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How Significant Was The Role Of Albert Speer In Hitler's Plans For Winning World War Two?

1848 words - 8 pages

To effectively assess the significance Albert Speer had in Hitler's plan for World War Two we must look atwhat Speer accomplished in regards o the war effort. Firstly, it is important to realise that it is unclearamong historians what Hitler's 'plans' actually were. Pluralists believe Hitler wanted a war-but had nofixed plan, he was, instead, an opportunist. Structuralists believe he had no long-term plan, and respondedmerely to pressure from domestic crisis' (hence there was limited economic and military preparation).Internationalists believe he did have a major war planned, we need only look to his diplomatic andmilitaristic aggression of the 1930's for proof, and his anti-Bolshevik and ...view middle of the document...

In an attempt to betterHitler's opinion of him, Speer, although never contradicting Hitler, would often 'improve' his idea. Forexample, when Hitler suggested that a building be at least 100 m long, Speer replied with, 'At least 200metres Mein Fuhrer'. Unfortunately, Hitler's ego did not need any further stroking, and this would merelyhave added to his already growing desire for bigger weapons, more destruction, and more radical ideas, etc.During this period, Speer constructed many large buildings for the army and air force, and contributed threeaeroplane factories in less than eight months. Such efficiency could only have aided Hitler's 'Blitzkrieg'tactics, that relied heavily on mass amounts of armaments and weaponry, ready in a relatively short timeperiod to annihilate the enemies fighting capacity. He was also in charge of rebuilding the railwaysdestroyed in the Ukraine by Russia's scorched earth policy, so as to aid transport and supply of troops.In some cases, it would seem that Speer worked towards winning the war in spite of Hitler's plans, ratherthan with them. In 1942, after talks with Hitler during the Russian advance, Speer said that he believedHitler to be weak for not restricting the consumption of goods of the people at home, and for not realisin gthe supplies could not keep up with the ever-advancing troops. He said Hitler did not realise they were notproducing enough arms for a large scale, nor did he realise that tanks could not move fast, that his troopswere exhausted. He also wouldn't accept any help from the generals. To counter this, Speer would oftenbring a team of experts with him to meetings, to counter Hitler's arguments, whilst Speer himself said little.In 1943, Speer suggested to Hitler that they employ similar tactics to the Briti sh in destroying key targets,but Hitler refused to implement them. Speer however, went behind Hitler's back to Goering. By the timethe plans for the long-range cannons were in place, it was too late, however it is an example of how Speerworked towards winning the war without Hitler's co-operation.Speer gained his real power in 1942. As Minster for Armaments, he was in charge of road building,waterways, power plants he was head of the Todt Organisation, and minister for armaments and munitions.His first move was to end the rivalry between the airforce, the army and the navy over the production ofarmaments.Speer soon realised however, that Germany was not prepared to fight a major war. He felt their economicpotential was not being used efficiently, and that there was no clear plan detailing the weapons or rawmaterials needed. He felt the leaders of the Nazi Party had no idea how a long war would effect Germany,and they merely assumed all the wars would be short, land wars.He noted in 1941 that production was only 25% that of 1928, and was only 20% of USA production, andtwo thirds of Britain's. Hitler's 'Blitzkrieg' tactics were based on the Luftwaffe flying ahead, gaining airsuperiority and...

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