Albert Speer
(2 of 8)


September 3, 1939: WW2 begins as Britain, Australia, New Zealand and France declares war on Germany. (Shirer)

September 17, 1939: The USSR invades Poland from the east. (Clark II)

September 29, 1939: The USSR and Germany divide Poland between them. (Clark II)

October 26, 1939: A forced labor decree is issued for Polish Jews between the ages of 14 to 60.

November 23, 1939: Hitler tells his Generals: "We have an Achilles' heel: the Ruhr district. The strategy of the war depends on the possession of the Ruhr district. If England and France thrust through Belgium and Holland into the Ruhr, we shall be in the very greatest danger."

1940: Joseph Stalin, who had been impressed by Speer's work in Paris, proposes that he pay a visit to Moscow. Hitler does not allow Speer to go, fearing that Stalin will put him in a "rat hole" and force him to re-design Moscow. (Fest III)

April 9, 1940: Nazi forces invade Norway and Denmark.

May 8, 1939: Mauthausen-Gusen camp, a prison camp for common criminals, prostitutes and other categories of 'Incorrigible Law Offenders,' is converted to a labor camp which will be mainly used for the incarceration of political prisoners. The prisoners will be marched daily to the stone-quarries at Gusen. Note: Many of the Nazi concentration camps were located near quarries or gravel pits so that prison labor could be used for the production of building materials for Hitler and Speers' many building projects. (THC)

November 1939: Hitler orders planning for Operation Sealion, the invasion of Britain. (Shirer)

May 10, 1940: The Nazis invade France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister. (Shirer)

May 15, 1940: The first RAF raid on the interior of Germany occurs. (Davis)

May 19, 1940: The Nazis invade France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister. (Shirer)

June 25, 1940: An Armistice is signed between France and Germany. Under its terms, the French army is to be disbanded and two thirds of France is to be occupied by the Germans.


June 28, 1940: Hitler, in company with Speer, tours conquered Paris. (Speer)

From Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer: Three days after the beginning of the Armistice we landed at Le Bourget airfield. It was early in the morning, about five-thirty. Three large Mercedes sedans stood waiting. Hitler as usual sat in the front seat beside the chauffeur . . . . We drove through the extensive suburbs directly to the Opera . . . . It was Hitler's favorite and the first thing he wanted to see . . . .

A white-haired attendant accompanied our small group through the deserted building. Hitler had actually studied the plans of the Paris Opera House with great care. Near the proscenium box he found a salon missing, remarked on it, and turned out to be right. The attendant said that this room had been eliminated in the course of renovations many years ago. "There, you see how well I know my way about," Hitler commented complacently. He seemed fascinated by the Opera, went into ecstasies about its beauty, his eyes glittering with an excitement that struck me as uncanny. The attendant, of course, had immediately recognized the person he was guiding through the building. In a businesslike but distinctly aloof manner, he showed us through the rooms. When we were at last getting ready to leave the building, Hitler whispered something to his adjutant, Brueckner, who took a fifty-mark note from his wallet and went over to the attendant standing some distance away. Pleasantly, but firmly, the man refused to take the money. Hitler tried a second time, sending Brueckner, over to him, but the man persisted in his refusal. He had only been doing his duty, he told Brueckner . . . .

By nine o'clock in the morning the sightseeing tour was over. "It was the dream of my life to be permitted to visit Paris. I cannot say how happy I am to have had that dream fulfilled today." For a moment I felt something like pity for him; three hours in Paris, the one and only time he was to see it, made him happy when he stood at the height of his triumphs . . . . That same evening he received me once more in the small room in the peasant house. He was sitting alone at the table. Without more ado he declared: "Draw up a decree in my name ordering full-scale resumption of work on the Berlin buildings . . . . Wasn't Paris beautiful? But Berlin must be made far more beautiful. In the past I often considered whether we would not have to destroy Paris," he continued with great calm, as if he were talking about the most natural thing in the world. "But when we are finished in Berlin, Paris will only be a shadow. So why should we destroy it?" With that, I was dismissed.

July 29, 1940: General Halder, Chief of Staff of the German Army, records in his diary remarks that were made by Hitler during a military conference:

Russia is the factor by which England sets the greatest store . . . . If Russia is beaten, England's last hope is gone . . . . Decision: As a result ... Russia must be dealt with. Spring 1941. (Baldwin)

August 1, 1940: Hitler gives Goering the go-ahead for Operation Eagle, the Luftwaffe bombing campaign against Britain. Raeder reports to Hitler that the earliest possible date for an invasion of Britain is September 15. (Read)

From the summary of the post-war interview of Professor William Messerschmitt by the US Strategic Bombing Survey Team in London: Professor Messerschmitt was not aware that Britain's fighters outclassed German fighters during the Battle of Britain. The plan for the Battle of Britain was first to knock out the RAF and then to make a landing. (SBS)

August 25, 1940: The first RAF raid on Berlin takes place, but the damage is slight. (Davis)

September 17, 1940: Hitler postpones Operation Sealion. (Clark II)

From the summary Messerschmitt's USSBS interview: No attempt was made after the battle of Britain to increase the number or effectiveness of German aircraft. This was a great mistake as the Luftwaffe had been a decisive weapon in all other campaigns. Professor Messerschmitt could not understand the reason why no such action had been taken. He always claimed that the war would be won by the nation which could control the air over its own territory and over the battlefield. (SBS)

November 10, 1940: Plans for the ME 321 glider are completed.

From the summary Messerschmitt's USSBS interview: On November 10, 1940, Professor Messerschmitt completed the drawings for a glider capable of carrying a 21-ton tank which was then Germany's heaviest model. This glider, known as the ME 321, was to be towed by three ME 110's and was to be assisted in its takeoff by eight rockets, four under each wing. On November 7, 1940, Professor Messerschmitt saw Hitler and proposed to him that construction of these gliders be undertaken. He stated that he did not wish to take the matter up through the Air Ministry and preferred to negotiate directly with Todt. Hitler agreed. Messerschmitt saw Todt in Stuttgart two days later and enlisted his help in obtaining the necessary steel and fabrics. The first glider was ready for flight on 28 February 1941 and proved successful. Two hundred were completed by June 1941. They were eventually used in the Russian campaign, specifically in occupying the island of Orel. (SBS)

December 18, 1940: Hitler gives orders for the military preparations against the USSR. (Clark II)

From the summary Messerschmitt's USSBS interview: Professor Messerschmitt believed that the reason that no attempt was made to invade England was that Germany was afraid that Russia would seize the opportunity to stab her in the back. In this connection, he stated that he had...been told once in 1941 by Dr. Todt that Germany had information that Russia had intended to attack her and that it was therefore necessary for Germany to attack first to obtain the advantage of surprise. He reported having heard that Russia had notified Germany that she demanded the following territory: Finland, The Baltic States, One-half of Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria, European Turkey, The Dardanelles. 4. German intelligence was unaware of the degree of Russian armament. Russia had better tanks and artillery. (SBS)

January 1, 1941: Rudolf 'Rudi' Wolters begins compiling his Chronik, a monthly compendium of Speers activities, speeches, letters, etc. (Sereny)

From the Memoirs of Rudolf Wolters: I started my secondary activity as chronicler on January 1, 1941, and continued the monthly entries ... containing dates and events I considered important ... plus those I had witnessed myself ... until December 1944. From then until the end of the war I had to limit my entries to those taken from my personal diary . . . . Speer [initialed each entry but] made no changes or corrections.

January 24, 1941: Dr Fritz Todt to Speer:

Perhaps my own experiences and bitter disappointments with all the men with whom I work might be of help to you . . . . I have concluded that in our particular sphere...every act almost inevitably meets with opposition; everyone who is active not passive has rivals and unfortunately also enemies. Not because people want to be obstructive, but rather because they react differently to the particularly taxing pressures and relationships of our working lives. Perhaps, being young, you have quickly discovered how to cut through all such problems, while I can only brood on them. (Sereny)

March 18, 1941: Goebbels' Diary:
Vienna is almost cleared of Jews, and now it is the turn of Berlin; we discussed the details and also Frank's putting them to work in Poland where they obediently do as their told.

March 22, 1941: Goebbels' Diary:
We have to go easy on the 30,000 Jews who work in armament production; we need them - who would have thought this could ever become possible?

May 27, 1941: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat:

Today the whole world is divided, divided between human slavery and human freedom--between pagan brutality and the Christian ideal. We choose human freedom--which is the Christian ideal. No one of us can waver for a moment in his courage or his faith. We will not accept a Hitler-dominated world. And we will not accept a world, like the post-war world of the 1920's, in which the seeds of Hitlerism can again be planted and allowed to grow. We will accept only a world consecrated to freedom of speech and expression--freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--freedom from want--and freedom from (terrorism) terror. Is such a world impossible of attainment...

June 12, 1941 Declaration of St James's Palace: The representatives of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa and of the exiled governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia and of General de Gaulle of France, met at the ancient St. James’s Palace and sign a declaration:

The only true basis of enduring peace is the willing cooperation of free peoples in a world in which, relieved of the menace of aggression, all may enjoy economic and social security; It is our intention to work together, and with other free peoples, both in war and peace, to this end.

June 22, 1941 Unternehmen Barbarossa: Operation Barbarossa begins as 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invade the USSR along an 1,800 mile front. (Clark II)

August 7, 1941: Goebbels' Diary:
The Jews have always been carriers of infectious diseases. One must either crowd them together in ghettos and leave them to it, or else liquidate them, failing which they will always infect the healthy civilized population.

August 14, 1941: Churchill and FDR release a joint declaration; the Atlantic Charter:
...after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety...

August 17, 1941: Goebbels meets with Hitler in the field.

From At Hitler's Side, the memoirs of Nicolaus von Below, Hitler's Luftwaffe Adjutant: In August, on Hitler's invitation, Goebbels appeared for the first time at Field HQ. During his two days there, he had several meetings 'under four eyes' with Hitler. We learned only later that the subject under discussion was the problem of the Jews. Goebbels and Heydrich urged a solution. Goebbels was eager to expel the 70,000 Jews still in Berlin and wanted to ensure Hitler's agreement. Hitler was not prepared to give it yet and only agreed—as was published in the Reichsgestzblatt on September 1, 1941—that the Jews were to wear in future a yellow star on their outer clothes. The fundamental settlement of this problem (of the Berlin Jews) was to await the end of the Russian campaign when it would be solved—we heard—in grosszuegiger Weise (This term can be translated as either 'generous manner' or 'general manner'). The outrageous cynicism of this remark only occurred to me after the war when the whole horror of the annihilation of the Jews emerged.

At the time, I had no idea that the order for wearing a distinguishing mark was the last preparation for the Final Solution, nor that the Einsatzgruppen of the SS and police were already killing huge numbers of Jews behind the front and that, as of December 1941, Jews from all occupied countries in Europe were being gassed in extermination camps in Poland. Nor did I know anything of the Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1941. Of course, considering retroactively after the war and while I was in prison, evidence from the war years such as Hitler's increasing outbursts against Jews, or incidental remarks I overheard from high SS leaders, I realized it should all have given me to think. But like many others, I thought that the deportations of Jews to the East—which of course were no secret—meant that they were being used there for war production, which, given all the foreign labor that was being employed, seemed plausible enough. It was only afterwards that I realized how horribly I had been deceived. . . .

But certainly, there is no question whatever in my mind that, written instructions or not, it was Hitler who specifically ordered the extermination of the Jews. It is unthinkable that Himmler or Goering could have undertaken such a step on their own. Very probably Himmler did not inform him about every detail, but he would have acted with his approval and in total agreement with him. (Below)

August 19, 1941: Goebbels' Diary:

The Fuehrer is convinced that his prophecy in the Reichstag (January 20, 1939 and subsequently repeated periodically) that, if Jewry succeeded once more in provoking war it would end with their annihilation, is almost uncannily true.

August 20, 1941: Goebbels' Diary:

It is outrageous and a scandal that the capital of the Reich still has 70,000 Jews, mostly parasites, spoiling not only the looks of our city but its atmosphere . . . . [The yellow star] badge will help, but the only real solution is eliminating them, a problem we must approach without sentimentality.

From Infiltration: How Heinrich Himmler Schemed to Build an SS Industrial Empire by Albert Speer: When I think about the fate of Berlin's Jews, I am overcome by an unbearable feeling of failure and inadequacy. In the course of my daily drive to my architectural office ... I frequently saw crowds of people on the platform of the Nikolassee Railway Station. I knew this had to be Berlin Jews being evacuated. I'm sure that at that moment [of seeing this] I must have had a sense of unease, a foreboding of dark events. But—impossible though it is to understand today—I was so wedded to the principles of the regime that phrases such as 'Fuehrer: command, we obey,' or ;The Fuehrer is always right,' had a hypnotic effect, especially perhaps on those of us ... in his immediate environment . . . . Perhaps too, our burying ourselves in our work was an unconscious effort to ... anaesthetize our conscience.

1941: Speer is appointed to the Reichstag.

From Speer's IMT testimony: In 1941 I was called into the Reichstag by Hitler, that is, outside of an election, as replacement for a member who had left the Reichstag. Hitler at that time told me that in my person he also wanted an artist represented in the Reichstag.

October 2, 1941>: An operational rocket-powered fighter aircraft, the Me 163 A V4 piloted by Heini Dittmar, sets a new world speed record of 623.8 MPH. This record will not be surpassed until an American Douglas Skystreak turbojet-powered research aircraft does so on August 20, 1947.

From the summary Messerschmitt's USSBS interview: The ME 163, which utilized the rocket principle, was of interest only as an experiment. Work had been done on this aircraft prior to the war. Its flight duration--10 minutes--was too short for operational purposes. It had tremendous speed and had achieved as high as 625 miles an hour at level flight, both altitude and near the ground. The stability of the aircraft, however, was not great enough for its speed. (SBS)

November 7, 1941: Sir Richard Peirse, head of RAF Bomber Command, sends over 160 bombers to raid Berlin. More than 20 are lost, and again little damage is done. (Davis)

November 10, 1941: From a speech by Hitler:

The territory which now works for us contains more than 250 million men, but the territory in Europe which works indirectly for this battle includes now more than 350 million...As far as German territory is concerned, the territory occupied by us and that which we have taken under our administration, there is no doubt that we shall succeed in harnessing every man for this work.

November 25, 1941: The Wehrmarcht's final drive on Moscow, Operation Typhoon, begins. (Clark II)

December 6, 1941: Germans forces are pushed back by a major Russian counter-attack near Moscow. With supply lines badly over-stretched—and temperatures of -34C (-29F) and below making German equipment nearly useless—even Adolf Hitler himself begins to realize that he has horribly underestimated Soviet strength. (Clark II)

From one of Speer’s post-war interviews with the SBS: After the winter of 1941-42 we should not have made any further offensives. These offensives cost us enormous amounts of men and materials and this weakened us considerably. We should have never felt strong enough to advance across the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea and to the Volga . . . . After this principle mistake the Russians started an offensive when we were considerably weakened in manpower and especially officers.

December 11, 1941: Hitler declares war on the United States.

January 3, 1942: From a Hitler Order:

Cling to every populated center; do not retreat a single step; defend yourself to the last soldier, to the last grenade. That is the requirement of the present moment. Every point occupied by us must be turned into a base, which must not be surrendered under any circumstances, even if outflanked by the enemy. If, however, the given point must be abandoned on superior orders, it is imperative that everything be razed to the ground, the stoves blown up.

From Speer's Spandau Draft: After leaving Kiev behind us we fly for hours over the uninviting Pripet marshes and finally, at last land at night [February 7] at Rastenburg [Hitler's HQ, the Wolf's Lair, or Wolfsschanze], which after my few days in Russia seemed quite beautiful . . . . Hitler is not present. Dr. Todt, at HQ to report, is dining with him in private. Late in the evening he emerges from the long and, it appears, trying discussion looking strained and exhausted. I sit with him for a bit while he drinks a glass of wine . . . .

He gets me to tell him of my impressions in southern Russia. I tell him as much as I can. He seems very interested and helps out with careful questions. We talk about the problems of reconstruction down there; the incomprehensible strategy of the Russian tank corps; and I tell him about the soldiers' evenings, with those sad songs . . . . I remember more and more and we talk about everything. Hearing about the soldiers' songs, hje asks what the songs are about, and as it so happens I have some texts in my pocket I give them to read. He becomes very silent . . . .

[Before going to bed at 3 AM—early morning on the 7th—after leaving Hitler] I informed Todt's flight captain that I was too tired to join the flight that was due to take off in five hours. What I needed was a good night's sleep. In my little bedroom, I pondered what impression I had left with Hitler--who didn't do this after spending two hours with him. I was content. (Sereny)

February 8, 1942: While departing by plane from Rastenburg—the very same flight Speer had just backed out of—Dr Fritz Todt dies as his aircraft mysteriously explodes. He will be buried in the Invalidenfriedhof, located in the Scharnhorst-Strasse in Berlin and become the first holder (posthumously) of the 'Deutscher Orden' (German Order). Note: It has been suggested that Todt was the victim of an assassination plot, but no evidence has ever been found to corroborate the notion. (Speer, Below)

From At Hitler's Side: The Memoirs of Hitler's Luftwaffe Adjutant 1937-1945 by Nicolaus von Below: The plane Todt had in Rastenburg was the new twin-engine HE-111 he had obtained at the end of 1941 for his travels. As Hitler had forbidden the use of two-engine planes by any of his top people, I found myself forced to draw this to Todt's attention and to forbid him to fly the plane out. He was absolutely livid and said that Hitler's ban didn't apply to him.

Shortly after he and Hitler had sat down to dinner on their own in Hitler's bunker, I was called in and Hitler asked me to explain myself. I told him that I had merely followed his strict instructions. He [understood, but] allowed himself to be persuaded by Todt and ordered me to see to it the next morning that the plane was made ready . . . .

I arranged for the plane to be taken up for a trial spin before Dr. Todt's departure . . . . [Later, I] was got out of bed by the flight captain of the Fuehrer-courier squadron, who told me that Todt had just crashed, shortly after starting. I dressed and hurried over to the airfield. I found nothing there except still smoking wreckage; all occupants of the flight were dead. After Hitler got up, I reported the crash. He was very startled and was quiet for a long time. Then he asked me what the cause was, but I had no explanation. The weather was not god, the sky and the snow-covered ground equally gray, the line between conceivably invisible. I suspected human error by the pilot, who wasn't as yet sufficiently familiar with the plane in difficult weather conditions . . . . A thorough investigation of the accident was carried out by the Reich Air Ministry and the SS, but provided no explanation.

From Speer's IMT testimony: On 8 February 1942, my predecessor, Dr. Todt, was killed in an airplane crash. Several days later Hitler declared I was to be his successor in his many offices. At that time I was 36 years of age. Up until that time, Hitler considered the main activity of Todt to be in the building sphere, and that is why he called me to be his successor. I believe that it was a complete surprise to everyone when I was called to office as a Minister.

Immediately upon my assuming office, it could be seen that not building but the intensification of armaments was to be my main task, for the heavy losses of material in the battles in Russia during the winter of 1941-1942 was a great blow. Hitler called for considerable intensification of armament production.

Dr. Todt had neglected this function [Reich Ministry for Arms and Munitions] of his up until that time; and in addition, in the fall of 1941 Hitler issued a decree according to which the armament of the Army was to take second place to the armament of the Air Force. At that time he foresaw a victorious outcome of the war in Russia and had decreed that armament was to be concentrated on the imminent war against England and was to be converted to that end. Because of this unbelievable optimism of his, the rescinding of that order was postponed until January 1942; and only from that date onward—that is, during the last month of his life—did Dr. Todt start to build up his organization.

Therefore I had the difficult task first of all to work myself into a completely new field; secondly, at the same time to create all organizational prerequisites for my task; and thirdly, to restore the decreasing armament production for the Army and to increase production as much as possible within the next few months. As is very well known today, I succeeded in doing that. Hitler promised me that I should consider my task only as a war task and that after the war I might once more resume my profession of architect.

February 10, 1942: Speer replaces Fritz Todt as Reich Minister of Armaments. (Speer, Sereny)

From Speer's IMT testimony: I believe the tasks of a production ministry are well known in all industrial states. I just wanted to summarize briefly which functions I had to concern myself with in detail in this Ministry.

For one, we had to surmount the deficiency in raw materials, metals, and steel. Then, by the introduction of assembly-line work, which is customary in the United States but was not yet current in Germany, the work was systematized; and thus machinery and space were utilized to the utmost. Also, it was necessary to amplify the production programs, for example, for fine steel, aluminum, and individual parts like ball bearings and gear wheels.

One of the most important tasks was the development of new weapons and their serial production; and then, beginning with 1943, the reparation of the damage caused by the extraordinarily sudden bombing attacks, which forced us to work with improvised means and methods.

It is to be taken as a matter of course that this sphere of activity was the most important in our country, if only because it included providing equipment for the Army. I claimed that during the war the rest of the economy would have to be regulated according to the exigencies of armament. In times of war, at home, there are only two tasks which count: To furnish soldiers for the front, and to supply weapons. Because during peacetime the giving of orders is normally regulated according to supply and demand, but in wartime this regulating factor is lacking.

In 1942 I took over the armaments and construction programs with altogether 2.6 million workers. In the spring of 1943 Doenitz gave me the responsibility for naval armament as well, and at this point, I had 3.2 million workers. In September of 1943, through an agreement with the Minister of Economy, Herr Funk, the production task of the Ministry of Economy was transferred to me. With that I had 12 million workers working for me.

The tasks of the Organization Todt were exclusively technical ones, that is to say, they had to carry out technical construction work; in the East, particularly road and rail construction, and in the West the construction of concrete dugouts which became known as the so-called Atlantic Wall. For this purpose the Organization Todt used foreign labor to a disproportionately high degree. In the West there were about 20 foreigners to 1 German worker; in Russia there were about 4 Russians to 1 German. This could only be carried out in the West if the Organization Todt could use local construction firms and their work-yards to a considerable extent. They supplied the technical staff and recruited their own workers, it being clear that these firms had no possibility to recruit by coercion. Accordingly a large number of workers of the Organization Todt were volunteers; but naturally a certain percentage always worked in the Organization Todt under the conscription system.

Here the Organization Todt has been described as part of the Armed Forces. As a technical detail it should be stated in this connection that foreign workers did not, of course, belong to it, but only German workers who naturally in occupied territories had to figure as members of the Armed Forces in some way or other. The Prosecution had a different opinion on this matter.

Apart from the Organization Todt there were certain transport units attached to my Ministry, which were working in occupied territories, and it is for a certain reason that I am anxious to state that they were on principle recruited as volunteers. The Prosecution has alleged that the Organization Todt was the comprehensive organization for all military construction work in the occupied territories. That is not the case. They only had to carry out one quarter to one-fifth of the construction program.

In May 1944 the Organization Todt was taken over by the Reich and subsequently made responsible for some of the large-scale construction programs and for the management of the organization of the Plenipotentiary for Control of Building in the Four Year Plan. This Plenipotentiary for Control of Building distributed the contingents coming from the Central Planning Board and was responsible for other directive tasks, but he was not responsible for the carrying out and for the supervision of the construction work itself. There were various official building authorities in the Reich, and in particular the SS Building Administration had their own responsibility for the building programs which they carried out.

From The Devil's Disciples, by Anthony Read: Goering had been at loggerheads with Todt for some time, and had in fact been intriguing for two or three months with Himmler, Heydrich, Goebbels and even Bormann, to oust him from office in a coup reminiscent of the removal of Blomberg and Schacht . . . .

As soon as he (Goering) heard of Todt's death, he rushed to Hitler's HQ, to persuade the Fuehrer to let him take over his responsibilities. But quick as he was, he was too late. He was staggered to find that Hitler had already appointed Albert Speer, who was with him when Goering arrived, as Todt's successor in all his capacities. Speer, who the evening before had accepted Todt's offer of a lift back to Berlin in his plane but had changed his mind at 3 AM, deciding he was too tired after a long session with Hitler, was still coming to terms with his good fortune, not only for his narrow escape but also for his elevation. He had expected to be given Todt's role as construction chief, but was as surprised as Goering when he was given the Armaments Ministry as well.

For all his professed modesty, Speer was in fact intensely ambitious, and was thrilled to find himself raised to cabinet level at the age of thirty-six. As an instinctive politician and a gifted manipulator, his first action was to cover his back by persuading Hitler to make his appointment an order . . . . .

Goering soon discovered that he had met his match, as Speer moved fast and with characteristic skill to outflank him . . . . [There soon were] further blows to Goering's authority. His control of manpower resources was given to Fritz Sauckel, a short, stolid man with a bald head and a minimal toothbrush mustache, who had been Gauleiter of Thueringia since 1926. Speer had wanted Karl Hanke, the man who had given him his first architectural commission for the party in Berlin and who was now Gauleiter of Lower Silesia, to get the job, but this had been blocked by Bormann. Showing his muscle as party boss, he said Hanke had not been a Gauleiter long enough. Hanke's old love affair with Magda Goebbels may have counted against him, but the real reason for his rejection was undoubtedly that he was Speer's friend, and his loyalty would have been to him rather than to Bormann and the party organization. To make doubly sure that Sauckel would not be in Speer's pocket, Bormann persuaded Hitler to make the new commissioner responsible for finding and deploying labor--chiefly from the Ukraine and the Eastern territories--not simply for armaments production but for the whole of German industry.

For the sake of appearances and Goering's battered pride, Sauckel was given the title General Plenipotentiary for the Mobilization of Labor within the Four Year Plan, but he was no more answerable to Goering than was Speer: he was directly and only responsible to Hitler, through Bormann. Accepting the situation, Goering wound up his own labor deployment section, for once voluntarily shedding part of his power—though his decision may have been prompted by foreseeing nothing but trouble ahead. Speer had hardly been confirmed in his new post (Armaments Minister) before Keitel demanded the immediate release for front-line duties of a quarter of a million army troops who had been made available for munitions production. "That was the beginning of the struggle for manpower, a struggle that was never to end," Keitel recalled.

From Speer’s Spandau Draft: He [Hitler] had one extraordinary deficiency, if one can call it that. He himself was not really manipulative, not in the accepted sense of the term. After all, he totally dominated his environment--he did not need to manipulate: he ordered. Thus, though he was certainly suspicious of others, he had no understanding of, no feeling for the game of manipulation, indeed no suspicion that anyone could slowly, steadily work on him and manipulate him so cunningly that he would finally be convinced that he, and he alone, had changed a long-held opinion. Goering, Goebbels, Bormann and up to a point Himmler, too, were masters at this game. It was Hitler's lack of awareness of this kind of subtle deception that helped these men to obtain and maintain their position of power.

February 24, 1942: From a speech to the Nazi Gauleiter by Speer:

I therefore proposed to the Fuehrer at the end of December that all my labor force, including specialists, be released for mass employment in the East. Subsequently the remaining prisoners of war, about 10,000, were put at the disposal of the armament industry by me . . . . Finally I can say for myself that my personal contribution is a very large one. Up until very recently I lived in a world of pure ideals.

From Speer's IMT testimony: At that time in my capacity as an architect I had nothing to say as to whether these workers were to be taken into armaments or not. They were put at the disposal of the Stalag, the prisoner-of-war installation of the OKW. I took it as a matter of course that they would be put at the disposal of armaments in the larger sense. Since I was active as an architect up until the year 1942, there can be no question about that [participating in the planning and preparation of an aggressive war] whatsoever. The buildings which I constructed were completely representative of peacetime building. As an architect I used up material, manpower, and money in considerable amounts for this purpose. This material, in the last analysis, was lost to armaments. The carrying out of these large building plans which Hitler had supported was, actually and especially psychologically, an obstacle to armament.

When in February 1942 I took over the armament department of the Army there were demands for considerable increases all along the line; and to meet them it was necessary to construct numerous new factories. For this purpose Himmler offered his concentration camps both to Hitler and to me. It was his plan that some of these necessary new constructions, as well as the necessary machinery, should be housed within the concentration camps, and were to be operated there under the supervision of the SS. The chief of the armament department of the Army, Generaloberst Fromm, was against this plan, and so was I. Apart from general reasons for this, the first point was that uncontrolled arms production on the part of the SS was to be prevented. Secondly, this would certainly entail my being deprived of the technical management in these industries. For that reason when planning the large armaments extension program in the spring of 1942, I did not take into consideration these demands by the SS. Himmler went to see Hitler and the minutes of this conference, which are available here, show the objections to the wishes which Hitler put to me upon Himmler's suggestions.

February 24, 1942: From a letter from Speer to the Reich Labor Front:

I received the enclosed letter of the 18th of this month from the German Labor Front, sent to my private address, inviting me to the Office of the German Labor Front. I tried to settle the business, which I did not know about, by telephone. The answer from the German Labor Front was that the matter was very important and called for my personal appearance. Hereupon I asked Herr Jungerich of the Department for Social Labor Matters whether I had to go. He answered, 'You probably do not have to, but it would be better if you went.' About 9:50 I went to Room 20 at the place indicated and met Herr Prior. . . .

On the 16th, 23 Russian prisoners of war were assigned to Number 23 Boiler Shop. The people came in the morning without bread and tools. During both breaks the prisoners of war crept up to the German workers and begged for bread, pitifully pointing out their hunger. (For lunch on the first day the factory was able to distribute among the Russians rations which remained over from French PW's.) In order to alleviate these conditions, I went to the Weidkamp kitchen on the 17th, on instructions from Herr Theile, and talked to the head of the kitchen, Fraulein Block, about the provision of the midday meal. Fraulein Block promised me the food immediately, and also lent me the 22 sets of eating utensils which I asked for. At the same time I asked Fraulein Block to give any food left over by the 800 Dutchmen messing there to our Russian PW's at noon until further notice. Fraulein Block promised to do this too, and the following noon she sent down a container of milk soup as an extra. The following noon the ration was short in quantity.

Since a few Russians had collapsed already, I telephoned Fraulein Block and asked for an increase in the food, as the special ration had ceased from the second day onwards. As my telephone conversation was unsuccessful, I again visited Fraulein Block personally. Fraulein Block refused in a very abrupt manner to give any further special ration. "Now, regarding the discussion in detail, Herr Prior, two other gentlemen of the DAF and Fraulein Block, head of the Weidkamp kitchen, were present in the room. Herr Prior commenced and accused me, gesticulating, and in a very insulting manner, of having taken the part of the Bolsheviks in a marked way. He referred to the law paragraphs of the Reich Government which spoke against it. I was unfortunately not clear about the legal position, otherwise I would have left the conference room immediately. I then tried to make it clear to Herr Prior, with special emphasis, that the Russian PW's were assigned to us as workers and not as Bolsheviks; the people were starved and not in a position to perform the heavy work with us in the boiler shop which they were supposed to do; sick people are a dead weight to us and not a help to production.

To this remark Herr Prior stated that if one was no good, then another was; that the Bolsheviks were a soulless people; and if 100,000 of them died, another 100,000 would replace them. On my remarking that with such a coming and going we would not attain our goal, namely the delivery of locomotives to the Reichsbahn, who were continually cutting down the time limit, Herr Prior said, "Deliveries are only of secondary importance here." "My attempts to get Herr Prior to understand our economic needs were not successful. In closing, I can only say that as a German I know our relations to the Russian prisoners of war exactly, and in this case I acted only on behalf of my superiors and with the view to the increase in production which is demanded from us. Sohling, Office Chief, Locomotive Construction Works.

From Speer's IMT testimony: If such conditions had existed, I should probably have heard of them, since when I visited plants the head of the plant naturally came to me with his biggest troubles. These troubles occurred primarily after air raids when, for example, both the German workers and foreign workers had no longer any proper shelter. This state of affairs was then described to me, so that I know that what is stated in the Jager affidavit cannot have been a permanent condition. It can only have been a condition caused temporarily by air raids, for a week or a fortnight, and which was improved later on. It is clear that after a severe air raid on a city all the sanitary installations, the water supply, gas supply, electricity, and so on, were out of order and severely damaged, so that temporarily there were very difficult conditions. . . .

It is clear that a worker who has not enough food cannot achieve a good work output. I already said yesterday that every head of a plant, and I too at the top, was naturally interested in having well-fed and satisfied workers, because badly fed, dissatisfied workers make more mistakes and produce poor results.

I should like to comment on this document. The document is dated 25 February 1942. At that time there were official instructions that the Russian workers who came to the Reich should be treated worse than the western prisoners of war and the western workers. I learned of this through complaints from the heads of concerns. In my document book, there is a Fuehrer protocol which dates from the middle of March 1942-that is, 3 or 4 weeks after this document-in which I called Hitler's attention to the fact that the feeding both of Russian prisoners of war and of Russian workers was absolutely insufficient and that they would have to be given an adequate diet, and that moreover the Russian workers were being kept behind barbed wire like prisoners of war and that that would have to be stopped also. The protocol shows that in both cases I succeeded in getting Hitler to agree that conditions should be changed and they were changed.

I must say furthermore that it was really to Sauckel's credit that he fought against a mountain of stupidity and did everything so that foreign workers and prisoners of war should be treated better and receive decent food.

From the affidavit of an employee of the Reich Railways: I, the undersigned, Adam Schmidt, employed as Betriebswart on the Essen-West Railway Station and residing . . . state voluntarily and on oath: I have been employed by the Reich Railways since 1918 and have been at Essen-West Station since 1935. In the middle of 1941 the first workers arrived from Poland, Galicia, and the Polish Ukraine. They came to Essen in trucks in which potatoes, building materials and also cattle had been transported, and were brought to perform work at Krupp's. The trucks were jammed full with people. My personal view was that it was inhuman to transport people in such a manner. The people were packed closely together and they had no room for free movement.

The Krupp overseers laid special value on the speed with which the slave workers got in and out of the trucks. It was enraging for every decent German who had to watch this to see how the people were beaten and kicked and generally maltreated in a brutal manner. In the very beginning when the first transport arrived we could see how inhumanly these people were treated. Every truck was so overfilled that it was incredible that such a number of people could be jammed into one. I could see with my own eyes that sick people who could scarcely walk they were mostly people with foot trouble, or with injuries, and people with internal trouble) were nevertheless taken to work. One could see that it was sometimes difficult for them to move. The same can be said of the Eastern Workers and PW's who came to Essen in the middle of 1942.

From Speer's IMT testimony: When the workers came to Germany from the East, their clothing was no doubt bad, but I know from Sauckel that while he was in office a lot was done to get them better clothes, and in Germany many of the Russian workers were brought to a considerably better condition than they had previously been in in Russia. The Russian workers were quite satisfied in Germany. If they arrived here in rags, that does not mean that that was our fault. We could not use ragged workers with poor shoes in our industry, so conditions were improved. I cannot give any information about this transport matter. I received no reports about it.

From an affidavit by a certain Hofer, who lived in Essen: From April 1943 I worked with Lowenkamp every day in Panzer Shop 4. Lowenkamp was brutal to the foreigners. He confiscated food which belonged to the PW's and took it home. Every day he maltreated Eastern Workers, Russian PW's, French, Italian, and other foreign civilians. He had a steel cabinet built which was so small that one could hardly stand in it. He locked up foreigners in the box, women too, for 48 hours at a time without giving the people food.

They were not released even to relieve nature. It was forbidden for other people, too, to give any help to the persons locked in, or to release them. While clearing a concealed store he fired on escaping Russian civilians without hitting any of them.
One day, while distributing food, I saw how he hit a French civilian in the face with a ladle and made his face bleed. Further, he delivered Russian girls without bothering about the children afterwards. There was never any milk for them so the Russians had to nourish the children with sugar water. When Lowenkamp was arrested he wrote two letters and sent them to me through his wife. He tried to make out that he never beat people.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I consider this affidavit a lie. I would say that among German people such things do not exist, and if such individual cases occurred they were punished. It is not possible to drag the German people in the dirt in such a way. The heads of concerns were decent people too, and took an interest in their workers. If the head of the Krupp plant heard about such things, he certainly took steps immediately. No, I do not believe it [the steel-box story]; I mean I do not believe it is true. After the collapse in 1945 a lot of affidavits were certainly drawn up which do not fully correspond to the truth. That is not your fault. It is the fault of ... after a defeat, it is quite possible that people lend themselves to things like that.

From a captured German document headed "Sworn on oath before a military court" signed by Hubert Karden: The camp inmates were mostly Jewish women and girls from Hungary and Romania. The camp inmates were brought to Essen at the beginning of 1944 and were put to work at Krupp's. The accommodation and feeding of the camp prisoners was beneath all dignity. At first the prisoners were accommodated in simple wooden huts. These huts were burned down during an air raid and from that time on the prisoners had to sleep in a damp cellar. Their beds were made on the floor and consisted of a straw-filled sack and two blankets.

In most cases it was not possible for the prisoners to wash themselves daily, as there was no water. There was no possibility of having a bath. I could often observe from the Krupp factory, during the lunch break, how the prisoners boiled their under-clothing in an old bucket or container over a wood fire, and cleaned themselves. An air-raid trench served as shelter, while the SS guards went to the Humboldt shelter, which was bombproof. Reveille was at 5 AM. There was no coffee or any food served in the morning. They marched off to the factory at 5.15 AM. They marched for three-quarters of an hour to the factory, poorly clothed and badly shod, some without shoes, and covered with a blanket, in rain or snow. Work began at 6 AM. The lunch break was from 12 to 12.30. Only during the break was it at all possible for the prisoners to cook something for themselves from potato peelings and other garbage.

The daily working period was one of 10 or 11 hours. Although the prisoners were completely undernourished, their work was very heavy physically. The prisoners were often maltreated at their work benches by Nazi overseers and female SS guards. At 5 or 6 in the afternoon they were marched back to camp. The accompanying guards consisted of female SS who, in spite of protests from the civil population, often maltreated the prisoners on the way back with kicks, blows, and scarcely repeatable words. It often happened that individual women or girls had to be carried back to the camp by their comrades owing to exhaustion. At 6 or 7 p.m. these exhausted people arrived back in camp. Then the real meal was distributed. This consisted of cabbage soup. This was followed by the evening meal of water soup and a piece of bread which was for the following day. Occasionally the food on Sundays was better. As long as it existed there was never any inspection of the camp by the firm of Krupp. On 13 March 1945 the camp prisoners were brought to Buchenwald Concentration Camp, from there some were sent to work. The camp commandant was SS Oberscharfuehrer Rick. His present whereabouts is unknown.

From Speer's IMT testimony: First I should like to say, as you have so often mentioned my non-responsibility, that if in general these conditions had been true ... I should consider myself responsible. I refuse to evade responsibility. But the conditions were not what they are said to have been here. There are only individual cases which are quoted. As for this document I should only like to say from what I have seen of it that this seems to concern a concentration camp, one of the small concentration camps near the factories. The factories could not inspect these camps. That is why the sentence is quite true where it says that no factory representative ever saw the camp. The fact that there were SS guards also shows that it was a concentration camp.

If the question which you asked me before, as to whether the labor camps were guarded--those for foreign workers--if that refers to this document, then your conclusion was wrong. For as far as I know, the other labor camps were not guarded by SS or by any other organizations. My position is such that I feel it is my duty to protect the heads of plants from any injustice which might be done them. The head of a plant could not bother about the conditions in such a camp. I cannot say whether conditions were as described in this camp. We have seen so much material on conditions in concentration camps during the Trial.

March 1942: After much negotiation Goering, under the Four Year Plan, establishes the office of Plenipotentiary for Armaments and War Production and appoints Speer as minister. This is at best a ruse to allow Goering to save face. While officially putting Speer under Goering, Speer will actually continue to answer only to Hitler. (Read)

From Speer's IMT testimony: I am of the opinion that at the time I took over my office, in February 1942, all the violations of international law, which later--which are now brought up against me, had already been committed. The workers were brought to Germany largely against their will, and I had no objection to their being brought to Germany against their will. On the contrary, during the first period, until the autumn of 1942, I certainly also took some pains to see that as many workers as possible should be brought to Germany in this manner. . . . I had to tell Sauckel, of course, in which of my programs labor was needed most urgently. But that sort of thing was dealt with by general instructions. That [establishing the priorities of different industries in their claim for the labor when it came into the Reich] was a matter of course; naturally that had to be done.

March 1942: Speer is also appointed to the Central Planning Board, along with Milch and Korner.

From Speer's IMT testimony: Of course, beginning with March 1942, I had nominally taken over the Armament Office under General Thomas from the OKW, and this Armament Office was a joint office of all three Armed Forces branches, where labor allocation problems were discussed too. Through an agreement between Goering and me it was decided that air armament, independently of me, should look after its own interests. This agreement was necessary since at first, as Minister for Army Armament, I had a biased interest and therefore did not want to make decisions regarding the demands for labor of a unit that was not subordinate to me.

When in 1942 I assumed my office it was imperative to centralize the allocation and distribution of various materials for the three branches of the Armed Forces, and to guarantee the proper direction of war economy for a long time to come. Up to that time this matter had been taken care of in the Ministry of Economy, and partly in the OKW. Both these agencies were much too weak to prevail against the three Armed Forces branches.

In pursuance of my proposal, in March 1942 the Central Planning Board was established by the Delegate for the Four Year Plan. Its three members, Milch, Korner, and myself, were entitled to make joint decisions only, which, however, could always be reached without any difficulty. It is obvious that through my predominant position I was the decisive factor in this Central Planning Board.

The tasks of the Central Planning Board were clearly outlined and laid down in Goering's decree, which I had drafted. To make statistics on the demands for labor or on the allocation of workers was not a matter which was laid down in this decree. This activity was not carried out systematically by the Central Planning Board despite the documents presented here. As far as the decisions regarding demands and allocation of labor were concerned, I tried to have this done by the Central Planning Board, since this would have been an essential factor in the directing of the entire economy. This, however, always met with Sauckel's refusal because he considered it as interfering with his rights. . . .

No, that is in no way correct [that Goering participated in the meetings of the Central Planning Board]. I would not have had any use for him, for after all, we had to carry out practical work. In 1941 I had not yet anything to do with armament; and even later, during the period of Sauckel's activity, I did not appoint these delegates and did not do much to promote their activities. That was a matter for Sauckel to handle; it was in his jurisdiction.

March 3, 1942: From the Diary of Rudolf Wolters:

Last night with Speer at the Philharmonic. In his box Frau Speer and Ilsebill Todt, the eighteen-year-old daughter of the late minister, who so resembles him in her facial expressions. Speer wants to help her to study interior design. He has asked me to find a suitable school.

Speer said that he already feels quite at home with his new job . . . . He said that when a few days after his appointment he ... explained his ideas about the standardization of the armament industry to the assembled army and industrial leaders, no one budged when he asked whether there were any objections, so he had them all signify their approval by putting their signatures on his proposal. They only realized what they had done when they got home. Then they picked up the phone and complained to Goering that they had been tricked into signing. When the Reichsmarshal rang to tell him about these complaints, he explained what he was trying to do, whereupon Goering virtually made him his deputy on the Four-Year-Plan then and there.

"With this," Speer told me at the Philharmonic that night, "I already have more power now than Todt ever had."

Late that night, Speer invited his ten leading architects and his closest collaborators from the GBI—Stephan, Schelkes and me—to supper at Horcher's [Speer's favorite restaurant]. He told the group that he was already feeling quite at home in his new position ... and that he thought he would be able to make himself useful there, especially as the Fuehrer had assured him of his full confidence. Regrettably, he would have to leave them to their own devices, at least for two years; by then he thought he would have the problems licked. While of course taking on the whole spectrum of armaments, he intended to concentrate first of all on tanks, and had already thoroughly familiarized himself with the new Russian ones--he had driven one for hours the other day . . . . He thought that architects rather than engineers would be the future leaders and managers of technology. After the war he, Speer, would presumably be put in charge of a new Ministry for Construction.

March 14, 1942: Krupp Director Hupe, of the Krupp locomotive plant in Essen, writes:

We have confirmed in the last few days that the lodgings of the Russians billeted here are miserable, that the people grow weaker from day to day. Investigations have established that individual Russians are no longer in a condition, for example, to work a lathe correctly on account of their failing bodily health. The same thing is reported from all other factories in which Russians are employed.

From Speer's IMT testimony: Krupp's are an excellent example of the fact that an armament concern only reserves a fraction of its production for war equipment. Of course, I must point out the fact that especially this Krupp concern was one of those armament industries which, among others, had the smallest production of armament, on a percentage basis.

Krupp's main interest lay in mines, and in three large works which produced unprocessed and highly tempered steel. The manufacture of locomotives and products for the chemical industry were specialties of Krupp's. On the other hand, the actual armament specialty of Krupp's--the construction of armored turrets for warships, and large special guns--was not at all exploited during this war. Only in 1944 did Krupp erect the first big factory for the production of guns near Breslau. Up to that time Krupp was mainly concerned with the designing of new weapons, while for the production other firms were licensed. All in all, one can say that at Krupp's, 10 to 15 percent of the personnel turned out armament equipment in the sense of the Geneva Agreement, even though the entire works were classified as armament works.

My Ministry had no influence in that direction [whether a factory would receive German or foreign workers] at all. The need for workers was reported to my Ministry by the industries which were subordinate to me. They reported a total figure of workers needed, and there were no specifications as to whether foreign workers, prisoners of war, or German workers were wanted. This total figure was forwarded to the Plenipotentiary General for Labor. Sauckel refused to accept detailed demands, and he was quite right in this respect, for he could not issue detailed directives to the offices subordinate to him concerning the percentage of German or foreign workers which were to be allocated locally to the various factories.

The ultimate distribution of workers to the factories was taken care of by the labor offices without any intervention of my offices or agencies. Therefore, here too, we did not exert influence as to whether Germans, foreigners or prisoners of war were allocated to any factory. The factory then had to report back to us about the number of workers newly received. This report was turned in to my Ministry in a lump figure so that I could not tell whether and what number of foreign workers or prisoners of war the total figure contained. Of course, I knew that foreign workers worked on armament equipment, and I quite agreed to that.

March 21, 1942: Sauckel is appointed Generalbevollmaechtigter fuer den Arbeitseinsatz (General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labor):

The assurance of the required manpower for the whole war economy, and in particular for the armament industry, necessitates a uniform direction, meeting the needs of the war economy, of all available labor, including hired foreigners and prisoners of war, as well as the mobilization of all unused labor still in the Greater German Reich, including the Protectorate as well as the Government General and the occupied territories. This mission will be accomplished by Reichsstatthalter and Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel in the capacity of Plenipotentiary General for Allocation of Labor. In this capacity he is directly responsible to the Delegate for the Four Year Plan. (Shirer, Read)

From Fritz Sauckel's IMT testimony: The reason why I was chosen for this office was never known to me and I do not know it now. Because of my engineering studies and my occupation I took an interest in questions concerning labor systems, but I do not know whether that was the reason. Reichsleiter Bormann stated that [my appointment not made at Speer's suggestion] in the preamble to his official decree. I do not know the actual circumstances. The Arbeitseinsatz had been directed by the Four Year Plan before my appointment. A ministerial director, Dr. Mansfeld, held the office then. I only learned here, during these proceedings, that the office was already known before my time as the office of the Plenipotentiary General.

My office had to meet the demands made by Speer. Yes, he had to have that [his own machinery for directing labor] in his ministry, and he did have it. That was essential. I cannot tell you why Reich Minister Speer was interested in my appointment.

From Speer's IMT testimony: During the war I was very grateful to Sauckel for every laborer whom I got through him. Many a time I held him responsible for the fact that through lack of manpower the armament industry did not achieve the results it might have, but I always emphasized the merits which accrued to him because of his activity on behalf of armaments.

My Labor Allocation Department was further mentioned by Sauckel in his testimony. This worked as follows: Every large factory and every employer of labor had an allocation department which, naturally, came under mine. None of these departments, however, encroached in the slightest degree on Sauckel's tasks. Their sphere of activity was not very great, as may be seen from the fact that each was one of 50 or 60 departments coming under my office. If I had attached very much importance to it, it would have been one of my six or eight branch offices.

Sauckel further mentioned the Stabsleiter discussions which took place in his office. A representative of my Labor Allocation Department for Army and Navy armament and for building attended these conferences. At these meetings, which were attended by about 15 people who were in need of labor, the question of priority was settled on the basis of Sauckel's information on the state of economy generally. These were really the functions erroneously ascribed here to the Central Planning Board.

From Adolf Hitler and the German Trauma by Robert Edwin Herzstein: Albert Speer proved to be a good choice [for Reich Minister of Armaments], for he more than tripled German armaments production in less than three years. He created a centralized war machine for the total mobilization of German industry. Speer was even able to prevent the conscription of certain categories of key industrial workers, thereby saving them for German military production. He succeeded in establishing factories in France that did not lose their workers to Sauckel's recruitment gangs. But in his memoirs Speer makes it seem as if he had very little to do with Sauckel, and that when he did have contact with him it was as a hostile supplicant protecting skilled workers in occupied countries from Sauckel's impressment gangs. Actually, without the labor with which Sauckel provided Speer and the industrialists with whom he collaborated in preparing the German economy for total war, Germany would have had to surrender by 1944.

From Speer's Spandau Draft: And I did everything to support him [Sauckel] and his new authority. Of course, he had promised a great deal. Under ordinary peacetime circumstances, every year produces a new generation of six hundred thousand young men to take the place of the old or dead. But now that the Wehrmacht took virtually all of these, and several hundred thousand more every year from the ranks of those in industry who had originally been exempted, we had a quite unbelievable shortfall--of about one million a year ... which Sauckel unhesitatingly promised to replace.

And to begin with, he was surprisingly successful with volunteers from the Ukraine. I was told that their trains to Germany were decorated with flowers and banners. I didn't see this myself, but it was perfectly possible. People I knew who went East found the population there to have such a low standard of living that the incredible [to them] wealth of our soldiers must have given them an impression of enormous riches in the West.

But when the volunteers' trains arrived in Germany they were soon disillusioned: upon the order of the SS, their quarters were like prison camps behind barbed wire ... to prevent them from spreading communist propaganda. One can easily see why, among the many things forbidden to them, they were also barely allowed to write home.

Sauckel, it has to be said, was appalled by these rules, imposed by others than himself, not to speak of how I felt. I told Hitler as soon as I learned of this, and he did immediately order the removal of the barbed wire. But that wasn't all by any means: when some weeks later I visited the Krupp works in Essen, I found out that the Russian workers' rations were so minimal that they couldn't work properly. Again, I told Hitler, who ordered that they were to be better fed. Of course, all this wasn't really my business, but at that point Sauckel was glad to have my help--and I to give it. (Sereny)

March 21, 1942: From Goebbels' Diary:

Sauckel has been appointed Reich Plenipotentiary for manpower . . . . Undoubtedly his strong National Socialist hand will achieve miracles. It should not be difficult to mobilize at least a million additional workers from among the German people.

From Fritz Sauckel's IMT testimony: That [the suggestion that the work could have been carried out in the occupied territories themselves] is, at first sight, an attractive suggestion. If it had been possible, I would willingly have carried out the suggestion which was made by Funk and other authorities, and later even by Speer. It would have made my life and work much simpler.

On the other hand, there were large departments in this system which had to provide for and maintain the different branches of German economy and supply them with orders. As the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor I could not have German fields, German farming, German mass production with the most modern machinery transferred to foreign territories--I had no authority for that--and those offices insisted that I should find replacements for the agricultural and industrial workers and the artisans whose places had become vacant in German agriculture or industry because the men had been called to the colors.

From Speer's IMT testimony: Neither I nor the Ministry was responsible for this [recruiting of foreign workers and prisoners of war and for taking manpower from concentration camps]. The Ministry was a new establishment, which had a technical problem to deal with. It took no competence in any field away from an existing authority. The conditions of work were still handled through the old existing authorities. The Food Ministry and the various offices connected with it were responsible for the food supply, and the occupation-supervising agencies in the Reich Labor Ministry were responsible for the maintenance of safe and bearable conditions at the places of work; the Trustees of Labor, working under the Plenipotentiary for Labor Commitment, were responsible for the salaries and the quality and quantity of work done; and the Health Office of the Reich Ministry of the Interior was responsible for health conditions. The Justice Department and the Police Department were responsible for violations against labor discipline, and, finally, the German Labor Front was responsible for representing the interests of labor with the employers.

The centralizing of all of these authorities lay in the hands of the Gauleiter as Reich Defense Commissioner. The fact that the SS put itself and its concentration camp internees outside the control of the State is not a matter with which I or my Ministry was concerned.

Yes, certainly [Sauckel was only involved with the carrying out of the recruiting of workers for the industries, then his task was finished], as far as the placing of workers is concerned, for one of the subjects of dissension between Sauckel and me was that the appropriate employment of workers in industry itself had to be a matter of the works manager and that this could not be influenced by the labor office. It applied however only to labor recruitment and not to the observance of labor conditions. In this connection, the office of Sauckel was partly responsible as supervising authority.

April 19, 1942: From an article by Speer entitled Increase of Production published in Das Reich:

At my suggestion, the Fuehrer ordered that those heads of concerns and employees, and also those officials and officers, who attempt to secure material or labor by giving inaccurate information will receive severe prison sentences or the death sentences. . . . . The war must be won.

From Speer's IMT testimony: In addition it was asserted that I promoted the transport of foreign workers to Germany in April 1942 and that I was responsible for the fact that foreign workers were brought to Germany at all. That, however, is not true. I did not need to use any influence on Sauckel to attain that. In any case, it is evident from a document in my possession—the minutes of a Fuehrer conference of 3 May 1942—that the introduction of compulsory labor in the western region was approved by the Fuehrer at Sauckel's suggestion.

I can further quote a speech, which I delivered on 18 April 1942, showing that at that period I was still of the opinion that the German building industry, which employed approximately 1.8 million workmen, was to be discontinued to a large extent to divert the necessary labor to the production of armaments. This speech which I made to my staff, in which I explained my principles and also discussed the question of manpower, does not contain any mention of the planning of a foreign labor draft. If I had been the active instigator of these plans, surely I would have mentioned the subject in this speech.

April 20, 1942: Sauckel to Rosenberg:

The aim of this new, gigantic labor mobilization is to use all the rich and tremendous sources, conquered and secured for us by our fighting Armed Forces under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, for the armament of the Armed Forces and also for the nutrition of the homeland. The raw materials as well as the fertility of the conquered territories and their human labor power are to be used completely and conscientiously to the profit of Germany and her allies.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I did not exert my influence to have prisoners of war employed contrary to the directives given out by the OKW. I knew the point of view held by the OKW, according to which the Geneva Convention was to be strictly observed. Of course, I knew as well that these Geneva regulations did not apply to Russian prisoners of war and Italian military internees. I could not exert any influence on the allocation of prisoners of war to the individual factories. This allocation was determined by the labor offices in connection with the offices depending on the chief of Prisoner of War Affairs, the "Stalag."

The supervision of the proper allocations of prisoners of war was carried out by the Military Economy Officer (Wehrwirtschaftsoffizier) as the intermediary authority. He was incorporated in the office of the Military Area Commander who was under the jurisdiction of the Army.

April 22, 1942: From the minutes of a meeting of the Central Planning Board signed by Goering:

With a view to assuring priority of armaments as ordered by the Fuehrer, and to embrace all the demands which are thereby made on the total economy during the war, and in order to bring about an adjustment between a secure food supply and the raw material and manufacturing facilities in the economy, I order: In connection with the Four Year Plan a Central Planning Board shall be organized . . . . Point C: The distribution of existing raw materials, especially iron and metals, among the places requiring them. Point B: The decision as to the creation of new plants for production of raw materials, or enlargement of the existing plants.

From Speer's IMT testimony: These minutes of all the 60 meetings of the Central Planning Board which took place from 1942 until 1945 are contained in the stenographic records. These 5,000 typed pages give a clear report on the tasks and the activities carried out by the Central Planning Board. It is quite obvious to any expert that there was no planning with regard to manpower allocation, for it is clear that a plan regarding labor allocation would have to be revised at least every 3 months, just as we had to do for raw materials. In fact, three to four meetings took place in the Central Planning Board which were concerned with labor allocation. These three or four discussions were held for the following reasons: In the years 1942 and 1943, that is, before I took over the management of the total production, whenever soldiers were recruited for the Armed Forces, I had reserved for myself the right to distribute the various recruitment quotas in the different sectors of production. At one meeting this distribution was effected by the Central Planning Board as a neutral committee.

At this session, of course, there was a representative of the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor, since at the same time the problem of replacements had to be dealt with. Another problem which was discussed by the Central Planning Board was the distribution of coal for the following year. Just as in England, coal was the decisive factor in our entire war economy, too. At these discussions we had to determine at the same time how the demands for labor supply for the mines could be satisfied by the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor, because only in agreement with him could proper plans be made for the following year. From this discussions resulted on the allocation of Russian prisoners of war in mines, a matter which has been mentioned here.

Furthermore, two sessions took place in which the demands put forward by all interested parties were actually discussed, and in a way which the Prosecution would like to generalize as applying to the entire activities of the Central Planning Board. These two sessions took place in February and March of 1944, and no others were held either before or after. Besides, these two sessions took place during my illness. Even at that time it was not quite clear to me why it was that just when I was ill Sauckel first complied with my wish to have the Central Planning Board included, and then later went back on his promise.

Besides these stenographic records, minutes were taken on the result of the meeting. These minutes are the actual result of the meeting. No material from the actual minutes has so far been submitted by the Prosecution. The contents of the stenographic records are, of course, remarks and debates which always take place when matters of such importance are dealt with, in every war economy of every country, even when the authorities involved are not directly responsible for questions such as those dealing with labor allocation.

In March 1942, Goering, giving heed to my proposal, created the office of Plenipotentiary for Armaments and War Production, in the Four Year Plan, and I was appointed to that office. This was purely a matter of form. It was generally known that Goering had quarreled with my predecessor, Todt, since armament problems for the Army had not been put under his control in the Four Year Plan. In assuming this capacity as Plenipotentiary for Armaments and War Production, I had subordinated myself to Goering. In fact, the Plenipotentiary for Armaments and War Production never achieved any influence. I issued no directives whatsoever in that capacity. As Minister I possessed sufficient authority, and it was not necessary that I should use the authority which I had under the Four Year Plan.

April 26, 1942: Hitler addresses the Reichstag:

We Germans have everything to gain in this struggle for existence, for to lose this war would mean our finish. Asiatic barbarism would flood Europe just as it happened at the time of the Huns or the Mongolians. Nobody knows that better than the German soldier and the nations who are fighting by his side and who have had an opportunity to become acquainted with the meaning of Bolshevist liberation of humanity. England however, will win nothing in this war. It will lose and then perhaps it will gradually begin to realize that the fate of nations and peoples must not be entrusted to the care of a cynical drunkard nor of people who are mentally ill. Truth will be the final victor in this fight. Truth, however, is with us. I'm proud of the fact that destiny has chosen me to lead the German nation in such a great period . . . . For always I aim to tie my name and my life to its fate. I have no other favor to ask of the Almighty but to let us be victorious in the future as we were in the past and to let me live only as long as he considers necessary to conclude this fight for existence...

From Speer's IMT testimony: I should like to say something of fundamental importance here. This war has brought an inconceivable catastrophe upon the German people, and indeed started a world catastrophe. Therefore it is my unquestionable duty to assume my share of responsibility for this disaster before the German people. This is all the more my obligation, all the more my responsibility, since the head of the Government has avoided responsibility before the German people and before the world. I, as an important member of the leadership of the Reich, therefore, share in the total responsibility, beginning with 1942. I will state my arguments in this connection in my final remarks.

Of course [I take full responsibility for the affairs covered by the extensive sphere of my assignments], as far as it is possible according to the principles generally applied and as far as actions were taken according to my directives. Insofar as Hitler gave me orders and I carried them out, I assume the responsibility for them. I did not, of course, carry out all the orders which he gave me.

May 4, 1942: During dinner at Rastenburg, Hitler holds forth on forced labor policy:

The integration of twenty million foreign workers at cheap rates into the German industrial system represents a savings which ... is greatly in excess of the total debts contracted by the State. A simple calculation—which curiously enough seems to have escaped the notice of most of our economic experts—will show the correctness of this contention: The foreign worker earns approximately a thousand marks a year, compared to two thousand marks for a German worker. Work out what this comes to in toto, and you will see that the final gain is enormous.

From Speer's Spandau Draft: A little later [1942] a new problem arose when the Russian workers discovered that they were getting only a fraction of the salary paid to Germans. This was actually in consequence of a decision by Hitler and Goering long before workers were imported that, given the low living standards in the East, prices and salaries there were to be kept radically low after occupation, in order to reduce the price of production there for us. At a conference I attended with Sauckel, Goering did finally raise salaries for those Russians who came to Germany voluntarily, but even so, their salaries remained much lower than those of Germans . . . .

Of course all these initial mistakes were fatal to getting the Easterners to come voluntarily--though in my view that would have been impossible anyway in the numbers we needed. Added to all this, we very soon had other complaints, this time from the plant management’s. Did we realize, they asked, that we were introducing thousands of potential saboteurs into sensitive war production? And how exactly did they think they could deal with this number of foreigners, without interpreters, foremen who spoke thier languages, or any social or health provisions whatever?

After this Sauckel lost all restraint and ordered the civil and military authorities in the East to proceed at any cost and by the use of ruthless methods with the procurement of the necessary labor force. Despite all this he entertained the extraordinary illusion that all these foreigners, having had a taste of our paradise, would return to thier homes as propagandists for National Socialist thinking.

May 8, 1942: From notes of a meeting between Rosenberg and Hitler:

The Fuehrer then repeated several times that Speer's Ministry would be dissolved the moment the peace treaty was signed, and his duties will be assigned to others.

May 20, 1942: Mr. Justice Singleton, a British High Court Judge, delivers a report to the British Cabinet:

If Russia can hold Germany on land I doubt whether Germany will stand 12 or 18 months’ continuous, intensified and increased bombing, affecting, as it must, her war production, her power of resistance, her industries and her will to resist (by which I mean morale).

Summer 1942: Construction begins on Krupp's Berthawerk labor camp at Markstaedt. (THC)

From the affidavit of Dr. Apolinary Gotowicki: I; the undersigned, Dr. Apolinary Gotowicki, a physician in the Polish Army, was taken prisoner by the Germans on 3 January 1941 and remained as such until the entry of the Americans. I gave medical attention to the Russian, Polish, and French prisoners of war who were forced to work in various places of Krupp's factories. I personally visited the Russian PW camp in the Raumastrasse in Essen, which contained about 1,800 men. There was a big hall in the camp which could house about 200 men comfortably, in which 300 to 400 men were thrown together in such a catastrophic manner that no medical treatment was possible. The floor was cement and the mattresses on which the people slept were full of lice and bugs. Even on cold days the room was never heated and it seemed to me, as a doctor, unworthy of human beings that people should find themselves in such a position.

It was impossible to keep the place clean because of the overcrowding of these men who had hardly room to move about normally. Every day at least 10 people were brought to me whose bodies were covered with bruises on account of the continual beatings with rubber tubes, steel switches, or sticks. The people were often writhing with agony and it was impossible for me to give them even a little medical aid. In spite of the fact that I protested, made complaints and petitions, it was impossible for me to protect the people or see that they got a day off from work. It was difficult for me to watch how such suffering people could be dragged to do heavy work.

I visited personally, with danger to myself, gentlemen of the Krupp administration, as well as gentlemen from the Krupp Directorate, to try to get help. It was strictly forbidden, as the camp was under the direction of the SS and Gestapo; and according to well-known directives I had to keep silent, otherwise I might have been sent to a concentration camp. I have brought my own bread innumerable times to the camp in order to give it to the prisoners, as far as it was possible, although bread was scarce enough for me. From the beginning in 1941 conditions did not get better, but worse. The food consisted of a watery soup which was dirty and sandy, and often the prisoners of war had to eat cabbage which was bad and stank. I could notice people daily who, on account of hunger or ill-treatment, were slowly dying. Dead people often lay for 2 or 3 days on the beds until their bodies stank so badly that fellow prisoners took them outside and buried them somewhere.

The dishes out of which they ate were also used as toilets because they were too tired or too weak from hunger to get up and go outside. At 3 o'clock they were wakened. The same dishes were then used to wash in and later for eating out of. This matter was generally known. In spite of this it was impossible for me to get even elementary help or facilities in order to get rid of these epidemics, illnesses, or cases of starvation. There can be no mention of medical aid for the prisoners. I never received any medical supplies myself. In 1941 I alone had to look after these people from a medical point of view; but it is quite understandable that it was impossible for me as the only one to look after all of these people, and apart from that, I had scarcely any medical supplies. I could not think what to do with a number of 1,800 people who came to me daily crying and complaining. I myself often collapsed daily, and in spite of this I had to take everything upon myself and watch how people perished and died. A report was never made as to how the prisoners of war died.

I have seen with my own eyes the prisoners coming back from Krupp's and how they collapsed on the march and had to be wheeled back on barrows or carried by their comrades. It was in such a manner that the people came back to the camp. The work which they had to perform was very heavy and dangerous and many cases happened where people had cut their fingers, hands or legs. These accidents were very serious and the people came to me and asked me for medical help. But it was not even possible for me to keep them from work for a day or two, although I had been to the Krupp Directorate and asked for permission to do so. At the end of 1941, two people died daily, and in 1942 the deaths increased to three and four per day.

I was under Dr. May and I was often successful in getting him to come to the camp to see the terrible conditions and listen to the complaints, but it was not possible for him to get medical aid from the Medical Department of the Armed Forces or Krupp's, or to get better conditions, treatment, or food. I was a witness during a conversation with some Russian women who told me personally that they were employed in Krupp's factory and that they were beaten daily in the most bestial manner. The food consisted of watery soup which was dirty and inedible and its terrible smell could be perceived from a distance. The clothing was ragged and torn and on their feet they had rags and wooden shoes. Their treatment, as far as I could make out, was the same as that of the prisoners of war. Beating was the order of the day. The conditions lasted for years, from the very beginning until the day the American troops entered. The people lived in great anxiety and it was dangerous for them to describe to anyone anywhere the conditions which reigned in their camps. The directions were such that they could have been murdered by any one of the guards, the SS, or Gestapo if they noticed it. It was possible for me as a doctor to talk to these people; they trusted me and knew that I was a Pole and would never betray them to anyone.

From Speer's IMT testimony: I should like to point out that the conditions described in this affidavit cannot be considered as general; apart from that, I do not believe that this description is correct, but I cannot speak about these things since you will not expect me to be intimately acquainted with what happened in the camps of the firm of Krupp. I would rather not tell you here things which every German has at heart. No military targets were attacked, and the camps, therefore, could not be near military targets. The camps were not in the Krupp works, they were near the city of Essen. On principle, we did not construct camps near the works which we expected would be bombed; and we did not want the camps to be destroyed.

[A photograph is shown to Speer] Some large factory is recognizable in the background of this photograph, but that does not affect my statement that in almost all cases we constructed the camps outside the cities. I do not know why this particular instance is different, and I cannot even say whether this is a camp or just a hut for changing clothes, or anything which had to be near the camp. I still believe that these cabinets were cabinets for clothes, and this is one of the many huts which were necessary so that the workers could change clothes before and after their work. Any expert in Germany can tell you that these are wardrobes and not some special cabinets, because they are mass-produced articles; this is also confirmed by the fact that there are air vents at the top, for every wardrobe has these ventilation holes at the top and bottom. I was interested in a high output of work, that is obvious. . . .

These two factors [sickness and rapid turnover] were disturbing for us, but not as extensively as your words might suggest. Cases of sickness made up a very small percentage which in my opinion was normal. However, propaganda pamphlets dropped from aircraft were telling the workers to feign illness, and detailed instructions were given to them on how to do it. And to prevent that, the authorities concerned introduced certain measures, which I considered proper. I cannot tell you in detail, because I myself did not institute these penalties, nor did I have the power to do so; but as far as I know, they were ordered by the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor in collaboration with the Police or State authorities; but the jurisdiction in this connection was with the authorities responsible for legal action.

When I say that I approved I am only expressing my wish not to dodge my responsibility in this respect. But you must understand that a minister of production, particularly in view of the air attacks, had a tremendous task before him and that I could only take care of matters outside my own field if some particularly important factor forced me to do so. Otherwise, I was glad if I could finish my own work and, after all, my task was by no means a small one.

I think that if during the German air attacks on England you had asked the British Minister of Production whether he shared the worries of the Minister of Labor and whether he was dealing with them, then he would with justification have told you that he had something else to do at that time, that he had to keep up his production and that he expected the Minister of Labor to manage affairs in his sector; and no one would have raised a direct accusation against the British Minister of Production on that account.

What I knew is contained in the reports of the Central Planning Board; there you will get a picture of what I was told. Although there were many other meetings I cannot tell you in detail what I knew, because these were things outside my sphere of activity. Naturally, it is a matter of course that anyone closely concerned with the affairs of State will also hear of matters not immediately connected with his own sphere, and of unsatisfactory conditions existing in other sectors; but one is not obliged to deal with these conditions and later on one will not remember them in detail. You cannot expect that of me. But if you have any particular passage, I shall be glad to give you information on it.

Normally, a minister would send a document to the Government authorities responsible for such conditions. I must claim for myself that when I heard of such deficiencies I tried to remedy them by establishing direct contact with the authority responsible, in some cases the German Labor Front, where I had a liaison officer, or in other cases my letter was transmitted to Sauckel through my office of manpower deployment. My practice in this respect was that if I did not receive a return report I considered the matter settled; for I could not then again pursue those things and make further inquiries whether they had been dealt with or not.

During visits to Krupp's discussions certainly took place on the conditions which generally existed for workers after air attacks; this was a source of great worry for us, particularly with regard to Krupp. I knew this well, but the reports from Krupp were not different from--I cannot remember ever being told that foreign workers or prisoners of war were in a particularly bad position. Temporarily they all lived under very primitive conditions; German workers lived in cellars during those days, and six or eight people were often quartered in a small basement room.


Twitter: @3rdReichStudies
Featured Sites:
 
Austria: The Other Germany
Adolf Hitler: The First Super-Villian
Third Reich History: What Happened Today?
Countdown to Infamy: Timeline to Pearl Harbor
Biographical Timeline: of the Infamous Adolf Hitler
Countdown To WW2: August 22 - September 1, 1939
The Nuremberg Nazis: Detailed, Documented Biographies
Wunderwaffen: Hitler's Deception and the History of Rocketry
 
Main Sites:

Adolf Hitler: The Volkswagen
Adolf Hitler: The Fuehrer's Mercedes
Adolf Hitler: Mein Kampf Examined
In the Shadow of Frederick the Great
Hitler's Battleship: Sink The Bismarck!
Non-Fiction Comics: Military Periodicals
History of Olympic Boycotts: From Berlin to Beijing
Hogan's Jews: 5 Cast Members Were Jews; Their Stories
>

Disclaimer: The Propagander!™ includes diverse and controversial materials--such as excerpts from the writings of racists and anti-Semites--so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and anti-Semitic discourse. It is our sincere belief that only the informed citizen can prevail over the ignorance of Racialist "thought." Far from approving these writings, The Propagander!™ condemns racism in all of its forms and manifestations.

Fair Use Notice: The Propagander!™may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of historical, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, environmental, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Make your own free website on Tripod.com