Albert Speer

The idea that some individuals exploit events and circumstances in order to benefit themselves is most apparent through the evaluation and significance of Albert Speer’s life and career. This is most notably seen, through the rise and prominence of Adolf Hitler and this friendship that evolves, Speer’s approach to the Nuremberg War Trial, his denial of events with little evidence (at the time of the trial) that contradicted this and his resistance to the scorched earth policy.

It is widely agreed that Hitler’s and Speer’s common love of art and architecture meant that they were particularly close during the Third Reich. According to Ian Kershaw, Hitler’s reasons for friendship with Speer may actually have gone further: “Hitler perhaps found in the handsome, burningly ambitious, talented and successful architect an unconsciously idealised self-image…”. It is evident that Hitler’s rise to power and the relationship that is formed between him and Speer, allowed Speer into the “inner circle” and aids to Speer’s success. This is reinforced through the appointment of the First Architect of the Third Reich. After the outbreak of World War II, there was little call for Speer’s talents as an architect or a builder. Hitler overlooked the fact that Speer had no experience with weaponry or munitions and saw only his well-proven organisational ability which is evident in Speer’s appointment of Minister for Armaments and Munitions and director of the Organization Todt. A major criticism of Speer’s work in this field comes from Dan van der Vat. He sees the Rechenschaftsbericht as a deliberate attempt by Speer to secure a favourable judgement from history and historians, particularly as he knew that there would be few other sources of such detailed information. This appointment reinforces the concept that Hitler’s and Speer’s relationship aided Speer in his success and role to the Nazi regime, even after the outbreak of World War II.

Secondly, Speer’s approach to the...