Thursday, June 03, 2004

Two more quotes from Albert Speer:

1. [On Hitler and his dog] Hitler knew, of course, that a dog regards the man who feeds him as his master. Before the attendant opened the dog cage, Hitler usually let the excited dog leap up against the wire partitions for a few minutes, barking and whimpering with joy and hunger. Since I stood in special favor, I was sometimes allowed to accompany Hitler to this feeding, whereas all the others had to watch the process at a distance. The dog probably occupied the most important role in Hitler's private life; he meant more to his master than the Fuehrer's closest associates...

During conferences that often lasted for hours, or during meals, Hitler ordered his dog to lie down in a certain corner. There the animal settled with a protesting growl...I avoided, as any reasonably prudent visitor to Hitler, arousing any feelings of friendship in the dog. That was often not so easy, especially when at meals the dog laid his head on my knee and in this position attentively studied the pieces of meat, which he evidently preferred to his master's vegetarian dishes. When Hitler noticed such disloyaty, he irritably called the dog back.

2. [On grasping at straws in the final days of the regime] On yet another of these early days of April, I happened into Bismarck's former sitting room and found Dr. Ley surrounded by a sizeable group, among them Schaub and Bormann, sever adjutants and orderlies. Ley came rushing toward me with the news: "Death rays have been invented! A simple apparatus that we can produce in large quantities. I've studied the documentation; there's no doubt about it. This will be the decisive weapon!" With Bormann nodding confirmation, Ley went on, stuttering as always, to find fault with me: "But of course your Ministry rejected the inventor. Fortunately for us he wrote to me. But now you personally must get this project going. Immediately. At this moment there's nothing more important."

Ley went on to rail at the inadequacy of my organization, which he said was calcified and overbureacratized. The whole thing was so absurd that I did not bother to contradict him. "You're absolutely right," I said. "Why don't you take it over personally? I'll be glad to give you all the powers you'll need as 'Commissioner for Death Rays'"

Ley was delighted with this proposal.

-- From Inside The Third Reich, by Albert Speer.


Post a Comment

<< Home