Albert Speer was an architect, nothing more. But one day he came to the attention of a man who was the most powerful in the country. Adolf Hitler, the newly appointed strongman of Germany. Speer was twenty-eight years old.
This formerly plodding young man, was suddenly swept into friendship with one of the most powerful men in the country. And with this friendship with the first man in the state, making drawings and building buildings for him, came entrance into the upper echelons of the country.
Adolf Hitler had not been born into politics, and he had not even been born German. His first wish was to be an architect himself, or a painter. But when he failed the entrance exams at university, he was thrown into dejection, drifting until he met six men who wanted to form a new political party, poor like himself, they had worked their way into power. But the man Hitler always remembered the boy Hitler’s first ambition, and Speer often thought that Hitler projected his own lost dreams upon him as living the life Hitler never had.
Speer was at once taken with him, to the extent that he found him “magnetic.” It was, he would later recount in that massive red book, almost dreamy, at times, to be friends with so high a man. Hitler liked to talk about architecture, and when Speer brought him new drawings for his grand ideas, he would excitedly look through them, pushing everything else aside. It would later become so bad that Hitler’s adjuncts would beg Speer not to show the furer any drawings that day, for if he saw them, no work, no matter how important, would get done.
Speer began by drawing things like platforms for great party rallies. Then the posters to hang behind those platforms. Then the benches for the people who would in front of them. And then came the day when Speer had surpassed all others, and he was designing the stadiums into which all this would go.
Adolf Hitler had Albert Speer. Speer, according to himself, was not a racist, the man was not a Nazi. He did not believe the propaganda, he never once would read Mein Kamp. But what he would do was all in his power to stay friends with Adolf Hitler, as the world moved towards war, and Hitler called on Speer to do a building project so enormous, it would make Paris look “like a small town.”
To be continued.
Andrew C. Abbott