Albert Speer was a personal architect for Hitler also the Minister of Armaments and War Production for Nazi regime. He was the only Nazi to bear the responsibility on the crimes of his former master Hitler and the Nazi regime in the Nuremburg Trials. But he said he knew nothing about the fate of the Jews and claimed he was just focused on his ambition. Albert Speer was born in 1905 the second of the three sons. He belonged to a wealthy family attending a exclusive primary school.
As a child he and his brothers were forbidden to play football in the park or streets and also he had a poor relationship with his parents as he felt they had little time or love for him. Albert Speer developed a dizzy spells and often fainted, he was diagnosed as having “a weakness of the vascular nerves”. But soon his health gradually improved as he spent a large amount of time in his parents holiday home doing physical leisure’s like cycling.
When he was 17 he fell in love with Margarete Weber as he started spending more time with her family then his.
At the age of 18 he left school and wanted to become a mathematician but his father talked him into being an architect and so studied in Institute of Technology while then 1924 he was transferred to Institute of Munich. Albert’s father was wealthy enough to give Speer an allowance of 300 marks which was Speer’s total salary in his first job, so as a Student he could live splendidly.
In 1926 he moved to the Institute of Technology and studied under Professor Tessenow and when he finished studies at the age of 23 in 1927 he was given the position of Tessenow’s assistant.
He had hoped to supplement his income by working as an architect in his free time but the only commission he could gain was designing a house for Gretel’s parents. While he was studying at the institute he met a student named Rudolf Wolters who would later become his best friends and loyal friend. Rudolf always kept a detailed chronicle of all he and Speer did during the war years, this chronicle was going to destroy the image of Albert Speer which he was to create in the Nuremburg Trial.
While being an assistant of Tessenow in the he often discussed politics with his students and they convinced him to attend one of Hitler’s speeches being held in a local beer hall on the 5th December 1930. He stated when he heard Hitler it was like a magnetic force was pushing him toward Hitler and soon Hitler became his icon. On 1st March 1931 he joined the Nationalist Socialist Party and became member number 474,481. He spent little time with his family as his career within the party blossomed.
He gave his reason for joining the party stating “He was completely under the influence of Hitler and gave up the real centre of his life – his family. Speer clearly stated in 1931 that his main ambition was to become a well known and famous architect so by joining Hitler he thought he could accomplish this. He also stated he had little interest in the politics of his party. He wasn’t part of the SA so he wasn’t involved in violent activities. Nevertheless he was a driver who drove important people to meetings or rallies in his vehicle.
In one of these parties he met Karl Hanke who assisted Speer with his career and also a key supporter and a loyal friend to Hitler. In September 1930 Hanke offered Speer the task of redecorating the headquarters of the district branch of the Nazi party on an unpaid basis. So Speer painted the vestibule bright red and the offices a strong yellow saying this met with a divided reception”. Speers life was going nowhere with his salary as an assistant professor of architecture was reduced due to government’s cost cutting program.
He was unable to support his family he decided to resign and he returned to Mannheim with his wife Gretel where he managed the building owned by his parents. In July 1932 Speer and Gretel went to Berlin for a few days to assist in the election and as a car owner Speer’s role was to act as a courier for the party. Hanke who was now the organiser of the Berlin district offered Speer the job of redecorating Goebbels’s headquarters. But Speer had booked a ticket to go on holidays with his family so he immediately cancelled his plans and Speer described this as the turning point of his life.
Speer’s task was to repaint the walls and to make some minor alterations. Speer worked with determination day and night as he was determined to make a good impression. When Hitler inspected the building Speer was told he liked the finished result. With the work done Speer returned to Mannheim where his career continued to go nowhere. Then on March 1933 Hanke who was now a district organisation leader called up Speer and invited him to Berlin, Speer immediately packed his bags and drove all night to be there in the next day.
Upon his arrival he was given the job to redecorate Goebbels’s new ministry building but apparently Goebbels’s did not like his work so after Speer was done he had the building redecorated again. Hanke who was now Goebbels’s secretary was talking to Speer when Speer saw the plans of the 1st May night rally to be held he stated to Hanke “Those look like the decoration for rifle club meet”, Hanke replied by saying “If you can do better, go do it”. Speer created a setting designed to impress the audience that would look up at the speakers on a large raised platform.
Behind them were two huge black, white and red banners each taller than a 10 storey building with a third swastika banner between them. They were illuminated by the powerful searchlights that lit up the sky. This design was accepted and became the basis of party rallies and Speer commented, “I had moved a step ahead”. This impressed the Nazis including Hitler and Speer was made Commissioner for the Artistic and Technical Presentation of the Party Rallies and Presentation.