What Is the Significance of the Role Speer Played as Minister of Armaments and Production?

Topics: World War II, Adolf Hitler, Scorched earth Pages: 2 (609 words) Published: July 29, 2012
What is the significance of the role Speer played as Minister of Armaments and Production? In February 1942, Hitler's Minister for Weaponry and Munitions and chief civil engineer, Fritz Todt, had been killed in a plane crash, to which Speer was then appointed to take over all Todt's offices, which gave him responsibility for the German construction and energy industries. When Speer took on this role, he had soon realised that Germany was not prepared to fight a major world war. Nazi leaders did not have a clear military strategy and didn't understand how any war could affect the German economy. They believed that each campaign would be swift and easily won within a few weeks, and as a result only weapons with a limited use span would be designed and produced, and a certain number of weapons were sent to each campaign. In 1941, German's weaponary, ammunition and mass production had been overwhelmed by the shear numbers of the American and British armies and by 1942, the blitzkrieg tactics had failed in Russia by the Germans and so Speer was able to attempt to create a long term or total war economy.He reorganised munitions production to use resources more efficiently. Speer was highly successful as a arms manufacturer and within six months Speer had increased the German output of ammunition, guns and tanks. He had increased armaments by 300% with only a 30% increase in the labour force. Hitler gave Speer full authority over the plans to increase armaments production, and with this Speer realised that Germany now faced a long-term war and needed the effiency of the mass production from a limited number of standard items. He stressed flexibility, initiative and improvisation. Hitler's respect for experts in general and personal regard for Speer in particular gave Speer unusual freedom. In May 1942 he was appointed one of two co-dictators of transport (with Milch). The railways became more efficient. Vast labour forces were sent to build roads for the army then...
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