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German History in Documents and Images
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Armaments Minister Albert Speer at a Meeting on Armaments Questions (1943)
In 1940, at least four competing authorities were involved in economic and armaments planning. These included: the Office of the Four-Year Plan under Hermann Göring, the Defense Economy and Armaments Office of the High Command of the Wehrmacht under General Georg Thomas, the Ministry of Economics under Walther Funk, and the Ministry for Armaments and Munitions under Fritz Todt. Todt in particular understood the necessity of moving toward a total war economy and successfully pursued the rationalization, centralization, and expansion of armaments production. In February 1942, architect Albert Speer succeeded Todt and quickly spurred an enormous increase in production in the armaments industry. His ministry assumed central planning and supervisory responsibilities for the German economy as a whole, which from 1943 on was committed to total war production. After the war, Speer was arrested, along with other members of the so-called Flensburg Government (the government that took over after Hitler's death, also known as the Donitz Government). The International Tribunal in Nuremberg sentenced him to twenty years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The photo shows (from right to left) Speer, General Field Marshal Milch, and the head of the Armaments Delivery Office, state councilor Dr. Schieber.