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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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning! Dec 18 2012
By Patrick Sullivan TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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. The inner workings of Hitler and his henchmen, makes for quite the history lesson.

The incompetence of Hitler and how he manages the war, is almost unbelievable. Both from a military strategic standpoint, and the management of the German domestic economy, Hitler is a complete imbecile. Yet the one man, one party rule, does not allow for any interjections. Hitler`s scheming subordinates have no choice, but to play along with these terrible decisions.

The reader will also get an inside view on Hitler`s inner cabinet. Speer gives very detailed accounts, of all the people involved with Hitler`s evil plans. Each of the party leaders are constantly trying, to cut into each others base of power.

Overall, this was a fantastic read. Speer scores on two fronts. First, Speer is an intelligent man. Speer`s inside account of the war is very in-depth. Second, he also seems to be a good writer. The book is very hard to put down, and at times a page turner. I am convinced, that future historians will consider this book, to be one of the greatest accounts of WWII.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Aug. 14 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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 those mens
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book about Speer, not about the Third Reich April 22 2003
By Fran
Speer's book was published in German in 1969 under the title Eurinnerugen by Verlag Ullistein Gmbh, and was translated by Richard and Clara Winston for MacMillan in 1970.

The introduction to the MacMillan English version was written by Eugene Davidson. After reading the introduction, I decided to check out Eugene Davidson because he seems quite sympathetic to Albert Speer who uncharacteristically pleaded guilty at Nuremberg. Eugene Davidson has published a number of books on the topic of Hitler's Germany, including one with the rather ponderous title "The Trial of the Germans: An Account of the Twenty-Two Defendants Before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg." Davidson is rather sympathetic to the defendants, or at least felt that it was unfair to have trials of people who were simply fighting for their country. He seems to buy the defense that "I was only following orders."

Disregard the introduction by Davidson, and let Speer's words speak for themselves. There is an explanation for Speer's seemingly photographic memory. The book was written in less than ideal conditions while Speer was a prisoner at Spandau, and was smuggled from prison on scraps of paper, a little at a time. This suggests Speer had no access to a well stocked library while writing the original manuscript. However, the first edition was not published until 1969, three years after his release. So, Speer and his editors had three years to completely rewrite the book from the original manuscript.

The MacMillan English edition has 54 pages of footnotes. Some are very detailed. As a random example, Footnote 1 to Chapter 5 is reproduced below:

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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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Most recent customer reviews
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Popular
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". Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2004 by J. E. Robinson
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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