Albert Speer (1905–81) first came to the attention of the international public in 1946, when he sat in the dock at Nuremburg alongside other prominent figures of the defeated Nazi regime. An architect and the son of an architect, he had joined the National Socialist party in 1931 and began his ascent in the new regime while remodeling some of the buildings in Berlin’s government quarter. He had first come to Hitler’s attention during the renovation of a palace in Berlin, eventually becoming the Führer’s designated urban planner. On the side he designed and stage-managed some of Hitler’s more elaborate public ceremonies. When Fritz Todt, Hitler’s Armaments Minister, died in a mysterious plane crash in 1942, Speer was assigned to replace him. At Nuremburg, Speer escaped the death penalty thanks to his opportune disavowal of the regime he had served so loyally, his clever denials...


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