Albert Speer

Part III: Personalities in the Twentieth Century

Option 21: Albert Speer 1905–1981

Principal focus: Through the study of Albert Speer, students gain an understanding of the role of this personality in a period of national or international history.

Students learn about:

1 Historical context

  • rise of the Nazi party and the personal charisma of Adolf Hitler
  • development of the Nazi state after 1933
  • Nazi war effort to 1945
  • Nuremberg War Crimes Trials

2 Background

  • family background and education
  • introduction to Nazism and his reasons for joining the Nazi party

3 Rise to prominence

  • early work for the Nazi party
  • appointment as ‘First Architect of the Reich’
  • the ‘Germania’ project and the new Reich Chancellery
  • work as Armaments Minister

4 Significance and evaluation

  • relationship with Hitler
  • involvement with anti-Semitic activities in connection with the Germania project – the question of the ‘Jew-flats’
  • use and abuse of forced labour
  • knowledge of and links with the concentration camp system
  • reaction to Hitler’s ‘scorched earth’ policy in 1945
  • the significance of Speer’s work as Minister for Armaments and War Production to the overall German war effort
  • evaluation: for example, the ‘Good Nazi’?