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Albert Speer – Escaping the Gallows (ePub)

Secret Conversations with Hitler's Top Nazi

Military WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

By Dr Adrian Greaves
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 3.2 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781399009546
Published: 26th May 2021


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At the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, Albert Speer, Hitler’s one-time number two, persuaded the judges that he ‘knew nothing’ of the Holocaust and related atrocities. Narrowly escaping execution, he was sentenced to twenty years in Spandau Prison, Berlin.

In 1961, the newly commissioned author, as the British Army Spandau Guard Commander, was befriended by Speer, who taught him German. Adrian Greaves’ record of his conversations with Speer over a three year period make for fascinating reading. While the top Nazi admitted to Greaves his secret part in war crimes, after his 1966 release he determinedly denied any wrongdoing and became an intriguing and popular figure at home and abroad. Following Speer’s death in 1981 evidence emerged of his complicity in Hitler’s and the Nazi’s atrocities.

In this uniquely revealing book the author skilfully blends his own personal experiences and relationship with Speer with a succinct history of the Nazi movement and the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s. In so doing new light is thrown on the character of one of the 20th century’s most notorious characters.

As Hitler's armaments minister, Albert Speer had performed miracles by maintaining war production despite the routine destruction of his factories in bombing raids. Tried at Nuremberg for war crimes, he conjured another miracle when he pleaded guilty by association with the Nazi regime, but convinced the court that he knew nothing of the Holocaust and so did not follow many of his former comrades to the gallows, although he did spend 20 years in Spandau prison and emerged with the remarkably favourable reputation as "the good German". As this excellent book reveals, however, after his death it was discovered that Speer was not only aware of the Holocaust and the extermination camps, but that he and the departments over which he presided had been directly involved in the construction of the camps and facilitated their operation. As the man himself later wrote, while he knew of but did not agree with Hitler's unconcealed determination to exterminate the Jewish race, he nevertheless provided him with the means of doing so. Any account following Speer's wartime career through to his release from prison would be interesting enough, but what makes this book particularly compelling is that the author, later a high ranking policeman and qualified clinical psychologist, was one of his guards in Spandau and interviewed Speer over the course of several years.

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Pegasus Archive

Loved this book. Lots of interesting information to digest. This is a great read for anyone who loves to read about history. Very well written.

NetGalley, Lisa Houston

As a young man Adrian Greaves was privileged to have access to a top Nazi war criminal in Spandau Prison following Europe’s most terrifying decade. A story with a strong warning for the future.

Professor John Laband. Author and Historian

A revealing account recorded by Adrian Greaves when, still a teenager, he recorded his discussions with Albert Speer, a top Nazi war criminal in Berlin’s notorious Spandau Prison. I’m pleased the persuasiveness of his friends finally encouraged the writing of his very revealing and frightening records.

Ian Knight. Author and broadcaster

A stunning account from Adrian Greaves about Nazi Germany and its top Minister, Albert Speer, the so called ‘Good German’. After a series of interviews with Speer, Greaves came to understand this intriguing individual and uncovered many of his secrets. A riveting and stunning read.

Brian Best. The Victoria Cross Society

As a young man Adrian Greaves was presented with the astonishing opportunity of regularly meeting with Hitler’s top minister and friend, Albert Speer, in the infamous Spandau Prison. Not overawed by Speer, who befriended this young army officer, Greaves did not flinch from piercing the defensive and controversial mind of the senior surviving war criminal. Speer’s revelations and opinions on a range of wartime events present much to reflect upon and Greaves’ thoughtful conclusions reveal much about a terrible time for mankind.

Professor Richard Holmes. Historian and author

Historian and author, Adrian Greaves, seized on a remarkable opportunity to discuss with Albert Speer, then serving his sentence in Spandau Prison, Speer’s true role with Hitler. Greaves’ interviews and their publication uncover the truth behind this clever and distinguished war criminal and explain much about the incomprehensible and savage Third Reich.

Brigadier Mike Hill OBE

A good solid account of the Second World War as witnessed by top Nazi, Albert Speer, Hitler’s friend and right-hand man. For two years, as a young Army Officer, Adrian Greaves had unprecedented access to Albert Speer serving his twenty year sentence in Berlin’s Spandau Prison for war crimes. Greaves’ account, based on his notes made at the time, make fascinating reading and remind us of the brutality and terror unleashed by Hitler’s Nazi Germany. And as for Eva Braun, well!

Keith Lowe. Author and Sunday Telegraph literary critic

As featured in

The Oldie

It is thanks to the authors access to Speer and his seeming ability to draw out Speer’s revelations that we have this well wrought insight into the ‘Good Nazi’ who was anything but!

Martin Willoughby, Chairman of the Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association

Featured on UK Historian

UK Historian

Well written and plenty of detail. But this man is just Evil (Speer not the author). Knowing what he did and nonplussingly denying any responsibility. While I enjoy reading these types of books to further my history knowledge, they will forever make me angry for the lives lost.

NetGalley, Jennifer DiCenzo

In summary, this book does a great job in dispelling the mythology of Speer as a 'good Nazi', it offers up new information about some of the personal relationships within Hitler's inner circle and provides real insight about Cold War tensions in post war Berlin.

Phil Curme, Walker of battlefields. MA in Military History. Researching British Army in 19th Century China.

The author takes a fact-based approach using a variety of sources all of which are carefully referenced. The wider history of the Nazi rise to power is covered so as to put Speer's contribution into proper context. For added interest, the book covers the post war history of the Allied Powers' occupation of Berlin and the way in which Spandau Prison was used for geo political purposes by both the Allies and the Russians. The author provides a vivid portrait of what it was like to serve on the 'Front Line' during the Cold War. In summary, this book does a great job in dispelling the mythology of Speer as a 'good Nazi', it offers up new information about some of the personal relationships within Hitler's inner circle and provides real insight about Cold War tensions in post war Berlin.

Read the full review here

Phil Curme

I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent reading this 192-page WWII history. I had of course heard about Speer, but I learned a great deal more about him from this book. He appears to have been very smart and cunning... I found it interesting. I do like the selected cover art. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

NetGalley, John Purvis

An interesting look at the life and times of the number 2 man in Nazi Germany. The story was well done, and took the time to explain all of the politics behind the scenes. I found this book to be informative from a historical perspective.

NetGalley, Ron Baumer

Great informational text on a Nazi that is rarely focused on and is often not mentioned in the history books. Information that the average person would never know. Interesting to think that he thought was innocent in all the horrors of the Nazi Era.

NetGalley, Cassandra Suder

About Dr Adrian Greaves

In 1960 Adrian Greaves joined up as a Private soldier. A year later aged seventeen, he was selected for officer training and was commissioned into the Welch Regiment. Stationed in Berlin for three years he witnessed the Wall being built, undertook border patrols and once being taken hostage at gunpoint by East German Police. As this book reveals, Albert Speer, who befriended him, taught him German to interpreter level. He met international leaders including Kennedy and Khrushchev.
After leaving the Army he joined Kent Police achieving high rank. His hobbies included mountaineering and he and two friends successfully climbed the Eiger north wall. In 1984 he led an armed police team to quell a violent mutiny on a tanker in the English Channel.
A qualified clinical psychologist, he has over twenty published titles, many with Pen and Sword including Forgotten Battles of the Zulu War (shortly to be re-issued)

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