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Albert Speer

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Speer sends thanks for reviews, likely of his first book,

published in English as Inside the Third Reich

Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, 1905–1981.  German architect; Nazi Reich Minister of Armaments and War Production, 1942–1945.  Typed letter signed, Speer, one page, 8¼" x 11", on personal stationery, Heidelberg, [West Germany], March 24, 1971.  In German, with translation.

Speer thanks a correspondent for sending reviews, likely of Speerʼs first book, Inside the Third Reich.  He writes, in full:  “Warm thanks for sending the two reviews.  Of course, I cannot read Dutch, but I have understood most of the sense of them.

Inside the Third Reich, Speerʼs insider memoirs of Nazi Germany, was published in German as Erinnerungen (“Memoirs") in 1969 and in English in 1970.  Both it and Speerʼs second book, Spandau: The Secret Diaries, resulted from Speerʼs experiences in Berlinʼs Spandau Prison following his conviction at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.  He kept a secret diary that he smuggled out of prison bit by bit through a friendly guard.   

Speer joined the Nazi party in 1931.  He soon became Adolf Hitlerʼs chief architect and a valued member of Hitlerʼs inner circle.  He designed the new Reich Chancellery in Berlin and the 340,000-person Zepplinfeld stadium in Nuremberg that was the site of numerous Nazi party rallies.  Speer insisted that as many rallies as possible take place at night.  Using 130 anti-aircraft searchlights around the stadium pointed upward to create parallel vertical shafts of light, Speer turned the Zepplinfeld into a cathedral of light with a dramatic, chilling effect.

In 1942, Hitler appointed Speer the Reich Minister of Armaments and War Production.  Under Speerʼs oversight—centralizing manufacturing and concentrating power in himself—German war production increased dramatically.  Allied bombing slowed production beginning in the summer of 1943, but nevertheless that year German tank production doubled and airplane production increased by 80%.

Speer was prosecuted at the 1946 Nuremberg war crimes trials.  He took responsibility for the moral crimes of the Third Reich but disavowed knowledge of the Holocaust.  Years later, the release of one of Speerʼs letters suggested that he indeed knew about the Holocaust, but his disavowal of it at Nuremburg likely spared him from execution.  He was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity, mostly for using slave labor from occupied countries in the armaments industry, and sentenced to 20 years in prison.  He served all of his sentence before his release in 1966. 

This letter is in very fine condition.  Only normal mailing folds and a light diagonal fold in the blank lower left corner render it less than extra fine.  Speer has signed in dark blue ballpoint pen. 

We reject Nazism and all that it represented.  Nevertheless, we offer this letter because, although it is despised, the German Third Reich and World War II, in which Speer played an integral role, had an undeniable effect on the course and history of the 20th Century. 



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