Albert Speer

Albert Speer was born in Mannheim on March 19, 1905. His family was a very well off compared to the general population and their social status demanded an adherence to social conventions and formality. They were from the upper middle class; Speer enjoyed the typical upbringing of a provincial child. However Speer was not close to his parents ‘who were virtually strangers to him’. His father, like his grandfather, was an architect and had made a name of himself in the Mannheim area and his mother had come from a wealthy merchant family in Mainz, and was never reconciled to move to industrial Mannheim upon marriage. Albert Speer didn’t get on well with his brothers either, Hermann and Ernst. His brothers were roust and outgoing, whereas Albert was physically delicate and had unstable health.
In 1918, the Speer family moved permanently to their summer home in Heidelberg. It was according to a deputy prosecutor at Nuremberg (Henry T. King), who later on wrote a book about Speer that stated ‘Love and warmth were lacking in the household of Speer’s youth.’ In the family home, open discussion of politics had been banned.   Speer’s father was a liberal, who despised Hitler as a ‘criminal upstart.’ However his mother was impressed by an SA march through the streets of Heidelberg in 1931 and secretly joined the Nazi Party. But as a student and early adult, Speer was very apolitical however leaned towards the communism.
When young Speer was still in school, he wanted to become a mathematician, his father being against this told young Speer that if he were to choose this occupation he would ‘lead a life without money, without position and without a future.’ After listening to his father, Speer changed his mind and decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and studied architecture.
In 1922, Albert Speer fell in love with Margarete Weber, the daughter of a successful craftsman. The relationship was frowned upon by Speer’s class-conscious...