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Spandau: The Secret Diaries Paperback – 17 Aug 2000
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¿Diaries are usually the accompaniment of a lived life. This one stands in place of a life¿.
About the Author
Albert Speer was unique in the Third Reich. An intellectual architect, he was befriended by Hitler in 1933 and for the next 12 years they maintained one of the most powerful and extraordinary relationships in the Nazi hierarchy. In 1942 Speer was appointed Armaments Minister and became second only to Hitler himself as a power on the home front. But in 1945, Speer defied Hitler¿s scorched earth policy and began to plan his assassination. At Nuremberg he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Top customer reviews
I would definitely recommend reading this book after you have read `Inside the Third Reich' by Speer. Inside the Third Reich is primarily about the governance of Germany under Hitler, as the title suggests. Although Speer looks into aspects of his own morality and the part he played in Hitler's regime this is not the real aim of that book.
The Spandau Diaries, written while Speer was incarcerated in Spandau Prison between 1947 and 1966, are far more unvarnished, due to their nature as journal entries. They delineate the battle of a man with loneliness and someone who I believe struggled to accept his place in history. From my limited architectural understanding if it had not been for his unique relationship with Adolf Hitler his architectural work would have been sound, but would never have made it into any history book.
Throughout his diaries Speer looks back at the past and remincies about moments with Hitler and some of the key decisions that were made in his presence. This is not the strength of this book though. This is a chance to get inside the mind of Albert Speer that the more varnished transcript of Inside the Third Reich does not offer.
The truth is that despite the excellent works like Albert Speer: His Battle with the Truth by the late Gitta Sereny we will never truly know how complicit Speer was in the greatest crimes of the Third Reich. This book however, along with other studies, has helped me to make up my own mind. Speer is truly a fascinating character and this book, if you are interested in his life, you have to read.
Inside the Third Reich
Starting out as Hitler's favourite architect and the official architect of the Third Reich, he then moved on to become the Armaments and Munitions Reich Minister and thus enjoyed Hitler's full support for most of the war. In this book he details his fellow inmates in Spandau prison - all of them former high ranking Third Reich officials - and gives an interesting insight into how each of them copes with their new roles and reconciles with the past. Speer's writing style is not very engaging and quite dry at times, but this is excusable, since he is not really a writer and is simply chronicling his own experiences.
It has been more than 10 years since I read the book but I still remember various details and bits of information, which I found extremely enlightening and hugely engaging, yet which I have never been able to encounter in other sources detailing the Third Reich. Even though this book is not as strong as Speer's other book ("Inside the Third Reich"), I'd still say that this is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the Third Reich on more than a casual level.
Through his secret diaries, Albert Speer kept a twenty year record of events and issues. Much time and thought is also spent on past issues during his reflections on Hitler and past events. You certainly feel you know the 7 men by the end of the book and Hitler also, up to a point.
Speer looks in depth at his own morality and at those locked up with him, while keeping a detailed diary of the everyday slog and differing survival tatics, his own being unique (a little matter of stroll lasting sereval thousand miles around the coutyard).
The prisoners have very different views of the war and the trials. Speer's decision to admit guilt was not popular and on occasions leads him to be the outcast of the group.
501 pages including photographs. This is unmissable for anybody interested in the subject material.
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