I know that Speer was the Minister of Armaments and Munitions as well as the head of the Organisation Todt, but what exactly did he do to make the war production so productive?
What changes did he make?
What did he do to make these changes?

Clarification: Were there any decrees or rules he made to make the system more efficient, or was the efficiency already there when he took over?

  • 1
    Whoever down-voted this question, can you please comment why? It'll be very helpful if you tell me so I can edit this question to make it better.
    – 关一骏
    Jan 28, 2017 at 17:29

3 Answers 3


Speer was fortunate in that the gains in the early months of his administration were mostly due to decisions that had been taken under the previous minister. That gave him some time to simplify and streamline the processes of his ministry, and to get the industries he was in charge of better organised.

His training had been as an architect, which had given him a background in running complicated building projects. This was applicable, to some extent, to running much larger organisations. He was pretty intelligent, not so beholden to vested interests as many Nazi politicians, and he had Hitler's backing. Basically, he was better at running a large centralised organisation.

Sources: Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction, and Alfred C. Mierzejewski, The Collapse of the German War Economy, 1944-45.

Addendum: the German Official History, Germany and the Second World War, volume V / IIA has a lot more on Speer's methods, successes and limitations. That's part IIA (which is a large book in itself) of "volume" V of the overall history.

  • Just curious, which source do you like better? Which one offers more information?
    – 关一骏
    Jan 28, 2017 at 19:43
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    They're about different things. Tooze is about the whole of the German war economy. Mierzejewski is about the specifics of the collapse: Speer having been the main minister responding to it, it gives some good examples of his working methods. Jan 28, 2017 at 21:27

Albert Speer had an eclectic background. He was an architect, but took his degree at a technical school, which is to say that he had a better engineering background than most.

As an architect, he designed several "political" buildings including the Chancellary, which won him the personal favor of Hitler. As a result, his next major assignment was an inspector in the city of Berlin, which gave him wide exposure to the industrial process. Shortly afterward, he conducted time and labor specialization studies that bore some resemblance to those of America's Frederick Taylor.

When Hitler asked Speer to take over the German armaments program, he had the benefit of this "industrial engineering" training, as well as Hitler's trust, which meant that Hitler interfered far less with Speer's decisions than with others. Speer reorganized the arms industry along quasi-American lines, and came up with a pale version of America's mass production machine.


Speer wrote a couple of books. Also Gitta Sereny wrote a biography of Speer. In neither of those books Speer explains in detail what he did.
Basically he explains that he centralized the requirements of human labor and raw materials that each industry demanded. So they distributed according to the importance of each industry. Therefore, they didn't change the way the companies worked, it was only logistics intervention.

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