Albert Speer contributed to change significantly
Albert Speer contributed to change significantly. He rose above others with Nazi prestige and power although he claimed to join the party for his career but stated he had no interest with the politics of the party Young, energetic, intelligent, pleasant looking not the sought of man expected in the company of immoral Nazis, he alleged he was not politically involved. He changed the way in which he acted to gain power to rise from being an architect into a role within the party machine.
Speer’s architecture was a great propaganda mechanism and his design of the Nuremberg rallies are an example of this. The use of flags and Nazi imagery everywhere promoted the Nazi message successfully. Hitler’s backing of Speer resulted in allowing Speer with unlimited power over other party members like Martin Bormann who resented Speer’s influence over Hitler. This brought about change in Hitler’s inner circle, as Bormann and Speer’s feud had always been evident. Bormann saw Speer as a threat, particularly when Speer was in hospital Bormann, Himmler and Goering did everything in their position to over throw Speer’s influence over Hitler, employing replacements such as Sauckel. Nevertheless, this did not prevent Speer’s contribution to the party or the Nazi war machine.
Speer’s favour with Hitler resulted in his automatic appointment as the Minster of Armaments in February 1942 on the sudden death of Fritz Todt, the previous minster. This allowed Speer to control the production of weapons towards the war effort through the use of slave labour. He contributed massive change to produce the expected amounts of armaments for the Fuhrer. He utilised the emergency decree to maximise German infrastructure for the war effort. The rail system, production factories, and primary resources were all commandeered by Speer for the purpose of Armaments production. The greatest problem as the armaments minister was finding enough skilled workers and this has been a point of contradiction as to his involvement in the charge of Crimes against Humanity. Speer gave a speech to the Gauleiters and threatened to report them to the Fuhrer if they did not end all unnecessary peacetime building projects and release the hundreds of thousands of workers that Speer wanted to use in his armaments factories. In addition, FORCED slaved labourers from conquered countries were pressed into working in armaments production, thus changing Germanys productivity on the strength of Speer’s policy. ( as minster of armaments he became in control of all road building , all waterways and power plants as well as head of the Todt organisation ) his position was influential to change as it impact his place in Hitler inner circle .
During the war as minister of armaments speer began to go out of his position, having responsibility of the economy, Gauleiters all with Hitler’s backing do that no one opposed his decisions – he was highly successful arms manufacturer –
Opposed the scorched earth policy ,he was the first to opposes on of hitlers orders , his influence over hitler impacted his decisions – their close relationship was a key factor when speeer had rose to the power in which he needed over hitler and the others .
Another area of Speer’s contribution was his belief that Germany had the potential to create aircrafts -V2 rockets- by production at the secret DORA camp served by slave labour from imprisoned Jews and Russian POW’s. (1943) This was because he was having doubts about the German victory and the sight of allied aircraft flying unopposed over Germany made a deep impression on him. This knowledge by Speer and his knowing use of slave labour on this site again contradicts his own defence at the Nuremberg Trials- where he blamed the situation on Saukel, Hitler and Himmler as head of the SS. Photographic evidence and inmates’ testimony of Speer’s presence at the camp in 1943 indicate he had knowledge of the situation and the conditions, and documents indicate it was initially his idea. The V2 was significant because the previous armaments minster didn’t suggest new initiatives, nor had the relationship with Hitler to rely on.
Speer argued at Nuremberg that he had contributed to change because he opposed Hitler’s scorched earth policy in 1944-45, when Germany’s defeat was imminent. His evidence stated he could not see why destroy the industry of Germany because of the loss of morale experienced by Hitler he didn’t want other allied forces to destroy Germany. The industry which Speer and other leaders had built up for Hitler only to be destroyed.
He was stunned to why he was going to be on trial, During the Nuremberg trial in 1945-46, Speer expressed his remorse for the crimes committed by the Nazis but he had denied knowledge first-hand of the plan to exterminate the Jews. Speer debated his knowledge brutalities of the war, and the knowledge and crimes of the holocaust throughout his defence at Nuremberg. The fact that he accepted the guilt; meant that early historians and prosecutors at the trial saw Speer to be honest, contrite man who was judging himself more harshly then the Nuremberg court had a “Good Nazi”. He gained the sympathy of the court, a lesser sentence to what he could have got the death sentence “Speer was quite lucky to have avoided the death sentence” – Sir Hartley Shawcross a British prosecutor , Shawcross saw speer for what he was a liar and saw through the cracks of his defence .Charged with counts 3 and 4 guilty (Count 3 – war crimes, Count 4- crimes against humanity) having part responsibility for the deportation of foreign workers and that he had used concentration camp inmates and requisitioned Russian prisoners of war and armaments factories.
He adapted a different defence to the others on trial accepting the responsibilities but pushing the blame into Sacukel and he was only doing what he was told the orders of the Furher to which his lawyer didn’t approve of his decision Dr Julius Flächsner “But game playing, which he most certainly and brilliantly did at Nuremberg, was almost an exercise for him… it served as a reassurance … that he was still what he had always been a game player”. He changed the way the prosecutors had viewed the other leaders on trial
“The task I have to preform is a non-political one”- speer
He admitted his personal share of collective responsibility for Nazi criminality – Dan van der vat
The result was a calculating introvert who soon learned to use his considerable manipulative gifts to get his own way without exposing emotionally – Dan van der vat
Rudolf Wolters – upset about what he had written in his book inside the third Reich because it was wrong of speer to blame hitler when the overwhelming german people had aslo agreed with his polices . Didn’t tell the truths a very one sided story .
“The true facts would have produced an entirely different picture of Speer in the eyes of history”