Albert Speer was born on March 19, 1905, to an upper middle class family in Manhein, Germany. The second of three sons, he followed the family tradition when, in 1925, he enrolled at the Institute of Technology in Berlin-Charlottenburg and became a third-generation Neo-Classical architect. He was greatly influenced by his professor at that time, Heinrich Tessenow, and upon graduation, two years later, became his assistant.
After reading Spengler's 'Decline of the West', Spear became greatly discouraged, convinced that Germany was in a similar state of decay to that of the late Roman Empire. Then, in 1931, he heard Adolf Hitler addressing college students at a beer hall. Although initially sceptical of Hitler's reputation and his rough followers, the enthusiasm of the crowd, Hitler's respectable and calm appearance and the historical lecture he delivered impressed Speer immensely. Within weeks, he had joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and shortly after became a member of the Schutz Staffeinel (SS).
His first commission as a Party member came in 1933 when Joseph Goebbels asked him to renovate the Propaganda Ministry. Goebbels was impressed with his work and recommended him to Hitler, who assigned him to help Paul Troost renovate the Chancellery in Berlin.
The year 1933 was to be a turning point for Albert Speer. No longer just a promising architect, he assumed a role where his actions and advice could arguably have changed the political direction Germany was taking. He was in constant and close contact with Hitler, often eating lunch and dinner with him. Hitler would often ring Speer late at night and invite him to accompany him to a favourite cafe where they would often stay and talk until two or three in the morning. Hitler avoided cultivating similar friendships with party leaders such as Goering...