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Inside the Third Reich [Paperback]

Albert Speer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 1997
Speer, the Minister of Armaments and War Production under Hitler, the man who had kept Germany armed and the war machine running even after Hitler's mystique had faded, takes a brutally honest look at his role in the war effort, giving readers a complete view of the inside of the Nazi state.

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Inside the Third Reich + Lost Victories: The War Memoirs of Hilter's Most Brilliant General
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From 1946 to 1966, while serving the prison sentence handed down from the Nuremburg War Crimes tribunal, Albert Speer penned 1,200 manuscript pages of personal memoirs. Titled Erinnerungen ("Recollections") upon their 1969 publication in German, Speer's critically acclaimed personal history was translated into English and published one year later as Inside the Third Reich. Long after their initial publication, Speer's memoir continues to provide one of the most detailed and fascinating portrayals of life within Hitler's inner circles, the rise and fall of the third German empire, and of Hitler himself.

Speer chronicles his entire life, but the majority of Inside the Third Reich focuses on the years between 1933 and 1945, when Speer figured prominently in Hitler's government and the German war effort as Inspector General of Buildings for the Renovation of the Federal Capital and later as Minister of Arms and Munitions. Speer's recollections of both duties foreground the impossibility of reconciling Hitler's idealistic, imperialistic ambitions with both architectural and military reality. Throughout, Inside the Third Reich remains true to its author's intentions. With compelling insight, Speer reveals many of the "premises which almost inevitably led to the disasters" of the Third Reich as well as "what comes from one man's holding unrestricted power in his hands." -- Bertina Loeffler

About the Author

Albert Speer was unique in the Third Reich. An intellectual architect, he was befriended by Hitler in 1933 and for the next 12 years they maintained one of the most powerful and extraordinary relationships in the Nazi hierarchy. In 1942 Speer was appointed Armaments Minister and became second only to Hitler himself as a power on the home front. But in 1945, Speer defied Hitler's scorched earth policy and began to plan his assassination. At Nuremberg he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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SOME OF MY FOREFATHERS WERE SWABIANS, SOME CAME FROM POOR PEASants of the Westerwald, others from Silesia and Westphalia. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I met Albert Speer Nov. 1 2011
I met Albert Speer...And this was book that made me want to meet him - this and "Spandau - The Secret Diaries".

Just after Christmas in 1979 I went to see Speer at his Heidelberg home in West Germany. I had gone to interview him for BBC radio. The trip was carried out in secret. Only a couple of BBC managers, who approved the enterprise, knew what I was doing. And I told no-one until the programmes were broadcast. I went alone - no companions, or production team - just me and Speer alone in his Heidelberg study with a tape recorder running. I met him four times, recording long interviews for six half-hour programmes called "The Hitler Years". You can hear extracts on the BBC website.

So why did "Inside the Third Reich" make such an impression and make me want to meet its author? Because the book changed the way I thought about Hitler. It was the first I'd read that made Hitler seem a plausible human being. Some people say this is wrong. They argue anything that humanises Hitler is improper. He was a monster. All that matters are his crimes.

The trouble with this argument is that it makes Hitler impossible to understand - just a raving lunatic who gormless Germans - not intelligent people like us! - mindlessly followed. But Hitler was more subtle and intelligent than people allow - an evil genius with a surprising amount of twisted knowledge, well read and an extensive interest in the arts. His only weapons to begin with were his voice - he was highly articulate and persuasive - and a superhuman will-power. Hitler claimed he was the greatest actor in Europe. One of his adjutants said even in private it was impossible to tell when he was acting, or sincere. The performance was flawless. He was very convincing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A CAPTIVATING, ENGAGING STORY Oct. 15 2003
In 1989, during my Peace Corps service, I came across the book "INSIDE THE THIRD REICH" quite by surprise and could not put it down. I read it for hours nonstop.
The story that Speer relates here of his life and career in the Third Reich, first as Hitler's architect, and later as the Minister for Armaments and War Production (1942-1945) is gripping and compelling. You get a real, tangible sense of what the people (e.g. Goering, Hess, Himmler, Goebbels, Bormann, etc.) were like who played key roles in Nazi Germany.
This memoir does not read like a dry retelling of historical events. You feel yourself a witness to an unfolding drama of deceit, treachery, genocide, and war in the heart of the Third Reich. All of these events may seem incredible as Speer describes them. But they happened, and in reading "INSIDE THE THIRD REICH", you see how it was that Germany was led down the path to destruction by its political leadership.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Still Popular Jan. 15 2004
This is another World War II book that remains a popular read.
The book is a well written account of the role of "Hitler's Architect". Speer was a manager/architect that help Hitler plan and execute his plans to develop the German war effort. He helped in many facets of the war and together with Hitler they re-planned central Berlin to be the home of the Third Reich.
In retrospect we tend to think of Hitler as a single person but in fact he was surrounded by many like minded and capable individuals. One man can only lead. He needs helpers to do what the Germans did in World War II including the death camps. Speer was one of the many critical people. His role was less sinister than some of his fellow Nazis but it was still a pivot role in helping develop and execute the production of material for the war effort.
The book gives insights into the management and technical problems in running the war.
Excellent book that is still popular. Four or five stars.
Jack in Toronto
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4.0 out of 5 stars somewhat dry recollection/reflections June 14 2003
This is a very interesting read full of subtle observations on the Third Reich and the enigma behind it...the personality of Hitler and his inner circle.
Speer comes across as the ultimate "technician" as he relates his story within the dark, brutal,apocalyptic world of Nazi Germany.
However this IS a book about Speer,through Speer's eyes, so's some of this feels sanitized, a bit too clean.
Lots of stuff on architecture and armaments..perhaps abit more than I cared for, but hey,this is about Speer.
In retrospect the observations on Hitler and Co. are interesting,and it's amazing to hear about so much "disfunction" within this much ballyhooed Nazi inner-core.The trouble is that Speer lived within but mostly without this hardcore group of psychopaths... so the real grit seems to be lacking (unlike the chilling biography HITLER by John Toland which I am currently reading). Overall though a very enjoyable read, minus 1 star for tons of architecture minutia.It becomes apparent how Speer avoided certain grim realities by total immersion in his technical universe.
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Albert Speer was an architect by profession, who rose to become one of the most important figures in the Third Reich. He did this by more or less equal portions of intelligence, good chemistry with Adolf Hitler, and ambition. Speer was the Nazi Minister for War Production and Armaments, and most historians agree that he was extremely effective in this role--thus he shares responsibility for the horrors that the Nazis unleashed.
Speer overall comes across as a decent man who nevertheless let his ambition blind him to, or cause him to rationalize, the ugliness of the regime he served. Speer was very much under the spell of Adolf Hitler until he realized that the regime was doomed and the war was lost. Even as Speer wrote this book in prison it is plain that he still was proud of the esteem in which Hitler held him, despite the fact that by then he had seen Hitler for the monster he was. The one question that the book did not answer to my satisfaction was how much Speer knew about the concentration camp system and the genocide it perpetrated. He plainly knew a lot, because as War Production Minister he drafted camp inmates into German war industry. Did he know about the genocides and exterminations? Perhaps this is unknowable.
"Inside the Third Reich" is unusually revealing, both about the Nazi regime and the personality of Hitler the man. Speer truly was an insider, almost on a par with such figures as Goering or Goebbels. Many of Speer's observations are extremely insightful, and retain their relevance today. For example, Speer reveals that Hitler was very reluctant to ask the German people to accept sacrifices for war production because, in the final analysis, he knew that his regime did not derive its power from the will of the people.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!
This autobiography will forever change your perception of WWII. I have a warning for any prospective reader of the book; be prepared to have your jaw hit the ground. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Patrick Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I found the book really interesting and it gives me a close look at what Hitler was for real. Written by someone who look honest and that must be really hard to find among all... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2012 by Benoit Audet
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opening
I have read about a third of this book so far and have found it to provide a perspective I have never been exposed to regarding the early years of Hitler and his rule in Germany. Read more
Published on Sept. 30 2011 by D. Hidlebaugh
1.0 out of 5 stars Birthday Book
This book is a June 2011 birthday gift. I am sure it will be appreciated by my Birthday Girl.
Published on Nov. 6 2010 by Ducky
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest view of his own implication in the Nazi 3rd Reich
I loved Memoirs by Albert Speer. Why? Because he was not afraid to share what he experienced with Hitler's Nazi organisation. Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2010 by Marc Ranger
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for every historian
What an eye opener. I have read many books in regards to WW2 history and also the workings of the NAZI party, and this was about the most believable intimate view that I have seen... Read more
Published on March 24 2010 by Heinz G
5.0 out of 5 stars A human evil; nothing cinematic or simple
During a reading week in my first year at college, when the dorms were empty and I had nothing to do, I took my laptop to the bottom floor of the library and tucked myself away in... Read more
Published on Dec 29 2007 by Matthew Wilkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
This is the single finest account of Hitler and the Third Reich, I believe that can be found. It's thorough, including biographies of important characters (Goebbels, Goering,... Read more
Published on April 16 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars RIVETING AND ENGAGING!!!!!
Albert Speer, whose career blossomed during the Third Reich as Hitler's principal architect and culminated as Germany's Minister of Armaments and War Production from 1942 to 1945,... Read more
Published on Oct. 15 2003 by MONTGOMERY
1.0 out of 5 stars don't trust everything you read
I pitty anyone who by now does not realize that this account based on albert speer's diary is completely altered to conform with the popular majority mainstreem trend of historical... Read more
Published on July 1 2003
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