Albert Speer - "People Are Swept Along by Events. Some Individuals Use Events to Advantage"

Albert Speer
“People are swept along by events. Some individuals use events to advantage”

Albert Speer is a prime representation of this quote, as he was a German architect who was, for part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Hitler’s leading architect before assuming ministerial office. Historians have generally referred to Speer as an opportunist; he was someone who cleverly manipulated events to his advantage. He created this figure that he only presented to the public and during the Nuremburg trials, however, over time leading historians disentangled the real Albert Speer and as a result of this, stripped him of the power he possessed during the Nazi regime. In the condemning words of van der Vat Albert Speer was “a dedicated servant of the party who, as Adolf Hitler's brilliant minister of wartime production, was also its most resourceful problem solver. He was above all an opportunist, a charmer and persuader who worked the machinery of the Reich for his own gain. And, far from being a kind of German national penitent, he was, at Nuremberg, a masterly actor deceiving the world in the role of a lifetime.”

Speer was born into a very cold and distant family, as neither his mother nor father had the time or love for him. His father was very cruel and isolated, while his mother felt as though her social life was a lot more important than her second son. Speer didn’t get along very well with his brothers either who were a lot more sturdy and gregarious than him, where as he was more fragile with very poor health. “His description of his home life.. Conveyed an overwhelming impression of cold: cold between parents, cold between parents and children, cold between the mistress of the house and the staff.” Van Der Vat suggests that perhaps the harshness of his childhood made him feel “emotionally different” most of the time.” Van Der Vat said aiming at his childhood. When Speer finished school he wanted to...