Speer, Albert

ARCHITECT, POLITICIAN (GERMANY)
BORN 19 Mar 1905, Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg - DIED 1 Sep 1981, London
GRAVE LOCATION Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg: Bergfriedhof, Rohrbacher Strasse (Abteilung O)

Albert Speer studied architecture in Karlsruhe and continued his studies at the Technical University of Munich and the Technical University of Berlin. After graduating he became the assistant of Heinrich Tessenow. His fellow student Rudolf Wolters became a close friend for many years.

In 1928 he married Margarete Weber, the daughter of craftsman who employed 50 people. In 1931 he joined the NSDAP and in the same year he moved to Mannheim. In 1932 he was recommended by Karl Hanke to Joseph Goebbels for renovating the party headquarters in Berlin. In 1933 he was asked to make designs for the party event in Nuremburg. After Hitler came to power Speer soon moved in his inner circle. After Paul Troost died in 1934 he became the most important architect for the nazis. He constructed the Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg and the New Reich Chancellery in Berlin. He also created the German pavillion for the international exhibition in Paris in 1937.

In 1937 Hitler made him General Building Inspector for the Reich Capital and he was instructed to make plans to rebuild Berlin. The New Reich Chancellory was completed in 1939. In 1940 he was invited by Stalin to visit Moscow, but Hitler didn't allow him to go. In 1942 Fritz Todt died and Speer succeeded him as Minister of War Production. He managed to increase the production of tanks, planes and submarines despite the allied bombings of German cities.

When the Russian forces occupied Silesia in February, 1942 he told Hitler that the war was lost without the production of the coal mines in that region. Toards the end of the war he tried to avoid the sacrifice of lives and of industry that would be needed after the war. On 22 April 1945 he visited Hitler in the Führerbunker in Berlin and he left the following morning and left for Hamburg. After Hitler died he supported the Flensburg Government under Dönitz until he was arrested by British troops on 23 May 1945.

He was taken to Nuremburg and tried for war crimes. He was found guilty on war cromes and crimes against humanities but his false testimony that he wasn't aware of the extermination plans of the nazis saves his life. He was sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment. In prison he read over 500 books and he was released in 1966.

He wrote several books and donated part of the money he earned with them to Jewish charities. His friend Wolters objected to his refering to Hitler as a criminal. In 1971 he was interviewed by Playboy. In 1981 he was in London to appear in BBC Newsnight. He had a relationship with an Englishwoman and he was with her when he died from a stroke.

Biographers like Gitta Sereny and Adam Tooze argued that his commitment to the nazi cause was far greater than he had claimed.

Related persons
• was sculpted by Breker, Arno
• had as physician Gebhardt, Karl Franz
• has a connection with Thorak, Josef

Images

The grave of Albert Speer at the Bergfriedhof, Heidelberg.
Picture by Androom (21 Aug 2010)

 

Albert Speer exhibition at the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände, Nuremberg.
Picture by Androom (01 Sep 2017)

 

Sources
Albert Speer - Wikipedia


Spelman, Timothy Mather

Published: 20 May 2018
Last update: 20 May 2018