Infiltration, by Speer, Albert; tr. by Joachim Neugroschel...
|Number of Pages||:||384 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Author Speer served two decades imprisonment for war crimes committed while he served in the German Nazi government, most prominently as Minister for Armaments and War Production. His memoir of that, emphasizing his relationship with Hitler, was published as Inside the Third Reich. Unlike others on the dock in Nuremburg, Speer accepted some responsibility and expressed remorse for his use of slave labor during the war. This book continues the critical self-examination of his memoir and subsequent Prison Diaries, but it is more than that. Its focus is on the conflicts between his ministry, given the exigencies of war and retreat, and the offices of the SS, seen as incompetent competitors intent on establishing a state within the state. As such, it's a technocratic defense of his own actions as a minister of state and an attack on Heinrich Himmler, his apparatus and the irrationalities of the Nazi regime.This book is highly detailed, probably a great resource for researchers, but likely boring for general readers.
Again it probably deserves better than this rating, but either the author or the narrator (I read whatever version the Library of Congress used in their audio recording) had an ability to put me to sleep quickly almost every time I tried to get in a few chapters.
I’m provisionally giving this book 1 star, because I tried twice to read it and got too bored to finish. That was half my life ago, however, and someday I’m going to need to return to it and read it as a more mature, educated person. Looking it over again, I think it might be more interesting than I thought. For now, however, I’m going to try to reproduce my twentysomething criticisms.Albert Speer wrote this book after his considerable success with “Inside the Third Reich” and “Spandau,” hoping no doubt for another success as the moderate, contrite voice of the Nazi high echelons. He claims to have started it with the intention of writing a history of the armaments industry in Germany during World War Two, the area for which his ministry was responsible. But, he says, as he went through the documents of the time, he discovered how the powerful and vast bureaucracy of the S.S. had fought him at every turn, and how Himmler had hoped to make his organization the dominant power in the postwar Reich, and that is what he wrote about instead. I said that I found this book boring, and that was my biggest problem with it at the time I read it. Most of it consists of highly technical details about materials, factories, production numbers, and official and unofficial conferences. It is not a memoir or biography, nor is it a discussion of the most heinous acts of the S.S., it is an exploration of their interference with private industry, and that isn’t going to appeal to many readers. (It may be a valuable historical record, however, which is part of why I want to come back to it). The other problem is that Speer has fallen into the trap of reproducing his own rivalries with Himmler and others in the Nazi hierarchy (including Bormann, Lammers, and Goering) from his subjective viewpoint, without seeing that he was as much a part of the “problem” of a squabbling and back-stabbing court as his enemies were. In choosing Himmler as his villain, he also reproduces the “alibi of a nation” argument – it wasn’t me, it was the guys in black hats (and uniforms) that did all the evil of the Third Reich. (In that sense, however, the book may more accurately reflect Speer’s weaknesses as a witness). If you are serious about detailed study of the technical workings or intrigues of the Third Reich, this book may have some value, but it is not an interesting read, and its biases are only too clear. Fair warning.