Albert Speer - His Battle with Truth by Gitta Sereny

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I have been re-reading Gitta Sereny's account of her conversations with Albert Speer.

In it Speer describes his reasons for following Hitler so blindly and passionately. Sereny provides a mass of background data that sometimes contradicts and sometimes justifies. It is an easy read.

The book is full of compelling and revelatory material:
On the days of the Nuremburg trials, Speer recalled that It was the first time the prisoners could talk freely together.

Already it felt quite strange to be in one's own clothes; very strange how it makes one feel like a man 

he said without the faintest hint of irony. I wondered if Albert Speer understood how, shaven headed and dressed in prison garb, concentration camp victims were reduced to the status of objects, overseen by elaborately dressed guards and even more impressively adorned officers. The book goes some way to providing an anatomy of cognitive dissonance mediated by the emotional attachment to an ideal or a figurehead, and perhaps Sereny's book reveals something about our own attitude to the truth, coloured as it is by tribalism and hate.

1 comment:

Jim Baxter said...

Speer's 'seeing the truth' about Hitler followed the curve of the inevitability of the Nazi defeat to a remarkable degree. Under Speer's directorship German aramanent production reached an all time high in 1944, in spite of the bombing, in spite of the loss of conquered territory. He hadn't seen the truth then, apparently.

Just another criminal opportunist.