A reassessment of the role Albert Speer played in the Third Reich. Speer, who was ultimately convicted at the Nuremburg trials and served a 20-year prison sentence, was known for designing ... See full summary »
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Hans Adolf Jakobson
A reassessment of the role Albert Speer played in the Third Reich. Speer, who was ultimately convicted at the Nuremburg trials and served a 20-year prison sentence, was known for designing many of the Third Reich's buildings and for being Hitler's minister for war production. Written by
Docu-drama that delves further into Speer's character than before
This docudrama rehashes already well-known facts but uses these facts as devices to delve further into Speer's character. The conclusions are not always satisfying but by the end of the film the viewers will know more acutely what kind of man Speer was.
You are never drawn to Speer empathetically, or reviled by his actions. The film reflects Speer's memoirs by sidestepping some issues -- was he or wasn't he an anti-Semite? Was he acutely aware of what happened in concentration camps? What did he know and what did prefer not to know? What is clear is that Speer was self-serving, ambitious, organized, tough, responsible, independent, intelligent, an opportunist, and detached. He refused a high rank in the SS because he didn't want to accept responsibility where he had no authority. He liked Hitler as a friend and had long talks with him about the new Germania and architecture but he was portrayed on film as remaining silent in any ideologies he didn't necessarily agree with.
Not as sycophantic as other head Nazis he also had more class than the top thugs and was concerned more about the German people and their post war survival. He was not deluded like Hess or Goering and accepted his role more willingly than Donetz or Ribbontrop.
The most interesting part of this docudrama is the final episode, which follows him throughout his twenty-year imprisonment. After having taken what he felt was his share of the blame at Nuremberg he had time to think how he was manipulated and charmed into his powerful position as minister of armaments where he was so good at his job he actually increased production and delayed the end of the war by perhaps as much as a year. He was a man with his own agenda, few friends in the Nazi upper rank other than Hitler, and had a convenient conscience that allowed himself to at best not see what existed, and at worst not concern himself with what he had no power to change.
Speer's Achilles heel was flattery and attention. He was just barely 40 years old when the war ended and was simply not mature enough to be his own man. His self-serving career was nearly apolitical and his hunger to get to the top was blind-sided. Asked in later life if he would do it all over again or settle for a nice architectural position in Heidelberg he apparently said he would do it all over again. If he would do it all over again exactly the same way is left to the viewer to decide.
I may point out negatives in this film that give the impression I didn't like it but these are not faults of the film, but rather flaws of the man himself. Speer was a complex conundrum and this film tackles the material very well to give insight into the man himself.
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