The Candor and Lies of Nazi Officer Albert Speer | History | Smithsonian
Martin Kitchen's biography Albert Speer: Hitler's Architect reveals a led to the most profitable relationship of his career, friendship with Hitler. Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer in Photo: Wikipedia. On April 30, , as Soviet troops fought toward the Reich Chancellery in Berlin in. ALBERT SPEER, whom I knew well and grew to like, might easily have been Speer, in the course of his growing relationship with Hitler.
On learning through a clandestine look at the Soviet plans that the Soviet design included two colossal figures seemingly about to overrun the German site, Speer modified his design to include a cubic mass which would check their advance, with a huge eagle on top looking down on the Soviet figures. The position carried with it extraordinary powers over the Berlin city government and made Speer answerable to Hitler alone. The plans centered on a three-mile long grand boulevard running from north to south, which Speer called the Prachtstrasse, or Street of Magnificence;  he also referred to it as the "North-South Axis".
The outbreak of World War II in led to the postponement, and later the abandonment, of these plans. In June he charged a personal honorarium of 30, Reichsmark and estimated that the chancellery would be completed within three to four years.
Speer reiterated this claim in his memoirs to show that he had been up to that supposed challenge,  and some of his biographers, most notably Joachim Fest, have followed that account. Because of shortages of labor, the construction workers had to work in two ten- to twelve-hour shifts to have the chancellery completed by early January It was eventually dismantled by the Soviets.
Speer made no mention of it in the first draft of Inside the Third Reich, and it was only on the urgent advice of his publisher that he added a mention of seeing the ruins of the Central Synagogue in Berlin from his car.
Soon after Hitler had given me the first large architectural commissions, I began to suffer from anxiety in long tunnels, in airplanes, or in small rooms. My heart would begin to race, I would become breathless, the diaphragm would seem to grow heavy, and I would get the impression that my blood pressure was rising tremendously Anxiety amidst all my freedom and power!
Speer supported the German invasion of Poland and subsequent warthough he recognized that it would lead to the postponement, at the least, of his architectural dreams. That was the whole point of my buildings. They would have looked grotesque if Hitler had sat still in Germany.
The Candor and Lies of Nazi Officer Albert Speer
All I wanted was for this great man to dominate the globe. When Hitler remonstrated, and said it was not for Speer to decide how his workers should be used, Speer simply ignored him. Stalin had been particularly impressed by Speer's work in Paris, and wished to meet the "Architect of the Reich".
Hitler, alternating between amusement and anger, did not allow Speer to go, fearing that Stalin would put Speer in a "rat hole" until a new Moscow arose.Former maid to Adolf Hitler interview
On February 8,Minister of Armaments Fritz Todt died in a plane crash shortly after taking off from Hitler's eastern headquarters at Rastenburg. Speer, who had arrived in Rastenburg the previous evening, had accepted Todt's offer to fly with him to Berlin, but had cancelled some hours before takeoff Speer stated in his memoirs that the cancellation was because of exhaustion from travel and a late-night meeting with Hitler.
Albert Speer - Hitler's architect and armaments chief
Later that day, Hitler appointed Speer as Todt's successor to all of his posts. In Inside the Third Reich, Speer recounts his meeting with Hitler and his reluctance to take ministerial office, saying that he only did so because Hitler commanded it. Consumer goods were still being produced at nearly as high a level as during peacetime. No fewer than five "Supreme Authorities" had jurisdiction over armament production—one of which, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, had declared in November that conditions did not permit an increase in armament production.
Few women were employed in the factories, which were running only one shift. One evening soon after his appointment, Speer went to visit a Berlin armament factory; he found no one on the premises. Factories were given autonomy, or as Speer put it, "self-responsibility", and each factory concentrated on a single product. No department head could be older than 55—anyone older being susceptible to "routine and arrogance"  —and no deputy older than Over these departments was a central planning committee headed by Speer, which took increasing responsibility for war production, and as time went by, for the German economy itself.
He can interfere in all departments. Already he overrides all departments On the whole, Speer's attitude is to the point. He is truly a genius with organization. While Speer had tremendous power, he was of course subordinate to Hitler. Nazi officials sometimes went around Speer by seeking direct orders from the dictator.
When Speer ordered peacetime building work suspended, the Gauleiters Nazi Party district leaders obtained an exemption for their pet projects.
German architect Albert Speer, who knew Hitler as ‘a nice uncle,’ dead at 83
When Speer sought the appointment of Hanke as a labor czar to optimize the use of German and slave labor, Hitler, under the influence of Martin Bormanninstead appointed Fritz Sauckel. Speer claimed after the war that he had been shocked by the conditions there 5. However, the Allies in their strategic bombing campaign did not concentrate on industry, and Speer was able to overcome bombing losses. That led to the most profitable relationship of his career, friendship with Hitler.
They took private walks often. Sometimes they would pass the time by studying together a book of architectural drawings. Their friendship having made him untouchable, Speer grew rich through kickbacks from munitions suppliers. But Speer was more than a corrupt sycophant manoeuvring upward.
First he lied within the German government. He had a talent for organization, and a parallel talent for public relations.
As munitions minister he managed to improve productivity, partly by using slave workers drawn from concentration camps and prison-of-war camps. The workers were starved and often worked to death, but the result was respect for Speer as a manager.
As Kitchen persuasively recounts, Speer encouraged the myth of Speer as industrial miracle worker. His own statisticians kept announcing that the Speer regime had raised production to staggering heights. Joseph Goebbels, the minister of propaganda, who knew something about lies, was on to him.
He makes us all drunk with his figures. They found him wonderfully co-operative. The charm offensive worked again and members of the committee reported that he was indeed a miracle worker for the Nazis, just as he said.
He testified that he had only a vague idea what happened in the death camps.