INFILTRATION: The SS and German Armament by Albert Speer

INFILTRATION: The SS and German Armament

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Disjointed notations on, chiefly, the efforts of Himmler and the SS to secure control of German industrial production, Speer's bailiwick during World War II. Under the apparent assumption that the reader will be familiar with his 1970 memoirs, Inside the Third Reich, Speer plunges into the story midway and jumps around thereafter; but his picture of office politics in wartime Germany is stocked with sometimes-ludicrous, sometimes-sinister particulars. On the eve of the Third Reich's collapse, for instance, Goering requested ammunition for hunting (on a minister-to-minister basis) and Himmler was trying to make rubber from dandelions and aviation fuel from fir-tree roots. More seriously, Speer perceived Himmler as a daily threat to his position and, on occasion, as a threat to his life (most chillingly, when a secret SS man attended him in the hospital). There are accounts of a number of skirmishes between them, some of which Speer lost--what with undercover agents penetrating his ministry, the SS falsifying documents presented to Hitler, engineers and technicians being threatened with concentration camp if they didn't produce. The book is also rife with statistics on production, almost always to make a point--such as to refute Himmler's claims for the efficiency of concentration-camp workers. Touched upon, too, are strategic decision-making, occupation policies, the ""Jewish question,"" and the personal habits of Nazi leaders. Much of this is extraneous to the ostensible purpose of the book, and the whole seems to amount to material left over from Inside the Third Reich. It does fill out our understanding of the inner workings of the Nazi regime, but it hasn't nearly the compelling interest of its predecessor.

Pub Date: July 27th, 1981
Publisher: Macmillan