armaments production efficiency had delayed the end of the
war by approximately two years, Hitler developed his ' ' scorched earth" policy which Speer disagreed
with and future disagi. Gements such as this eventuated in severe deterioration of the relationship
between A1bert Speer and Hitler.

Therefore, as the Minister of Armaments within the Nazi totalitarian regime, Speer was
effectiveIy in control of the Gennari economy.

Deterioration of Speer and Hitler's Relationship


1945 brought further disagreements between the two former friends, and the most signficant
of these was Speer's violation of Hitler's direct orders to periliit the destruction of industrial areas of
Gennany that were destined to fall into Allied hands,

Historians learn from Speer's own evidence that Speer planned an assassination of Hitler in
April, 1945, which failed. Speer was arrested after the conclusion of the war and was transferred to

NUTemberg where he was to be held until a court trial. He was later charged and sent to the 'BGrlin
Spandau' for 20 years,

A1bert Speer's Role in the Nazi Party - Historiography


Many historians argue that Speer was aware of the atrocities of the Nazi Party and followed
Hitler's orders regardless of the repercussion of this.

For example, Hugl:I R. Trevor argues that Speer "ignored the political implications of the
regime and served with absolute loyalty the Teal CTiriinial of the Nazi regime [Hitler]". This suggests
an almost puppet-like role in the early years of Speer's service. Hemy King, a prosecutor at
Noremberg states that "From 1942 to 1945 not only was he one of the men closest to Hitler, but he
was also one who influenced Hitler's decisions. ..". King's statement shows that Speer's role was as
Hitler's advisor.

Conclusion:

Throughout the period of 1931 - 1945 A1bert Speer acted within the Nazi Party as Hitler's
puppet - the man who carried out Hitler's ideas. He was also Hitler's personal architect and the
Minister of Armaments and War Production where he was effectiveIy controlling the German
economy.

^I

^I

Chapter 4:

^. 11
^I

First Architect of the Reich (, 934-42)


Rallies/Germania/'Reich Chancellery/'Jew-Flats'

I.
^

.
.
.
.
.
.

\*

It has already been noted that luck played a significant role in the career of A1beit Speer. Luck

entered his life again in a macabre way with the death of Hitler's leading architect, Paul Troost in
March 1934. Speer now stepped into this role at the tender age of twenty nine. Hitler's fascination
with architecture and Speer's talents in this area combined to bring Speer and Hitler closer and
closer. Speer said at his trial at Nuremberg in I 946 that had Hitler had any close friends, he would

have been one of them. Speer'SI relationship with Hitler will be dealt with in more detail in Chapter 6.
Rallies and ruins

Speer had already proven his ability to organise impressive events with the I May Tempelhof
display and the 'Day of Victory' party rally in 1933. His efforts for the party rally in Nuremberg in
1934 were to far surpass his achievements of the previous year. Speer's ideas would forever be
immortalised in Leni Riefenstahl's film masterpiece of the rally 'Triumph of the Will".
. Speer's most memorable creation was the 'cathedral of light' effect using 130 anti-aircraft

searchlights. British Ambassador, Henderson, referred to it as the bathedral of ice'.

. Speer put on an amazing show with his organisation of mass displays in Zeppelin field and its

thirty four flag platforms. The pseudo-religious ' Blood Flag' scene in which Hitler, SS leader
Himin Ier and SA leader Lutze walked in silence through the massed ranks, was Speer's idea.

. The use of massed flags and night time rallies were also Speer\s ideas, He claimed it hid the
embarrassing sight of so many 13avarian beer bellies amongst Hitler's supporters - not good for
the youthful party image.

=.

. Riefenstahl had to refilm some rally scenes after the completion of the rally. Speer relates the

=.

=.

amusing story of Julius Streicher and other Nazi luminaries pacing up and down trying to learn
their lines. '

=.

In his memoirs, Speer made a rare reference to his private life during this period of his career.

=.

foe confesses thaO he neglected his I^tinily, at this period for the sake of hi^ work, which left him too
tired at the end of a long day to devote any energy to GrateI and the baby'

=.

Rallies were spectacular, exciting and provided great propaganda. However, a party rally, ino matter

how dramatic, was transitory. Speer understood that Hitler wanted something that was going to

^,

last, in the way that the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Romans had a lasting legacy. Hitler
envied Mussolini his collection of Roman monuments which could be used to inspire his people to
a great future. He wanted his Germany to achieve what the Romans had achieved :

^
^
=.

Our architectural works should also speak to the conscience of a future Germany centuries from
now. In advancing this argument Hitler also stressed the value of a permanent type of
construction. 3

=,
=,
=.

=,

I Span, A, Irisde the Third Ra'of I, Phoenix, London, 1995 edition. PIO5
2 Van der Vat. D, The Good Nazi: The Life and Ues of Abert Sneer, Honghtori Mirin Company. New York. 1997. p65
3 Speer. p97

This bookis subject to Copyright. NO Innre than 10% is permitted to be photocopied.


@ Keri Webb, Kiinberley Broadbridge 2008

25

SECT, 0". a . Rise to prominence

CHAPTER 4 . First Architect of the Reich (1934-42)

:^
at

Whenever Hitler was shown architectural drafts or models by his architects, he invariably rejected
them and demanded revisions. However, he rarely behaved like this with Speer. Speer always felt

that in architectural matters, Hitler always treated him as an equal. When in 1934. Speer showed
Hitler his model for the permanent site for all future party rallies in Nuremberg, it was accepted

immediately. 'Speer^s gtand vision in these matters always seemed to match the megalomaniacal

;^
.,

hopes of Hitler.

The Nuremberg site was to be a massive complex, including a stt^Iium capable of holding 400 000
people-and massive areas formilitary exercises. A budget of 80.0 million marks was -allocated. The

, project-was to be finished by 1945 but in the-end only a-few fragmented buildings had been

completed. Speer's design -showed that he had finally deserted the simplicity of his earlier mentor,

i^
. .,
,

Tessenow, and had fully adopted the -classicism of the late Troost.
eal to
to Hitler's
Hitler'sneed
needfor
foran
anarchitectural
arc itecturallegacy,
Ie ac S
eer' went
one sta
e further
To appeal
Speer'
went'one
stage
further.

. He showed Hitler designs of what the buildings would look like as ruins, covered in Iw, . hundreds
of years into the future.

" **

. Speer was at first berated by other Nazi leaders because his designs implied that Nazism would

ii^

not last forever. However, it appealed to Hitler's sense of history.

I^

. Speer referred to this notion of lasting monuments as "the theory of ruins". A building was of
value if its ruins lasted into the future. For this reason, materials had to be used which would

predate the modern age as it was believed that' modern materials would not last.

Germania and - other projects

Ir
=

Hitler'S principal architectural dream involved his hoped for rebuilding of the city of Berlin. Hitler's
future empire needed a capital that would rival and surpass cities such as Paris and Vienna. His
obsession with this idea can be judged by the fact that even during the war when Berlin was under

I:

attack, Hitler still insisted on continuing with the project. Even when the Russian campaign was
showing signs of lagging behind, Hitler was still insistent that granite purchases from Norway and

Ir

Sweden increase. '

'r
,

Hitler had toyed with grandiose plans for Berlin as far back as the early 1920s when he was just an
unimportant Southern German politician. These were to provide the basis for Speer's own plans
and models,

.r
Ir

. Hitler envisioned a five kilometre avenue stretching through the centre of the city leading to a
domed hall several times the size of St Peters in Rome.

. There was to be a triumphal arch that would -dwarf that of Paris.

;r

. At the other end of the avenue would be the Fuhrer's Palace.

Ir:

. In addition there were to be dozens of major cultural buildings, including a mega-6000 seat
cinema and an operetta theatre.

,,=

This new capital was to be called Germania and was to be opened in 1950,
The buildings of Germania were to be monotonously huge. The plans for the new city suggest that
ideology was clearly having an impact on art; the vastness of Germania represented the will to

conquer. in an attempt to impress Hitler, Speer was willing to take Hitler's megalomania seriously

-r
.I.
r
^

and he planned for buildings of vast dimensions.

I.
Ir

4 Sneer. p259

26

This bookis subject to Copyright. No more than 10% is permitted to be photocopied

@ Ken Webb, Kiinberley Broadbridge 2008

Ir
;r

I^.
SECT10" 2 . Rise to prominence

CHAPTER 4 . First Architect of the Reich (1934-42)

. , . Speei; granted the closest approximatibn to a carte blanche ever given to anyone by Hitler

expanded on his patron ^ plans, increasing the dimensions of the great dome and other features 5

Fest relates the story of Speer^s father visiting his son during the period of all these grandiose plans.
Apparently Speer's aging father could do nothing more than shake his head and suggest that his

son and his associates had all gone completely mad. 6

In January 1937, Speer was formally placed in charge of the I^. erlin project and given the title

'Inspector General of Construction for the Reich Capital'. He was given extensive powers and was
directly subordinate only to Hitler. This meant that Speer did not have to go through city officials,

the Ministry of the Interior or Goebbels. I

Answerable to Hitler alone, Speer wash lapt granted a kind of dictatorial status '

In the immediate pre-war years, peer^ expanded his architectural work.

. He redrew the plans for the I 986 Olympic Stadium. Hitler had been very unhappy with the
modernist look of the original idea with its emphasis on glass and steel.

. He designed the German pavilion for the 1937 Paris World Fair. The German site had been

.
.

.
:^,
.
.
^
^
^

placed next to the Soviet pavilion. By chance, Sneer came across the designs for the Soviet
pavilion and he was able to ensure that his design dwarfed that of its neighbour.
The new Reich Chancellery
Speer's major architectural achievement was the building of the new Reich Chancellery. In January
I938, Hitler gave Speer the job of designing and building this new edifice and demanded its
completion by January 1939. Hitler said that he wanted a building which would impress diplomats
and overwhelm overseas leaders with the power of the Reich. Speer had 8000 men working in the
project, 4500 actually on site while 3500 worked on preparing materials.

. Hitler made a habit of visiting the site unannounced and checking Speer's plans, though he never
demanded alterations.

. Speer suggests that during this period Hitler was very concerned with his mortality.
. He feared not living to see the completion of his dreams and during the I 930s often suffered
bouts of ill health.

^,
^
=.
=^,

. It was at this time that Hitler began putting his faith in a quack doctor, Theodor Morrell, who
provided Hitler with ever increasing amounts of pills, potions and injections.
Speer managed to complete the project early. It would be incorrect to say ahead of schedule, as
Speer had not worked out a schedule, instead:

"he displayed the briMant improvi^;ational genius with which both followers and opponents have
always credited him. re

:^,

The Reich Chancellery was arguably Speer's greatest architectural achievement; it certainly

impressed Hitler who awarded him the Gold Party Badge and added a personal touch by giving

:.

him one of his own watercolours from the very early days. ' Hitler seemed particularly pleased with

^,

would result in visiting diplomats shivering and shaking, 10

5 Van der Vat. p70

:.
I^I
=.

his study table, with its inlay of a sword half-drawn from its sheath. Hitler was amused at how this

6 Fest. J. Spear: The Final Verdict. Weldenfeld and Nicolson, London, 2001, p93
7 Fest, p64
8 Fest, PIO3

9 In his youth, Hitler had salously hoped to become an adjsi and had twice med to gain entry into the Manna Academy of Fine Ans
to Speer, PI72

This book is subject to Copyright. No roore than 10% is pennitled to be photocopied.


@ Keri Webb. Kiinberley Broadbrldge 2008

27

SECTION a . Rise to prominence

CHAPTER 4 . First Architect of the Reich (1934.42)

r:

Exercise 4.1

I:

Using the words and phrases in the box below, complete the f 11

Speer's big chance came with the death of


appoint Speer his chief architect.

in March 1934 and

s decision to

He played a major role in planning the party rally at

I:
,:

,
which
was great
filmed
by S e
^ y
_,_,,. $peer's
innovation
at 'these

events was his ,_,_ effect. Speer was 'Iven the ' b f I

,_, site for future rallies but these plans were never realised. S

,:

developed the , the idea that monume t h Id ' '

continue to exist well into the . Hitler^; principal architect I d

of _, to rival cities like Part^. He intended namin his new 't I .

many projects, this one remained a dream. Speer redesi ned the 01

Hitlers objections and in 1937 he desi ned the G ' '


Speer's greatest success was the building a new

b uildin g

which opened in January 1939. For this project, Hitler awarded Speer a

.
future

Gold Party Badge

Troost

cathedral of light

Hitler

modernist

Nuremberg

Reich Chancellery

.:

Leni Riefenstahi

B erlin

theory of ruins

permanent

Germania

Paris World Fair

r
.

Party intrigues

Speer stated that he always tried to remain aloof from the 'intr' ' ' '

Hitler tended to discuss only 'artistic' matters with him. Howe , S ' '

shy exterior that Speer presented publicly, there lurked a ruthle '

meant that he was forced into the political whirlpool whether he 11k d ' ,

around him a group of young architects who developed a stron to alt f h '
However, despite their loyalty, none was allowed to even consider acce t'

first getting his permission.

r
.

Speer
had faced opposition early on from the likes
of Goebbels,
h
Hitler.
'
s

However, Speer's main party opponent was Martin Bormann. Bor '
but as time went on he moved more fully into Hitler's orbit and as th

become
so close to Hitler, that no one could get to see the Fuhrer Ih t f
Bormann.

r
.
.

'

. Before the war Bormann took care of Hitler's finances, the b 'Id' h I'
even the needs of Eva Braun, Hitler^s long-suffering mistress.

. Bormann worked to make himself indispensable 12

^
L

11 The monntainside in Bavarla there Hitler had his Be rehtese aden in nt ' t

12

Speer,

137

L
28

This book is subject to Copyright. No more than 10% is ermitted I b h

@ Ken Webb. Kiinberley Broadbrid e 2008

SECTION a . Rise to prominence

CHAPTER 4 . First Architect of the Reich 0934-42)

I^.
. Bormann resented Speer because at this stage Speer could see Hitler without Bormann being
there. This was a challenge to Bormann's power.

I.

. Speer was be coin. ing'jealous of another architect, Hermann Giessler, who had been given the job
of redesigning Munich and Linz.

. Speer sought to lessen Giessler's influence by issuing a decree that all building requests had
to go through him.

;a,

>~
Y

. Bormann put in a written protest against Speer's 'empire-build. ing'.

. Bormann succeeded in blunting Speer's influence. Speer backed down and accepted control

I^,
.

of building only in Berlin and INuremberg.


(Speed had found the frtriit of his uthority and influence in the Byzantine worki of Nazi intr^7ue, and
its name Was 80rmann. 13

.
.
.

The outbreak of war

With the outbreak of war, Speer sought to become fully involved in wartime activities.
..

' Desplt^ 'Hitler!s wishes, ' Speer

,. charge. of-the rocket. construction

inari';^gad' to get- himself put in

,.

. ,

=11
.
.
=.
=.

^
^,
^

Speer Was but in ' charge'of 26


I"000 wojker^. wh^seibb"was. to'

' build army buildings; aeroplane '


.. ft^qtorie$ andaiiraid*, shelters. in. .

,: B^bib. ',' ^^y*I!ate:;t94j;-$peer'$. ,,-,

.meithdd
bolt-^0 60016ir:fad". '
'"hit"' "t~' B'I' " ' ' '
.. .' ..-.,-, *

*.

SPEER AND
THE WAR
I939-4 t

=,"";*:'\'; 'J"'* * '**;', I';*:*.:'. *:

S
6r Set
dirt ' ''
Sped
SetU'Up' Several
Severaltrans'
transport

units of thousands of trucks and

'-'a transport'fi66f of'^Oof6ighf. .'


materials and removal'of bomb
debris.

:,
=,

.,,.

' ~ "' ' ' ', ' ' * ',, 4*;* ,'* , *,,,, - **~.:'. ' I, ' * .:. I *, J. .,. '. .

barges for the movement of

..

,,..

.
:.

.,

.. **,, ,.*f" ::.:JJ. ,.,'.,. ', ,-*..,, -.,...'

Site at i>eerierlionde. I' ' ' ~


,

::Foiloyiij^jilt;'f4jbf:t^arts, ;, Sneer*.,

'in, gif, it;^**.^,^nil^^off;;,:,,,:in

-GPh^^}*^4^!^^!;t^-i^;:^:"'

;f^!119.9"^:j^i^!!^;$,!i;;,,;;,;:I^^it^;11; :
; th^j. ^^^;^^its^I^:;^$;^^;'::'
6t, I^0$^^i^j^#'^^;^j. ?-;';".:: -

-.^oil^,*inns;I^^i's^^,, it;;**,~

.VCi:k^;'tint;^^;,:!$it^j^1.1^f;;t;;;;
- ':', -.. -.;,'-,.:,,,*.. .,.,;.*-* -,$1'- ,j. I ; ' ; '

' 'leverft^Itij^i^^::;,;;,:*,-,:;,,:
...
"""*',,*;'4'4;*,"**',. *"'.. . , I, '. . '

The issue of the 'Jewish Flats'


Until his appointment as Armaments Minister in 1942, the most controversial issue with which
Speer was connected was that of 'The Jewish Flats'. In April 1939, the ' Law on Rental Contracts
with Jews' was passed. This allowed the ejection of Jews from their homes if alternative
accommodation could be found. A resettlement department was later created. However, this was
not enough for Goebbels who was very keen on dealing with the Jewish issue. It had been
Goebbels who pushed hardest for the nationwide pogrom against the Jews during the 'Night of
Broken Glass' in November 1938.

^
=,
=,
=,
=,
^

Goebbels decided that the 20 000 flats still owned by Jews in Berlin were needed as a reserve in
case allied bomb damage meant that German citizens had to be relocated. He was tired of the
hesitancy towards the Jews and ordered their deportation to Lodz, Riga and Minsk. Goebbe!s was
happy to use terror tactics to achieve his aim.
13 Van derVal. p92

This bookis subject to Copyright. No mmre than 10% is permitted to be photocopied.


@ Keri Webb. Kimberley Broadbridge 2008

29

SECTIO" a . Rise to prominence

CHAPTER 4 . First Architect of the Reich (1934-42)

Early in the war, Speer's office had dealt with various Berlin construct' t ,
contractors and Iiaised with delivery firms. However, as the issue of th J ' h F ,

.
.
.

was now dealing with delegates of the Jewish community, SS Qincers and Goebl? I . G '
Was eager to rid Berlin of its Jewish population. His impatience led him t ' ' t

committed suicide rather than be forced east. By this time, ' S ee ' d

was too big or because Speer could not stomach the work * It*

hurry things along. Houses were searched and Jews were herded onto t k . M

its administrative function in resettlement matters. Fest ponderswheth th'


~

Debate has continued amongst historians about the connection between S d. h

Fest suggests that he was not 'directly' involved in the events. '

As head of department Speer certainly had nothihg to do w/'th .thi^se in d t , - h

.
.

his r's"'st"Ityin this field, 14 , , , , ,

In
his S
andau
diaries
andhish'
In his Spandau
diaries
and his memoirs,
Speer never mentions
d F1''

in

the

affair.

Gitta Sereny suggests that Speer would not have known what 'was -

Most of thi^ early resettkament work. .. was purely administrative andi'ti Ik I S ,

..

now headihg an organisatibn of thousands, knew much about the details ' I d 15
However, Sereny also makes the point that Speer must have known ab t th 194 '
remove all the Jews because one of I his leading Officials, 01ahes, had att d d th
when Adolf Eichmann had been told to work out the plan for reinov' th
It I^ impossible that Speer was not informed of the substance of this in t ' - th
the, Jews from Berm. ,6

I'

r
r

Speer^s long-time friend and colleague, Rudolf Wolters, kept a detailed ch ' I f

the war. When this chronicle was later published, certain sections r d' h
omitted - Wolters stated later he had done this out of consideration f S
go along with this. However, later on Wolters became ang with S e ' I
towards his Nazi career and so he broke with Speer, and placed the

with the (West German) government archives. Speer's participation and knowled e f th J

'r
.
r

Flats business was now out in the open.

I^

This raises issues about Speer as a inari. Even if it can be acce ted that h h d d'
involvement, he had to know what was going on, as Sereny su ests b H

live with the knowledge of what was happening to these up to 75 000 B I' J ,

would perish in the camps?

.=
,,

. A1bert Speer always maintained that he was no anti-Semite. Thi b b


.

IL:

However, he seems to be a inari totally without emotion. He felt nothin b t th

these 75 000 people; it was merely an administrative issue. A s h I ' t

back and analyse Speer's cold upbringing to seek an explanation for this.
Sereny argues further that the fate of the Jews was of no concern to him, h
fate of the millions of slave workers who would work for him later in the w Th I
was,
says Sereny, that when Speer wanted something, he went after it, and th h
not matter. ,7

..=
.

.,

14 Fest, PI20

15 Soreny, G. Nbert Speer: His Battle with Truth. Picador. London, I995, p220

.-I

16 Sereny. p221
17 Sereny, p223

30

.^

IF=
This book is subject to Copyright. No mole than 10% is permitted to be hotoc ' d.

@ Keri Webb. Kimberley Broadbridge 2008

,=

11

SECTION a . Rise to prominence

CHAPTER 4 . First Architect of the Reich 0934-42)

. Van der Vat has a different explanation. He suggests that Speer was a inari who was able to

'compartmentajise' his life. For Speer, the violent activities of the regime were quite separate

.
.
a

.
.

from the work which Speer did for the regime which in turn was quite separate from the
personality of Hitler, the inari who continued to maintain such a hold over him.
Exercise 4.2

Read each of the following statements. Circle either THIS Is TRUE or THIS Is FALSE as it applies
to the statement.

I . Speer was not the sort of metn to become involved in

THIS Is TRUERHis Is FALSE

party intrigues to even understand these mechanisms.


.
I.
.
.

2. Speer was able to develop a ^lose and effective working


relationship with Martin Borm^Inn.

3. Speer saw Hermann Giesler as a threat to his privileged

THIS Is TRUE/rHis Is FALSE

position,
4. Speer managed to establish a complex and extensive

THIS Is TRUE/PHIS Is FALSE

THIS Is TRUE!'rHis Is FALSE

range of organisations during the early stages of the war.


5. The main driving force behind. the takeover of the Berlin

THIS Is TRUERHis Is FALSE

Jewish flats was Goebbels.

.
6. Speer was intimately involved in the detail and planning of

THIS Is TRUE/THIS Is FALSE

the eviction of the Jews from Berlin.

I^
ai
^
^

7. Though Speer did not intervene on the Jews' behalf in

THIS Is TRUE/THIS Is FALSE

Berlin, he was deeply emotionally troubled by the events.

8. Speer's personality was such that he was to able to


compartment allse his life which enabled him to overlook
unpleasant aspects of the Nazi regime.

THIS Is TRUERHis Is FALSE

^
.
.
:.
^

^
^
.
.
.
.
.

This bookis subject to Copyright. No more than to% is perrnitted to be photocopied.


@ Keri Webb, Kiinberley Broadbridge 2008

=11

31

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Ul

4.18.2 Sneer und the churnclerislics of

relative slubiliiy, 1924-9


amen inflation stabilised, Speer was able to transfer his

studies to the more esteemed Institute of Technologyin


Munich. The foUowing year, in 1925, he transferred

However, Speerts membership of the Nazi Parry was


soon to provide him with new work opportunities. He
was asked to redecorate the local district headquarters
of the Nazi Party in West Berlin. A few months later
Speer redecorated the Nazi district headquarrers on
Voss Street in Berlin

again, this time to the Institute of Technology in


Berlin-Charlottenburg

The Weimar period was an exciting time to be

studying architecture in Germany. Germany led the way


in architectural innovation with the internationaUy
famous Bauhaus School. The Bauhaus . School of

architecture emphasised simple, useful designs for


buildings and furniture, Characteristic features of the
Bachaus style include the nat roof, curved cornets and
horizontal oblongwindows
Speer however, was not an admirer of the Bachaus

style; he preferred older, grandet styles of architecture

4.18.3 Speer und the imp, ICt of the Great


Depression
Speer Grid the Depression

4.18.4 Speer, und Hitler's titression 10


power und role us F"forer
Hitler becomes ch. oncellor
Once Hitler had been elected ChanceUor the Nazis

began a series of newbuildirig projects to help establish


and promote the new regime. Speer found himself
receiving more and more coinniissions. 111 March 1933

Speer was given the job of rebuilding and redecoratiiig


the new building for the Ministry of Propaganda on
Wilhelmsplatz, Then he was asked to remodel and

extend Goebbels's house, design decorations for the


May Day rally at Tempelhof and design decorations for

the NUTemberg Party rally of 1933. Speerwas also called _)


on to refurbish the chanceUery in collaboration with
Hitler^ official architect, PaulLudwigItDOSt

Speer became a part-time assistant tutor at the

Speer Grid Hitler

Berlin. Char!6ttenberg institute in 1927. He planned to


develop a private architecture practice to work at on his

Speer's efforts on the chancellery building pleased

days off. Butthe Depression had setoffttie collajise of the

Hider who invited him to dirmer. Hitler took an instant

building industry and Speer, as ayounguntt. led arcliitect

liking to Speer. Hider had once planned to be an


architect himself and readily*discussed his visions of
grand imposing buildings with Speer. Speer soon
became part of Hitter's inner circle. He was given a party
uniform and invited to live on Hitter's high-security

found it particularly difficult to obtain commissions

Speer joins the NGzi Pony


Many of Speer^ students were supporters of the Nazis
In December 19^. 0 they invited Speer to come to a Nazi

rally for studentss-at which Adolf Hitler was going to


speak. Speer de:qide'd to attend- the rally. He found
himself entranced by Hitter's speech, in which Hider
proposed solutions to the threat of cornmunism and

mountain estate at Obersalzberg. When Paul Ludwig


Ttoost died in January 1934. Speer received his first
major commission from the Nazi government: to design

and build permanent bleachers


for the Zeppelin Field
I

in Nuremberg

renounced the Treaty of Versailles. A few weeks later

Speer attended another Nazi rally, this time addressed

by Joseph Goebbels. Speer was disturbed by Goebbels's


anti-Senttism but was nevertheless unable to shake the

Impression Fritter had made on him. Speer joined the


Nazi Party the very next day; he was member number
474481

Speer grid 'ruin theory


Speer was conscious of Hitter's belief in the thousand
year Reich. He noted that when iron and steel

reinforcement deteriorated it made buildings look


unattractive. Speer felt that construction from stone

As the Depression dragged on, Speer'S salary was

would lend a quiet magnificence to his buildings as they

reduced by the Prussian state government in 1932 as a

decayed in the distant future, like the ruins of ancient

budget-balancing measure, He resigned his teaching

Greece and ancient Rome. To this end, Speer proposed 'a


theory of ruin value: which advocated the use of only
stone and brick in building construction

Chapter 4 Na*ional Studys Germqny, I918-45

.*'

Germon cumr"I life

Speer Grid Nozi Pony commissions

post and decided to manage his father's properties

pi i, .,

4.18. s Speer und'. the iru"stormiilio" of

,r

C)

...,..,......

,*,,\, ** =t, $5*;;.,=;13=!

The 'cothedrol of fighi'

the truce with France in June 1940, however, Hint

In 1934 Speer was asked to design the decorations for

the 1934 Nazi Party Rally at NUTemberg, Speer\s most


memorable workfor the 1934rallywas the designfor the
AmtsLu@!cor, a rally for the middle and minor party

dignitaries. Speer created a dramatic scene, organising


for the rally participants to march into the stadium in

darkness, illuminated by 130 searchlights pointing


towards the sky. This displaywas said to have'looked like
a cathedral of light.

The Nuremberg Pony rolly SIIe

C:

.By 1934 Hitler had determuled that more buildings and


stadiums would be needed for future NUTemberg rallies
~ so he coinrnissioned Speer to design a new rally site
coinp!a<. Speer^ designs for the site in duded a huge
processional avenue, a horseshoe-shaped stadium

'^called the German Stadium) and a culture hat, 1/1 teams

issued a decree that construction in NUTemberg an


Berim could continue, but smaller sites were close

down. By 1942 the war was beginning to turn again!


Germany and resources and funding were diverted fror

Speer's building projects to the military effort. Speer


work as an architect was significantly hampered.

Speer becomes minisfer of ormomenfs


Hitler appointed Speer as his minister of armaments t
1942 after the previous Thinister, ETitz Todt, died in
mysterious plane crash. Speer set about reorgaiiisiri.
the armaments industry immediately. In his firs
6 months armaments production had increasei
markedIyarid kept growing over thenartyearand ahaU
not peaking untilluly 1944.

Speer^; in;^jor reforms included the main coriumttee.


and rings sad!:tore and the Central Planning Board. It i;

of size, the processionai avenue, the Gennari Stadium

reckoned that;Speer's managerial skins prolonged till

^rid the

war for a least;a year.

site itself were vastly superior to similar

structures elsewhere in Europe or the United States.

Mom commitfees Grid rings

Berfin

Speer established a new business structure for the entire

Hitler had long held '-a'-personal. desire to redesigii

armaments industry based on a system .oi, nLair:


committees and rings. Each main . co^I, .;nittee
represented a different type of weaponry while the rings

Germany's prerriier city Bentn. Hew^Ited Berlin to be

the greatest city in the world, suipassing Paris and


Vienna. Based ODElitier'sideas Speer^ designs for Bermi

included a wide boulevard, alluge publichallcappedby


an enormous dome and a grand triumphal arch. Speer
also designed a new university quarter, a new medical
quarter, ministry buildingsr theatres, cinemas and

hotels for the city's transformation, , .., .

represented raw materials and ,. parts. The ; maim


coriumttees and rings structure was supposed to ensure

that each factory produced only one type of weapon at a


time,

thus

maintaining pea, k efficiency

and productivity.

.,. .\

Central PIOnning

.t

The new choncellery

Speer also established a Central Planning Board to

11/1ariuary 1938/11tler instructed Speer to design a new

coordinate armament production for the three branches


of the wilttary (army, navy and alitorce). Before the
creation of the Central Planning Board each branch had

enlarged Chancenery building. Speer^; new chanceUery


building was designed to give foreign diplomats an
impression of the power and magnificence of the Reich.
From the large gates at the entrance, a diplomat had to
walk 220 metres ttirougii several stately rooms to reach

Hitler's reception hall. Inaer's office had a large balcony


on the first floor to enable him to wave at and greet the
adoring crowds below. Hitter's underground air-raid

shelter was located underneath the new chanceUery.

been responsible for its own weaponry design and


production, resulting in competition for raw materials
and much duplication.

4.18.7 Speer und the import of Nuzi

propugu"do; terror und repression within


Germany und the occupied territories
. Speer's orchiiecfure Grid stove lobour

4.18.6 Speer und the NIIzi war muchi"e

Due to Speer^; ruin theory his balding projects required

The ouibreok of World Wor 11

vast quantities of stone, The SS (which controlled

The war brought a sudden halt to construction work on

the NUTemberg party rally site and Berlin. After signing

concentration camps throughout Germany) organised


stonequarrying and stonemasonry conttacts and set

...

Macqucrie HSC Modern History

their prisoners to work quarrying stone, By April 1941,


500 concentration camp prisoners were excavating the

foundations for the German stadium at Nuremberg and,


by. August of that year, over 10 000 prisoners were
quarrying stone and making bricks.
gave access to more building materials. Hemrich

Hilumlerinvited Speer to make a tour of the occu. ied

regions to deterwine the location of suitable quarries so


,.

.,

that the SS could set up new concentration cam s


nearby '

Speer's Ministry of Armoments Grid

Speer's armaments ministry employed a vast workforce.


Initialy, this workforce was made up of German Labour

unhygienic conditions and inadequate food. Speer was

Service workers but when the Labour Service workers


were conscripted into the army Speer had to look

elsewhere for workers' 111 August 1942 Ender ordered


.... .

..;
.,

a.

FritZ S^:uckel to 'round up workers from the occupied


territories, by force if necessary. Speer did not bbject to
this roundup even though it was completely megal.
Foreign workers endured terrible conditions and

violence, which resulted in rinserj, juriess and death. B


1944 t!Ie 1<t'upp armaments factories at AUSchwitz had

over 55 000 foreign workers who originated from Poland,

j^rgg, ed that the rentoval. .. of. .Iewish, workers from

armaments industry work was grossly inefficient and


meant a depletion of skined labour. I '
.

,..,

4.18.9 Speer und military defeat und the


townpse of rinzism

trucks for the ionrney and then beaten and kicked by


firupp overseers when they arrived.

effective than they had been previously, systematically


destroying installations vital to the armaments industry.

I^^! KEY TERMS

Only frantic repairs enabled armaments production to


continue. Speer contended that at this point he was
beginntng to doubt Germany could will the war.

~.-

Armiiments production The production of we upons of !


w^I- .
Kruj^^ One of Germony's longest in dustiiolists rind the

By May 1944 the Allies' air raids had became far more

.,.

-^,
I

4.18.8 Speer und Nazi rociul policy,


tinti. Semilism und the Holoctiusl
Speer's orchiteciure ond on Ii-Semifism
The Berlin transformation required the demolition of
50 000 apartments near the city centre. Speer created
the Main Resettlement Division and ordered it to make

a list of all the apartrnents that were occupied by Jews.


The Main Resettlement Division was then to evict

Following the D-Day invasion Hitter ordered the

implementation of a scotched earth policy which called _


for the destruction of all industrial plants, gasworks,
waterworks, electrical plants and telephone exchanges,

Hitler wanted to make it impossible for the invading


Allies to gain a foothold on German territory Speer
daimed that he could not agree with this policy He
considered the war to be lost and could not see the

sense in destroying the industry and' utilities that

Europe (and Germany) would need in the coming


postwar period. in secret, Speer spent several days in
September 1944 travelling to the German frontier areas

Jewish tenants and allocate Jewish-Qinied aparttnents

to convince local authorities not to comply with Hitter\s


orders, For the last months of the war Hitter continued

to anyAryari Germans who would lose their apartments


due to Speer^; demolition work. Evicted Jews were told

to order more severe scorched-earth policies while

Chapter 4 National Studys Germony, I918-45


'":*,."
. **4**,*::'
'"""""
"" "'L*
.. . .. . . L
.. . '

Scorched-eort^: policy
.

inchufocturer of the 90s chambers. !

more concerned when, in October 1942, the Nazis


began removing Jewish workers from armaments
factories and sending them to- the death camps. He

Air folds

--^^..

.. t.

camps were weak and ill from brutal treainient,

the moraine, Hungary and Romania. The workers were


taken by train to the 1<1'upp plant, crainmed into came'

--^--

F1*.

prisoners (mainly communists, Jews and gypsies) to


work in the armaments factories. Many Iewish
concentration camp prisoners were forced to work on
secretiriiracle weapons, such as the V2 rocket.
the armaments factories were appalling. Factory
managers complained that workers from concentration

stove 1060ur

.,

In September 1942 Hitler ordered concentration camp

Conditions. at the concentration camps set up near

I'

Speer's ormomenfs ministry Grid

onti-Semitism

Germanys successful occupation of Western Europe

to pack a suitcase and were then deported east to


ghettos and concentration camps.

Speer secrerly made efforts to halt the destruction.

. .

Speer's orrest ond in o1


At the end of the war Speer was arrested by the British
secret service. He was tried and convicted as a war

CTirriinal by the International Military Tribunal at the


NUTemberg trials. Speer served '20 years in Spandau
Prison.

discovery of several important documents it has bee


revealed that Speer tried to conceal incriminatir
information, lied about his involvement with tt
evacuation of Iews from Berlin and did indee
know about the Final Solution. He had therefo;

manipulated the image of himself that he projected :


the postwar world.

4.18.10 Sneer und historicgr"phictil

Speer has also faced CTitidsm for his role as Na


architect. His buildings promoted Hitter's Germany an

perspectives

enslaved thousands of concentration camp prisoners i


the SS's stonecuttirigiridustry.

At the end of the NUTemberg trials Speer emerged as the

only one to e>:press any remorse for his war crimes. But
as more information has surfaced about Speer^; life

Eta
4

during World War 11, historians. have questioned his


sincerity in tins regard.

C,

o
r,

,.

by~..-.~

-~---

I How did Speer's orchifecfure promofe Nozi .

Speer, the Penitent NGzi

Germony?

During his trial at NUTemberg, Speet^ claimed


responsibility for his actions as Minister of Armaments
and e, ;pressed sorrow at the nitsery nazism had caused.
,

2 Using the informotion in sources 4,180 Grid 4.18b


Grid your knowledge of the text recall the success c
Speer OS minister for Grindmenfs.

He also denied any 1</10wledge of the Final Solution.

Speer's confession and remorseful attitude established


him as 'the penitent Nani' in the eyes of the world.
Speer's memoir ETi?Inerunge, a, published in 1966 after

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his. release from prison, repeated his sense of remorse.

....

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Many historians and journalists were prepared to take


Speer at face value.

r . " ,=.?. ;,. ... ,.., I. ':*. ,..-..:,.- -t-, ' ' I '
'

Ii^^ KEY TERMS

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V2 rocket One of Germony's intrucle we ripons, it wus used

extensively ogoinst Britoin towords the end of the wor. I

<1.

*...'.*':.' . .,..':3' ' ,,:.*,,'... ... :...'.. ' ..'.',.: * '.'. '!"

Penitent "nzi A Nozi who confessed his sins und did

penonce-0 9001 term-for his crime. I

Source 4.18n Germon junk pro, union, 1940-4

Speer Grid the Finol Solution


in 1971 an American history professor named ETich

, -,...* re ~ *., *... ... ..., .--*-.~.., .. -^848 - ""

GoldltagerL published all artide that suggested that


Speer had kilown about the Final Solution since 1943.
Goldliagen's argonient hinged on Speer's attendance at

--.- *=-,.-:-\-.--=-. it 3'15 -- -3/8-*-:",.---- :=I

a conference held at Posen in October 1943, where

aspects of the Final Solution had been discussed. Speer


claimed that he had left the conference before the Final
Solution was discossed and had not known anything

'

'

-,

268

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..

I.

..,
.

.. ..."

"

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about the fate of the Jews.

.,

Speer the moriipuloior


More recentiy, historians have questioned Speer's image
as a remorseful and ignorant tec}inocrat. With the

.... . . ,

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1944

' -194q. '. '.--1941*;:. ' 1942. ' 1948.


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Source 4,181, Germon cool production, 1940-4

MCIcquar;e HSC Modern Histor

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^ ' *milerI sneer, Miler's Favourite Architect


,

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-. .Ib!^rt'Speer was able to make organisations run


e!:^dently, .' His method of .operation was to

%I

bt!rid-' up ' around. himself a team of talented

t.
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individuals, which functioned effectiveIy because he


shared .\*ith , them the power to make decisions,
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;^:'*
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'--' he prefer!'ed. to. delegate it. He demonstrated this

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: ' '. - 1-937; all;I esj?e!:jaily as Minister for 41,111aments and'


^;t'.,-;': ' - I' .-' . I, ^tnnfi6ji$ 1:1. onI{F^btuary 1942; For a time under his

;:;,;:':' --:, .' "J*I^^^I^hip us Artiiarnents Mumter, industry bt3carne

;.*"*I'- ' ' " so' efficient ' at slipplying the requirements of the

^' -" ' " Gemiari, armed forces that he suggested' to Hider

~
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figure5, !;;^;16^it'sI^eer, - On' 9 February 1942, .addressing his ne

^; * ', -'. ".' . that "without. my work the war wonl!I perliaps have

staff, after'Selfi^ appointed Minister for Armaments-and Munitic

^:;-;..; .,": : -- *, illstiEicatio, I. Speer was one of the-- key Nazis

' The issue at the heart of this chapter is: did Spe

\"'
"' been lost jin, 1942::-43'-a boast that had some
*:,-;.- , ' - ' , ' .. - '.' f tit '-- k N
^<*,;,,, 1,114 ;.. ::test>oilsible. for Germany s Total'War effort
,*"'....

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j:';' -" ' :' ' s' eer unotc;.. 'tnn-^,^^o. 9ksi Inside the r*hird . ^!^ei'ch

participate in- -the Nazi regime's crimes agaii


humanity? Specifically, did Jews and other SIa
labourers SII^Eer as a re^ult of the activities of t

organisations he led? And, in addition, did he kill


about the Holocaust?

1.10 matter . how useful you find the enorrno

$;""." I (pubij^had'.^I'-'19.7^I. ^, Id. E^",, d@,,, Tiles, c#, t-'. D;"rj, ^

amount of detail Speer provi!Ies about the N;

. about his life. alla- whatit was like to be a member of

leadership, you will need to ask yourself how renal

; . (1976) (viniph, :. apt>eared '^I Enghs}! by^ISIation),

the Nazi leadt;I^hip. With their e:;tier!lay detailed

,^
^,

msi hts ir!to how Ender and the leading Nazis


conducted theiriselves, they provide fascinating

,
,*

reading, '

IIJ his books .and:,'interviews, Speer also declares


that he had no knowledge of air!y criminal behaviour.
He cl^inns he had nothing to d(>' with Nazi racism;

that'he was-simply a technician, . at first interested

possible involvement in the . crimes committ

a^amst humanity by the other leading Nazis.


EARLY CAREER AND MEMBERSHIP
OF THE NAZI PARTY

A1berc'Speer was born on 19 March 1905, in the c


of Mannheirn, into a wealthy upper-middle-cli

only in calTying out architecti!ral commissions. and

family. The Speers lived in a fourteen-roc

later in achieving increased industrial production.

apar!znent, and were waited upon by six servants' I

Was he ternng the truth? How was it possible for an


insider, with an extremely:detailed knowledge of the
Nazi leadership, not to'1<XIow about its horrendous

father, A1bert, was an architect (as was bis I^I. t}:


before him) and his mother came from a wean
warmth and affection, and the son developed it

criminal activities? Was he seeking to hide his own


criminal involvement behind an enonnous amount
offasdnating detail?

~ ~~:.=.. J

a historical source he is' when it comes to his o1

background. Apparenrly, it was a f^. Tnny lacking


something of a loner with a good dose of amogari^

He ^rewinto a tall, handsome young man. In Aug

, ...

Germ""^

1978-1945
.,

'inferiors'. If the nation was to have a future, these .

1928, A1bert married Margarete, his childhood


sweetheart. They were to have six children.

had to be ^ 'eliminated'. Gennany needed' to be

reawakened and this required a return to traditional

At School, Speer. was a hardworking student who

vanies. (Because his audience 'was fined with


university' students and also their professors, Hitler
. g:;ve an unusually restrained and measured delivery
q:uite academic in tone-Ile was anything but the

did well in his final exams. Although he most liked


maths and wanted to. pursue his sindies in that

field, his parents persuaded him to become an

architect, In 1923, he began ^tudying architecture


at the Technical 'University -at I^arlsruhg. He

'shrieking and gesticulating fanatic in uniform


Speer had expected. 'Everydimg about him bore out

transferred to Munich's more prestigious Technical


University in 1925 and then, the following year, to
Berlin, to study under Professor Hemrich'Tessenow.

the note of reasonable modesty* Furthermore,

antis6mitism failed to - get ' a .meritiqn. ) What so

jin^ressed Speer was ai^ feeling he got, that Hitler

When Speer graduated in. 1927, . at twentythree years of age, Tessenow made him his graduate

cared enonnously about the German'people.

So appealing was Hitter's message that, the very


next day, Speer applied to join the Nazi- . Party,
be conitng member number 474481 on I March

assis^It-the youngest ever to be appointed to the

position. It involved . some teaching of undergraduate students and brought in a . modest

income. While' contin\Ling teaching until 1932, he

1931' 'I was not choosing the NSDAP, but becoming

attempted to build up his own private architectural


practice. Because of the Depression, however, and

reached out to me. ' But he reassures the reader of

a' follower of Hider, ' whose magnetic force had

there were fewjobs to be had.

his . memoirs that 'I continued to associate '


Jewish acquaintances'.

Speer joins the Nazi Party

of^amisations of the Nazi Party, including that for

wit!I the building trade particularly badly affected,

Subsequenuly, Speer. also joined various b^Ich

architects. One of the' benefits for Speer was to be

The ruming point' in Speer's 'life came when he

attended a political meeting, along with 5000 Others,

commissions, the first for the red!*sign of the interior


of the Nazis!- district headquarters for the western

ms because many architectore students were going

region of Berlin, located at Grunewald. Next, in July

on 4 December 1930, Adolf'Hitler addressed it It

1932, his was asked to redesigri the interior of the

that Speer followed. Hitter made quite an impact. In


art, his speech was about the First World War, about

party's Berlin headquarters on the VossStraSse in the

which had continued throughout the Weimar


eriod a second-rate power divided - by class
conflict. According to Hitler, Gennariy had lost many

And because he was one of the -few Party members


who owned a car, a small BMW, he became head of

central administrative district, Adolf Hider House.

how it had left Germany in a very rundown state

his local Warinsee branch of . tile Nazi Party's

transport division, the NSKl;..

of its'brightest and bestiri the war, and been left with

,
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Figure 5.2 A sketch

produced by Hitler in the


inid 1920s of a 'Great Hall'.
What became of this idea?

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A 16 e r t S p e e r, H it Ie r 's F a v @11rit e A r e fr it e c

A SHARED INTEREST IN ARCHITECTURE


Hitler was very much a frustrated artist and
architect. When at school, he liked to draw, and,

early on dedded he wanted to become an artist His


poor academic perfonnarices at school, however,
did not provide him with the necessary qual-

few days I myself knew that I should some^ dE


become an architect'. In later years, he claimed h
had, the pot^ntial to . become one of Gennany
leading architects, but the I First World WE

interrupted that careet path, Because he w{


motivated to help the nation's cause, so he arguei

ifications to enrol for training in the fine arts at an.

Ile g;*ve up the idea to become a politician.

institution of higher learning. This did not stop him

Hitler was to maintain -aji interest in architectru

trying his hand at painting, and dreaming abotit

throughout his life. Apparendy, after his failed 192

how he would redesigri his hometown, Nor was he

'Beer Hall Putsch' he read architecture books whi:

deterred from applying to enter the General School

serving his brief prison sentence. Dating from ill;

of Painting at the \7ienna Academy of Fine ms.

ume were a number of sketches of monument

Failure Of his application in September 1908 struck

buildings, including one of a triumphal arch, th;

him like a bolt 'out of the blue', .Discontent, he

later was to serve as a model in the planne

asked for an explanation from the Academy's rector,

redevelqpment of Berlin, The success of tli


NUTemberg Rallies 'in 1927 and 1929 prompted. hii

whom Ile recorded, in Mein K@millias saying that his


rector, it was 'incomprehensible . .. that I had never
attended an architectural school or received any

to start on sketches for a penmanent site for tti;


event. Often in conversation he would speak aboi
architecture, frequendy astonishing his listeners wit

other training in architecture'. He adds that in a

the details Ile had memorised abotLt farnot

true talent lay in architecture-according to the

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Figure 5.3 A night scene from one of the NUTemberg Rallies.


What evidence does the photograph contain of Speer's influence?

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buildings, such as .the opera house in . ans.

Sometimes he would illustrate these discourses by

drawing on a piece of paper. He liked itI^ company

of architects. In 1945, his personal library inclu e


thirteen books ^bout architecture and city planning,
and found in the bedroom of his bunker was a set o
architectural, magazines.

S eerls work' first came to the attention of Hitler in

rind 1933. After conxing to power, the Nazis Ita


taken o'ver orgariisatioii of May Day, and it was Spe^r
who volunteered to design the PIad'onn for BentrL. $
celebration ,at the Tempelhof Field. Around it he

had hung, in groups of three, large flags; the CGn

three being 15 metres high. Floodlights illuminated

the ' whole scene and, adding - enormously to the


dramalic effect, over allundred. searchlights pointed
upwards into the 'night sky. . .

Tally was held in Nuremberg and Speer, in his new


OSition, arranged the background for the

ceremony. This dine, in addition to flags, he placed

behind the podium a huge golden eagle wi . a

thirty-metre wing span. Searchlights were also again

used to dramatic effect. On this occasion he came

briefly into contact with Hitler, who personally


- approved bis ariarigement. In the meantime peer
hadesi^ried the Propaganda Ministry. Then, in just
t!vo months, he Tenovated Goebbels s new private
a atonent-by having teams of tradesmen wor

continuously, in shifts around the clock. This came


to Hitter's notice: he requested. that Speer join a

team, led by Professor Palul Troost, whose task it was

to redesigii his own official residence in the Reich

Chancellery-in quick time, so that the apartment


could be used to impress visitors'

association with Hider-which would lead' to Ins

ap^ointment to some vety' powerful positions. Of

Speet, Hitler would say later: 'He is an artist and has


a spirit akin to mine . . . He is a buildingperson like

me, intelligent, , modest, and nQt an obstinate

minta. ry 'head. ' He himself told Speer- that he had

taken not^ce of him on' his inspection visits. He. said


he had been 'searching for a young architect to

whom I would entrust my building plans one day . . .

'Hider had undoubtedly taken a special liking to

mystery' .F, erhaps it was his appearance that. had


call^ht Hitter's eye. At the time lie was a handsome

twentyeight-year<)Id, displaying the feati, .Ies of the

Nazis' ideal Aryan-tall and blond. At a later stage,

Speer recalled one of his colleagues observing, Do

ou know what you are? You are Hider s unrequited

love. ' (It must be elm^basised, however, tlIat the

friendship never developed to the point of physical


closeness. )

At the time -of the luncheon, it was Troost who was

Hider's leading architect. Then, after a short timess,


Troost died in January 1934. Spegr was to step into
the position left vacant.
HITLER'S LAZY LIFESTYLE
As a member of 'the cirde of Hitler's intimate ,

Speer 'frequently' attended lunch or dinner with

him. After dinner, the guests would be entertained

by the showing of a newsreel, followed by one or two

telephone call requesting that he meet Hitler in a

Frequently, Hider made midday visits to inspect e

According to Sped, the type of I^estyle Hider led

had to answer bis questions. One day, totally

left him with 'only an hour or two a day to devote to


government business.

me today'? had although- a group of leading 1.1azis,

mountain retreat in the Bavarian Alps, known as the

S eer that Hitler spoke. Because of his keen interest

Berghof, where he spent much time. In his memoirs,

une, cpectedly, he said '\^jin you come to dinner wi

ToSI, ects in the Nazi regime, so vital ms the role


played by the Fiihrer. Speer made . the best of t!Ie
OPPqrrunity. It marked the beginning of an origqing

'A building-person like me

work in progress, and it was sometimes Speer w o

It

opportunity to make the type Of impression that

movies. Occasionally Speer would receive . a

xi

piovided Speer with the

me',..'why he took to me so warinly remains a

Demonsti. atipns'. Four months later, - the Nazi?at^,'s

I;

That luncheon

mentioning speer. Nevertildess, Speer was giye!I e

and Technical Presentation of Party Rallies and

*I^

flowed freely.

And that in ' I found in yo\! . C)

oEficial ^^OSition of "Comintssioner for the Artistic

it was his '}lobby'. Consequently; their conversation

IGOebbels claimed credit for the spectacular, not

Apparently Hitler was much impresse . at

I-

the- company of someone such as - Speer. According


to Speer, architecture was a 'magic wqrd for Hitler;

could result in an enonnous boost to .one s career

More than a h^ridred searchlights ,


I .

in att and architectute, Hider er^joyed enonnously

including Goebbels, sat around the table, it was to

cafe for coffee-at two or three in the morning.

Speer also became a frequent guest at Hitler s

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A 16 e r t S p e e r, Hi t Ie r ' s F ^ 11@ " F1 t e A r c h I t e


,

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Speer uses the tenn 'the mountain disease' to, refer


to the unchanging, monotonous, boring routine he
and other guests had to endure there. Hitler would

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sleep in until about 11 a, in. After getting out of bed,

.^:^

he would. be briefed on what had appeared in the

daily, .press. . and. abo^t. .current .political issues. ._}lis

guests would then join him for a long

followed by a half-hour walk to a techouse

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lunch

where

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Hider would t^Ik on and on until abqut 6 p, in. The

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group would then be driven back to the. Berghqf

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where slipper was served at 8 p. in. Later; a movie was


' 'shown, latter which the guests would gather around
.

the fireplace until early in the morning. When in


,-

residence at- the Berghof, Hider seems to have got

very littte work do!Ie; One of the few things he did


was write speeches, and even that he would
continually put off until the last nitnute
As to the power Hitler exercised, Speer observed

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that .'There was something fantastic about the

absolute authority Hitler could assert over his dosest


associates'. and 'Hitler .reserved all important
decisions for himself'

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BUl'LDlNG A PERMANENT SITE FOR THE

NUREMBERG RALLIES

NUTemberg was one of the best examples in Europe


of a late medieval d^,. Hider greatly adulted its

architecture, 1111ariuary1923, the Natis chose alarge


park alongside Dutzend Lake, on the city's southeastern outskirts, as the site for a parade. Eventually,
it became the 'custom to hbld annual ramies there for

the party fatt}Ifii!. Eacl! year the celebration became

Figure 5.4 'Hitler And Speer discussing plans at Nuremberg.


What does this photograph indicate about the 'partnership'?

planning a complex of huge buildings for the si


He was working under the direct orders of Hid

enhanced with the use of fanfares, gigantic flags,

who had come up with the idea when in prison


1924. He had' even made some prelinxinary sketch
which served as guidelines. It was a long. tel

torchlights add floodlights.

prcject, the finishing date later decided on bet

more and more elaborate. To rouse the emotions,

the original march pasts and speeches were


As already mentioned, it was Speer's idea to add a

particularly dramatic effect by locating all of

1945-but the war intervened, and only a limit


amount was to be completed, After he- replao

parade ground. He had them pointing vertically into

Troost, the development of the NUTemberg Rally SI


became Speer's first me!jor prqject early in 1934.

the night sky, their beams appeafuig like great

The 'Law of Ruins' and the Zeppelin Field

Gennany's anti-aircraft searchlights around the


enonnous white columns, visible on a clear night to

a height of 15 kilometres. At the 1934 Rally, 130


searchlights were used. The British ambassador
wrote: 'The effect was both solemn and beautiful, it

was like being in a cathedral of ice. ' It is commonly


referred to as Speer's 'Cathedral of Light'. He,
himself, likened the effect to being in a Gothic
cathedral'-which was designed to antact your gaze

upward, towards the heavens.

When the architect Troost died, he had been

L'=-",===e,
.

Originally the prqject had involved only the Luitpo


Arena. The intention was for it to accommoda

200 000 spectators and participants. But nothing \\


ever large enough for Hitter's liking, and Spe

quickly leanied to cater for his desire for enonno


buildings by drawing up plans for ever more gigarii
structures. On the at!jarent Zeppelin Field, Spe

planned an arena that would accommodate up


340 000. Speer approached the task as a 'test of r

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Figure 5.5 The Zeppelin Field.


What was its significance for Speer^ career?

abi^q, ' . . . The design went far beyond the scope of

my assignment'-^Id won Hider s approval. Having


made the right -impression on- Hitler, subsequently
he 'respected my ideas and treated me as an

massive pylon at either end, each decorated with a


large swastika, and on top of .which was a giant
brazier. In the centre of the grandstand was the

speaker's platf'onn, behind and high above which

architect, as if I were his equal .

was another giant swastika. Within the grands^rid

One of the bright ideas Speer came up with was


what he ternied his 'law of ruins'. According. to this,

Zeppelin Field complex was completed in time for

ina^jor structures should be built from the types of

material that would enable them to last thousands of

ears. Even if they fell into disuse, their architectLiral


lines should continue to impress--:just as Roman
ruins did. Hider was so taken with the idea that he
ordered that the 'law of ' ruins be corne a guiding

;I

11

the 1,935 Rally.

Plans for the Marzfield and the 'German Stadium

Even the Zeppelin Field failed to sa^sfy Hider. Nj. '~'\,


he wanted a field that w'ti. s large enough to ho. ,-

military mmnoeuvres -in front of half a million

principle for all the Nazis' monumental buildings.

spectators. In 1938, work commenced nearby on

construct major buildings-because it would allow

Marzfeld, in honoiir of the Roman god of war, and

He also ordered that granite should be used to


them to last at least 4000, and possibly even 10 000,

years'

Spectators at tile Zeppelin Field were to be seated

on stone terraces located on three sides of a square

parade ground, 290 x 3/2 metres. Behind the

were a 'Hall of Honour' and a chapel .. The

construction of a 60-hectare field kiloam as the


also the month of March, in whichllitler announced
the reintroduction of conscription. It was to be

enclosed by a 3-kilometre-long, 30-metre-high fence


made from 960 red swastika flags.

Also planned for the site was the ' German

terraces were sixty-six massive stone towers, each

Stadium' to accommodate 405 000 spectators. It was

with six flagpoles. On the north-eastern side was the


main grandstand, a fortress-like stoicture. It was

covet 20 hectares. There were to 'be five massive

classical in style, backed by severitytwo pillars, with a

to be horseshoe shaped, made from granite and

banks of seating, rising -150 steps to a height of

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44 Ib e r t Sp e e r, If I', Ie r ' s FA I, @ " rit e A r e h it e e t

choral festivals, nationalist concerts, military and


.

ecjuestriari contests and'shows'.


GENERAL BUILDING INSPECTOR
FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF
THEREICH. CAPITAL (GBl)

Hider. h^d big plans for B^:rlin-to be renamed


'Gennariia!. When in prison, back ill the add 1920s,
he came up with the idea of redeveloping the centre
of the ti^,. He made sketches for an enohnous great
hall with a massive dome-bigger than St Peter s
basilica in Rome---and .also for an arch, milch larger
* ^^:,

than the Arc de Triomphe ill Paris. It was intended

these two monuments would be joined by an avenue

running nortti^outti that would be wider than


Paris's 'Champs Elysees, and two and a half times- us
long. As. regards size--if . not quality of design-

.*

Hitler wanted Nazi. Gemiariy's monuments to be tile

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Figure 5.6 Hitlei; in the company of Spee, on a tour of inspection


of Paris in June 1940.

90 metres. Yet so f;IT away from the sports field below

would many of the spectators be that they would only ,


see -the contests using binoculars!.
The idea of a 'community' stadium

It would be. wrong to see the NUTe!liberg site simply

as the place where annual parades took place and

Hider delivered speeches. Its gigantic scale was also


intended to impress observers with the power of the
new Nazistate. Just as importantly, it was intended as
a Tactical demonstration of how the Nazis were

supposedly creating a 'national community',

Enormous parade grounds and stadiunLs were being


\,/

the Ftil!rer is busy. with plans for a new Party Building


as well as grandiose reconstructtbn of the ' Reich

Why would Hitler have been interested in doing this?

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most. impressive in the world. in- February 1932,


COGbbels recorded in his diary: 'in Its leisure hours

built to enable Gennarrs to come together as a


unified whole, as never before. The Nazis looked

back on the Weimar. years, as a period . of class


division, which they claimed to be replacing with a
real sense of community life. The distinctive,

exparisive style of Nazi construction intended to


encourage that end has been terrned 'community'
architecture.

another good example of this 'community'

architecture was the 01yTnpic stadium built in

Berlin, under the .direction of architect Wemet


March. It had seating for 65 000, with standing
room for another 35 000. After the Olympics,
March intended it to serve as the site for

celebrations of national importance, attended by

representatives of the 16th: for 'great parades,

capital, fits program is all ready.


Spypri^ingl};. after he became chancellor; Hitler s
pet prqject met witti opposition from the IPrd mayor
of Bermi, Drjulius Lipperc When ^litter proposed
an avenue 120 met!'es wide, Upperr s response was to
support a width of only 100 metres. For four years
Hider somehow managed to put up . with this

rests^Ice. Uppert was allied to the Nazis' District


Leader of Berlin, Joseph Goebbets.
Finally, to ensure that his plans for the reconstr'ucdon of central Berlin were fairlifinuy implemented,

Hitler appointed Speer his General Building

Inspector for the T^Isformation of . the Reich


Capital on Solanumy 1937. He told him: 'With the
City of Berlin, we can get nothing done. From now
on you make the design ... When you have some.
thing ready, show it to me. You know I always have
dine for that. ' Speer was answerable only to Hider.
For Speer's 'guidance, Hitler handed over bis
sketches of the dome and the arch, commenting: I

made these drawings ten years ago. I've always saved


them, because I never doubted that some day I
would build these two edifices. '
Attack on Lippert

Speer was a quick learner in the game of political


infighting that took up so much of the time of the
Nazi leaders. He set about destroying Goebbels

man, Lippert, who, as Berlin's lord mayor, had an

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1918-1945

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Expansion of Speer's organisation


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:SEE>FC

Hitler had earlier provided furttier proof of his

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backing of Speer when, in February. 1937, he

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ordered that the Academy of Arts be evicted ^. om

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the building' alongside his own o^lidal residence, the

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Chancellery, so as to provide Speer's organisation

with .onin. co space. Iaige Tooliis that. had previously

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served for public exhibitions in the building were


then used to display the evolving project in

ninjature. Cabinetojakers were employed to in^!<e


wooden models of particular building propos^Is on

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a 1:50 s^ale and painted to imitate building materials

such as stone, For the new grand ayenue, a mode


street was gradually put together, pi. ece by piece, on

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a 1:1000 scale, until it stretched for. more then 30

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metres, laid out 611 tables at waist height Movable

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spotiights were positioned above to simulate the

Re

OSition bf the sun, so. that it could be seen how


shadows would be thrown across the scene. ,

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Hitler's private plaything

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The toolrts filled with architectiiral models became

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Hitter's private j>lay^xing. Guards were posted, and it


was only with his perilii^ion that visitors were allowe
entry. He had a doorwayspedalIy made between his
chancellery and Speer's o^aces so .that he could visit

whenever he chose-which was sometimes at -night,

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when he had guests he 'wanted to impress. Arme

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with flashlights, they would set out with Intier actirig

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the role of the enthusiastic guide

EverL as late as April 1945, with the Soviet troops


about to enter Berlin, Hitler was still leading' these

Figure 5.7 The GBl^ model of the proposed


redevelopment of Berlin.

Note the weapons lined up along either. side of the avenue


a loaching the Triumphal Arch. What was their purpose
obvious Tight to involve himself in its urban
developi!lent.

First, he planned an attack in' the newspapers on

Lippert's reputation. Next I^e wrote to jin,

claiming that, as GBl, he had supreme authority

when it came to urban planning, Finally, in July

1940, Speer put it to Hitler that Lippert was

tours. Speer may as well not have been there--it was


Hitler who was in charge, drawing attention to this
or. that detail. He would lose all sense of formality,

being totally relaxed and spontaneous. For his Own

entertainment, he would lower his eye tq the Ieve\ \


the model avenue so as to get an impression of w at

a first time visitor to 'Gemiariia' would see. There is


no doubt whatsoever that this was a project close to
his heart, indeed, something of an obsession.

obstructing his work; Thereupon Hider arranged


for Lippert to be sacked. Speer thus disposed of an

The shape of the new Berlin

rocess he outinanoeuvred Goebbels. It was quite


clear that be had become a ina^jor player in the

Berlin with a wide new avenue, 5 kilometres long,

o orient very effectiveIy. Not only that, but in t!Ie

regime's power politics and one who, because e


could et Hider's backing, had to be taken - very

Seriously, The episode also demonstrated that Speer


was capable of being very ruthless.

Hitter's 'original comumssion was for Speer: to provide

mmning norrti-south. At the northern end was to be

located the ' Great Hall* . It was designed to hold

180 000 spectators, within a domed stillcture 250

meters in diameter and 320 metres high. At the other


end was to be a triumphal arch, 120 metres high, on

102
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A 16 e r t Sp e e r, HV t 18 r 's F ^ 4/@ " tit e A r e h I t e I


.

which were 'to be recorded the names .of the


1.8 withon Gennarzs killed in the First World War.

THE WOLTERS CHRONICLE

One of the architects 'Speer recruited was the a

speej- interpreted his commission broadly, , ear. old Dr Rudoif Woiters. The knew each otti

coming up with a plan that also included an from ^indent da s, Since then, Wolters h;

east-west . avenue that intersected with the north~ diev!=I ed an' ex eru^C in town - Iannin .
south avenue, and required extensive demolitionbuildings. housing 50 000 ap'arunents were actually.

addition he kept a diary, took notes, and was I


;accumulator of letters and doomnents. in late 19,

knocked . down, Speer's plan' provided for the he'. a r ached S e6t, seekiri emussion to
construction of a number of buildings: a palace for
the Ftihrer; headquarters for the high command of
the armed forces; a palace to incorporate ' the

political, economic and military departinents


controlled by 1.1itter's deputy, Hermann G6iing; and
a large railway tern^nal, with a hall 300 x 300 metres,

and 50 metres high.

together a chronicle, a semio^dai diary of d


OBI's activities. Not only did Speer approve, but I

also instructed the section heads in'his or^T'Saij(


to provide Wolters with any into mmation that coll
be useful. -Proposed entries had to be referred
S
f for
TVal
' '
Speer
approval.
What resulted was a very valuable primary sour

"

of infonnation, cohtaining the type of 'detail .th


only a trusted individual, well . placed in I

The New Chance116ry

The redevelopment of Berlin was'due for coiniiletion organisation, could acquire. Because the Wolte

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in 19!^0 but, because of the war, these monumental chronicle was never intended for publication,
buildings were never to be constructed. One building was to incorporate sensitive information th

that was completed was the New Cliancellery. 111 late otherwise would have been' onintted for fear
January 1937, Hider set Speer the. challenge of , . implicating. colleagues in conduct of which odie
coinpletirig this verylargejob by. 10January 1939. He
did it with a few days to ^pare by employing a

workforce of 8000 in byo sinfts. Its 360 000 square

(~,)

For Instoriam, the most interesting sections of ti


Wolters Chromae have been. those referring to tl

meters indrided 420 Toolns. The two storey building's activities of the GBl's IResetilement lieparuiien
main features were its 146 metre^long marble gallery one of the dut^es of that partialIai department w
and Hider's sttidy, 27 metres x 14.5 metres. One of to identify Jellys who were Telling fiats in Berlin, D
the main purposes of the New ChanceUeiy was to chi. onide entry for April 1941 refers to Jew-flats'.
ovenvhehn foreign dignitaries as they progressed records that the GET required 366 fiats rented byJe
along the enonnQusly long gallery to the huge study. be vacated and handed over to nonJews-whose or
Hitler coriumented: 'When anyone enters the Reich accommodation the 0131 was . demolishing. ,'11
Chancellery, he should feel that he is visiting the GIIronide records that in Augustjewish occupants
ruler of the whole world. '

I~.

might disappro\Ie,

'Speer's Kindergarten'

The speed with which the New Chancellery was


completed clearly demonstrated Speer's abi^ty to
bring' together a team and make it work extremely
efficiently, despite considerable pressure of time.
Having been given periliission to pay salaries above
the going rate, Speer was able to recruit a g^13up of

another 5000 fiats were being evicted. Duni


November, first 1000 and I^ter a further 3000 a:
that had been rented by Jews were being made vaca
so as to accommodate nonJews whose homes h;
been destroyed by Allied bombing raids on BC^rli

The Citronide entry for 2^ October. 1942 contai:


the calculation that since February 1939 tl
'Resettiement Department' was responsible f

moving a total of 75 000 people. From the Chrotiid

talented and enthusiastic . architects and tomi

one is left in no doubt. that Jews were beit

planners, who became his construction staff'. With an

deliberately targeted. by the GBl for harsh treattner

average age in the early thirties, they were also


known as 'Speer's Kindergarten'. He encouraged an
infonnal atmosphere within his Construction Staff

what was going on, and approved, It was he wl


personally signed the Tele^Iteviction orders.

and, in return for the hidi he displayed in them, his

Wolters survived the Second World War, as did I

people were prepared to work long hours' Speer was


proving to be an enlightened and very capable

Chronicle. During the 1960s, much to the surpri


of \\jolters, but more especially Speer, referenc
appeared in print that seemed to indicate th

administrator.

Furthennore, Speer must have been fully aware

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F1 ure 5.8 A GBl model of the 'Great Hall' intended for Be!Iin
I . From where did the idea for this building come?
2 What was the purpose of such buildings?

co ies of parts of the ChTonicle existed. Speer, in a

beginning of a great rush of urban planning. Ber in

Chronide any references to Jews being evicted om

redevelopment, the others- being NLiremb ~ " 6,

anic, suggested to Wolters tl!at he remove from his

was one of five 'Leader's Cities' targeted for "~I

their flats by the GBl. Wolters chose to ignore Speer.


Rather, he deposited the original Chronide, along

Munich, Hamburg and Unz. There were plans for


another fifty Gemian cities to be redeveloped too.
Each city would have norm-south and east-west
avenues, centrally located administrative complexes

January 1983, some researchers have been given


access to his papers. )

and facilities such as huge community halls. Hider


wanted to demonstrate to the rest of the world that
Gemiatis could build bigger and better, than them;

HITLER'S BROADER URBAN PLANS AND

he wanted to make Gennans feel strong and,

with the rest of his papers, in the Federal German


Archive at Koblcnz. (Since Wolters death in
I, .

THEIR SIGNIFICANCE
;I
11

The remodelling of Berlin was very dear to Hitler s


heart. It had been on his mind for many years' His
interest in urban planning, however, went inuc

further. Speer's appoinunent as GBl marked just the

simul^neously, to intimidate foreigners.


The massive scale off{itIer's thinking is mustrat^d
b the size of 'the supertrains that were on the

drawing boards in Nazi Gennany-a result of one of

his directives in 1940. They were being designed to

"!! ,.
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A16ert Speer, Hitler's Fad@"rite Archit


.

or

travel at 200 kilometres per hour' and. each carriage

something else that would intimidate visitors t^

was to be large enough to accommodate 600 passen-

capital city

gels. The designers were also to make provision for


the carriages to have their own anti-atrcraft guns.
Slave labour

Achievements of Fritz Todt

Hitter's urban schemes created a huge demand for

Hider's Minister for Armaments and Munitions f

bullding materials. HimTiller's SS responded quickly.

Match 1940 was the capable EITitz Todt. By train

It set up

new concentration camps near stone

quarries, where inmates were used as slave. labour.


The SS mm brickworks. It even estabhshed its Dun

company to cater specifically for the building trade,


'Gemiari Earth and Stone Works'. Some of its work

ms done in 'cooperation with Speer's GBl.


In 1942, on the outskirts of Berlin, the GBl
established its own large transit camp, capable of

~C .

he w;is a civil engineer. In 1933 ' he had t


appointed Inspector General for Natit
Motorw^ys, and by 1939 he was 'responsible
having laid. more than 3000 kilom, :tr. es of
concrete motorw;*y; with a further 1500 kilom<
under construction. To achieve this, he had to b

together a workforce of a quarter of a minion in


Hitler turned to Todt in nitd 1938 when, with am

processing, daily, up to 1500 workers who had been


brought in from Nazi<^CCDpied eastern Europe. Also
to become partpf the OBIwas the 'Speer Truisport
Brigade', a fleet of thousands of heavy trucks, plus

increasing possibility, he wanted ' Genna


fortifications along its border with Finnce-kii,

hundreds of I^arges, that carried stone from all over

Europe - 'to its building sites in Berlin - and

proved them wrong, in the process winning Hit


admiration and support He achieved the tasl

Nutemberg. in addition, the 'Brigade' was to work in


dose cooperation with the armed forces, - for
example, delivering ammunition to the front.
Another responsibility acquired by the GET was tile

finns, together with their 430 000 workers. ,

construction of airraid shelters in Berlin-with this

Speer received the additional title of Chief of


Defence Construction in 1941. To enable it to

handle its expanding responsibilities, the workforce


employed by the OBI grew to 65 000.

.^. .

SPEER's APPOINTMENT As MINISTER


FOR ARMAMENTS AND MUNITIONS

as the WestWall-str. en^'diened. Others Said it cc


not be done witliin the four months specified, ,

coordinating the efforts of a, thousand busi


After the outbreak of war in. 1939, To

workforce became ':front-line workers'-, provic


backup for amiy engineers in occupied ax
repairing transport systems 'and construc
fortifications. Now known as the Todt Organisat
it had 800 000 workers at its disposal. After he

received complaints about disorgariisation wi

So enoruious were Hitter's plans for urban

the armaments industry, Hitter put his faith in I

redevelopment that it was not possible to supply the


necessary materials-such as stone-from German

again to solve a inznOr problem. He appointed ,


his Minister for Armaments. and Munitions. In

sources alone. Building materials had to be gained

1941, Todt was appointed Inspector General

from foreign lands, Many more foreign workers

Water and Energy.

would have to be imported also. The whole plan

presumed that Germany would go to war and exploit

Slowdown of the production process

the resources of defeated nations, Indeed, Hitler s

Although he was a capable administrator, ,

schemes were so ginJid that his eventual aim could


have been nothing less than world domination. As

could make hale headway in his capacity

regards Berlin, his intention was that it become the


capital of Europe and the leading city in the world.
NUTemberg was to become the penmanent home for

achieving increases of production for the


effort. In large part, this was because of the
representatives of the anned forces, especially
Army I'rocurements Office, Inayed in the proc

the Olympic Games.


After the defeat of Emuce in inid 1940, Hider
struck on the idea of lining either side of the
southern end of Berlin's new main avenue with

weapons that had been captured from Gennariy s


defeated enemies. It was intended as yet another

demonstration of the strength of Nazi Gentiany*

'~-=. 7" '


.

Minister for Armaments and Munitions tow;

These officers had an inbuilt prt^illdice aga, inst 11

production, because they believed it would resu


shoddy weapons. The military engineering offi^
with responsibility for placing orders preferTet
deal with smaller firms, which employed ski
craftsmen. This resulted in the production

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,S ele ct e d bibliography
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Primary sources

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.

14

in;
.,.

41

,*;,

Quartet Books, London, I 992.10riginally published in German


as Memoiren. A1brecht Knaus Verbg and GinbH, Berlin, 1987. )
Riefenstahl, L. The Last of the Nuba. Harper and Row, New York,

.-...:.
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I

,
.

Secondary sources

JIBitler bad had. any mends, I wduld Certainly have

Books

beep one of his Gionb friends. - '-, ' . ' " '

Press. Maryland, 2000.


Salke!d, A. A Portrait of Leni R'I^fenstahl. Jonathon Cape, London,
Sontag, S. 'Fascinating Fascism' in Under the SI^n of Saturn. Farrar,
Straus and Giroux, New York, 1980.
Video

The Wonderfu4 Hornde Life of LeniRiefenstahl, dir. Ray Muller


Omega Films/Nomad Films, 1993.
,

--.

.,..

,,. ,

Riefenstahl. Leni Riefenstahl Produktion, Berlin, 1938.

New Jersey. 1986.


Hinton, D. B. The Films of LeniRi^fenstah{ 3rd ed. The Scarecrow

..

}
IF
.

11/1/1111;:;:,:;!::;;-::;:;:;-it'.;'::';:A' L'~"' B. --", E. - 11^.:'-. T

01ymp^a: The Film of the XI Olympic Games, Berlin 1936. Part I:


Festival of the People, ' Part 11: Festival of Beauty, dir. Leni

Deutschmann, L. Triumph of the '11/11: The Image of the Third Reich.


Longman Academic, Wakefield, New Hampshire, 1991.
Graham, C. C. LeniRiefenstahland Olympia. The Scarecrow Press,

, .~.-*.

1932.

^. .

.r

J ^.

.,

..,,..

Film s

Das 818ue Lieht IThe Blue L@hill, dir. Leni Riefenstah!. UFA, Berlin,

,* ., . .

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~

1974.

if ,I

:;*

,
,

. 11
. ,*. '*.'~
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.~..'* .;,

Riefenstahl, L. The Sieve of Time: The Memoirs of LeniRiefenstahl.

^. ..
~...

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-,.

.,

80 0 ks

1996.
.~

., J

.,

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Triumph des Winens 11numph of the Will), dir. Leni Riefenstahi.


Reichsparteitag-Films, Berlin, 1935

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Study guide
Within this study of A1bert Speei; students will 'learn about':
\-. .

. a survey of political, econoinic and social

problems in the period 19/8-1923


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projects and in his' armaments factories. ;Thousands of'Jewish


,.:. families were'evacuated from their hornes at Speer^directives -'.
. -' . . and sent'. to. .ghettos and ;conceitijatiOn co. rips. .Speer's_work, . -

at^hough-impressive;. was tainted by'then. isei. /:and 'death' of, ' _~


millions of people.

.;'

..- .-,
,.

Sp6er was tried and convicted for-" war crime^ at the


Nuremberg Trials of 1946. He'se~rv6d 20-y^ars_in Spandau prison. ' '
F1

Yet unlike any of the other Nazis on trial at Nuremberg, Speer

11

pp. 64-65
pp. 63-64

. foundations of the NSDAP and its role, su ucrure.

pp. 66-67

polities and impact


. the social, economic and political impacr of the
Great Depression

pp. 6667,71-72
pp 70-71.74.75-81,8749

. Hitler^ accesion to power and his role as nilirer


. coatorrr, ity, discor and rests"rice to the goal of

PR 70-71

Volksgemei, ,SEhaft ryeople* Cornniuniq, )


. the na, .SIbrmmdon of German social and cultural lite
under Nam

. the nature and impact of Nazi propa!pinch, Lemur and


rep, CSion \vidii, I Genninny and in occupied reintories

FF. 73-74.75-81
pp. 75-81,83.89-91,94-96.
106-108

pp. 70-71,80-81,83,899i,

. the nature of Nazi racial primey, and-Semidsni

101-104

and the Holoca, EC

. the Nati war machine and its impkatiotrs for the war efort pp. 84-89,944i6
pp 93-96
. military defeat and the comapse OCN, zism

claimed that he was sorry for his war crimes and regretted his ~

11 I

. militarism

involvement with the Nazi Party. -He also maintained that he knew

I
,. I

-;

nothing about the Nazis' Final Solution.

:I
.,

. chancreristics of relative stability in the period 1924-1929

I _ How is the historian to assess Speqr? How guilty. Was. he? I Was he truly rerijorsef!. 11.0r was his reinqrse_qontrived?_ Washe- _- - -

-.

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I '- -__ ' - really un^IWare of the-FinalS^utioo*as_he, daim^, d?:Hqw!eli^ble are' - I

' intionalism

pp. 84-89.94-96
pp. 68-69.75-81

. nCISm

pp. 6869,70-71,80-81,83

, the Jewish community

. the Nazi Party including the SA and SS

pp. 70-71,80-81,83.89-91
pp. 68-71,72-73.82-83.93

. th. W"litmn. ht (G. ,mm fi#lung forces 1935-1945)

p 86

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' the banety of pT^y and recointhty sources xihble


for the sindy orcerma, 17 19/8-1945
. the untilhss and reinbihty of the scumes for
inVCsti^ting the redonel study

. IECcgiition or the different petspectiva and


interpretado, rs on;:red by the soures

. '-'; _ ' :.'_ -:.,:--mai^..ridj!ti^!is@Dint^rin;as;;;:&v^I^^!!inj!iai. ;Chit^t^. i, ^!di^p. g'^;51esinj^:- *-*,;:t};;. -

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:,',-;_... 1:1' ; *,::,^_^!;ii^!;^'rj;$!!;<;j;Nazisii!^^'^!^Iz!:I,^!it46^;i^aa^11^^)1:1^j!^, i, ^film::-;-;;:';'.':~;

1'1;- _ ::; -:;;:::;:.:-;!3. <;, rinan%s!^^hdi!^t;^j';6/9t!d^V^r;IIJ>,;;.;,;:j:^;f;;*:,;-t'4-;**;<,;:,,,*:.:,*\*/;*. ~- I

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. 1923: minadon and currency CFtis


. 1929; Great Depte^on
. 1934:I'dCT becomes ChanceUor of Gennany
. 1941: themmmion rifthe Soviet Unton
. 1945: the death onliner and the fill of Berbn

pp. 6+65
pp. 66-67.71-72
p70
p85
p96

*!I
ill

ALBERT SPEER

ONE

I.

which lits 'mother Luise developed a alent for devising new turnip

S P E E R,
ARC HIT E CTU RE

^:

..

AND POLITICS

'I

61

recipes. Then in Ithd-19/8*Allied air raids began over Mannheim and


rubert's father decided to move the farady to their summer house in

Heidelberg, a town south of Marcheim.


A1bert excened at school, particularly in mudiematics. Confident of
his mathematical abilities, rubert wanted to study . the subject at
urnversity, but Iris flitier discousaged the plan and recoinmended that Its
son follow in his footsteps and become an architect. So in 1923*rubert
Speer conmienced architectuml studies.

SPEER'S EARLY LIFE

MODERN ARCHITECTURE IN

Berthold KOIund HermannNbert Speer was born on 19 March 1905,

G E RMANY

the second of diree sons. His father, rubert Friedrich Speer, was a

successful architect and property ounier, wliile Ills mother, Luise Madiilde

I ,; ^

With dimne Hornmel was the daughter of a prosperous businessman.

;, 111

The farmy was very wealthy and lived in a well-appointed apartment in


Mannheim, a town near the French-German border. Their apartinent

was lavishly furnished with French and- Indian furniture, handembroidered caratis and crystal charidefiers. The family owned two cars
(a touring car for sun^ner and a sedan for winter) and employed a cook,

,I

a kitchen maid, chamber maids, a butter and a chauffeur. rubert and his

brothers were cared for by a French governess and attended an exclusive


private priri^y school.

A1bert was nine years old whenWorldWar I began in 19/4. When


the e>cpected 'quick victory' of the war did not eventunte, both warring

The early twentieth century was an amazing time to study architecture


in Germany; it was a Lime when Germany became a leading centre of
modern architectural mmovation, and attracted young architects from all
over Europe. Although Albert Speer was interested in some aspects of
modern architecture, it was the architecture of the nineteenth century
that was to become his main inspiration.
Througliout the nineteenth century, European architecture had
drawn inspiration from a wide muge of historical styles; Cerium architecture was no exception to tliis trend. Proininent styles of architecture
in nineteendi-century Germany induded neo-Classical (particularly
the Greek Doric form), neo-Italian Renaissance, neo-Gothic and
I
,

sides were faced with a cruel war of attrition. For the German home

front, tliis resulted in serious food and fuel shortages. The food shortages
were compounded by poor harvestsiri 19/6 and 19/7, whichiritumled
to rtsing prices and a growing black market. City-dwellers, particularly
those with no fartn^Ig relatives in the country who could supply them
with food, were the hardest hit. Around 700 000 city people died from
starvation and hypottierinin in 19/7. Nthotigliwealdi enabled the Speer
firmly to purchase what food was avatlable, it could do liede to overcome
the actual scarcity of that food, so they too were affected by the food
shorts^es. In I'S memoirs, Eri""erringat (1969), robert Speer related how
his farmy endured the so-called 'turnip winter' of 19/7-19/8, during

: I
.

60

neo-Classic. I: a style of architecture popular in Germany dadng the first half of the
nineteenth century, based on the Greek. Turkish and Middle Eastern Classical styles of
architecture

Greek Doric: a form of neoClassical architecture based on the architecture of Dots. an

ancient region in central Greece. It is a simple and plain style.


", o-11alian Rendss. ne. : a style of architecture popular in Germany during the middle of
the nineteenth century. based on the Renaissance style of architecture prominent in Italy
from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.

neo-Gothic a style of architecture popular in Germany dimng the middle of the


nineteenth century, based on the Gothic style of architecture prominent in France and
western Europe from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries.

62

INDIVIDUALS IN MODERN HISTORY

ALBERT STEER

63

11

1:1

neo-Baroqu^ fo"ms. The Brand^ribu, g Gate (1789-1793) designed by


K^"I Gotrl"^"d Langans and the S, h, ", pith"", (the, tie) (1818-1820 by
Karl Friedrich Schinkel were important examples of the neo-Classical
architectural style, while Paul Wallot;; design of the Reichstag
0884-1894) war typical of the neo-Baroque style that donitn^red the
newly designated capi^I Berlin.
By the end of the nineteenth century, a small number of architects
in Europe began to question this rehance on the past for artistic
inspiration. They started to look for a wholly new design form that was
unrelated to any of the great architectural fortus of the past. This search
for new inspiration was encouraged by several social and econonxic
developments, One such development was the resurgence of panGerman nationalism, which prompted a concern among some artists

I.

and architects to promote traditional German craftsmanship and cottage


industries. another war the emergence of new materials, particularly glass
and steel, and new construction methods, which encouraged architects

=;

,I
I
I.

I"I

to experiment with design, The nineteenth-century industrial


revolution, which saw a large number of people moving from the
countryside to the cities also prompted architects to experiment with
new housing designs. Indeed, some architects began to see a new
opportunity for German architecture, art and craft through
industrialisation. They argued that to further the prosperity of the
German nation, there would need to be improvements made in the level
of artistic skill and design. In addition, they proposed that artists and
craftsmen would need to orient themselves towards machine production.

In this way, Germany could begin to compete in the expanding world


market with biglii quality pref;, bricated housing and furiiislitngs.
In 1907, these architects allied thenEelves withindusttial craft finus
to form the Deutsche Warkb""d (German Works Organisation). The

Warkb""d aimed to improve craft education and to establish a centre

neo-Baroque: a highly ornate style of architecture popular in Germany dudng the latter

tlnougli which they could further their ideals. One piontinent Warkb", Id
architect was Peter Behrens, who desigied the A1!gemei"e ElektrinT"Is
Caratlschqji (AEG) Tit, bin, Fad, n, (1908-1909). The factory design un^
based on that of a traditional German farmhouse, and was an attempt
to infuse 'the filerory' with the same sense of intrinsic 'Germanness' as
peasant agricultural life.

another notable architect of the period wasWalter Cropius. He was


associated with the Preykb""d as a student of Belrrens. In 19/9 Cropius
became the director of the WeilnarArt College. He aimed to foster an
environment where students of all different aTts and crafts could study
together aria learn from each other - a 'socialist workshop' where there
would be no class distinctions between 'the artist' and 'the craftsman'.

Gropius called his new institution the B@"halts 010use of building), The
Banhaus style am characterised by the ideal that art and craft should be

designed with industrial production in mind; it should be simple* LISeftil


and easily reproduced. Characteristic features of the Banhaus style
include the nat roof, curved corners and horizontal oblong windows
The Banhaus influence has been internationaly furious and long lasting
In 1925 the Bauhaus school moved from Weimar to Dessau. The

directorship of the Bauhaus school passed from Gropius in 1928 to


Hannes Meyet and then co Ludwig Mies van der Robe in 1930.
Other important architecturel and artistic movements of the 1920s

include Expressionism and None Sacklichkeit (New Objectivity).


E>, prersionism was an artistic movement active in the early years of post-

WorldWar I that mm opposed to the wits of industrialisation and city life.


E>Kpressioiiists argued that the war had left hullmmcy emotionally stunted

and in need of spiritual and emotional regeneration. They aimed to show


the internal, spiritual world of the emotions througli their art and
architecture, using a muge offonus, including stylisation, distortion and

shadow to provoke an emotional response. Hans Podzig's Grosses


Sch@"spy^Ih@,, s (grind that".) (1919) in Betli, I with its cmula" stage and ,
huge dome was an outstanding example of E><pressioriist architecture, as
was ETich Mendelsohnt; 1921 EinsteinTower, a physics laboratory and
observatory built for rubert Eimteiri!; research work.

part of the nineteenth century, based on the Baroque style of architecture that developed
in Italy in the sixteenth century.
Berlin; from 1871. capital of unified Germany.
pan-German nationalism: devotion to the advancement of all German States and the
recovery of German folk traditions e. g. art, music.
prefabricated; to manufacture housing parts in standardised seatons ready for assembly.

stylisticn: to depict an objeci in conformity with a particular style


distortion in art. to depict an object as twisted. crooked or otherwise distorted.

64

ALBERT SPEER

INDIVIDUALS IN MODERN HISTORY

The New Objectivity movement was a reaction against the


sentimentality ofE>, pressionism. Emerging in the early 1920s and closely
associated with the Bauhaus school* the New Objectivity stood for a

As an astute property investor, Speer'$ futiler was able to sen family


property assets for American dollars. Although the properties were
sold for an outrageously low price* it made the fitfuly financially viable

functionalist attitude to architecture. Weimar housing projects of the


1920s and early 1930s were often in the New Objectivity style, with

again. Subsequenrly, Speer's monthly allowance, which amounted to


16 American dollars was more than ample for his needs.

matching rows of pref;Ibricated housing, mass-produced flintsimgs, figlit


firings and communal laundries, meedng roomy and sporthig focilities.
Politically, modern German architecture of the early twentieth

HEINRICH TESSENOW

65

century (such as Bantuus) was left wing in orientation. It was not about

designing grand buildings or mugi^cent homes for the wealthy, It was


about architecture for the working class and emphasised design

In 1924, when inflation stabilised, Speer was able to transfer lits studies

e^ciency; a lack of class distinction between craftsmen and artists;


functionality; and mass production. T}lis approach provoked opposition
from conservative politicians and architects who preforred the neoClassical, neo-Renaissance and neo-Baroque styles of the nineteenth
century, and interpreted modern architecture as a promotion of

year, Speer transforred again, to the Institute of Technology in BermnChar16ttenburg, where he came under the tutelage of Professor

decadence and coriumuttism.


I

to the more esteemed Institute of TechnologyiriMuriich. The following


HeirrrichTessenow.

As an architect, Tessenow was philosophicalIy mid-way between


modernism and traditionalism. As a founding member of the De"isclie
War^bund, he promoted the native German craftsmanship ideal and
advocated simple design suitable for mass production. He invented and
patented a wall construction system in 1909 and designed a housing
estate for f;ICtory workers at Henerau, near Dresden. But he was also

S P E E R' S A RC H IT E C TU RA L
Tl\. A1 N I N G

Speer emuned in the School OFArchitecture at the Karlsruhe Institute of


Technology His decision to study locally at Karlsruhe, rather than at one
of the more prestigiousTechnicallnstitutes, was dictated by theirifiation
crisis of 1923. Speer recorded mixis memoirs that lits monthly allowance
quicldy proved inadequate for his requirements, with a student meal
costhig over half a billion marks during the height of the crisis. The
crippling price rises, which spelt hunger and destitution for many
Germam, didn't prevent Speer from enjoying the finer t!tings of life; he
attended the theatre occasionally (with tickets costing between three and
four hundred nanon marks). The Speer farmly's wealth rescued them
from the di^culties they encountered dunugli the hyperinflation period.

influenced by the monumental neo-Classical Greek style, which he used


on occasion.

Tessenow was deeply affected by the horrors of World War I.

Consequenrly, he came to rt^ject the notion of the metropolis, the


linchine age and internationalism, and opted for a return to smalltown life. He saw the spirit of the German peasantry as the true
untointed life-force of the nation. ArchitecturalIy, Tessenow began to
advocate simple, regionalIy-based design, organic forms of architecture
and naru^I building materials. He am^ the co- creator with Paul
S. hult^^-N^runbu"g oralie Hejamtsti! derig, , (1.0m^land style) fo, mmhousing projects, The Hefindt$!17 house was distinctive for its whitewashed ,
walls and pitched sloping roof, Termniscent of the traditional German
peasant house.

torelage: guidance. teaching, instruction.


metropolis: the chief city of a region or state.

internationalism: the promotion of the 'common good' between nations; a style of art or
fundionalis. : furniture and housing design that stresses usefulness and plastica!ity.
.

architecture that is not specific to any one nation.


org. nie forms: designs which make use of shapes and patterns found in nature.

66

INDIVIDUALS IN MODERN HISTORY

Speer had a high regard for his teacherTessenow and identified with
his philosophies about architectural simplicity, Almost as soon as Speer
first metTessenow, he planned to work with him. In 1927, Speer passed
days a week. During the remaining time Speer hoped to build up his

Propaganda, Speer was disturbed at the way Goebbe!s whipped the


crowd into a fanatical fieney, playing on their hopes for econonxic revival
and blarntng the Jewish coriumtinity for Germany\; nitsfortunes.
Although Goebbels' performance offended Speer's rinddle-of ass sensibindes, he was unable to shake the impression Hider had made on him.
Speerjoined the Nazi Party the very next day, and became member

private practice.

number 474481.

his architect:; licence emurvination and, to Ins delight, becameTessenow's


assistant. His duties involved teaching Tersenow's senxinar classes three

SPEER AND NAZISM


From around the time of Speer!; graduation in 1927, the German

economy began to filter. Accompanying this downturn was the


floundering of the SocialD^moontic Party (SPD) andinc, easing support
for the Getnnn Coriumunist Party (I^D). This alarmed nuny middle-dass
Germane, who beheved that the coriumuriists would instigate a Russian,,

ALEERT SPEER

style revolution. Into tits void of political uncertainty stepped AdolfHirler


and his Nazi Party, The Nazis proiriised to revive the German economy,
restore Gerinari fudal pride and counter the threat of coriumutiism. These
policies found favour with many rinddle-class Germans. After the
Reichstag elections of September 1930, the Nazis became the second
largest party in the Reichstag, behind the SDR with 107 seats.
NthougliTessenow never agreed with Nazism, nuny of Ins students
did. They invited Speer to a N^i student rally at which Hitler was to
speak. Speer chimed to have been uninterested in politics as a young
man. Nevertheless, he attended the student rally, which was held in a
BerthL beer-hall, It was December 1930. Hitter entered the hall to the

67

Why did Speer, a well-educated, nitddle-dans inari, join the Nazi


Party? Was it their strong stance against coriumunism? Was Hitter's
chartsnn an important factor, as Speer clamed? Certainly, in the
Reichstag elections of 1930, a significant proportion of the Nazi Party
vote came from people with sinnlar economic backgrounds to Speer,
people who traditionally voted for the conservative German National
P^ople's Pa"ty conyP) or th^ German Pcopl^'s Party cow). By 1930,
the jinddle class was be conting Increasingly convinced that Hitler^; anticoriumutiist stance and solutions for Germanyls econontic plight would
prevent the possibitity of a Russian-style revolution.
The riftddle dass also endorsed the Nazi Party's ttiorougli opposition
to the directives of the Treaty of Versailles. Hitter's alliance with A1fred
Hugenberg, the leader of the DNVP, to oppose the 1929Young Plan's
renegotiation of the Treaty of Versailles proved a highly successful
strategy for the Nazis. It made Hitler respectable in the eyes of the
nitddle class and encouraged wealthy DNVP-voting industrialists to
support the Nazi Party financially.
Political credibility; an improvement in the Nazi Parry^ image and
Hitler'^ personal ring, Ietism made the Nazi Party appear to be a viable

political option. These factors were enough to override any ofSpeert;


concerns about anti-Sentitism or fanaticism, and convinced him to put
Inns hidi in the Nazi Parry.
,

applause of the students' To Speer\; surprise, Hider was dressed in a neat


blue suit, rather than in the broom uitifi3rm of the Nazi Party posters.

Speer was even more impressed when Hider began lads speech. He did
not shout excitedly as Speer had thougllt he would, but spoke
persuasively and soberIy about Its vision for Ceriumy. Speer dimed to
have been deeply affected, not only with Hider'^ proposed solutions to
the direat orconunuriism andl, is renunciation of the Treaty of Versailles

(1919), but also with the mm him^16


Arew weeks later, Speer attended another Nani harry. T}lis dine, the
rally was presided over by Joseph Goebbets, the future Naal Minister for

,
~

ALBERT SPEER 69

Two

condemned the modern city as an tramoral wasteland inhabited by Jews


and cornmuriists who sought to corrupt the soul of the native German

SPEER AND THE

NAZI PARTY,
1933-1942

peasant. Dart6 denounced urbanisation and urged the 'repatriation' of


Aryan Gemmm to the countryside. This racist philosophy soon found a
PTOiimnent place in Nazi propaganda and changed the Nazis' oudook
towards modern architecture and the industrial city.
Nazi opposition to modern architecture was first voiced by A1fred
Ros"rib". g. In 1928, h" found, d th" Kami!foundjti, dant, ,h, K"!t",

(I, eagle of Struggle for German Culture), an organisation of mainly


right-wing architects and intonectuals who were devoted to arresting
THE NAZIS AND MODERN
A RC H IT E CTU RE

Germany\; 'cultural aecfine'. Kampi%",, d members gave speaking tours


and presented various native German cultural events to the public. As
editor of the Nazi paper 1'61ki^cher Beob@chtet, Rosenberg was able to
spread the Kirinzi*""d's attitudes about architecture. From 1930,1.61kischer

Beo6@chief contained articles that equated modern architecture with post-

(1925) that architecture was an important measure of a nation^; power


and strength. Tmtially, the Nazis did riot pay much attention to architecture and Teijiained silent during the conservative attacks on the

war decadence, 'racial' degeneration and all that was 'wrong' with the
Weirnar Republic. The paper also contended that the internationalist
style of modern architecture war not Tele^nt to native German culture
and that it had become a Inark of rims society and urbimsation.
Paul Schultze-Naumbutg, co-creator of the Hetingtsiilhouse, was a

Bauhaus schoolin the 1920s. If anything* as the Nazi paper 161kischer

prominent member of the Ichmpjb""d, and helped it to mount an active

Be@6nchter (Peqple^ Observed attested on a fow occasions, the Nazis Were


hitly positive roomds the nat-Toofod prefabricated housing and modern
furnishings of the 1920s. They were also open to Germany's industrial
development and the Weimar Republic's low-cost public housing
schemes. In 1930, this began to change and direct criticism of modern
architecture became part of Natipolicy,
Nazi opposition to modem adjitectuie was simulated by Richard
Valter Darr6, who joined the Nazi Party in 1928. It was Darr6, an
agonontist, who developed the Nati concept of 61"t ",, d fuda, (blood
and soil) and characterised the debate over 'the city versus the country'
in racial terms. Darr6 idealised the Ceriumi peasant and the countryside
as the true sources of morality and native spirit. At the same dine, he

and influential campaign against modern art and architecture. Unlike


Tersenow, Schultze-Naumburg^ advocacy of the 'traditional Gern^n'
pitched-roof house mm not simply rehted to a desire to retreat from the
industrial city (and its nat roo^) and return to small-town life and

Architecture held a special place in Hitler's political ideology. Hitler, a

once-aspiring architect, argued in his book Mein Kampf (My Slinggle)

pitched Too^. For Schultze-Namnburg, the pitched roof was the only
style of roof fit for the houses of Aryan Germam, because it gave the

impression of being'rooted in the soil'. Like, Dane, Schultze-Naumburg


espoused the 61"t ""d 60de, IPIxilOSophy and'equated modem architecture
with a 'ToodessJewish urbanisation' hat was at odds with the spirit of the
native German. Schultze-Naumburg^; efforts allied other like-nitrided ,
architects and together they formed a subsidiary group to the

Aryan: in Nazi ideology. a nori-Jewish Caucasian. especially one with blonde hair; blue
Richard Waiter Darr, : Reich Minister of Agriculture. 1933-1942.
agronomis. : a soil and crop scientist
blut undbo, *en:the Nazi philosophy that Aryan Germans should Ilvein close contact with
their native soil, i. e. the countryside.

68

eyes and fair skin.

Mired Rosenberg: editor of towscherBeobachterand Reich Minister of Occupied


Eastern Territories, 1941-1945.
subsidiary: secondary. additional.

..-

70

ALEERT SinEER 71

INDIVIDUALS IN MODERN HISTORY

- --.
,...

K"MRIb""of, which am known us ^ Kampfb""d wits'kararthit, kt, " ""d


Inge"ie"re (KDAl) (I. .eag"" of German A, .hirerts and Engineers).
By 1933, the Nazi Party was clearly advocating a preforence for a
native Gemnn style of building, and minimed that modem artistic and

conform to the bint und 60de" ideology as Goebbels f;31t that Nazism
should promote rather than restrict creativity. By 1935, Hider decided in
favour of Goebbels. The Reichsk"!tark@miner became the only legal

campaign speeches the Nazis prointsed that once in power they would
exclude modernist architects from positions of power and deny them any

professional organisation for architects and the unAl subsequenrly lost

In 1932, the Nazis won control of the Dessau City Council and
forced it to withdraw its support for the Banhaus school. The school
closed doam its Deusau operations and moved to Berlin. The refuge in
Berthn was short lived, however, for when the Nazis won power there
early in 1933, the Gestapo raided the school and arrested students,
allegedIy for possessing'coriumutiist propagandainnterial'. The schoolwas
subsequenrly shut down.
From the moment Hitler became Chancellor fullanunry 1933, the

Nazis began to impose their will on the architectural profession across


Germany, They forced many of the wein-known modernist architects

from their teaching posts, such as Ham Poelzig, RoberrVorhoelzer and


Ham Scharoun. Intones thisI}% the less well-kiloum moderntst architectteachers conchued teaching without interference. Moderntst architects
I ,I

unlike the unAl the Reichsk"!t"rknmmer did not require architects to

architectural movements were decadent and coriumuriist. In their

influence on architecture.

I I

exdudedJews, coriumuiiists and socialists from membership. Significanrly,

its influence and status. In Tunny ways, tins episode was typical of the

ringlry and power play between Nazi leaders such as Goebbels and
Rosenberg. It was also evidence that different architectuml preferences and different understandings of Nazism - were emerging among the
Nazi leadership.
Given that Goebbels had aisntissed the bl"t ""of both" restrictions,

there were hopes among modernists that he might be more toIemnt of


modern architecture. Artistically, the Reichsk"hang"miner merely required

architects to desigibuildin!g; that e, ,pressed'proper architectural design'.


Just what constituted 'proper architectural design' was never reamy
identified and generally, the Reichsk"link@miner did not interfere with an
architect's artistic freedom. But the and-modernist campaign waged by

the K@MRIb""d and the anA1 had done its work, leaving modernist
architects unable to obtain new conirriissions. T}lis, combined with anti-

Senfitism and political restrictions, caused many of Germany;s greatest


cu^rig-edge architects to leave the country: Ludwig Mies mm der R. ohe

were also removed from adjnimstrative positions in the departinent of


public housing. Most significantly; the Nazis merged the Vein^

left for the United States in 1934;Walter GEopiusleft for ETicoinin 1934

Republic's B""d dartsche, /lithit"Aim (BDA) (0"g^in^adon of German


Architects) and the Dentsche Workb""dinto the LCDAl. mimembers of the

for Britain in 1933 and then went to the United States in 1941,

and then went to the United States in 1937; and Erich Mendelsohn left

KDAl had to conform to the Kampfb""d architectural style, cl^actorised


by b!"t ""of both, ,. Members were forbidden to belong to the Social
Democratic Party (SPD) or the Cerium Coriumuriist Party (FCPD). Jews
were to be excluded.

A few months later in November 1933, Goebbels set up a rival


orgyiiisation for architects under the auspices of his Ministry for
Prop^g"rich. The Reichs^"fur^@mine, (R~, ich Chamber of Culture)
encompassed all fields of artistic endeavour, such as architecture, radio,

film, music and literature, and aimed to create a new relationship


between artists and the state. Like the KDAl, the Reichsk"irurkammer

S P E E R' S EARLY A S S O C IATIO N


WITH THE NAZIS
,
^

Speer!; pinus to develop lits prints architectum practice on Its days off from
teaching proved unsuccessful. The deepening econointc depression of the
late 1920s led to a downturn in the construction industry, making it very
dimwit for a young architect like Speer to had desigri work. When his
assistsnt lecturer^ salary was reduced by the Geni^n government in 1932

as a budget-bahnd, Ig measure, Speer resigned Ins post and moved back to


Gestapo: Nazi secret police.

tits boyhood tomm of Mumheim. He planmed to nomge Ins ^then;

72

ALBERT SPEER

INDIVIDUALS IN MODERN HISTORY

73

properties and attempt to establish himelf as an architect there. Again,


Speer!; efforts to obtain architectuml commitssioris came to nod^Ig in the
depressed econointc environment. His only architectural work was the
reconstruction of one of Its parents' buildingj. Speer realised he would have

to refiirbish the ChanceUery in collaboration with Hitler^ OBIcial


architect, Paul LudwigTroost who had been a member of the Nazi Party
since 1924 and was grearly aimiired by Hider. His work for the Nazis
included the remodelling of the Patch BathwiriMuntch in 1931 (which

more chance of folding work in a bigger city and returned to Berlin,


On his arrival in Berlin* Speerjoined his local Nation 41sozi@lis!tsche

became the 'Brown House' - the National Headquarters of the Nazi

Party) and it, ^ derig, I for d, ^ Han, der dantsch, ,, K",,, t (House of Gernnn

fogj^ahrer-Kops 0.1SKK) (Motorists'Association of the Nationalsocialist


Party). As Speer was the first Nazi Party member in Iris district to join,

Art) in 1933.

he became the association's head. His district headquarters were 'WestEnd Bermi'led by Kre^skim^ (Naxi distri, t reader) K^, I Hank^. Hank^

knew of Speer's architecturel qualifications and had him redecorate the


inside of Ins new district organisation headquarters. Hanke rose quicldy
throngli the mmks of the Nazi Party and by 1932 was a Reichstag deputy
and head of the whole Bermn section of the Nazi Party.
As an NSKK member, Speer offered I'S car and Iris driving services
to the Party for a day in preparation for the UPCoining Reichstag

chad. us of July 1932. The Nazi Party was stunmmgly rug, ^,, fi"I at tt, ^^^
elections, and gained 37 per cent of the vote, which nude it the largest

single party in the Reichstag. The victorious Nazi Party wanted to flaunt
its new prestige and power, and purchased several new buildings for parry
headquarters and party residences.
The day after his driving service, Speer was contacted by Hanke
who asked him to Techcorate the new district headquarters on Voss

Speer's efforts on the ChanceUery building pleased Hitler, who


*_
,. -

invited him to dinner. Hider was impressed when he learnt that Speer

had been responsible for the work on COGbbels' mittsterial building and
on the 1933 Noremberg Rally. Hider took a liking to Speer. The two
men talked about art and building design over lunch and thriller, In

Speer, Hitler saw a young untried architect who could carry the partys
ideology and his (Hitler^;) own architecturel ideas beyond his lifetime.
Speer soon became part of Hider^; timer circle, He was given a party
uniform and appointed to R"dor Hess's staff as Able fungsleiter

co^pa. oment Chief of Public Works) and to Goebb. Is' Ministry of


Propaganda, Shoaly afterwards he was invited by Hider to live on his
bigli-security mountain estate at Obersalzberg.
In January 1934, PaulLudwigTroo$t died. Antile whilelater*despite
not having desigied a single building, Speer*received his first major
comintsion from the Nazi government: to design and build pern^nent
bleachers for the Zeppelin Field in Nunmberg.

Street, Berlin. Eiglit montlislater in March 1933, he received another call


from Haul:e. By no\^ Hider had been installed as ChanceUor and the

Nazis had won the subsequent Reichstag elections with nearly 44 per
cent of the vote. Hanke had become secretary to Goebbels. This time,

^I

Hanke offered Speer the job of rebuilding and redecoratitig the new
building for COGbbels' Minttry of Propaganda on Withehn\; Square.
Before long, Speer was being hired for many assigiunents for the
new Nazi government, induding the extension of Goebbels' house;
decorations for the 1933 May Day Tally at Tempelhof; and decorations
for the NUTemberg Party Rally of 1933, where he installed a huge

Reich eagle overlooking the Zeppelin Field. Speer was also called on

Reich o. 91. : a symbol of the Nazi regime.


Zeppelin Field: Named after Fednand von Zeppelin 11838-19.71 a German army officer
and airship builder

ARCHITECTURE AND NAZI


P RO PAGAN DA

I
,

Goebbets' Ministry of Propaganda never specified a particular


architecnaral style for the Nazi regime. Despite Nazism^; totalitarian
innge, a single prescribed Nazi style was not evident in the realm of
archirectum. Rather, there were a number of different architectural styles

R"doll He's: Deputy NSDAPleader 1933-, 940.


bleachers: an open^ir stand for spectators.

74

INDIVIDUALS IN MODERN HISTORY

ALBERT SPEER

. ..
^

75

~ ..

in use. This lack of consistency reflected the ideological disagreement

SPEER, THE NAZI ARCHITECT

promoted as a progressive and revolutionary party leading Germany into

S eer set to work making a plaster model of his desig^ for the bleachers

within the Nazi leadership over whether Nazism should be exclusiveI

the future or as a conservative party returning Ceriumy to the 'security'

at the Nutemberg Zeppelin Field. His design strongly incorporated

of its pre-industrial Aryan past.

monumen^I neo-Classical features, but also, thanks to Tessenow s

Essentially individual Nazi leaders opted for an architectural style


that reflected their own particular understanding of the party and
insaned it with the corresponding ideological signficance. For exam Ie,

influence, contained elements of the simple and abstract form. Hider

approved the design and construction began murrediately in order to

have the bleachers ready for the 1934 NUTemberg Party Rally, The
bleachers consisted of along staircase enclosed by a colonnade, with a

Baldu, von Shita. h, reader of the HitlerJ"gund (HiderYouth), argued


that HiderYouth hostels and halls be desigied in a modern style, utilisin

steel and glass, in order to convey the impression that Nazism stood fot
progress' and youth'. The Ordealsb",:ge, , schools were built in a neo-

Romanesque style, which suggested a traditional and mystical


connection with the kingiits of medieval Germany. Buildings
collar^stoned by Darr6:; thinstty of Agriculture opted for the bl"I "rid

both" folk style, Others preferred a neo-Classical monumen^I style of

II

platform for honoured guests in the rinddle of the stairs and seating for
"

over 100 000 people.

S eer war conscious of Hitter's beherin the thousand-year Reich

and clearly saw himelf as the architect for such posterity, He noted that
iron and steel reinforcement, as was used in modern buildings, ulthriately

made a building look unattractive when it deteriorated. Speer flit that


construction from stone would lend a quiet inagriificence to his

architecture, which conveyed the ringliit and power of the Reich.


Hider never intervened in the ideological disputes over architecture,

builchiigs as they decayed in the discont fixture, like the ruins of indent

As an opportunist, Hider saw the value of promoting the Nazi Party as

The ruin value theory rt:jeered the use of steel or iron reinforcement for

both conservative - conserving the cultural heritage of'the race'. and


progressive - pushing Germany into a new era, Nonetheless, Hider had

his ouni preforences. He saw architecture as an e, cpression of the national


unity and power of Nazi Germany;'the thousand-year Reich' where
the architect worked in tandem with the politician. It was throu h

Hider's desire to impress the Thight and power of the Reich upon
Germans and the rest of the world that architecture would attain an

unparalleled political signficance in Germany and propel Speer, Ins new

apprentice, into notoriety.

Greece and Rome. To tills end, Speer proposed a 'theory of ruin value'.

buildings, as was the modern practice. Instead, it proposed that the use of
stone aria brick, both for reinforcement aria for construction, would

result in a building that ultimately, in a thousand years' time*would look


like the rum of an important site. In keeping with his ruin theory, Speer

designed the bleachers to be made entirely of stone. He even had a


drawing done to show Hider what the bleachers would eventually look
like as a twill.

THE 'CATHEDRAL OF LIGHT

S eer!; next assigrmient was to desigi the decor for the 1934 Nommberg
Rail . He made excelrsive use of the Nazi swastika flag; and bamers, and

draped them across buildings and between houses along the streets of
Baldur von Shineh: Head of the Hitler Youth, 1933-1940.
Hitler Jugond the official Nazi Party organisation for boys,

Ord, "sb"rg. in IC. 3.10 OrderI schools: selective Nazi secondary schools.
neo-Romanesque: an architectural style based on the Romanesque style of architeciure
of the late tenth to the early thirteenth centuries in Europe.

thousand-year Reich: a Naziideology that the Reich would last for 1000 years.

Noremberg. Speerts most memomble work for the 1934/1. .ally was the
desi for the, 4mts, ,niter. The, tintstmlterwas a rally for the middle- and

minorparty dignitaries. Speer created a drainedc scene, and or^litsed


the rail participants to march into the stadium in darkness, mumimted
by 130 seamhligl, ts pornfu, g toward^ it, . ^kyThe readt mm spdlbinding.
British Ambassador Sir Neville Heriderson declared it was like being in

,
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76

INDIVIDUALS IN MODERN F11STORY

AIR"RT SPEER

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a cathedral made of ice, but Speer pref;erred to describe it as a 'cathedral

of lis!It'. It \\^Is'captured oninm by Lent Rie^instahltiiher Till""PI! des


Wine"s (1935) (T;jumph of!helm!), ^ documentary, (and prop^gand^)
film about the 1934 Nazi Party Rally at Nutemberg.
\
I

THE NUKEMBERG PARTY RALLY SITE

The Nuremberg I\. allies were central to tile aissenxiitation of Nazi


propaginda. It \\, as at these annual assemblies of Nazisni that Hitler \\, as
presented to the Getrnnn people as the triumphant national savioLrr gild
that Nazi policies were announced, including the notorious
Nutemberg Laws of 1935. By 1934, Hider had deterInitTed that more
buildiri!;s and stadiums would be needed for filmre NUTeinberg rallies.
These buildings \\, ere to be utilised for concerts, lullitary exercises and
party speeches atIring the allies. Speer had the idea of building an entire
rally complex at NUTemberg on one site, covering over 16 square

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kiloillerres. Nl buildings v. ,onId be desigiled in tlic monuntental neo-

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Classical style and use stone for their construction. Hider was hugely,

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impressed \vith the concept. He approved the design in 1935 and


established the ZIPecl:perb, Ind Reichspaneitqg$ A1tir, thing (Zl\. PT)
0.1urtinberg Reich Party Rally Ground Association) to oversee
coltstr'ucCion and finance for Clte project.

Speer;; design. for the Tally site incorporated a. parade ground where
'the army could perform hintary I, lanoetivres, surrounded by stands for
160 000. specmtors'. and 24 ' rowers; a processional a\, errue over two

kilometres long for the aru, yto Inardt do\^ryi and drive their tanks and
equipment; a grand horseshoe-shaped stadium* kn. 0^, 11 as the Gemnn
Shadiiiit)'; a Congress Hawand a Culture 'Hall. The entire complex \\^s
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designed by Speer, \vith the e. Econtion of tile Congress Hall, which 11ad
been designed by Ludwig l<tiff in 1933. In terms of size, the parade ,
groundj the avenue, the, German Stadium and the site itself were varrly
superior to stadiat structures else\\, here in E\, rope or the United States.
..

A1bert Speqr^'bathed181 of light; 1934

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Leninid. nstahl:internationally famous filmmaker of the Third Reich.

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Nuremberg Laws: Nazi laws announced In 1935 that removed citizenship and political
rights from Jews and from those with Jewish ancestry.
*

78

ALUiRT SPEER

I N D I V I D U A I_ S I N M O D E !I. N ! ! I S T O R. Y

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Most staditiiirs of that period seated only 100 000, while Speer's Gentian
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Stadiuin would seat 400 000 people. SPCer\; plans for the NUTemberg site
werc subiilitred to the Paris World's Fair of 1937 and won the Grand

43

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Prix. The cornerstone for the sindiunt \\, ariaidin September of that year.

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Hitler had long held a personal dcsire to redesigri Germany's premier


city Berlin. He wanted Berlin to be the greatest city in the world,

$34

surpassiiTg Paris andVieni}a. The new Berlin, Hider hoped, would restore

German confidence and self-esteeiii after the shame imposed by tire


Treaty of Versailles. Since the 1920s, Hitler had been drawilIg Ile\\,
designs for che city of Berlin, based on \vh, it he admired in Paris and
Viei}na. He particularly liked h(^, the Champs Elysees in Paris
a
,

"

cumiinated in the Arc dc Trioiiiphe. He also adrnired Vieni^;; Ri'jigstr"$3e


on whichlay all of Viernia!;important public blindin!gs. .Hitler envisaged
a Charnps Elysees~style boulewrd runtxing north~south through Berhn
(except longer and \vider). The choice of a north^outh boulevard was

illogical, particuhrly as Berlin's malt nanic now was east-west. Speer^;


office claimed chat the north^ouch boulevard would help maintain
hatlic order, barit was never e:, platingd exacrly howit \\, ould do this. At
,;

the northern end of the boule\^rd, Hider planned a huge 111eeting hall,

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capped by all cnoniious dome \virli a diamerer five-and-a~half mes that

of Saint Peter's Basilicain Rome. At the southern end, Hitter wanted a

triumphal arch (over three times higher than the Arc de Triomphe in
Paris) that would bear all the names of Gerinaity, ^; war dead. These
dimensiorrs were not only designed to inspire and intimidate Genjiam
and foreign visitors; they \\, ere also intended to serve the city of Berlin
into the distant trainen, mum. Indeed, the expansive breadth of the gnutd
boulevard was desigiled co be \\, ide errouglt to arconunodate thousands

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of marching German people at Tallies and parades in the supposedly


\, icrorious future:

Although Speer had no forIl}al town-planarntig experience, he was


commissioned to carry out Hidcrt; Berlin plans in January 1937 aria

Amert Spee, andAdolf Hitler discussing architectural blueprints at Ober$812berg.

$i

millennium: a period of one thousand years'


,

80

INDIVIDUALS IN MODERN HISTORY

given an office and staff ofarchitects and adjiiintstrators to f;ICilitate it,

Hitler also made him an honorary 'profossor' and reforred to him as

'Profossor Speer' thereafter. Speer e>:panded on Hider^ ideas, and planned


to reor^ruse the Berlin railroad system; instaU an east-west boulevard;
a new university quarter; and a new medical quarter. New ministry

buildings, theatres, cinemas and hotels, many of them shotNitig the

ALBER. T SPEER

81

created the Man l\esetdement Division, headed by Dietrich Clades. The


task of the Main Resetrlement Division was to make a list of all the

Jewish-occupied aparttnents in Berfin; evictJewish tenants; and allocate


Jewish' aparmients to Aryan Germam who were to lose their aparmients
because of Speer\; demolition work.

influence of grandiose nineteenrli-century architecture, would line the


central avenue. He also planned to have woodlands of deciduous trees

planted on the outskirts of the city centre. His model of Berlin, correct
to the last detail, am put on display in the exhibition Toolus of the Berlin

Academy of Arts in 1937. The Bermn project was due for completion in
1950.

Hirler decided that the costs of tramforniing Berfin into a grind


metropolis, including architectural philting and demolition, was to be
borne by the city itself The city adrninisttators of Bettin were alarmed

by tliis and were ittitially reincmnt to cooperate. Dr. Julius Lippert, lord

mayor of Berlin, particularly tried to have the grandiosity of the designs

restrained. In order to thwart Lippert, Hider made Speer


CanonlB, "impelgto, (GBl)I;,, die Reich, hanpt, mat (importor~Goneral of
Building for the Reich Capital), a position that made Speer answersble
only to Hider and bypassed the jurisdiction of Uppert. Hitler also

indicated that he was quite prepared to build a new capitol city


elsewhere. The Berlin city admittstrators quickly capitulated.

The Bermi transformation required the demolition of 50 000

aparmients near the city centre. This meant that nuny people would
need to be relocated in and around Berlin. With over 23 000 aparmients
,I

I'

,I

in Berfin occupied by Jewish tenants, the Bermi makeover and its


subsequent necessary' resetrlement program went hand-in-hand with
the Nazi Party!; anti-Sentitic policy

In April 1939, the Nazis passed 'The Law Concerning the Rental
Situation of Jews'. The law stated that Jewish tenants no longer had the

THE NEW CHANCELLERY

In keeping with Its status as leader of the 'thousand-year Reich*, and his
liking for grandiosity* Hider instructed Speer to desigi a new, enlarged
Chancenery building in January 1938. Hider was anxious for Speer to
complete the entire project - from blueprints co construction and
furnishing - by early January 1939, so that he could hold a diplomatic
reception. Speer agreed and nomediately ordered the demolition of
houses on 1.65s Stmsse to linke room for the new building. He had 8000
builders, labourers and craftsmen working day and inglit in two shifts to

get the project completed on time,


Speer^ New Chancellery building was desigied to give foreign
diplomats and dignitaries an impression of the power and magnificence
of the Reich. From the large gates at the entrance, a diplonut had to
walk 220 metres dunugli a sequence of ornateIy decorated stately coolin
to reach Hideris reception hall. Over Hitler\; o111ce doors hung gilded
panels displaying the FourVir. ues -'Wisdom, Prudence, Fortitude and
Justice'. It also had a large balcony on the first floor to enable Hider to
wave at and greet the adoring crowds below. Underneath the New
Chancellery was the most impor^It room of all: Hider\; underground
air-raid shelter. According to Speer's memoirs, Hider was again thinned
with Speer\; efforts (except that he omited the reception hall tripled in
size) and awarded him the Golden Party Badge.
*

security of the Tenant Protection Law if a dispute arose between

themselves and their landlord and that the landlord could break a lease at

any time if their tenant was Jewish. Regional housing authorities


throughout Germany were given the job of'Telocafuig'Jewish people
witliin their cities. In Betfin, however, the ongoing construction and
demolition work meant that the responsibility for this work passed to
Sneer^ onice. Working dosely with it, ^ Schut^satel (SS), who in theory
were responsible for carrying out the Nazis' anti-Senittic policies, Speer

Four Virtues: also known as the 'four cardinal virtues'. considered by the Ancient Greek
philosophers to be the essential virtues of moral excellence.

82

ALBERT SPEER

INDIVIDUALS IN MODERN HISTORY

ARCHITECTURE AND

ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Aside from its value as propaganda* architecture also served the economic
goals of the Nati Party. Architecture and construction work were central
to Germany's economic recovery from the Great Depression, Speer and

Ins o^ce were not the only architects working for Hider. There were at

83

WORLD WAR 11

The outbreak of World War U brought a sudden halt to construction


work on the Nuremberg Party Rally site and on Bermiby March 1940.
Only town planntng work and stone acquisition were allowed to
continue. After signing the truce with Finnce tillune, Hider decreed that
construction in NUTemberg, Berfin, Munich, Hamburg and Linz could

least ten others working for him, designing the new city centres of
Munich, Hamburg and Linz (Hitler!; boyhood town in Austria).

go ahead (sinaner sites were closed). Hider\; belief in Germany^;


imminent victory led him to trustst on speedy completion of the bullchiig

Furthermore, other lulliistries wiimn the Nazi Party, such as the Ministry
of Agriculture and the HitlerYouth also coniriiissioned a great number
of construction works. Hitler\; monumental building programs at

progranrs at NUTemberg and Berlin, in order to have them ready for


victory celebrations. Seven of Germany's best construction funrs formed
a cornimttee to ensure rapid completion of the works, and orders for

NUTemberg and Berfin were a tremendous boost to the economy, not


only because of the mumense size of the prqjects, but also because Hider
assignied the works top priority which meant that a large workforce was
needed to get the projects completed quickly. Huge contracts for

stone were increased. HitlerI; call for this swift completion had a direct
impact on the lives of concentration camp prisoners' By August 1941,
over 10 000 prisoners were quarrying stone and making bricks.
Germany\; successful occupation of Poland, Denmark, Nonuay,

construction and materials were awarded 'to German firms and

Belgium, Houand, Luxembourg and France gave access to the building

thousands oflthouring and building jobs were created,

muterials avallable in those countries, and the numbers of prisoners also


increased. In 1940, Hemrich Hilumler, leader of the SS, invited Speer
to tour the occupied territories to deternitne the location of suitable

THE STONE INDUSTRY

quarries, so that the SS could set up new concentration camps nearby.

The Natzweiler concentration camp in Akace, France was purposely

:.

:11

Hitler^ building program was also responsible for an additional stimulus


to the Genreny economy as the Nazis began their rearmament program
in 1936. The building works at NUTemberg and Berlin required vast
quantities of stone, and did not need iron or steel for Teitorcement. Tliis
meant that more iron and steel were avallable for amialnents and limbtary
construction work. It also meant that the stone and quarrying industries
were able to nuke a considerable profit.
The profitability of the stone industry, helped by Hider\;
prioritisation and by his continual insistence that the works proceed
more quickly, was duly exploited by the SSThe SS controlled all the
concentration camps for political prisoners throughout Gemmny. They
orgyiiised stone quarrying and stone masonry operations and set their
prisoners to work quarrying stone. With an unpaid labour force that they
could mercilessly exploit at win, the SS were able to concentrate on
meeting litglIler and his1:1er production quotas. T}lis put them at a disthict
advantage over German quarrying firnrs tendering for stone contracts.
.

:I

::

II

. located near a source of red granite.


By 1942, the war had turned against Germany. The failure of their
British and Russian campaigns and the en^y of the United Stares into
the war mude for a deddedly more desperate situation in Germany; more

resources and- funding were poured into the Thintary effort. A grearly
reduced ZR. PT staff continued to place onIers for stone but it was
poinrless. By 1945, only two of the five in;!jbr buildings at Nuremberg
had been completed. The parade ground was left with only U of its 24
towers completed; the Congress Hall was finished to the third floor; and
the Gemnn Stadium was little more than a huge hale in the ground.
Apart from the disruption to the building projects, the war also
changed Speer!;Jewish rehoustrig program. From the beginiimg of 1941,
Speer ordered an increase in the rate of Jewish evictions from Bermi and

allocated their apartments to Aryan Germam whose houses had been


damaged by the Allies' air raids. In October 1941, Bermn\; Jews were
rounded up by the Gestapo and taken to a Berlin synagogue. From there
they were packed onto trains headed for concentration camps in the east,

,
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Germania

A1bert Speer's plan to transform Berlin into the ca ital of a 1,000- R ' h
cre^ted a vast monument to misanthropy, as Roger Moorhouse e jams.

GIF:'I^,,,
A

11/11A

n 1937 Hider's architectAlbert Speerwas given

the task of transforming Berfin from the


sprawling metropolis that it was into Germania,
the gleaming newtapital of a Greater German *

'World Empire; the centrepiece of the civilised world.


It was a vast undertaking. Plans, swiftly drami up

bySpeer's office, were presented to the public on


Ianuary28th, 1938. The reaction within Germanywas

predictably enthusiastic, with newspapers carrying


detailed e, :planations andconimentaries. DerA?18nff

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stated that the designs were 'truly monumental . . . far


exceeding an a, pertations:whilettie yolkischer

Beo6@chierprodaimedgrandlythat'from this desert'

*!^;:.-

of stone, shalemerge the capital of a tt!ousand-year

...,$i

Reich{ The foreign press, though less effi. Isive,

nonetheless concurred. The New fork Times, for

instance, described the project as 'perhaps the most

ambitious planning scheme' of the modern era.


The planscertainlydid notwant for ambition. In

,;

accordance with Hitter's originalsketches they centred

on a grandboulevard, whichwas to run from north to

south for around seven kilometres through the heart of

the city, linking two proposed new rail termini. Given

carte blanche in redesigning this vast swathe of the city

centre, Speerand his minionshad had afield dayand


theirplansreadlike a catalogue of comparatives and

A1bert Speer presents Hitler


with a modelof the German
Pavilion designed for the
World^ Fairin Paris, 1937.

superlatives. The vast Grand Hall, for instance, dose to

April1939 and was erected in aside-Tooni of the


Reich Chancenery. Though Hitter's interest in the

project was restricted aimost orclusively to the north-

south axis - and he would often return to muse over


the model - the plans were not litiiited to that one

the Reichstag, would have been the largest endosed


space in the world, with a dome 16 inner larger than
that ofSt Peter's in Rome. Designed to host 180,000
people, there were concerns among the planners that

headline designs into a much more thoroughgoing

the analed breath of the audience might even produce


'weather' beneath the cavernous coffered ceiling. The
1/7-metre tallArch of Triumph, meanwhile, was

First of all, Berlins railnetwork was to be overhauled,


with the two new stations replacing three old termim

designed - on Hitter's a:press instruction - to carry the

line that would circle the city centre. Roads, too, were to

WorldWar engraved uponits waris. Similarly massive, it

be redrawn. The two newboulevards-the proposed


north-south axis and the east-west axis, completed in
1939-were onlythe centrepieceofa radical redevelop-

names of Germany's 1.8 Twillon fatten of the First

would have comfortably accommodated its Parisiari


namesake beneath its arch. Linking these monuments

area. Speer had succeeded in incorporating those

reorganisation of the city's infrastructure.

andwithmanymiles of sidings being replaced by anew

alongrlie newaxiswouldbe aplethoraofnewbuitdings, civic and commercial, flanking broad avenues,

merit. In addition Speer foresaw the city's formerly


organic urban growthbeingrationalisedbyftieaddition

ornamentalobeEsks, an artifidallalce and avant'circus'


Peppered with Nazistatuary. Opposite: SS sentries guard

the outermost of which would provide a on'eat connect.

The image that win be fulmar to many is of Hitler ' , 'r' entrance of

inspecting the white scale-modelofftiis main axis, builtin, 938 '


20

which was presented to him on his 50th birthdayin

History 76thy I March 2012

of radialthorouglifdres and four concentric Ting Toads,

ion to the German autobalin network.

Entire suburbs were to be constructed to provide


modern housing stock, administrative buildings and

.,

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new coinmerdal developments, which, it was planned,


would accommodate over 200,000 Berliners, moved

out of the slums of the city centre. New airports were


foreseen, indriding one for seaplanes on the lake at
Rangsdorf. Even the city's parks would be revamped,
with horticultural studies being commissioned to
report on the species that were required to restore the
18th-century flora of the region. Such was the scale of
the Germania plans that, when Speer's futiler-himself
an architect - saw them, he summed up the thoughts
of manyof his contemporaries, saying: 'You've an gone
completely crazy. '
Of courseonlyatinyftactionofthese grandiose
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$1;3:5';*14 ;'114t whichisttie old east-westaxisandwhichis saltllumi*,:*:;, t;, t'.:*-,'.,-* natedbysome ofSpeer'S original- and rather elegant*,--'-. streetlamps. Meanwhile the Victory Column (inaugu.
rated in 1873 fanowirigPruss^svictories over
Denmark, Austria and Francein the 1860s and 1870s)

was moved to its presentlocation to make way for the


projected north-southA>d. s. Most bizarrely, the southern
suburb of Tompdhof still contains a huge circular
concreteblockweighirig over 12,000 tonnes-the
Schwerbel@styfigsk6?per, or'heawload-bearing bodywhich was supposed to help Speer's engineers gauge the
abrlity of Berlin\;sandysoilto takeftievastweightofthe
proposed Arch of Triumph. Toolarge and too solidto
demolish, the block stands to this day as a stent monumerit to Nazi megalomania.

More than a piped ream

Given that so little of Germania was ever completed


and that onlya fraction of it remains, it is easyto
underestimate its significance. Speer's planned
rebuilding of Berlin is too readity dismissed as a Nazi
pipedream; astill-born manifestation of Hitter's architestural fantasies thankfulIy confined to the drawing
board. Yet, inspire of the fact diat Germania never
cameinto being it would be aimstakcifwewereto
arrow ourselves to viewit merely as an abstract: a foly,
or an architectural curiosity somehow divorced from
the odious regime that spawned it. For, as we shall see,
Germania was in many ways a rather perfect represen-

tation of Nazism.

First, the issue of its feasibility must be assrssed.


.Despite its soaring ambition the plan to re-model
Berlinwas part of avertable orgyofbuildingthathad

gripped the later, peacetimeyears of the Third Reich.


Much of that, certainly, was relatively small-scale barracks, sealements, schools and so on -but anumber
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of projects showed similarly monumental tendencies


and were themselves considerable feats of planning and
construction. Most famously, perhaps, thereis the
erample ofl{met's vast newReich Chancelery, which
stretched the entire 400-metre length of the Voss Strasse
in Bermiandwas completed in 1939 at a cost of over 90

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was intended as much for poittical as for sporting ends.


Goring's Air Ministry meanwhile, also completed in
1936, was once the largest office building in the world,

offering 2,800 rooms across seven floors with 4,000


windows and nearly seven kilometres of corridors.

Today it is home to the German finance ministry.


Elsewliere construction was Do more modest. In

NUTemberg Speer's filmed tribune on the Zeppelin


Field was dwarfed by the nearby Congress Hall,
modelled on the Colosseum in Rome, which was built

to accommodate 50,000 of the Nazifaittiful. Though it


only reached a height of 39 metres - as opposed to the
70 metres that was planned - it is still the largest
surviving building of the Nazi period; while at Prora,
on the Baltic coast, a huge holiday resort was
constructed, which, though unfinished at the outbreak

of war. in 1939, stretched for 4.51un along the seaftont


and would have housed over 20,000 holidaymakers.
Even Hider's folly above Be rehtesgaden - the
Kehlsteinhaus, or 'Eagle's Nest' - was an ambitious

project. Completed in 1938, after lime over a yearin


construction, it was sited atop an Alpine ridge at an
altitude of over 6,000 feet and was accessed via a

purpose-built seven-kilometre mountain road, which


had to be blasted into the mountainside.

When coiTsidering Hitter's plans for Berlin, therefore, one must bearin mind the wider context of Nazi

construction and the astonishing track record that

Hitter's architects alreadyhadin successfiiUy realising


his visions. Germania was not mere Nazi'pie in the
22

HistoryTodayl March 2012

The plan for fourconcentric


ring roads dissected by the
axes of Germania, 1938.

sky. It was a part of a concerted programme to


provide Germanywith aportfolio of grand-scale,
monumental architecture, which, Hitler believed,

would be seen as the defining buildings of the age,


rivals to Egypt, Babylon and Rome, inspiring future
generations of Germans. It was certainly not merely a
dictator's architectural wish-list.

Quarries and camps

Given its central importance to the Nazivision, the

building frenzy-of which Germaniawas part-was


thoroughly integrated into the Third Reich's economy
and terror networks. Indeed it is not widely understoodjust how close the relationship was between the

building programme and the concentration camps,


The vaste>:pansion of the camp system from 1936
onwards had, in fact, been fuelled primaritybythe

demand for labour and materials from the burgeoning


construction sector, with Nbert Speer - and
Germania - in the vanguard.

Consequently, many of the most infamous CODcentration camps of the Naziera- Mauthausen, Gross

Rosen and Budienwald among them - were established close to quarries. The camp at Mauthausen, for
instance, was set up in 1938 alongside the granite

quarry that had supplied much of the stoneusedto

pave the streets of Vienna, while the camp at Sachsen-

hausen, outside Berlin, was close to what was intended


to be one of the largest brickworks in the world. The
camp-quarry at Flossenbtirgin northern Bavaria,
.. ".,.,, ,. a. *"., , - J -_ . _ _ ..,

Facing east towards the

Victory Column on what


was to have been

Germani. 's east-west

axis, I 939.

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re

a;i's,
V
,

DEST (Deutsche Erd-und Stemwerke), So Germania


effectiveIy got its materials for free, with the added
bonus - in Nazi eyes - that their political opponents
were being're-educated by labour'in the process,

meanwhile, was the source of much of the white-

necked grqpite that was going to be used in Berlin,


some of whichis still stacked inside the Congress Hall
in NUTemberg. Thus Germania was not only central to
the Nazi aesthetic, it also played a vital role in the

In addition the construction and demolition costs

establishment and maintenance of the concentration

camp network. Nazi architectural planning, it seems,


had synchronised perfectly with themterests of the SS.
German^s thandngwas also not as utopian as one
mightiniagine. Speer estimated the total cost of the
project, perhaps optimistically, at six billion Reichsmarks, five per cent of Germanys GDPin 1939. Yet
such was the Byzantine nature of economic relationships in the Third Reich that only a fraction of that
figurewould have to be paid directly by the Reich
government. For one thing, the vast majority of the
building materials that were prepared fortheproject
came from the concentration cornps dotted across Nazi
Germany, while the quarries and brickworks themselves were owned or leased by an SS-owned company,
The building of Germania
beginsin the Tiergarten

were to be spread across the annual budgets of


numerous ministties, organisations and Nazifiefdoms.
And there was no shortage of willing donors, with
some, such as the Nazi Labour Front, being denberately kept at arm's length for fear that they might wield
too great an influence. The cityofBerlin was required
to shoulder much of the financing, witlivarious
appeals for donations and contributioirs to mate up
any shorttall. It also would not have escaped Speer\;
attention that his projected costs equated eractiy with
the total estimated value of Jewish property in Nazi
Germany. By these measures, Speer recalled, the costs
of the project could be divided (and effectiveIy
concealed), leaving central government directly liable
only forthe Great Hanand theirch of Victory, Hider,
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of the Brandenburg Gate, formstance, was crisscrossed with test trenches and foundations, while to

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the south, by the end of 1939 the project's first


building, the Foreign Travel Office, was already

completed in its essentials. Beneath it all, meanwhile,

the complex of underpasses that would take through-

traffic away from the new centrepiece of the Reich,


had already taken shape.

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Tile human cost

In an this demolition and construction countiess

thousands of people were direcrly affected in the

German capital. Foremost among them were pris-

oners of war and forced labourers, who were housed


in often substandard conditions and made to work

around the clock and in an weathers. Despite his later


protestations of innocence, Speerwas never shy of

o<PIOitirigPOWs ariabour. Indeed in November 1941,


a

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d

construction of the 'new Berlin! Hitler acceded to the

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meanwhile, tended to wave away any complaints from


his ministers by stressing the large numbers of wealthy
tourists that- one day-would visit the newcapitolof
the Greater German Reich.

So, although little of it was actually constructed,

Prisoners at Marthausen

concentration camp are


forced to carry granite
blocks up the stone'stairs
of death: c. 1943.

around 130,000.

Civilians, too, faced considerable disruption. Those


Aryans' who found themselves living in the way of

Speer's plans were rehoused, either in modern,


purpose-built accommodation in the suburbs or else,

owners hadbeen evicted. Alreadyin1938 Speer had


suggested that the capital's Iewish community should
be moved into smaller properties, thereby freeing up
larger buildings for the use of thoseAryan Berliners
displaced by the ongoing demolition works. By 1940
this process was weU under wayand manythousands
of Jewish properties were being vacated.
Those displaced Jews, however, often found them-

selves -perversely- being moved into the path of


Speer's bundozers. As the housing crisis in the capital
worsened, many of them were unable to rent property
and were forced into so-called 'Jew-houses: which

were often those sub^tandard blocks, alreadyslated for

Germania was not merely theoretical, it was veryreal.

demolition, that stood alongthe route of the

d it would have felt an the more real to those


concentration camp inmates at Mauthausen or

construction works. There, amid chronic over-

crowding and poor sanitary conditions, with as many


as 200 farmliesinhabiting a single block, they were
effectiveIy stripped of their few remaining legal rights
as tenants. They could have had littte inkling that

Flossenbtirg, who had to quarry the granite slabs for


Berlin s new Reich Chancellery or the Soldier's Han.
Even sites that never saw thenght of daywere
prepared for; stone was cut, brid:s were fired and men

died. It is reasonable to assumedIat, of the 100,000 or


so concentration camp inmates who perished at Sach-

worse was to come, but in October 1941 many of

senhausen, Flosseilbitrg and Manthausen, alarge

In this way the Germania project, despite being


largely stillborn, had profound consequences,

them would be aboard the first transports that would


leave Berlin, destined for the ghetto at 1.6dt.

proportion of them died preparing the stone for the


rebuilding of Berlin.

becoming a catalyst not only for the evolution of the

Germania was also very real for ordinary Berliners.


From 1939 to 1942 the areas of the city earmarked for

the project were being cleared and existing properties


demolished. Even the nocturnal visits of the RAFin

1940 were welcomed by Speer's staff as providing

valuable preparatory work' for the demolition


programme. Preparations elsewhere were similarly
thorough. The district of the Spree-bend to the west
24

request, thereby bringing the total workfo^ce overseen


bySpeer s staff and working directly on Germania to

as was more usual, in properties from which Jewish

I -;*

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after the opening successes of the war against the


Soviet Union, he petitioned Hider with a request for

HistoryTodayj March 2012

concentration camp system but also for the develop-

unmy!-, list0,2:0day. co!!!..., Watch video clips

1'17 of how Germania

might have looked:


WWW. history todaycoml
germania

........,...,..

merit of Nazi policy against the capital's Jews.


Speer s plans for Berlin are fascinating. In an archi-

rectoral sense, they are -if nothing else - a potent


display of the astonishing extremes that can be

reached by sycophanticarchitects. Yet anyassessment


of the Germania plans must reach beyond the narrow
sphere of architecture, even if only a fraction of those
WWW. histn rv*rina\, min

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The Mosaic Hallof the new

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Reich Chancellery, ,939.

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designs ever graduated from the drawing board.
Speer's plans cannot simply be viewed from the archi~
tectural perspective alone: in examining them one is
morally bound to consider not onlythe designs them~
selves but also the brutal methods by which they were
brought into being.
Germania, thoughlargely unrealised, nonetheless
projected its malign influence into many other spheres
of Ii^ - and death-in the Third Reich. Its contempt
G6ring^ Air Ministry
building, now the headquarters of the German
federal finance ministry

for mankind was demonstrated not'only in the treatmerit meted out to those doomed to cut its stone in

the concentration camps or those who found themselves living in its path; it also attended to those who
might one day have walked those granite-clad boulevards. It is notable, for example, that in all the plans a
human dimension is aimost completely lacking.
Hider, it appears, had absolutdy no interest in the
social aspects of the planning that he oversaw; his
passion was for the buildings themselves rather than
for the human beings who might one dayinhabit
them. Indeed it has been plausibly suggested by ETederic Spots that the plans for Bermn's reconstruction
were themselves simply a manifestation of Hitter's
desire to reduce cities and even individuals to the

status of mere playthings. When one recalls theirnages


of the Fobrer stooped like some malevolent deity over
his architectural models in the Reich Chancellery this

is an interpretation that becomes instanU. y and chillinglypersuasive.


lust as rubert Speer was never just an architect,
therefore, Germania was never merely an architectural

I_
I

programme. It was, in fact, a perfect reflection of the


dark, misanthropic heart of Nazism.
Roger Moorhouseisthe author of Berm at War:LifoondDe@thin
Hitler^ Capitol1939-45 (BCdley Head, 20/01,
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*; Hans ReichhaTdt and Wolfgang Schache, Von Berlin noch


;; Germonia (Transit Buchverlag, 2005j.
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I; A1bert Speer, Inside the ThirdReich (Sphere, 1971). :;

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ALBERT SPEER -,. 942

Revision Questions
Q, .

Is fair to say that the early life of A1bert Speer was characterised by a life of middle-class
privilege? Yes or No?

q2

Is it fair to say that Speer's relationship with both parents was governed by detachment and
coldness that led to him being quite emotionally detached and indifferent as an adult to the
misfortune and plight of others? Yes or No?

Q3 Is it true that Speer pursued his career in architecture largely at the insistence of his father s
wishes? Yes or No?

q4 Up to his appointment as a teacher at the Berlin Institute of Technology in 1,930, had Speer
shown any inclination to engage in the politics that had been gripping the thoughts and
sentiments of most middle-class Germans? Yes or No?

Q5 Would it be true to say that up to this point he had displayed what might be characterised as
political indifference and a lack of commitment to politics? Yes or No
Q6

Where and when did Speerfirst encounter Adolf Hitler?

Q7

How did he react to this first encounter?

q8

As a consequence, what critical moment in the life of Speer arrived on I March 1931?

q9

What is it about this moment that sits at complete odds with the fact that Speer by this time
was an undoubted aesthetic? tintsllectual, educated and lover of the fine arts)

Ql. O What did Speer clearly regard as the worst possible consequence for Germany and German

politics in the early 1,930s, which helps to explain his leanings towards the Nazi Party as the
best solution to the problems that be set Germany?
Q, .,.

Faced with redundancy as a poorly paid assistant professor in the depression and the

prospect of returning home to be financially dependent on his parents, Speer's fortunes


changed dramatically in 1932 when he made the acquaintance of whom?
Q1.2

In what regard did this meeting change his life irrevocably, even acknowledged by Speer
himself as such?

This was the luckiest turning point of my life. I hnd reached the junction,
q, .3

What was Hitler's reaction to Speer's self"proclaimed turning point?

Q1.4

What was Speer's next commission which proved his ability to integrate visual motifs into his
design as propaganda?

Q, .5

What motif was used here by Speer on gigantic vertical banners each the size of ten storey
building that had a stunning visual impact?

Q, .6 As an outcome of this event what position was he appointed to in early 1,933.


Q, .7 In July 1933, Speer was given the job of design for which major event.

Q. .8

In 1933 for whom did Speer find himself commissioned to do lots of private work which
brought even more prominently to the attention of the party hierarchy?

Q1.9

1933 Speer was given what significant appointment by Hitler?

Q20

This appointment was motivated by the similarity that Hitler undoubtedly saw between him
and Speer on what issues and matters?

Q2i.

This appointment also brought Speer into direct contact with Rudolph Hess and ence
projects that involved the enlivenment and improvement of worker's conditions across t e
country. What was it known as?

Q22
Q23

Whose death in March 1934 irrevocably changed the life of A1bert Speer?

Identify 4 key features and points about the 1934 Nuremberg Rally and site for future rallies
that clearly identify that Speer's involvement would clearly far surpass anything he had ever
done before.

Q24

Articulate Speer's philosophical position and thoughts about Nuremburg and its value an
use and role

Q25
Q26

How did Speer's vision for the site at Nuremburg fit in with Hitler's on a personal level.
What was the name of the architectural theory espoused by Speer that argued that one a
to envision a future were all architectural features of a regime would inevitably be in ruins

but stilllasting and therefore serving theirfunction as enduring visual metaphors,


Q27
q28

Why was this theory espoused in 1,934 heavily criticised? What was Hitler s reaction to it.
Hitler's reaction was coloured by his hopes to link National Socialism in the very distant
future with which two ancient empires whose legacy still endured in 1,934. W to o ese

two played the critical role in forging Hitler s architectural vision?


Q29

Hitler's principal architectural dream had always centred round the rebuilding o w at.

Q3o

Primarily he wanted this dream and vision to rival and surpass the architectura egacy no
which three cities?

Q3, .

Proof of his obsession with this vision can be identified how?

Q32

The name for the grand vision that Berlin was to become and transformed into.

Q33

Identify four key architectural features of Germania

Q34

How would Germania immortalise and remember the victims of WWl.

Q3s

When was Germania to be completed by?

Q36

Would it be fair to conclude that Germania was clearly an expression o i eo ogy.

Q37

Which architectural style did it very closely modeland approximate.

Q38

What position was Speer given in January 1,937 that confirmed his position o impor ance
that also allowed him to not have to report to Goebbels or the Ministry o e n erior o
communicate directly with Hitler?

Q39

What project did he immediately commence work on after this appointment?

Q4o

What act of subterfuge was he involved in with this project that confirms his singular drive
and ambition?

q41.

Given the fact that Germania was never completed what must surely be regarded asspeer s
greatest triumph as Hitler's architect?

Q42

When was the brief given to Speer and when was the expectation that it be completed?

Q43

How was this achieved ahead of schedule?

Q44

Hitler's major concern with the building and the design was centred round what?

Q4s

Identify a design feature of Speer's that reflected this?

Q46

How was Speer rewarded for this project?

Q47

In spite of his elevated status by 3,937 with Hitler and his growing closeness and proximity to
Nazi politics and party intrigues, Speer always claimed that the only matters he and Hitler
ever discussed were 'artistic'. True or false?

q48

After the outbreak of war and long before his involvement as a player in the position of

Armaments Minister, Speer was involved in proceedings/activities that certainly speak way
and above and beyond his claim that he was a simple technocrat or architect only
involved in artistic pursuits. What were they?
Q49

In 1939 what legislation was passed that would become the most controversial issue
surrounding him up to 1942?

Qso

Who was the driving force behind this legislation that was undoubtedly a direct outcome of
the infamous pogrom of 1,938 known as the 'Night of Broken Glass ?

Q5. .

Frustrated with the slowness of the solution he sought to the Jewish question Goebbels

decided that the flats of how many Jews in Berlin needed their immediate eviction and
relocation from their flats to the cities of Losz, Riga and Minsk?
Q52

Goebbels whilst not afraid to publicly espouse his anti-Semitism nor enforce measures to

achieve his end, couched and therefore sariitised the eviction of the Jews from their flats
under the umbrella of which department created by him?
Q53

Speer's department although primarily involved in construction activities early in the war
was involved in the early stages of Jewish re-settlement, albeit in a purely administrative

capacity, of this there is no doubt and therefore he knew of the policy used by Goebbels and
the brutal tactics used by the SS to enforce the law. Identify some key points that
acknowledge and confirm his understanding of the issue
Q54

If Speer was not an anti-Semite as he always maintained, then how is it possible to explain
and rationalise his involvement in the Jewish Flats issue?

Qi.

yes

Q2

yes

Q3

yes

Q4

nO

Q5

Yes

Q6

4'' December 1930 at a Nazi rally in inner city Berlin

Q7

I wos ^inpressed by his shyness, restroint grid his conviction

Letter from Speer to his daughter published in Sereny, G. A1bert Speer: His Trouble with
Truth

Q8

Joined the Nazi Party as member No. 474481.

Q9

That he fell under the spell of a leader of such an anti-intellectual movement and
organisation

QIO

That Germany would fall to the rule of communism

Ql. ,.

Karl Hanke the leader of the Nazi Party's District Headquartersin Kreisleitung West (Berlin)

Q, .2

Received the commission to redecorate the headquarters of Goebbels in the Voss Strasse

QL3

Exceptionally impressed

Q, .4

The design for the 1st May Tempelhof Field Day rally

Q15

Swastika

Q1.6

Commissioner for the Artistic and Technical Presentation of Party Rallies and Presentations

Q, .7

Party rally at Nuremberg

Q, .8

Goebbels and Goering

Q1.9

Assistant to Troost the party architect

Q20

A shared interest in architecture and the philosophical issues that underpinned its role and
importance

Q2L

The Beauty of Work Program

Q22

Troost

Q23

*Immortal ised in Triumph of the Will


*Mass displays of Zeppelins
*The Cathedral of Light
*Thirty Four Flag platforms

*The use of the Blood Flag Scene involving Hitler, HiminIer and Lutze
*The use of the massed ranks

Q4s

Hitler's study table had an inlaid sword on it half drawn from its sheath. He believed this
would result in visiting diplomats been scared of him

Q46

The Gold Party Badge

Q47

True

Q48

*He managed to secure the position of overseer for the rocket site at Peenemunde where
he had a staff of 26,000 workers who built army buildings, aeroplane factories and air raid
shelters for Berlin. By late 1941 his construction staff had built 30,000 air raid shelters.
*He set up several transport units of thousands of trucks with 300 barges to remove the
debris from bombing raids
Following the invasion of Russia in 1941 he had the task of fixing railways in the Ukraine that
had been deliberately destroyed by the Russians. This brought him directly under the
authority of Fritz Todt, the munitions and weapons minister.

Q49

the 'Law on Renatal Contracts with Jews'

Q50

Goebbels

Q51

20,0000

Q52

Resettlement department

Q53

*a chief aide of Speer's by the name of Clahes attended the conference held by Adolf
Eichmann in Berlin in 1941 to work out strategies to enforce the evictions. Sereny contends
that it is impossible that Speer was not informed of the proceedings and the outcomes.
*a long-time friend and colleague of Speer's Rudolf Wolters dismayed by Speer's penitential
attitude about his war involvement, produced some diary extracts that he had never
disclosed out of respect for Speer. He lodged them with the German government archives
and they tend to confirm with their detail, that whilst Speer was not directly responsible for
the issuing of the orders and therefore his participation was low, he was none the less
involved and certainly knew of the whole issue and cannot have failed to understand that
the fate for most of the 75,000 in total who were relocated ended up in the camps.

*Plans for Germania that were totally under his control and authority were clearly labelled
and marked with 'Jew Free Zones'.
Q54

Sereny contends that their fate simply did not concern him as the fate of the millions of
slave workers who later came under his control would likewise not concern him. She claims

that the human cost did riot matter if it stood in the way of his ability to achieve the end he
was instructed to achieve, or the end he desired.

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Write ^;4 page about Speer' s early

life.

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2)

Explain how Speer came to join


the Nazi Party in 1931.

3)

Make a detailed list in

chronological order of Speer' s

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architectural achievements?

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4)

Make a brief note about Speer's


architectural style.
s)
What was the Cathedral of Lights
and why did Speer consider it one
of the highpoints of his career?
What was the nature of Hitler' s relationship with Speer?
111 what ways did Speer' s role undergo a drastic change in 1942?
What was Speer' s achievement in this new role?
What happened to Speer at the NUTemberg Trials?
Why do you think Speer was treated more leniently than many of his
colleagues?
What was the most controversial feature of A1bert Speer' s defence?
Make a list of the major primary sources that have fueled debate about Speer.
Make a list of the major studies that have exairiined Speer' s contribution to

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10)

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the Nazi state? What conclusions has the author of each of these studies

reached about Speer's responsibility?


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