Albert Speer's claim in the Nazi regime.

Essay by corrigallCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2003

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Albert Speer's claim that he was nothing more than an apolitical manage and that he had no direct involvement in the criminal activities of the Nazi regime is untrue. His appointment as Minister for Armaments and Hitler's 1942 decree transforming his department into a 'super-department' with wide-reaching powers allowed him unprecedented control over German industry. In this role Speer utilized forced labour from the concentration camps of Germany to maintain his extraordinary revolution of German industry throughout the latter years of the war. After the war, Speer was to claim that although he was guilty by association with the top-level Nazi war criminals he was personally ignorant of the horrific crimes perpetrated by the Nazis. He was to argue this line from Nuremberg until his death, but there are serious contradictions in his intimate knowledge of Nazi power circles and his claims of ignorance of other areas. The Wolters Chronicle, his inhumanity while visiting concentration camps and Himmler's infamous speech on 6 October 1943 lead any historian to the conclusion that in all probability Speer knew what the Nazi regime was doing with respect to the Jews, and so was in fact the complete opposite of an apolitical manager.

At the major trials held to determine the culpability of twenty-one leading Nazis, Speer denied any specific knowledge of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime while simultaneously accepting a form of global responsibility for them - claiming he was nothing but an apolitical manager with no direct involvement in the atrocities. Speer admitted knowing only that "the Jews were evacuated from Germany" without acknowledging any personal involvement or knowledge of the process. Speer's admission of guilt by association and denial of personal involvement were enough to spare him the death penalty received by all the other twenty top-level Nazis...