Albert Speer's Claim In The Nazi Regime.

1335 words - 5 pages

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 in the major trials. While in Spandau prison he published his memoirs in which he pursued the same arguments to absolve himself of blame, but as Dan van der Vat points out "The main weakness of the book is the contradiction between its intimate knowledge of the core of the Nazi regime, including Bormann, the doctors Brandt and Goebbels, Himmler and Hitler himself on the one hand, and the professed ignorance of their most evil crimes on the other". While Speer claims he managed to avoid all knowledge of the 'final solution' and other crimes by a form of personally enforced blindness, his position so close to the top of the Nazi power structure makes any suggestion that he simply didn't know what was going on by the end of war ridiculous.The evidence that supports Speer's claim that he had no involvement in the atrocities of the Nazi regime is slim. He claimed that he was only involved in the technical matters of first as the General Building Inspector (GBI) for the National Capital in January 1937 and then as the Nazi Minister for Armaments and Munitions from February 1942. Speer...

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