Outline Albert Speer’s Role within the Nazi regime
Albert Speer’s Role in the Nazi Regime primarily was centred on a couple of areas, his work as the General Building Inspector (GBI), the chief architect of the Reich and his role as Armaments Minister. Speer’s ascendancy within the Nazi hierarchy has been described by Henry King as ‘vertical and ladder like, Speer was an intelligent, affluent and well educated man and there is no doubt that he made a remarkable progression through the ranks of the Nazi Party. In less than ten years Albert Speer no longer was the humble architect but became the master of the German economy and production in Germany.
In December 1930 Speer attended a Nazi rally after he had heard some of his students discussing the policies of the Nazi party, and was intrigued to learn more about Hitler. In attending the Nazi rally, Speer became fixated upon the extraordinary oratory skills of Hitler whom on the occasion dressed professionally in a suit. Speer applied for membership and was accepted on the 1st of March 1931. This was two years before Hitler's rise to the position of Chancellor and it reveals that Speer saw that Hitler was the right individual to take Germany back to its glory days and was not one of the countless Germans who joined after 1933. This is evident as Speer was given a party number which was 474481. Speer in his memoir ‘inside the third Reich’, gives reason to why he joined the Nazi Party which was the fear of communism, admiration for Hitler and the rejection of the Treaty of Versailles and what it had imposed upon the German people. He joined several Nazi organisations including the NSKK (motoring corps), becoming head of his local sub-branch.
In 1933 Karl Hanke a Nazi official was the first to make contact with Speer, whom asked Speer to redecorate a villa he recently started renting. Hanke was pleased with the resulting work recommended Speer to Goebbels to Ministry of Propaganda building in Berlin. Speer designed the 1933 May Day rally in Berlin after criticising the original design he saw on Karl Hanke’s desk, whom was now state secretary to the Minister for Propaganda. Speer stated that it would be a rifle meet, and Hanke responded in challenging Speer to submit a new design. The new design as Speer later learned that his design pleased Hitler, whom adored the large party banners incorporated into the rally. Organisers of the Nuremburg party rally asked Speer to submit a design, Rudolf Hess and the other organisers were apprehensive in approving the design and asked Speer to go to Munich to get approval from Hitler. Hitler without taking a look at Speer instantly approved the design and this awarded Albert Speer his first Nazi post as Commissioner for the Artistic and Technical Presentation of Party Rallies and Demonstrations.
Albert Speer has maintained the perception that he was not anti-Semitic even though this was part of the core Nazi ideology. In his role as the General Building Inspector he was directly responsible for the evictions of Jews, whom he relocated to the east, the pretence given was for the flats to be available for non-Jews whose homes have been damaged by British air raids. Tens of thousands of flats were cleared by his order. It has been constantly argued by historians of whether Speer attended the meeting at Posen in where Himmler presented the Final Soulution and the need to eradicate all Jews from society. Speer’s biographer, Dan van der Vat, acknowledges that Speer must have known of it and was probably there due to his high status amongst the Nazi Hierarchy.
Speer became a workaholic who neglected his family due to the increasing strain his new duties involved such as the 1936 Berlin Olympics in redesigning the new stadium to fit the demands of Hitler and Germany’s pavilion in the Paris World Fair in 1937. By 1937, Speer became the leading architect for the third Reich, with the support of Hitler. In 1937 he was...