Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer (March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981), commonly known as Albert Speer, was an architect, author and high-ranking Nazi German government official, sometimes called "the first architect of the Third Reich". Speer was Hitler's chief architect before becoming his Minister for Armaments during the war. He reformed Germany's war production to the extent that it continued to increase for over a year despite increasingly intensive Allied bombing. After the war, he was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment for his role in the Third Reich.
- I felt this war coming. I tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Hitler in 1945. I am not concerned with jurisdiction of the court as Hess or others are. History will show the trials to be necessary.
- To Leon Goldensohn, April 14, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
- Twenty years. Well ... that's fair enough. They couldn't have given me a lighter sentence, considering the facts, and I can't complain. I said the sentences must be severe, and I admitted my share of the guilt, so it would be ridiculous if I complained about the punishment.
- To Dr. G. M. Gilbert, after receiving his sentence. Quoted in "Nuremberg Diary" by G. M. Gilbert - History - 1995
- Hitler's dictatorship differed in one fundamental point from all its predecessors in history. His was the first dictatorship in the present period of technical development, a dictatorship which made complete use of all technical means for the domination of its own country. Through technical means like the radio and the loud-speaker, eighty million people were deprived of independent thought. It was thereby possible to subject them to the will of one man.
- 1946. Quoted in "Nuremberg: The War Crimes Trial" by Richard Norton-Taylor, Nicolas Kent - Drama - 1997
- In the burning and devastated cities, we daily experienced the direct impact of war. It spurred us to do our utmost...the bombing and the hardships that resulted from them did not weaken the morale of the populace.
- Quoted in "Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs" - Page 363 - by Albert Speer - National socialists - 1971
- The Nuremberg Trial stands for me still today as an attempt to break through to a better world. Still today I acknowledge as generally correct the reasons of my sentence by the International Military Tribunal. Moreover, I still today consider as just that I assume the responsibility and thus the guilt for everything that was perpetrated by way of, generally speaking, crime, after my joining the Hitler Government on the 8th February 1942. Not the individual mistakes, grave as they may be, are burdening my conscience, but my having acted in the leadership. Therefore, I for my person, have in the Nuremberg Trial, confessed to the collective responsibility and I am also maintaining this today still. I still see my main guilt in my having approved of the persecution of the Jews and of the murder of millions of them.
- Hatred of the Jews was Hitler's motor and central point perhaps even the very element which motivated him. The German people, the German greatness, the Empire, they all meant nothing to him in the last analysis. For this reason, he wished in the final sentence of his testament, to fixate us Germans, even after the apocalyptic downfall in a miserable hatred of the Jews...When speaking of the victims of the bomb raids, particularly after the massive attacks on Hamburg in Summer 1943, he again and again reiterated that he would avenge these victims on the Jews; just as if the air-terror against the civilian population actually suited him in that it furnished him with a belated substitute motivation for a crime decided upon long ago and emanating from quite different layers of his personality. Just as if he wanted to justify his own mass murders with these remarks.
- Testimony of Albert Speer, Munich, 15 June 1977
- So long as Hitler had temperamental outbursts of hate, there was yet hope for a change towards more moderate directions. Therefore, it was the resoluteness and coldness which made his outbreaks against the Jews so convincing. In other areas when he announced horrifying decisions in a cold and quiet voice, those around him, and I myself knew that things had now become serious. And with just this cold superiority he declared also, when we occasionally had lunch together, that he was set to destroy the Jews in Europe.
- Testimony of Albert Speer, Munich, 15th June 1977
- Hitler was basically an artist.
- My only true friend here in the prison among the defendants is Albert Speer. He is a great architect and has a great genius for organization. When I came to Berlin in 1943 to take charge of the navy, there was a housing shortage. The navy assigned me a poor-looking house in Dahlem. I phoned my friend Speer and told him I needed a house. He said he would do his best. Next day he phoned and said my wife should come over to inspect the house he had for me. It was a beautiful manor house, on a hill, with two wide windows on either side and great gardens all around it. It was two stories high, with a fine broad staircase connecting the two floors. Often in the evenings Speer and his wife would visit me and my wife, and we would return the visits. Speer would bring along pianists and violinists, who were perfect. We would spend many a musical evening together.
- Karl Dönitz to Leon Goldensohn, July 14, 1946.
- Speer is more of an artist by nature. Admittedly he has great organizational talent but politically he is too inexperienced to be totally reliable in this critical time.
- Joseph Goebbels, diary entry, March 27, 1945.
- Speer, as Minister of Armaments and Production, joined in planning and executing the program to dragoon prisoners of war and foreign workers into German war industries, which waxed in output while the laborers waned in starvation.
- Robert H. Jackson