The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-17/tgmwc-17-159.06

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-17/tgmwc-17-159.06
Last-Modified: 2000/06/29

Q. Please go ahead.

A. Arrangements for transport trains were made by Sauckel
and his staff. It is possible that air raids or a sudden
change in the production programme made it necessary for my
office to ask for transport trains to be re-routed; but the
responsibility for that always rested with the General
Plenipotentiary for Manpower.

Sauckel also testified here that, after Stalingrad, Goebbels
and I started on the total war effort. But that is not
correct in this form. Stalingrad was January, 1943, and
Goebbels started on his total war effort in August, 1944.
After Stalingrad, a great re-organization programme was to
be carried out in Germany in order to free German workers. I
myself was one of those who demanded this. Neither Goebbels
nor I, however, were able to carry out this plan. A
committee of three, Lammers, Keitel and Bormann, was formed;
but, owing to their lack of technical knowledge, they were
unable to carry out this task.

My manpower department was mentioned by Sauckel in his
testimony. This worked as follows: Every large factory and
every employer of labour had a manpower department, which,
naturally came under mine, and did not encroach in the
slightest degree on Sauckel's interests. Their sphere of
activity was not very great, as may be seen from the fact
that my manpower department was one of 50 or 60 departments
coming under my office. If I had attached very much
importance to it, it would have been one of my six or eight
special branches.

Sauckel further mentioned the Stabsleiter discussions which
took place in his office. A representative of my manpower
department for military and naval armament and for building
attended these conferences. At these meetings which were
attended by about fifteen people who were in need of labour,
the question of priority was settled on the basis of
Sauckel's information as to the state of economy generally.

This was the function erroneously ascribed here to the
Central Planning Board.

In addition, it was asserted that I promoted the transport
of foreign workers to Germany in April, 1942; and that I was
responsible for the fact that foreign workers were brought
to Germany at all. That, however, is not true. I did not
need to use any influence on Sauckel to attain that. In any
case, it is evident from a document in my possession - a
Fuehrer decree of 4th May, 1943 - that the introduction of
compulsory labour in the Western region was approved by the
Fuehrer at Sauckel's suggestion.

I can further quote a speech which I delivered on 18th
April, 1942, showing that at that period I was still of the
opinion that the German building industry, which employed
approximately 1,800,000 workmen, should be reduced
considerably so that workers could be diverted to the
production of armaments. This speech which I made to my
staff, in which I explained my principles and also discussed
the question of manpower, does not contain any mention of
the planning of a foreign labour draft. If I had been the
active instigator of such a plan, surely I would have
mentioned the subject in this speech.

Finally, in connection with Sauckel's testimony, I must
correct the chart of the organization submitted here. It is
not correct in that the separate sectors enumerated in it
are classified under various Ministries. In reality, these
sectors of employers of labour were classified under various
economic branches, independently of the Ministries. Only in
the case of my own Ministry and that. of the Air Ministry
were sectors concerned classified under their relative

                                                   [Page 24]

The chart is also incorrect in stating that the building
industry was represented in the Ministry of Economics. That
came under my jurisdiction. From 1943 on, the chemical and
mining industries, both of which are listed under the
Ministry of Economics, were under my jurisdiction. To my
knowledge, these branches were represented through
plenipotentiaries in the Four-Year Plan, even prior to
September, 1943, and stated their requirements to Sauckel
direct, independently of the Ministry of Economics.

This chart is further incorrect in stating that the demands
of these workers and individual employers went directly to
Hitler. It would have been impossible for Hitler to settle
disputes between 15 employers. As I have already said, the
latter attended the Stabsleiter conferences, over which
Sauckel presided.

Q. Herr Speer, what did you do with your documents at the
end of the war?

A. I felt bound to preserve my documents so that the
necessary transition measures could be taken during
reconstruction. I refused to allow these documents even to
be looked at. They were turned over in their entirety to the
Allied authorities, here in Nuremberg, where I had a branch
archive. I handed them over when I was still at liberty in
the Flensburg Zone. The prosecution is thus in possession of
all my documents to the number of several thousands, as well
as all public speeches, Gauleiter speeches, and other
speeches dealing with armament and industry; some 4,000
Fuehrer decisions, 5,000 pages of stenographic records of
the Central Planning Board, memoranda and so forth. I
mention this only because these documents show conclusively
to what extent my task was a technical and economic one.

Q. In your documents, as far as you remember, did you ever
make statements regarding ideology, anti-Semitism, etc.?

A. No; I never made any statements of the kind, either in
speeches or memoranda. I assume that otherwise the pro
secution would be in a position to produce some evidence of
such statements.

Q. Herr Speer, your name appears as Armament Minister on the
list of members of the new Government drawn up by the men
responsible for the Putsch of 20th July. Did you participate
in the attempted assassination of 20th July?

A. I neither participated in it, nor was I informed of it in
advance. At that time I was against assassinating Hitler.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, this point is mentioned in
interrogatories by the witness Kempf (Point 9) and the
witness Stahl (Point 1).


What was the reason why you - as the only Minister from the
National Socialist regime - were on the opposition list?

A. At that period, I was working in collaboration with Army
experts of the General Staff and the Commander-in-Chief of
the home defence forces. Both staffs were the nucleus of
those involved in the attempt of 20th July.

I had particularly close relations with General Fromm, the
leader of the home defence forces, and also with General
Zeitzler, the chief of the Army General Staff. After 20th
July, Fromm was hanged and Zeitzler was dismissed from the
Army. A close contact developed through this collaboration,
and these circles recognized my technical achievements. I
assumed at that time that that was why they wanted to retain

Q. So political reasons did not play any part in that

A. Certainly not directly. Of course, it was well known that
for a long time I had spoken my mind emphatically and in
public regarding the abuses of power by members of Hitler's
immediate circle. As I found out later, I shared the
opinions of the men of 20th July on many points of

Q. What were your relations with Hitler in regard to your

A. My closest contact with him, in my capacity of architect,
was probably during the period from 1937 to September, 1939;
after that, the relationship was no longer so close, on
account of the circumstances of the war. After I was

                                                   [Page 25]

appointed successor to Todt, a closer but much more official
working relationship was established. Because of the heavy
demands made upon me by industry, I had very little
opportunity to go to headquarters. I only visited the
Fuehrer's headquarters about once in two or three weeks. My
four months' illness in spring, 1944, was exploited by many
people interested in weakening my position, and after 20th
July, the fact that I had been nominated for the Ministry
undoubtedly occasioned a shock to Hitler - a fact which
Bormann and Goebbels used to stress in their open fight
against me. The details are shown by a letter which I sent
to Hitler on 20th December, 1944, and which has been
submitted as a document.

Q. Were you able to carry on political discussions with

A. No, he regarded me as a purely technical Minister.
Attempts to discuss political or personal problems with him
always failed because of the fact that he was
unapproachable. From 1944 on, he was so averse to general
discussions, and particularly discussions of the war
situation, that I set down my ideas in memorandum form,
which I handed to him. Hitler knew how to confine every man
to his own speciality. He himself was therefore the only
co-ordinating factor. This was far beyond his strength and
also his capacity. A unified political leadership was
lacking in consequence. So also was an expert military
office for making decisions.

Q. Then, as an expert Minister, do you wish to limit your
responsibility to your sphere of work?

A. No, I should like to say something of fundamental
importance here. This war has brought inconceivable
catastrophe to the German people and has started a world
catastrophe. Therefore, it is my unquestionable duty to
assume my share of responsibility for this misfortune before
the German people. This is all the more my obligation, all
the more my responsibility since the head of the late
government has evaded responsibility before the German
people and before the world. I, as an important member of
the leadership of the Reich, therefore share in the total
responsibility, beginning with 1942. I will state my
arguments in this connection in my final remarks.

Q. Do you assume responsibility for the affairs covered by
the extensive sphere of your assignments?

A. Of course, as far as is possible according to the
principles generally applied and with regard to actions
taken according to my directives.

Q. Do you wish to refer to Fuehrer decrees in this

A. No. In so far as Hitler gave me orders and I carried them
out, I assume the responsibility for them. I did not, of
course, carry out all the orders which he gave me.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, I turn now to a second part
of my evidence in the case of the defendant. This
presentation is not meant to exonerate the defendant from
those charges brought against him by the prosecution which
apply to his actual sphere of activity.

This part concerns itself with those accusations raised by
the prosecution against the defendant as a member of the
so-called joint conspiracy. This second part is relatively
brief, and I assume that I shall be able to conclude my
entire presentation of evidence within an hour.

In this matter, we are concerned with Speer's activity in
his attempts to prevent Hitler's destructive intentions in
Germany and the occupied countries, and with the measures he
took and the attempts he made to shorten a war which he
believed already lost.

I assume that the High Tribunal will agree to my


Q. Herr Speer, up to what time did you devote all your
powers to obtaining the strongest possible armament and thus
continuing the war?

A. Up to the middle of January, 1945.

Q. Had not the war been lost before that?

                                                   [Page 26]

A. From a military point of view, and as far as the general
situation was concerned, it was certainly lost before that.
It is difficult, however, to consider a war as lost and
personally come to final decisions if one is faced with
unconditional surrender.

Q. Long before that, did not considerations arising out of
the production situation, of which you were in a position to
have a comprehensive view, force you to regard the war as

A. From the armament point of view, not until the autumn of
1944, for I succeeded up to that time, in spite of bombing
attacks, in maintaining a constant rise in production. If I
may express it in figures, this was so great that in the
year 1944 I could completely re-equip 130 infantry divisions
and 40 armoured divisions. That involved new equipment for
two million men. This figure would have been thirty per cent
higher had it not been for the bombing attacks. We reached
our production peak for the entire war in August, 1944, for
munitions; in September, 1944, for aircraft; and in
December, 1944, for ordnance and the new U-boats. The new
weapons were to be put into use a few months later, probably
in February or March of 1945. For example, the jet planes
which had already been announced in the Press, the new
U-boats and the new anti-aircraft installations, etc. Here,
too, however, bombing attacks retarded the mass production
of these new weapons, which in the last phase of the war
might have changed the situation to a great extent, so that
they could not be used against the enemy in large numbers.
All attempts at mass attacks were fruitless, however, since
from 12th May, 1944, on, our fuel plants became targets for
concentrated attacks from the air.

This was catastrophic. Ninety per centum of the fuel was
lost to us from that time on. The success of these attacks
meant the loss of the war as far as production was
concerned, for our new tanks and jet planes were of no use
without fuel.

Q. Did you tell Hitler about the effect on production of the
bombing attacks?

A. Yes, I told him of this in great detail, both orally and
in writing. Between June and December, 1944, I sent him
twelve memoranda, all with catastrophic news.

DR. FLAECHSNER: Mr. President, in this connection, I should
like to submit to the Tribunal a document which deals with a
memorandum sent by Speer on 30th June, 1944. It is
reproduced on Page 56 of the English Document Book and will
be Exhibit 14. I should like to quote from this. Speer
writes to Hitler:

  "But in September of this year the quantities required to
  cover the most urgent needs of the Wehrmacht cannot
  possibly be supplied any longer, which means that from
  that time on there will be a deficiency which cannot be
  made good and which must lead to tragic consequences."

Speer informed Hitler in another memorandum, dated 30th
August, 1944, on the situation in the chemical industry and
the fuel production industry. This is on Page 62 of the
English text, Exhibit 15. I quote only one sentence:

  "So that these are shortages in important categories of
  those materials necessary for the conduct of modern


Q. Herr Speer, how was it possible that you and the other
co-workers of Hitler, despite your realization of the
situation, still tried to do everything possible to continue
the war?

A. In this phase of the war, Hitler deceived all of us. From
summer of 1944 on, he circulated through his agent, Hebel,
of the Foreign Office, definite statements to the effect
that discussions connected with foreign policy had been
started. General Jodl has confirmed this to me here in
Court. In this way, for instance, the fact that several
visits were paid to Hitler by the Japanese Ambassador was
interpreted to mean that through Japan we were carrying on
conversations with Moscow; or else Ambassador Neubacher, who
was here as a witness, was reported to have initiated
conversations in the Balkans with the United States; or else

                                                   [Page 27]

the former Soviet Minister in Berlin was alleged to have
been in Stockholm for the purpose of initiating

In this way he raised hopes that, like Japan, we would start
negotiations in this hopeless situation, so that the people
would be saved from the worst consequences. To do this,
however, it was necessary to stiffen resistance as much as
possible. He deceived all of us by holding out to the
military leaders false hopes as to the success of diplomatic
moves, promising the political leaders new victories through
the use of new troops and new weapons; and systematically
spreading rumours to encourage the people to believe in the
appearance of a miracle weapon - all for the purpose of
keeping up resistance. I can prove by a speech I made during
this period and from letters which I wrote to Hitler and
Goebbels how unedifying and disastrous I considered this
policy of deceiving the people by promising them a miracle

Q. Herr Speer, were orders given to destroy industry in
Belgium, Holland and France?

A. Yes. In case of occupation by the Allies, Hitler had
ordered a far-reaching system of destruction of war
industries in all these countries; according to planned
preparations, coal and mineral mines, power plants and
industrial premises were to be destroyed.

Q. Did you take any steps to prevent the execution of these

A. Yes.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.