Albert Speer: Significant Individual

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Modern History Assessment Task

Significant Individual - Albert Speer


Born in Mannheim, Germany, 1905, Albert Speer grew up in the family residence in the scenic university town of Heidelberg under rather emotionally cold conditions. Like his father Speer studied hard and became an architect, though Speer himself actually had preferred a degree in mathematics. He completed his architectural studies at the Institute of Technology in Berlin-Charlottenburg and became assistant to Professor Heinrich Tessenow, a champion of simple craftsmanship in architecture. After completing his studies, Speer acquired an architectural license in 1927. Also during this time he married Margarete Weber, without the blessing of the Speer family as his fiancee was not of the same class.

Upon hearing Hitler speak at a Berlin rally in late 1930, he enthusiastically joined the Nazi Party in January 1931, and in noticing him to be a solid worker he was granted his first large party contract.

It was to redesign Joseph Goebbels's official residence and to plan the May 1st celebrations in Berlin. His work attracted Hitler's attention and he personally gave Speer assignments. He impressed the Führer by his efficiency and talent so that, in 1933, Speer became Hitler's personal architect. While working together the two developed close ties of friendship. Hitler admitted Speer to his inner circle, opened up new fields of action for him, and in time this allowed him a measure of freedom that no other member of Hitler's entourage ever enjoyed. Speer, in turn, gave Hitler outstanding service and complete loyalty.

His competency and talent had proved him to be an organised worker, and in 1942 when the minister for armaments, Fritz Todt, died suddenly in an air accident, Hitler chose Speer to succeed him. He soon proved his worth increasing industrial output of armaments by 300%.