In Hitler's Service
THE ABLEST and “least corrupted” member of Hitler’s court-thus did H. R. Trevor-Roper characterize Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect and wartime Minister of Armaments. Sentenced at Nuremberg to twenty years’ imprisonment for his use of concentration-camp labor and his deportation of foreign workers, released from prison in 1966, Speer is now one of the last survivors of Hitler’s court. His recently published memoirs* present a view of that court-its routine commonplaces and its diabolic intrigues-that no other work has yet offered.
By family background and upbringing, Speer would not have seemed a likely candidate for Hitler’s retinue. He was born in Wilhelmine Germany (Mannheim, 1905) into wealth and high social status. His father and grandfather were architects. Politics at home were liberal, his father was an eager subscriber to the Frankfurter Zeitung. Speer attended the best private schools, read poetry, enjoyed music, climbed German mountains and paddled German rivers. In 1927 he received his architect’s license from the Institute of Technology in Berlin and the following spring, at twenty-three, became the Institute’s youngest teaching assistant.
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