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Inside the Third Reich

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,321 Ratings  ·  207 Reviews
Written by Hitler's Minister of Armaments and War Production, the man who kept Germany armed and the war machine running even after Hitler's mystique had faded, this memoir gives us as complete a view as we will ever get of the inside of the Nazi state. B&W photos.
Paperback, 672 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1969)
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This book is definitely essential reading if you have any kind of interest at all in either WWII, or the agency which individual people can have within a totalitarian system. Inside the Third Reich is a lengthy - in my edition, seven hundred pages, not including notes, bibliography or index - memoir written by Albert Speer, focusing on the years between 1933 and 1945 when he was Hitler's architect, his Minister of Arms and Munitions, and probably one of the closest things Hitler had to a friend. ...more
Aug 15, 2007 Johanna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in learning more about the holocaust, genocide scholars
Shelves: readandfinished
Amazing book! Goes into almost mindnumbing detail of the bureaucracy of Nazi Germany, so may not be for those with only a casual interest in Hitler, Nazism, or the Holocaust. However, the book provides an intriguing portrait of Hitler and, surprisingly enough, just as intriguing a portrait of Speer, a shiftshaping chameleon who, much like I and my friends, left college with no idea what to do with himself, had no real connections, and was having trouble finding a career, who seemingly stumbles i ...more
Erik Graff
Mar 07, 2012 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
When I was a boy most of us admired the Nazis for their aesthetic: the rallys, the marches, the uniforms, the insignia. My own admiration was somewhat qualified by the fact that Mom grew up under German occupation in Norway and Dad served in North Africa and Sicily. In any case, they were fascinating. The first grownup book I ever read was probably The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Albert Speer, along with Hitler himself, a closet decorator, was substantially responsible for the much-admired
Jan 25, 2011 Missie rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
I may have read Albert Speer's memoirs with a cynical eye but to me all I heard were the self centered and egotistical banterings of another one of Hitler's entourage.

Speer says multiple times that Hitler had a magnetice or magical hold over him but only once does he say that he should have looked deeper into who he was blindly following. The German people wisened up quicker that Speers. I think that Hitler rubbed Speer's ego so much that he never really cared about anything else. The whole book
In 1989, during my Peace Corps service, I came across the book "INSIDE THE THIRD REICH" quite by surprise and could not put it down. I read it for hours nonstop.

The story that Speer relates here of his life and career in the Third Reich, first as Hitler's architect, and later as the Minister for Armaments and War Production (1942-1945) is gripping and compelling. You get a real, tangible sense of what the people (e.g. Goering, Hess, Himmler, Goebbels, Bormann, etc.) were like who played key role
Colin Heaton
Nov 07, 2011 Colin Heaton rated it really liked it
In my many years of interviewing some very high ranking members within the Third Reich, and having read this book many years ago, I know that Speer was not only aware of the Holocaust, he was quite instrumental in directing a large portion of the slave labor program. I have verification from such luminaries as Gen. Adolf Galland, SS-Lt.Gen. Karl Wolff, SS Brig.Gen. Otto Kumm, and Hitler Youth Leader Artur Axmann, etc.

What I do know was that Speer, while not a very willing participant, did try a
Jun 23, 2013 Mo rated it liked it
Fascinating memoir that provides a detailed account of the workings and personalities of the Nazi leadership. Speer's book really brings to life the people behind history's most infamous regime, yet the narrator himself remains at a distance, providing only occasional paragraphs of insight into his own thoughts. He comes across as determinedly apolitical - a laughable aspiration in light of the Nazi government's crimes - focused solely on technology, efficiency, and competence, with eventually s ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Jack rated it really liked it
Albert Speer's autobiography is an incredible portrait of the inner circle of Hitler's Nazi Germany, written by a brilliant, philosophical and insightful man. The recreation of how his career as an architect picking up some government commissions led to becoming arms minister of Germany, and the subsequent events is fascinating in the extreme. Perhaps even more fascinating is the way Speer reveals the various power struggles, intrigues, missteps, etc. of the inner circle of Nazi leadership and t ...more
Apr 17, 2016 Pelagius rated it liked it
Shelves: hitler
Clever man, he was able to keep this deception that he didn't know anything but that he was still guilty. The lie was not that he did not know anything, for there was nothing to be known: We know that those stories were paranoid rumors born in mass hysteria among the prisoners and amplified and distorted by black propaganda only to be later "confirmed" by forged documents and statements extracted by torture. Speer played with the emotions and the politics of the Allies just as he had played with ...more
Emily Peery
Oct 12, 2007 Emily Peery rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs
Shelves: non-fiction
A fascinating look into the workings of Hitler's regime--so frustrating to see how disorganized and easy to paralyze, if only one had the right information at the right time. It took a long time to get through, but worth it!
Dec 26, 2015 Joel rated it it was amazing
Speer was an architect and a technocrat who was swept up with passion for his work to the point that he did not care about the monstrous evil he was participating in. He was a confidant of Hitler, but still could not really understand what was central to Hitler, saying that Hitler had no core, but was a pragmatic power seeking maniac, not in touch with reality.
Most of this book is taken up with the workaday tasks that Speer had to perform for the Reich, which included long hours, abandonment of
Sep 24, 2010 Davida rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Fabulous autobiography of Speer's life inside Hitler's Third Reich, written whilst serving his 20 yr prison sentence in Spandau Prison.
This book has been criticised by many, who accused Speer of having diluted the part he played in helping construct a Nazi empire and building an efficient War Machine when appointed by Hitler as Minister of Armaments of the Reich.
It is possible that Speer might have wanted to instill a better image of himself but it does not make the book any less insightful or S
Brian T
Jan 08, 2013 Brian T rated it really liked it
I acquired this book from my Father-In-Law's bookshelf after he died. "Pim" was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1928 and lived in Germany throughout the course of the war. He was conscripted at the end of the war, when Germany drafted all able-bodied males between 16 and 60 years of age. "Pim" died in 2012 so I was privileged to take a few of his books home with me. This was the first one that I read.

I don't know if I truly "buy" Speer's insistence that he didn't know what was going on at the exterm
Nov 07, 2011 Mofoty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, nazis, ww2
I want to keep my distance from a work like this because although I feel Speer is mostly an honest narrator, his clear, somewhat banal account of the Third Reich, Hitler, and his own activities read like a generic memoir, somehow perverting the madness of the time—the destruction, inhuman cruelty, and the quest for absolute power. By giving us this account, Speer affirms that for the most part the atrocities of the the Third Reich were carried out by otherwise normal, almost boring men, like him ...more
Aug 23, 2011 Jimbo55 rated it really liked it
As an avid reader of many books regarding World War 2, I really enjoyed this. It is a fascinating glimpse into the
day to day workings of the Nazi machine . Albert Speers perspective is refreshing as he was not strictly (in his own words) a nazi ideaologist,
whether this Is to be believed or not is up to the reader. But it is the juxtaposition of his apparent detachment from the regimes ideaology with a unique
access to the people involved that makes this book really interesting in comparison to
Nick Black
Sep 14, 2008 Nick Black rated it it was ok
Amazon 2008-08-31. So far as any member of the Reich was "admirable", it was Speer the architect-turned economic minister. I've heard good things about this.

Well Albert Speer certainly was a fantastic Minister of Armaments; good for him, because he'd have likely gone broke if his job were, say, taking an epic personal life and not turning it into 600 pages of scalp-curling tedium. It always seemed that Speer was this enigmatic, Alec Guinness-as-Col. Nicholson-on-the-River-Kwai figure: among but
Nov 10, 2012 Max rated it really liked it
Shelves: european-history
The history of the Third Reich is replete with unanswerable questions in addition to its unimaginable cruelty. However I found one question particularly perplexing after reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and Inside the Third Reich.

How could Hitler’s inner circle of top generals, aids and civilian administrators see Germany collapse about them and still continue to follow Hitler in his madness to the very end to their country’s and their own demise. Yes there was at least one attempt
David Bird
Nov 19, 2012 David Bird rated it really liked it
One hesitates to assign stars here. Speer's book is important, well-written, and offers a unique perspective.

Speer is, himself, a wily narrator who carefully chooses what to omit. Having read a number of books on Speer, I have to say that I am more of the opinion of van der Vat's The Good Nazi: The Life and Lies of Albert Speer than of Sereny's Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth. One doesn't want to believe that one could be charmed by a man who was responsible for what Speer clearly had done,
May 12, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it
A fascinating glimpse into the mind of Hitler's architect, who would eventually be responsible for prolonging the war far beyond what anyone predicted. Written while spending most of the rest of his life in prison for war crimes, he describes how he was drawn in, what it was like working with the leaders of the Nazi regime, and their downfall. It's not surprising that he tends to paint himself as more moral than most--yet at the same time he was the only one on trial who ever admited guilt or sh ...more
Richard Fulgham
Nov 24, 2008 Richard Fulgham rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book but I found myself wondering if Herr Speer was really the hero he made himself out to be. Did he really single-handledly prevent the scorched-earth decree from Hitler from being carried out? Did he really face up to Hitler and say "the war is lost" and "you have no right to ask the German people to suffer because YOU lost the war"? We'll never know. But this much is sure, Herr Speer gave us a detailed look at the top level of Nazi government in both victory and in defeat. His ch ...more
Dec 01, 2015 Boyd rated it really liked it
It will come as no surprise to anyone that the Nazi high command comprised some of the most depraved and ruthless individuals ever to sully the face of the earth. We don't need the Albert Speer to tell us that. What Hitler's uber-architekt and armaments minister *does* reveal in this creepily riveting--and sometimes shamefully funny--slab of a book is the degree to which the Fuehrer's inner circle behaved like bitchy little schoolgirls as they primped, flounced, bullied, and schemed furiously to ...more
Dec 31, 2010 Bookworm1858 rated it really liked it
Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer
The MacMillan Company, 1970
Translated by Richard and Clara Winston
526 pages
Memoirs; History
4/5 stars

Source: Library

Summary: The memoirs of Hitler's chief architect, later Reich Armaments Minister, and the last Foreign Minister of the Reich.

Thoughts: I read this for class (we actually only had about 100 pages assigned but I ended up reading the whole thing so that I could count it as read). It moves fairly quickly and yet it does take a while to get through.

Dick Edwards
Jan 26, 2011 Dick Edwards rated it really liked it
Speer gives us insight into the thinking of two people: (1) himself, and (2) Adolf Hitler.
(1) He is somewhat ashamed of not knowing more about what was going on. However, he doesn’t beat himself up much about it either. He merely says he should have known more about politics. He was enthralled by the magnetic personality of AH, but he was most interested in his own opportunity to build, based on AH’s confidence in him, and AH’s access to money to do the building. This desire and opportunity led
Jul 28, 2011 Debra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have read this book so many times the pages are literally falling out. One of my favourite books of all time.

A must ready for anyone who has every wondered, "How cld they have let that happen?" A unflinching, fascinating look inside the world of a intelligent, loving man who found himself caught up in the Nazi war machine. It requires that you ask yourself if you cld have acted any differently under the same circunstances...and if you take nothing else away from the book - that is enough.

Sep 05, 2011 Andrew rated it really liked it
Inside the Third Reich is a fascinating book about the leadership of the Nazi regime, written by Albert Speer, one of those self-same leaders. Speer seriously tries to look at himself with a jaded eye, and to not excuse himself for the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis. In fact, at Nuremberg, he was one of the few of the leadership who did take responsibility.

However, he does not completely overcome his own fairly sizable ego. When he talks about how he had no interest in power, it
Jul 24, 2016 Priya rated it it was amazing
Am euphoric at completing this mammoth book, and my first memoir read. The book does exactly what it claims to do, although one would still be skeptical about Speer's knowledge of the Holocaust. One explanation I can think of in his favor, is that he was simply too bogged down with his own responsibilities and the extreme irrational attitude of the Reich, that when Hanke told him what he had seen at a concentration camp, he simply couldn't get himself befuddled more! Apart from this, there is no ...more
Jul 28, 2012 Owen rated it really liked it
Albert Speer spent exactly 20 years in Spandau prison after the fall of Germany and his subsequent trial at Nuremberg. He was alone amongst those high-ranking Nazis who were closest to Hitler, to escape execution. To say that for a certain amount of time, his life hung very much in the balance would be putting it mildly. Yet thanks to the failure of the Russians, who wanted him dead, Speer lived on and produced this remarkable memoir of a world gone mad. One hardly thinks that any other single N ...more
Anton Klink
Oct 24, 2013 Anton Klink rated it it was amazing
Although Albert Speer wasn't among the absolute innermost circle of Hitler trustees (maybe only Bormann, Göring, Goebbels, Himmler, Doenitz and a few others could be counted among those), he was nevertheless the highest ranking Third Reich official to open up so extensively in a book after the war.

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
Apr 09, 2011 Bill rated it really liked it
A very detailed behind the scenes look at Nazi Germany from the perspective of one of the most influential voices in Hitler's inner circle. Speer served as Hitler's beloved architect during Germany's rise from the ashes of World War I through his role of chief of armaments during the final years of World War II. He provides intimate details of Hitler's personality, decision making, and leadership style. You read the evolution of the total fear of angering Hitler during his peak of power during t ...more
Irving Koppel
May 07, 2010 Irving Koppel rated it it was amazing

Sixty-five years after World War II, we still find ourselves fascinated by the monsters who began it all. Hitler,Goering,Goebbels,Hess
and Bormann: these names have become symbolic of the greatest evil ever
perpetrated by mankind. Through the eyes of Hitler's chief architect and
minister of armaments,Albert Speer,we are presented with a tableau of the
leadership of these nefarious forces.

Speer,who almost singularly came to realize the wrongs wrought by
these purveyors of dark deeds,presents us wi
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Around the Year i...: Inside The Third Reich, by Albert Speer 2 12 Mar 17, 2016 10:34PM  
Could it happen again??? 21 72 Jan 31, 2015 07:48PM  
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Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office. As "the Nazi who said sorry", he accepted responsibility at the Nuremberg trials and in his memoirs for crimes of the Nazi regime. His level of ...more
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“...being in a position to know and nevertheless shunning knowledge creates direct responsibility for the consequences...” 7 likes
“By no means would I describe Adolph Hitler as sexually normal in his relationships with women. In the case of Eva Braun in particular, it seems clear to me that aside from occasional passionate episodes there was no sexual activity at all for long periods of time. The effect of this on Hitler I do not know, but Eva Braun's misery was well-known at headquarters. During the long dry spells she was irritable, impatient and quick to anger. She smoked much more and was incessantly lighting one cigarette after another. By contrast, when once in a great while Hitler's more human feelings expressed themselves in a sudden cloudburst, her manner changed completely. Eva at such times was radiant, flushed with happiness. Her natural warmth and high spirits returned, and she seemed to sparkle again like the cheerful and spontaneous girl she once was.

Though it seems obscene to pity one individual human being with so many millions dead, I do believe that Eva Braun was the loneliest woman I ever knew.”
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