In [2]:
import bz2
import xml.etree.ElementTree as etree

import requests
from IPython.display import HTML
from lxml import etree as lxml_etree
from lxml.cssselect import CSSSelector

Read the XML dump iteratively

In [3]:
def wiki_texts(path):
    with as f:
        nsmap = {}

        def tag(t, space=''):
            return '{{{0}}}{1}'.format(nsmap[space], t)

        for event, elem in etree.iterparse(f, events=('start-ns', 'end')):
            if event == 'start-ns':
                ns, url = elem
                nsmap[ns] = url

            if elem.tag == tag('text'):
                yield elem

#             elem.clear()        
In [4]:
text_elements = wiki_texts('/Users/dimazest/tmp/enwiki-20140614-pages-meta-current1.xml-p000000010p000010000.bz2')
In [5]:
for i in range(837):  # 246 133, 345
In [6]:
text_element = next(text_elements)
In [8]:
text = ''.join(text_element.itertext())
In [11]:
# print(''.join(text_element.itertext()))

Covert wikitext to HTML using Parsoid is used for wikitext parsing.

In [12]:
r =
#     'http://localhost:8000/enwiki/',
    data={'wt': text, 'body': True},
In [14]:
# HTML(r.text)

Cleaning up

The HTML code constains a lot of metainforamtion such as tables, disambiguation notice, references. These meta elements should be filtered out.

In [15]:
body = lxml_etree.HTML(r.text)

These are the elements that I find useless.

In [36]:
selectors = (CSSSelector(expr) for expr in (
        'span.reference a',
#         '.metadata',
        'span.metadata a',
    ) + tuple('h{}'.format(i) for i in range(1, 7))  # Remove headings to make parsing easier.

I'm not sure whether this cleanup needed, but debugging is so much simpler. It would be cool to be able to tell parsoid not to add them.

In [37]:
lxml_etree.strip_attributes(body, 'data-mw')
lxml_etree.strip_attributes(body, 'data-parsoid')
In [38]:
# HTML(lxml_etree.tounicode(body, pretty_print=True))
In [39]:
for sel in selectors:
    for e in sel(body):
In [40]:
HTML(lxml_etree.tounicode(body, pretty_print=True))

Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808  July 31, 1875) was the 17th President of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson became president as Abraham Lincoln's Vice President at the time of Lincoln's assassination. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. The new president favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union. His plans did not give protection to the former slaves, and he came into conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The first American president to be impeached, he was acquitted in the Senate by one vote.

Johnson was born in poverty in Raleigh, North Carolina. Apprenticed as a tailor, he worked in several frontier towns before settling in Greeneville, Tennessee. He served as alderman and mayor there before being elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1835. After brief service in the Tennessee Senate, Johnson was elected to the federal House of Representatives in 1843, where he served five two-year terms. He became Governor of Tennessee for four years, and was elected by the legislature to the Senate in 1857. In his congressional service, he sought passage of the Homestead Bill, which was enacted soon after he left his Senate seat in 1862.

As Southern states, including Tennessee, seceded to form the Confederate States of America, Johnson remained firmly with the Union. In 1862, Lincoln appointed him as military governor of Tennessee after it had been retaken. In 1864, Johnson, as a War Democrat and Southern Unionist, was a logical choice as running mate for Lincoln, who wished to send a message of national unity in his re-election campaign; their ticket easily won. Johnson was sworn in as vice president in March 1865, giving a rambling and possibly drunken speech, and he secluded himself to avoid public ridicule. Six weeks later, the assassination of Lincoln made him president.

Johnson implemented his own form of Presidential Reconstruction – a series of proclamations directing the seceded states to hold conventions and elections to re-form their civil governments. When Southern states returned many of their old leaders, and passed Black Codes to deprive the freedmen of many civil liberties, Congress refused to seat legislators from those states and advanced legislation to overrule the Southern actions. Johnson vetoed their bills, and Congress overrode him, setting a pattern for the remainder of his presidency. Johnson opposed the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave citizenship to African-Americans. As the conflict between the branches of government grew, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, restricting Johnson in firing Cabinet officials. When he persisted in trying to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, he was impeached by the House of Representatives, and narrowly avoided conviction in the Senate and removal from office. Returning to Tennessee after his presidency, Johnson sought political vindication, and gained it in his eyes when he was elected to the Senate again in 1875 (the only former president to serve there), just months before his death. Although Johnson's ranking has fluctuated over time, he is generally considered among the worst American presidents for his opposition to federally guaranteed rights for African Americans.

Johnson's boyhood home, located at the Mordecai Historic Park in Raleigh, North Carolina

Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on December 29, 1808, to Jacob Johnson (1778–1812) and Mary ("Polly") McDonough (1783–1856), a laundress. He had a brother William, four years his elder, and an older sister Elizabeth, who died in childhood. Being born in a log cabin was a political asset in the 19th century, and in the years to come Johnson would not hesitate to remind voters of his humble birth.white trash, and there were rumors that Andrew, who did not resemble his siblings, was fathered by another man. Eventually, Polly Johnson married Turner Doughtry, who was also poor.

Polly Doughtry apprenticed her elder son, William, to a tailor, James Selby. Andrew followed his brother as an apprentice in Selby's shop at the age of ten; he was legally bound to serve until his 21st birthday. Selby does not appear to have had any great influence on the future president. The apprentice was boarded with his mother for part of his service; one of Selby's employees was detailed to teach him rudimentary literacy skills.Annette Gordon-Reed, suggests that Johnson, who would be acclaimed as a public speaker, learned the basics of that art as he threaded needles and cut cloth.

Andrew Johnson was not happy at James Selby's, and at about age 15, ran away with his brother. Selby responded by placing an advertisement in the paper, as customary for masters seeking missing apprentices, "Ten Dollars Reward. Ran away from the subscriber, two apprentice boys, legally bound, named William and Andrew Johnson ... [payment] to any person who will deliver said apprentices to me in Raleigh, or I will give the above reward for Andrew Johnson alone."Carthage, North Carolina, where Andrew Johnson worked as a tailor for several months. Fearing he would be taken and returned to Raleigh, Andrew moved on to Laurens, South Carolina. There, he found work in his craft, and met his first love, Mary Wood, for whom he made a quilt. After his marriage proposal to her was rejected, Johnson returned to Raleigh, hoping to buy out his apprenticeship, but he could not come to terms with Selby. Then, like many others in the late 1820s, he journeyed west.

Johnson left North Carolina for Tennessee, traveling mostly on foot. After a brief period in Knoxville, he moved to Mooresville, Alabama.Columbia, Tennessee, but was called back to Raleigh by his mother and stepfather, who saw limited opportunities there and who wished to emigrate west. Johnson and his party traveled through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Greeneville, Tennessee. Andrew Johnson fell in love with the town at first sight, and when he became prosperous purchased the land where he had first camped and planted a tree in commemoration.

In Greeneville, Johnson established a successful tailoring business in the front of his home. In 1827, at the age of 18, he married 16-year-old Eliza McCardle, the daughter of a local shoemaker. The pair were married by Justice of the Peace Mordecai Lincoln, first cousin of Thomas Lincoln, whose son would become president. The Johnsons were married for almost 50 years and had five children: Martha (1828), Charles (1830), Mary (1832), Robert (1834), and Andrew Jr. (1852). Though she suffered from consumption, Eliza supported her husband's endeavors. She taught him mathematics skills and tutored him to improve his writing.

Johnson's tailoring business prospered during the early years of the marriage, enabling him to hire help and giving him the funds to invest profitably in real estate.Greeneville College.

Johnson helped organize a mechanics' (working men's) ticket in the 1829 Greeneville municipal election. He was elected town alderman, along with his friends Blackston McDannel and Mordecai Lincoln.Nat Turner slave rebellion, a state convention was called to pass a new constitution, including provisions to disenfranchise free people of color. The convention also wanted to reform real estate tax rates, and provide ways of funding improvements to Tennessee's infrastructure. The constitution was submitted for a public vote, and Johnson spoke widely for its adoption; the successful campaign provided him with statewide exposure. On January 4, 1834, his fellow aldermen elected him mayor of Greeneville.

Eliza McCardle Johnson

In 1835, Johnson made a bid for election to the "floater" seat which Greene County shared with neighboring Washington County in the Tennessee House of Representatives. According to his biographer, Hans L. Trefousse, Johnson "demolished" the opposition in debate and won the election with almost a two to one margin.Tennessee Militia as a member of the 90th Regiment. He attained the rank of colonel, though while an enrolled member, Johnson was fined for an unknown offense.

In his first term in the legislature, which met in the state capital of Nashville, Johnson did not consistently vote with either the Democratic or the newly formed Whig Party, though he revered President Andrew Jackson, a Democrat and Tennessean. The major parties were still determining their core values and policy proposals, with the party system in a state of flux. The Whig Party had organized in opposition to Jackson, fearing the concentration of power in the Executive Branch of the government; Johnson differed from the Whigs as he opposed more than minimal government spending and spoke against aid for the railroads, while his constituents hoped for improvements in transportation. After Brookins Campbell and the Whigs defeated Johnson for re-election in 1837, Johnson would not lose another race for thirty years. In 1839, he sought to regain his seat, initially as a Whig, but when another candidate sought the Whig nomination, he ran as a Democrat and was elected. From that time he supported the Democratic party and built a powerful political machine in Greene County.

In 1840, Johnson was selected as a presidential elector for Tennessee, giving him more statewide publicity. Although Democratic President Martin Van Buren was defeated by former Ohio senator William Henry Harrison, Johnson was instrumental in keeping Tennessee and Greene County in the Democratic column.Tennessee Senate in 1841, where he served a two-year term.

Having served in both houses of the legislature, Johnson saw election to Congress as the next step in his political career. He engaged in a number of political maneuvers to gain Democratic support, including the displacement of the Whig postmaster in Greeneville, and defeated Jonesville lawyer John A. Aiken by 5,495 votes to 4,892.abolitionist stance, argued for only limited spending by the government and opposed protective tariffs.Library of Congress.James K. Polk, was elected president in 1844, and Johnson had campaigned for him, the two men had difficult relations, and President Polk refused some of his patronage suggestions.

Johnson believed, as did many Southern Democrats, that the Constitution protected private property, including slaves, and thus prohibited the federal and state governments from abolishing slavery.Wiliam G. Brownlow, presenting himself as the defender of the poor against the aristocracy. In his second term, Johnson supported the Polk administration's decision to fight the Mexican War, seen by some Northerners as an attempt to gain territory to expand slavery westward, and opposed the Wilmot Proviso, a proposal to ban slavery in any territory gained from Mexico. He introduced for the first time his Homestead Bill, to grant 160 acres (65 ha) to people willing to settle the land and gain title to it.

In the presidential election of 1848, the Democrats split over the slavery issue, and abolitionists formed the Free Soil Party, with former president Van Buren as their nominee. Johnson supported the Democratic candidate, former Michigan senator Lewis Cass. With the party split, Whig nominee General Zachary Taylor was easily victorious, and carried Tennessee.

Among the visitors I observed in the crowd today was Hon. Andrew Johnson of the Ho. Repts. [House of Representatives] Though he represents a Democratic District in Tennessee (my own State) this is the first time I have seen him during the present session of Congress. Professing to be a Democrat, he has been politically, if not personally hostile to me during my whole term. He is very vindictive and perverse in his temper and conduct. If he had the manliness and independence to declare his opposition openly, he knows he could not be elected by his constituents. I am not aware that I have ever given him cause for offense.

Johnson, due to national interest in new railroad construction and in response to the need for better transportation in his own district, also supported government assistance for the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad.

The Andrew Johnson House, built in 1851, Greeneville, Tennessee

In his campaign for a fourth term, Johnson concentrated on three issues: slavery, homesteads and judicial elections. He defeated his opponent, Nathaniel G. Taylor, in August 1849, with a greater margin of victory than in previous campaigns. When the House convened in December, the party division caused by the Free Soil Party precluded the formation of the majority needed to elect a Speaker. Johnson proposed adoption of a rule allowing election of a Speaker by a plurality; some weeks later others took up a similar proposal, and Democrat Howell Cobb was elected.

Once the Speaker election had concluded and Congress was ready to conduct legislative business, the issue of slavery took center stage. Northerners sought to admit California, a free state, to the Union. Kentucky's Henry Clay introduced in the Senate a series of resolutions, the Compromise of 1850, to admit California and pass legislation sought by each side. Johnson voted for all the provisions except for the abolition of slavery in the nation's capital.Electoral College), and limiting the tenure of federal judges to 12 years. These were all defeated.

A group of Democrats nominated Landon Carter Haynes to oppose Johnson as he sought a fifth term; the Whigs were so pleased with the internecine battle among the Democrats in the general election that they did not nominate a candidate of their own. The campaign included fierce debates: Johnson's main issue was the passage of the Homestead Bill; Haynes contended it would facilitate abolition. Johnson won the election by more than 1600 votes.Franklin Pierce, Johnson campaigned for him. Pierce was elected, but he failed to carry Tennessee.Gustavus Henry, redrew the boundaries of Johnson's First District to make it a safe seat for their party. The Nashville Union termed this "Henry-mandering";

If Johnson considered retiring from politics upon deciding not to seek re-election, he soon changed his mind.Nathaniel Taylor for his old seat in Congress.

Tennessee's governor had little power—Johnson could propose legislation but not veto it, and most appointments were made by the Whig-controlled legislature. Nevertheless, the office was a bully pulpit that allowed him to publicize himself and his political views.John Bell, a Whig, for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats. In his first biennial speech, Johnson urged simplification of the state judicial system, abolishment of the Bank of Tennessee and establishment of an agency to provide uniformity in weights and measures; the last was passed. Johnson was critical of the Tennessee common school system and suggested funding be increased via taxes, either statewide or county by county—a mixture of the two was passed.

Although the Whig Party was on its final decline nationally, it remained strong in Tennessee, and the outlook for Democrats there in 1855 was poor. Feeling that re-election as governor was necessary to give him a chance at the higher offices he sought, Johnson agreed to make the run. Meredith P. Gentry received the Whig nomination. A series of more than a dozen vitriolic debates ensued.nativist positions of the Know Nothing Party. Johnson favored the first, but opposed the others. Gentry was more equivocal on the alcohol question, and had gained the support of the Know Nothings, a group Johnson portrayed as a secret society.

When the presidential election of 1856 approached, Johnson hoped to be nominated; some Tennessee county conventions designated him a favorite son. His position that the best interests of the Union were served by slavery in some areas made him a practical compromise candidate for president. He was never a major contender; the nomination fell to former Pennsylvania senator James Buchanan. Though he was not impressed by either, Johnson campaigned for Buchanan and his running mate, former Kentucky representative John C. Breckenridge, who were elected.

Johnson decided not to seek a third term as governor, with an eye towards election to the U.S. Senate. In 1857, while returning from Washington, his train derailed, causing serious damage to his right arm. This injury would trouble him in the years to come.

The victors in the 1857 state legislative campaign would, once they convened in October, elect a United States Senator. Former Whig governor William B. Campbell wrote to his uncle, "The great anxiety of the Whigs is to elect a majority in the legislature so as to defeat Andrew Johnson for senator. Should the Democrats have the majority, he will certainly be their choice, and there is no man living to whom the AmericansWhig newspaper referring to him as "the vilest radical and most unscrupulous demagogue in the Union."

Johnson gained high office due to his proven record as a man popular among the small farmers and self-employed tradesmen who made up much of Tennessee's electorate. He called them the "plebians"; he was less popular among the planters and lawyers who led the state Democratic Party, but none could match him as a vote-getter. After his death, one Tennessee voter wrote of him, "Johnson was always the same to everyone ... the honors heaped upon him did not make him forget to be kind to the humblest citizen." have been elected at the time and we only wanted to use you. Then we did not want you to go to the Senate but the people would send you."

The new senator took his seat when Congress convened in December 1857 (the term of his predecessor, James C. Jones, had expired in March). He came to Washington as usual without his wife and family; Eliza would visit Washington only once during Johnson's first time as senator, in 1860. Johnson immediately set about introducing the Homestead Bill in the Senate, but as most senators who supported it were Northern (many associated with the newly founded Republican Party), the matter became caught up in suspicions over the slavery issue. Southern senators felt that those who took advantage of the provisions of the Homestead Bill were more likely to be Northern non-slaveholders. The issue of slavery had been complicated by the Supreme Court's ruling earlier in the year in Dred Scott v. Sandford that slavery could not be prohibited in the territories. Johnson, a slaveholding senator from a Southern state, made a major speech in the Senate the following May in an attempt to convince his colleagues that the Homestead Bill and slavery were not incompatible. Nevertheless, Southern opposition was key to defeating the legislation, 30–22.

He argued against funding to build Washington, D.C.'s infrastructure, stating that it was unfair to expect state citizens to pay for the city's streets, even if it was the seat of government. He opposed spending money for troops to put down the revolt by the Mormons in Utah Territory, arguing for temporary volunteers as the United States should not have a standing army.

Johnson in 1860

In October 1859, abolitionist John Brown and sympathizers raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (today West Virginia). Tensions in Washington between pro- and anti-slavery forces increased greatly. Johnson gave a major speech in the Senate in December, decrying Northerners who would endanger the Union by seeking to outlaw slavery. The Tennessee senator stated that "all men are created equal" from the Declaration of Independence did not apply to African-Americans, since the Constitution of Illinois contained that phrase—and that document barred voting by African-Americans.

Johnson hoped that he would be a compromise candidate for the 1860 presidential nomination as the Democratic Party tore itself apart over the slavery question. Busy with the Homestead Bill during the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina, he sent two of his sons and his chief political adviser to represent his interest in the backroom dealmaking. The convention deadlocked, with no candidate able to gain the required two-thirds vote, but the sides were too far apart to consider Johnson as a compromise. The party split, with Northerners backing Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas while Southerners, including Johnson, supported Vice President Breckinridge for president. With former Tennessee senator John Bell running a fourth-party candidacy and further dividing the vote, the Republican Party elected its first president, former Illinois representative Abraham Lincoln. The election of Lincoln, known to be against slavery, was unacceptable to many in the South. Although secession from the Union had not been an issue in the campaign, talk of it began in the Southern states.

Johnson took to the Senate floor after the election, giving a speech well received in the North, "I will not give up this government ... No; I intend to stand by it ... and I invite every man who is a patriot to ... rally around the altar of our common country ... and swear by our God, and all that is sacred and holy, that the Constitution shall be saved, and the Union preserved."Jefferson Davis that if Southerners would only hold to their seats, the Democrats would control the Senate, and could defend the South's interests against any infringement by Lincoln.the president of the Confederate States of America, formed by the seceding states. If the Tennessean had backed the Confederacy, he would have had small influence in its government.

Johnson returned home when his state took up the issue of secession. His successor as governor, Isham G. Harris, and the legislature, organized a referendum on whether to have a constitutional convention to authorize secession; when that failed, they put the question of leaving the Union to a popular vote. Despite threats on Johnson's life, and actual assaults, he campaigned against both questions, sometimes speaking with a gun on the lectern before him. Although Johnson's eastern region of Tennessee was against secession, the second referendum passed, and in June 1861, Tennessee joined the Confederacy. Believing he would be killed if he stayed, the senator fled the state through the Cumberland Gap, where his party was fired upon; he left his wife and family in Greeneville.

As the only member from a seceded state to remain in the Senate and the most prominent Southern Unionist, he had Lincoln's ear in the early months of the war.

Johnson's first tenure in the Senate came to a conclusion in March 1862 when Lincoln appointed him military governor of Tennessee. Much of the central and western portions of that seceded state had been recovered. Although some argued that civil government should simply resume once the Confederates were put down in an area, Lincoln chose to use his power as commander in chief to appoint military governors over Union-controlled Southern areas.brigadier general.Homestead Act was finally enacted; it, along with legislation for land grant colleges and for the transcontinental railroad, has been credited with opening the American West to settlement.

As military governor, Johnson sought to eliminate rebel influences in the state, demanding loyalty oaths from public officials, and shutting down newspapers run by Confederate sympathizers. At that time, much of eastern Tennessee remained in rebel hands, and the ebb and flow of war through 1862 sometimes brought Confederate control close to Nashville. The Confederates did allow his wife and family to pass through the lines to him.Nathan Bedford Forrest. Relief from Union regulars did not come until William S. Rosecrans defeated the Confederates at Murfreesboro at the start of 1863. Much of eastern Tennessee was retaken later that year.

When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, freeing the slaves in rebel-controlled areas, he exempted Tennessee at Johnson's request. The document increased the debate over what should happen to the slaves after the war—not all Unionists supported abolition. Johnson decided that slavery had to end, stating, "If the institution of slavery ... seeks to overthrow it [the Government], then the Government has a clear right to destroy it".

Poster for the Lincoln and Johnson ticket by Currier and Ives

In 1860, Lincoln's running mate had been Maine Senator Hannibal Hamlin. Vice President Hamlin had served competently, was in good health, and was willing to run. Nevertheless, Johnson emerged as running mate for Lincoln's re-election bid in 1864.

Lincoln considered several War Democrats for the ticket in 1864, and sent an agent to sound out General Benjamin Butler as a possible running mate. In May 1864, the President dispatched General Daniel Sickles to Nashville on a fact-finding mission. Although Sickles denied he was there either to investigate or interview the military governor, Johnson biographer Hans L. Trefousse believes Sickles's trip was connected to Johnson's subsequent nomination for vice president.southern War Democrat, on the ticket sent the right message about the folly of secession and the continuing capacity for union within the country."William Seward to frustrate the vice-presidential candidacy of his fellow New Yorker, former senator Daniel S. Dickinson, a War Democrat, as Seward would probably have had to yield his place if another New Yorker became vice president. Johnson, once he was told by reporters the likely purpose of Sickles' visit, was active on his own behalf, giving speeches and having his political friends work behind the scenes to boost his candidacy.

To sound a theme of unity, Lincoln in 1864 ran under the banner of the National Union Party, rather than the Republicans.the party's convention in Baltimore in June, Lincoln was easily nominated, although there had been some talk of replacing him with a Cabinet officer or one of the more successful generals. After the convention backed Lincoln, former Secretary of War Simon Cameron offered a resolution to nominate Hamlin, but it was defeated. Johnson was nominated for vice president by C.M. Allen of Indiana with an Iowa delegate as seconder. On the first ballot, Johnson led with 200 votes to 150 for Hamlin and 108 for Dickinson. On the second ballot, Kentucky switched to vote for Johnson, beginning a stampede. Johnson was named on the second ballot with 491 votes to Hamlin's 17 and eight for Dickinson; the nomination was made unanimous. Lincoln expressed pleasure at the result, "Andy Johnson, I think, is a good man."

Although it was unusual at the time for a national candidate to actively campaign, Johnson gave a number of speeches in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. He also sought to boost his chances in Tennessee while re-establishing civil government by making the loyalty oath even more restrictive, in that voters would now have to swear they opposed making a settlement with the Confederacy. The Democratic candidate for president, George McClellan, hoped to avoid additional bloodshed by negotiation, and so the stricter loyalty oath effectively disenfranchised his supporters. Lincoln declined to override Johnson, and their ticket took the state by 25,000 votes. Congress refused to count Tennessee's electoral votes, but Lincoln and Johnson did not need them, having won in most states that had voted, and easily secured the election.

1865 cartoon showing Lincoln and Johnson using their talents as rail-splitter and tailor to repair the Union

Now Vice President-elect, Johnson was anxious to complete the work of re-establishing civilian government in Tennessee, although the timetable for the election of a new governor did not allow it to take place until after Inauguration Day, March 4. He hoped to remain in Nashville to complete his task, but was told by Lincoln's advisers that he could not stay, but would be sworn in with Lincoln. In these months, Union troops finished the retaking of eastern Tennessee, including Greeneville. Just before his departure, the voters of Tennessee ratified a new constitution, abolishing slavery, on February 22, 1865. One of Johnson's final acts as military governor was to certify the results.

Johnson traveled to Washington to be sworn in, although according to Gordon-Reed, "in light of what happened on March 4, 1865, it might have been better if Johnson had stayed in Nashville."Second Inaugural Address.

In the weeks after the inauguration, Johnson only presided over the Senate briefly, and hid from public ridicule at the Maryland home of a friend, Francis Preston Blair. When he did return to Washington, it was with the intent of leaving for Tennessee to re-establish his family in Greeneville. Instead, he remained after word came that General Ulysses S. Grant had captured the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, presaging the end of the war.

On the afternoon of April 14, 1865, Lincoln and Johnson met for the first time since the inauguration. Trefousse states that Johnson wanted to "induce Lincoln not to be too lenient with traitors"; Gordon-Reed agrees.

Contemporary woodcut of Johnson being sworn in by Chief Justice Chase as Cabinet members look on, April 15, 1865

That night, President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer. The shooting of the President was part of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln, Johnson, and Seward the same night. Seward barely survived his wounds, while Johnson escaped attack as his would-be assassin, George Atzerodt, got drunk instead of killing the vice president. Leonard J. Farwell, a fellow boarder at the Kirkwood House, awoke Johnson with news of Lincoln's shooting at Ford's Theater. Johnson rushed to the President's deathbed, where he remained a short time, on his return promising, "They shall suffer for this. They shall suffer for this." am the next morning; Johnson's swearing in occurred between 10 and 11 am with Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding in the presence of most of the Cabinet. Johnson's demeanor was described by the newspapers as "solemn and dignified".

The events of the assassination resulted in speculation, then and subsequently, concerning Johnson and what the conspirators might have intended for him. In the vain hope of having his life spared, after his capture, Atzerodt spoke much about the conspiracy, but did not say anything to indicate that the plotted assassination of Johnson was merely a ruse. Conspiracy theorists point to the fact that on the day of the assassination, Booth came to the Kirkwood House and left one of his cards. This object was received by Johnson's private secretary, William A. Browning, with an inscription, "Are you at home? Don't wish to disturb you. J. Wilkes Booth."

Johnson presided with dignity over Lincoln's funeral ceremonies in Washington, before the leader's body was sent home to Springfield, Illinois, for burial.William T. Sherman reported he had, without consulting Washington, reached an armistice agreement with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston for the surrender of Confederate forces in North Carolina in exchange for the existing state government remaining in power, with private property rights to be respected. This did not even acknowledge the freedom of those in slavery. This was not acceptable to Johnson or the Cabinet who sent word for Sherman to secure the surrender without making political deals, which he did. Further, Johnson placed a $100,000 bounty on Confederate President Davis, then a fugitive, which gave him the reputation of a man who would be tough on the South. More controversially, he permitted the execution of Mary Surratt for her part in Lincoln's assassination. Surratt was executed with three others, including Atzerodt, on July 7, 1865.

Upon taking office, Johnson faced the question of what to do with the Confederacy. President Lincoln had authorized loyalist governments in Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee as the Union came to control large parts of those states and advocated a ten percent plan that would allow elections after ten percent of the voters in any state took an oath of future loyalty to the Union. Congress considered this too lenient; its own plan, requiring a majority of voters to take the loyalty oath, passed both houses in 1864, but Lincoln pocket vetoed it.

Johnson had three goals in Reconstruction. He sought a speedy restoration of the states, on the grounds that they had never truly left the Union, and thus should again be recognized once loyal citizens formed a government. To Johnson, African-American suffrage was a delay and a distraction; it had always been a state responsibility to decide who should vote. Second, political power in the Southern states should pass from the planter class to his beloved "plebians". Johnson feared that the freedmen, many of whom were still economically bound to their former masters, might vote at their direction. Johnson's third priority was election in his own right in 1868, a feat no one who had succeeded a deceased president had managed to accomplish.

The Republicans had formed a number of factions. The Radical Republicans sought voting and other civil rights for African-Americans. They believed that the freedmen could be induced to vote Republican in gratitude for emancipation, and that black votes could keep the Republicans in power and Southern Democrats, including former rebels, out of influence. They believed that top Confederates should be punished. The Moderate Republicans sought to keep the Democrats out of power at a national level, and prevent former rebels from resuming power. They were not as enthusiastic about the idea of African-American suffrage as their Radical colleagues, either because of their own local political concerns, or because they believed that the freedman would be likely to cast his vote badly. Northern Democrats favored the unconditional restoration of the Southern states. They did not support African-American suffrage, which might threaten Democratic control in the South.

Johnson was initially left to devise a Reconstruction policy without legislative intervention, as Congress was not due to meet again until December 1865.

Johnson's first Reconstruction actions were two proclamations, with the unanimous backing of his Cabinet, on May 29. One recognized the Virginia government led by provisional Governor Francis Pierpont. The second provided amnesty for all ex-rebels except those holding property valued at $20,000 or more; it also appointed a temporary governor for North Carolina and authorized elections. Neither of these proclamations included provisions regarding black suffrage or freedmen's rights. The President ordered constitutional conventions in other former rebel states.

As Southern states began the process of forming governments, Johnson's policies received considerable public support in the North, which he took as unconditional backing for quick reinstatement of the South. While he received such support from the white South, he underestimated the determination of Northerners to ensure that the war had not been fought for nothing. It was important, in Northern public opinion, that the South acknowledge its defeat, that slavery be ended, and that the lot of African-Americans be improved. Voting rights were less important—after all, only a handful of Northern states (mostly in New England) gave African-American men the right to vote on the same basis as whites, and in late 1865, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Minnesota voted down African-American suffrage proposals by large margins. Northern public opinion tolerated Johnson's leniency as an experiment, to be allowed if it brought Southern acceptance of defeat. Instead, white Southerners were emboldened. A number of Southern states passed Black Codes, binding African-American laborers to farms on annual contracts they could not quit, and allowing law enforcement at whim to arrest them for vagrancy and rent out their labor. Most Southerners elected to Congress were former Confederates, with the most prominent being Georgia Senator-designate and former Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens. Congress assembled in early December 1865; Johnson's conciliatory annual message to them was well received. Nevertheless, Congress refused to seat the Southern legislators and established a committee to recommend appropriate Reconstruction legislation.

Northerners were outraged at the idea of unrepentant Confederate leaders, such as Stephens, rejoining the federal government at a time when emotional wounds from the war remained raw. They saw the Black Codes placing African-Americans in a position barely above slavery. Republicans also feared that restoration of the Southern states would return the Democrats to power.

Congress was reluctant to confront the President, and initially only sought to fine-tune Johnson's policies towards the South.

Thomas Nast cartoon of Johnson disposing of the Freedman's Bureau as African-Americans go flying

Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull, leader of the Moderate Republicans and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was anxious to reach an understanding with the President. He ushered through Congress a bill extending the Freedman's Bureau beyond its scheduled abolition in 1867, and the first Civil Rights Bill, to grant citizenship to the freedmen. Trumbull met several times with Johnson, and was convinced the President would sign the measures. Johnson rarely contradicted visitors, often fooling those who met with him into thinking he was in accord. The President opposed both bills as infringements on state sovereignty. Additionally, both of Trumbull's bills were unpopular among white Southerners, whom Johnson hoped to include in his new party. The President vetoed the Freedman's Bureau bill on February 18, 1866, to the delight of white Southerners and the puzzled anger of Republican legislators. He considered himself vindicated when a move to override his veto failed in the Senate the following day.

On February 22, 1866, Washington's Birthday, Johnson gave an impromptu speech to supporters who had marched to the Executive Mansion (as the White House was still formally known) and called for an address in honor of the first president. In his hour-long speech, he instead referred to himself over 200 times. More damagingly, he also spoke of "men ... still opposed to the Union" to whom he could not extend the hand of friendship he gave to the South.Thaddeus Stevens, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, and abolitionist Wendell Phillips, and accused them of plotting his assassination. Republicans viewed the address as a declaration of war, while one Democratic ally estimated Johnson's speech cost the party 200,000 votes in the 1866 congressional midterm elections.

Although strongly urged by Moderates to sign the Civil Rights Bill, Johnson broke decisively with them by vetoing it on March 27. In his veto message, he objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the freedmen at a time when 11 out of 36 states were unrepresented in the Congress, and that it discriminated in favor of African-Americans and against whites.Civil Rights Act of 1866, often seen as a key mistake of Johnson's presidency, convinced Moderates there was no hope of working with him. Historian Eric Foner in his volume on Reconstruction views it as "the most disastrous miscalculation of his political career". According to Stewart, the veto was "for many his defining blunder, setting a tone of perpetual confrontation with Congress that prevailed for the rest of his presidency".

Congress also proposed the Fourteenth Amendment to the states. Written by Trumbull and others, it was sent for ratification by state legislatures in a process in which the president plays no part, though Johnson opposed it. The amendment was designed to put the key provisions of the Civil Rights Act into the Constitution, but also went further. The amendment extended citizenship to every person born in the United States (except Indians on reservations), penalized states that did not give the vote to freedmen, and most importantly, created new federal civil rights that could be protected by federal courts. It also guaranteed that the federal debt would be paid and forbade repayment of Confederate war debts. Further, it disqualified many former Confederates from office, although the disability could be removed—by Congress, not the president.

Efforts to compromise failed,election of 1866; Southern states were not allowed to vote. Johnson campaigned vigorously, undertaking a public speaking tour, known as the "Swing Around the Circle". The trip, including speeches in Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Columbus, proved politically disastrous, with the President making controversial comparisons between himself and Christ, and engaging in arguments with hecklers. These exchanges were attacked as beneath the dignity of the presidency. The Republicans won by a landslide, increasing their two-thirds majority in Congress, and made plans to control Reconstruction.

Even with the Republican victory in November 1866, Johnson considered himself in a strong position. The Fourteenth Amendment had been ratified by none of the Southern or border states except Tennessee, and had been rejected in Kentucky, Delaware, and Maryland. As the amendment required ratification by three-quarters of the states to become part of the Constitution, he believed the deadlock would be broken in his favor, leading to his re-election in 1868. Once it reconvened in December 1866, an energized Congress began passing legislation, often over a presidential veto; this included the District of Columbia voting bill. Congress admitted Nebraska to the Union over a veto, and the Republicans gained two senators, and a state that promptly ratified the amendment. Johnson's veto of a bill for statehood for Colorado Territory was sustained; enough senators agreed that a district with a population of 30,000 was not yet worthy of statehood to win the day.

In January 1867, Congressman Stevens introduced legislation to dissolve the Southern state governments and reconstitute them into five military districts, under martial law. The states would begin again by holding constitutional conventions. African-Americans could vote for or become delegates; former Confederates could not. In the legislative process, Congress added to the bill that restoration to the Union would follow the state's ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, and completion of the process of adding it to the Constitution. Johnson and the Southerners attempted a compromise, whereby the South would agree to a modified version of the amendment without the disqualification of former Confederates, and for limited black suffrage. The Republicans insisted on the full language of the amendment, and the deal fell through. Although Johnson could have pocket vetoed the First Reconstruction Act as it was presented to him less than ten days before the end of the Thirty-Ninth Congress, he chose to veto it directly on March 2, 1867; Congress overruled him the same day. Also on March 2, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act over the President's veto, in response to statements during the Swing Around the Circle that he planned to fire Cabinet secretaries who did not agree with him. This bill, requiring Senate approval for the firing of Cabinet members during the tenure of the president who appointed them and for one month afterwards, was immediately controversial, with some senators doubting that it was constitutional or that its terms applied to Johnson, whose key Cabinet officers were Lincoln holdovers.

"The Situation", a Harper's Weekly editorial cartoon shows Secretary of War Stanton aiming a cannon labeled "Congress" to defeat Johnson. The rammer is "Tenure of Office Bill" and cannonballs on the floor are "Justice".

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was an able and hard-working man, but difficult to deal with.

The new Congress met for a few weeks in March 1867, then adjourned, leaving the House Committee on the Judiciary behind, charged with reporting back to the full House whether there were grounds for Johnson to be impeached. This committee duly met, examining the President's bank accounts, and summoning members of the Cabinet to testify. When a federal court released former Confederate president Davis on bail on May 13 (he had been captured shortly after the war), the committee investigated whether the President had impeded the prosecution. It learned that Johnson was eager to have Davis tried. A bipartisan majority of the committee voted down impeachment charges; the committee adjourned on June 3.

Later in June, Johnson and Stanton battled over the question of whether the military officers placed in command of the South could override the civil authorities. The President had Attorney General Henry Stanbery issue an opinion backing his position that they could not. Johnson sought to pin down Stanton either as for, and thus endorsing Johnson's position, or against, showing himself to be opposed to his president and the rest of the Cabinet. Stanton evaded the point in meetings and written communications. When Congress reconvened in July, it passed a Reconstruction Act against Johnson's position, waited for his veto, overruled it, and went home. In addition to clarifying the powers of the generals, the legislation also deprived the President of control over the Army in the South. With Congress in recess until November, Johnson decided to fire Stanton and relieve one of the military commanders, General Philip Sheridan, who had dismissed the governor of Texas and installed a replacement with little popular support. He was initially deterred by a strong objection from Grant. On August 5, the President demanded Stanton's resignation; the secretary refused to quit with Congress out of session.

Grant, under protest, followed Johnson's order transferring Sheridan and another of the district commanders, Daniel Sickles, who had angered Johnson by firmly following Congress's plan. The President also issued a proclamation pardoning most Confederates, exempting those who held office under the Confederacy, or who had served in federal office before the war and had breached their oaths. Although Republicans expressed anger with his actions, the 1867 elections generally went Democratic. No seats in Congress were directly elected in the polling, but the Democrats took control of the Ohio General Assembly, allowing them to defeat for re-election one of Johnson's strongest opponents, Senator Benjamin Wade. Voters in Ohio, Connecticut, and Minnesota turned down propositions to grant African-Americans the vote.

Johnson notified Congress of Stanton's suspension and Grant's interim appointment. In January 1868, the Senate disapproved of his action, and reinstated Stanton, contending the President had violated the Tenure of Office Act. Grant stepped aside over Johnson's objection, causing a complete break between them. Johnson then dismissed Stanton and appointed Lorenzo Thomas to replace him. Stanton refused to leave his office, and on February 24, 1868, the House impeached the President for intentionally violating the Tenure of Office Act, by a vote of 128 to 47. The House subsequently adopted eleven articles of impeachment, for the most part alleging that he had violated the Tenure of Office Act, and had questioned the legitimacy of Congress.

Theodore R. Davis' illustration of Johnson's impeachment trial in the United States Senate, published in Harper's Weekly

On March 5, 1868, the impeachment trial began in the Senate and lasted almost three months; Congressmen George S. Boutwell, Benjamin Butler and Thaddeus Stevens acted as managers for the House, or prosecutors, and William M. Evarts, Benjamin R. Curtis and former Attorney General Stanbery were Johnson's counsel; Chief Justice Chase served as presiding judge.

Johnson maneuvered to gain an acquittal; for example, he pledged to Iowa Senator James W. Grimes that he would not interfere with Congress's Reconstruction efforts. Grimes reported to a group of Moderates, many of whom voted for acquittal, that he believed the President would keep his word. Johnson also promised to install the respected John Schofield as War Secretary. Edmund G. Ross received assurances that the new, Radical-influenced constitutions ratified in South Carolina and Arkansas would be transmitted to the Congress without delay, an action which would give him and other senators political cover to vote for acquittal.president pro tempore of the Senate. Wade, a lame duck who left office in early 1869, was a Radical who supported such measures as women's suffrage, placing him beyond the pale politically in much of the nation.

With the dealmaking, Johnson was confident of the result in advance of the verdict, and in the days leading up to the ballot, newspapers reported that Stevens and his Radicals had given up. On May 16, the Senate voted on the 11th article of impeachment, accusing Johnson of firing Stanton in violation of the Tenure of Office of Act once the Senate had overturned his suspension. Thirty-five senators voted "guilty" and 19 "not guilty", thus falling short by a single vote of the two-thirds majority required for conviction under the Constitution. Seven Republicans—Senators Grimes, Ross, Trumbull, William Pitt Fessenden, Joseph S. Fowler, John B. Henderson, and Peter G. Van Winkle—voted to acquit the President. With Stevens bitterly disappointed at the result, the Senate then adjourned for the Republican National Convention; Grant was nominated for president. The Senate returned on May 26 and voted on the second and third articles, with identical 35–19 results. Faced with those results, Johnson's opponents gave up and dismissed proceedings.

Allegations were made at the time and again later that bribery dictated the outcome of the trial. Even when it was in progress, Representative Butler began an investigation, held contentious hearings, and issued a report, unendorsed by any other congressman. Butler focused on a New York–based "Astor House Group", supposedly led by political boss and editor Thurlow Weed. This organization was said to have raised large sums of money from whiskey interests through Cincinnati lawyer Charles Woolley to bribe senators to acquit Johnson. Butler went so far as to imprison Woolley in the Capitol building when he refused to answer questions, but failed to prove bribery.

Soon after taking office as president, Johnson reached an accord with Secretary of State William H. Seward that there would be no change in foreign policy. In practice, this meant that Seward would continue to run things as he had under Lincoln. Seward and Lincoln had been rivals for the nomination in 1860; the victor hoped that Seward would succeed him as president in 1869. At the time of Johnson's accession, the French had intervened in Mexico, sending troops there. While many politicians had indulged in saber-rattling over the Mexican matter, Seward preferred quiet diplomacy, warning the French through diplomatic channels that their presence in Mexico was not acceptable. Although the President preferred a more aggressive approach, Seward persuaded him to follow his lead. In April 1866, the French government informed Seward that its troops would be brought home in stages, to conclude by November 1867.

Seward was an expansionist, and sought opportunities to gain territory for the United States. By 1867, the Russian government saw its North American colony (today Alaska) as a financial liability, and feared losing control as American settlement reached there. It instructed its minister in Washington, Baron Eduard de Stoeckl, to negotiate a sale. De Stoeckl did so deftly, getting Seward to raise his offer from $5 million (coincidentally, the minimum that Russia had instructed de Stoeckl to accept) to $7 million, and then getting $200,000 added by raising various objections.121 million in present day terms.Wake Island in the Pacific. He came close with the Danish West Indies as Denmark agreed to sell and the local population approved the transfer in a plebiscite, but the Senate never voted on the treaty and it expired.

Another treaty that fared badly was the Johnson-Clarendon convention, negotiated in settlement of the Alabama Claims, for damages to American shipping from British-built Confederate raiders. Negotiated by the United States Minister to Britain, former Maryland senator Reverdy Johnson, in late 1868, it was ignored by the Senate during the remainder of the President's term. The treaty was rejected after he left office, and the Grant administration later negotiated considerably better terms from Britain.

Johnson appointed nine Article III federal judges during his presidency, all to United States district courts; he did not appoint a justice to serve on the Supreme Court. In April 1866, he nominated Henry Stanbery to fill the vacancy left with the death of John Catron, but Congress eliminated the seat to prevent the appointment, and to ensure that he did not get to make any appointments eliminated the next vacancy as well, providing that the court would shrink by one justice when one next departed from office.Samuel Milligan, to the United States Court of Claims, where he served from 1868 until his death in 1874.

Johnson sought nomination by the 1868 Democratic National Convention in New York in July 1868. He remained very popular among Southern whites, and boosted that popularity by issuing, just before the convention, a pardon ending the possibility of criminal proceedings against any Confederate not already indicted, meaning that only Davis and a few others still might face trial. On the first ballot, Johnson was second to former Ohio representative George H. Pendleton, who had been his Democratic opponent for vice president in 1864. Johnson's support was mostly from the South, and fell away as the ballots passed. On the 22nd ballot, former New York governor Horatio Seymour was nominated, and the President received only four votes, all from Tennessee.

The conflict with Congress continued. Johnson sent Congress proposals for amendments to limit the president to a single six-year term and make the president and the Senate directly elected, and for term limits for judges. Congress took no action on them. When the President was slow to officially report ratifications of the Fourteenth Amendment by the new Southern legislatures, Congress passed a bill, again over his veto, requiring him to do so within ten days of receipt. He still delayed as much as he could, but was required, in July 1868, to report the ratifications making the amendment part of the Constitution.

"Farewell to all my greatness": Harper's Weekly cartoon mocking Johnson on leaving office

Seymour's operatives sought Johnson's support, but he long remained silent on the presidential campaign. It was not until October, with the vote already having taken place in some states, that he mentioned Seymour at all, and he never endorsed him. Nevertheless, Johnson regretted Grant's victory, in part because of their animus from the Stanton affair. In his annual message to Congress in December, Johnson urged the repeal of the Tenure of Office Act and told legislators that had they admitted their Southern colleagues in 1865, all would have been well. He celebrated his 60th birthday in late December with a party for several hundred children, though not including those of President-elect Grant, who did not allow his to go.

On Christmas Day 1868, Johnson issued a final amnesty, this one covering everyone, including Davis. He also issued, in his final months in office, pardons for crimes, including one for Dr. Samuel Mudd, controversially convicted of involvement in the Lincoln assassination (he had set Booth's broken leg) and imprisoned on Florida's Dry Tortugas.

On March 3, the President hosted a large public reception at the White House on his final full day in office. Grant had made it known that he was unwilling to ride in the same carriage as Johnson, as was customary, and Johnson refused to go to the inauguration at all. Despite an effort by Seward to prompt a change of mind, he spent the morning of March 4 finishing last-minute business, and then shortly after noon rode from the White House to the home of a friend.

Senator Andrew Johnson in 1875 (age 66)

After leaving the presidency, Johnson remained for some weeks in Washington, then returned to Greeneville for the first time in eight years. He was honored with large public celebrations along the way, especially in Tennessee, where cities hostile to him during the war hung out welcome banners. He had arranged to purchase a large farm near Greeneville to live on after his presidency.

Some expected Johnson to seek to be Tennessee's governor again or to attempt a return to the Senate, others that he would become a railroad executive.Ku Klux Klan kept down the African-American vote, leading to a Democratic victory in the legislative elections in August 1869. Johnson was seen as a likely victor in the Senate election, although hated by Radical Republicans, and also by some Democrats because of his wartime activities. Although he was at one point within a single vote of victory in the legislature's balloting, the Republicans eventually elected Henry Cooper over Johnson, 54– congressional seat for Tennessee; Johnson initially sought the Democratic nomination, but when he saw that it would go to former Confederate general Benjamin F. Cheatham, decided to run as an independent. The former president was defeated, finishing third, but the split in the Democratic Party defeated Cheatham in favor of an old Johnson Unionist ally, Horace Maynard.

In 1873 Johnson contracted cholera during an epidemic but recovered; that year he lost about $73,000, when the First National Bank of Washington went under, though he was eventually repaid much of the sum.Grange movement; with his Jeffersonian leanings, he easily gained their support. He spoke throughout the state in his final campaign tour. Few African-Americans outside the large towns were now able to vote as Reconstruction faded in Tennessee, setting a pattern that would be repeated in the other Southern states; the white domination would last almost a century. In the Tennessee legislative elections in August, the Democrats elected 92 legislators to the Republicans' eight, and Johnson went to Nashville for the legislative session. When the balloting for the Senate seat began on January 20, 1875, he led with 30 votes, but did not have the required majority as three former Confederate generals, one former colonel, and a former Democratic congressman split the vote with him. Johnson's opponents tried to agree on a single candidate who might gain majority support and defeat him, but failed, and he was elected on January 26 on the 54th ballot, with a margin of a single vote. Nashville erupted in rejoicing;

Johnson's comeback garnered national attention, with the St. Louis Republican calling it, "the most magnificent personal triumph which the history of American politics can show".Henry Wilson, who as senator had voted for his ouster. Many Republicans ignored Senator Johnson, though some, such as Ohio's John Sherman (who had voted for conviction), shook his hand. Johnson remains the only former president to serve in the Senate. He spoke only once in the short session, on March 22 lambasting President Grant for his use of federal troops in support of Louisiana's Reconstruction government. The former president asked, "How far off is military despotism?" and concluded his speech, "may God bless this people and God save the Constitution."

Johnson returned home after the special session concluded. In late July, convinced some of his opponents were defaming him in the Ohio gubernatorial race, he decided to travel there to give speeches. He began the trip on July 28, and broke the journey at his daughter Mary's farm near Elizabethton, where his daughter Martha was also staying. That evening he suffered a stroke, but refused medical treatment until the next day, when he did not improve and two doctors were sent for from Elizabethton. He seemed to respond to their ministrations, but suffered another stroke on the evening of July 30, and died early the following morning at the age of 66. President Grant had the "painful duty" of announcing the death of the only surviving past president. Northern newspapers, in their obituaries, tended to focus on Johnson's loyalty during the war, while Southern ones paid tribute to his actions as president. Johnson's funeral was held on August 3 in Greeneville.Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in 1906, and with his home and tailor's shop, is part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

Statue of President Johnson at North Carolina State Capitol.

According to Castel, "historians [of Johnson's presidency] have tended to concentrate to the exclusion of practically everything else upon his role in that titanic event [Reconstruction]".James G. Blaine, depicted him as an obstinate boor who tried to favor the South in Reconstruction, but who was frustrated by Congress.Howard K. Beale in his journal article about the historiography of Reconstruction, "Men of the postwar decades were more concerned with justifying their own position than they were with painstaking search for truth. Thus [Alabama congressman and historian] Hilary Herbert and his corroborators presented a Southern indictment of Northern policies, and Henry Wilson's history was a brief for the North."

The turn of the 20th century saw the first significant historical evaluations of Johnson. Leading the wave was Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James Ford Rhodes, who wrote of the former president:

Johnson acted in accordance with his nature. He had intellectual force but it worked in a groove. Obstinate rather than firm it undoubtedly seemed to him that following counsel and making concessions were a display of weakness. At all events from his December message to the veto of the Civil Rights Bill he yielded not a jot to Congress. The moderate senators and representatives (who constituted a majority of the Union party) asked him for only a slight compromise; their action was really an entreaty that he would unite with them to preserve Congress and the country from the policy of the radicals ... His quarrel with Congress prevented the readmission into the Union on generous terms of the members of the late Confederacy ... His pride of opinion, his desire to beat, blinded him to the real welfare of the South and of the whole country.

Rhodes ascribed Johnson's faults to his personal weaknesses, and blamed him for the problems of the postbellum South.John Burgess, Woodrow Wilson (who later became president himself) and William Dunning, all Southerners, concurred with Rhodes, believing Johnson flawed and politically inept, but concluding that he had tried to carry out Lincoln's plans for the South in good faith.

The grave of Andrew Johnson, Greeneville, Tennessee

Even as Rhodes and his school wrote, another group of historians was setting out on the full rehabilitation of Johnson, using for the first time primary sources such as his papers, provided by his daughter Martha before her death in 1901, and the diaries of Johnson's Navy Secretary, Gideon Welles, first published in 1911. The resulting volumes, such as David Miller DeWitt's The Impeachment and Trial of President Andrew Johnson (1903), presented him far more favorably than they did those who had sought to oust him. In James Schouler's 1913 History of the Reconstruction Period, the author accused Rhodes of being "quite unfair to Johnson", though agreeing that the former president had created many of his own problems through inept political moves. These works had an effect; although historians continued to view Johnson as having deep flaws which sabotaged his presidency, they saw his Reconstruction policies as fundamentally correct.

Beale wondered in 1940, "is it not time that we studied the history of Reconstruction without first assuming, at least subconsciously, that carpetbaggers and Southern white Republicans were wicked, that Negroes were illiterate incompetents, and that the whole white South owes a debt of gratitude to the restorers of 'white supremacy'?"Van Heflin portrayed the former president as a fighter for democracy in the Hollywood film Tennessee Johnson. In 1948, a poll of his colleagues by historian Arthur M. Schlesinger deemed Johnson among the average presidents; in 1956, one by Clinton L. Rossiter named him as one of the near-great Chief Executives.

Earlier historians, including Beale, believed that money drives events, and had seen Reconstruction as an economic struggle. They also accepted, for the most part, that reconciliation between North and South should have been the top priority of Reconstruction. In the 1950s, historians began to focus on the African-American as central to Reconstruction. They rejected completely any claim of black inferiority, which had marked many earlier historical works, and saw the developing Civil Rights Era as a second Reconstruction; some writers stated they hoped their work on the postbellum era would advance the cause of civil rights. These authors sympathized with the Radical Republicans for their desire to help the African-American, and saw Johnson as callous towards the freedman. In a number of works from 1956 onwards by such historians as Fawn Brodie, the former president was depicted as a successful saboteur of efforts to better the freedman's lot. These volumes included major biographies of Stevens and Stanton.

In the early 21st century, Johnson is among those commonly mentioned as the worst presidents in U.S. history. ... his complete mishandling of Reconstruction policy ... his bristling personality, and his enormous sense of self-importance."

Trefousse considers Johnson's legacy to be "the maintenance of white supremacy. His boost to Southern conservatives by undermining Reconstruction was his legacy to the nation, one that would trouble the country for generations to come."

We know the results of Johnson's failures—that his preternatural stubbornness, his mean and crude racism, his primitive and instrumental understanding of the Constitution stunted his capacity for enlightened and forward-thinking leadership when those qualities were so desperately needed. At the same time, Johnson's story has a miraculous quality to it: the poor boy who systematically rose to the heights, fell from grace, and then fought his way back to a position of honor in the country. For good or ill, 'only in America,' as they say, could Johnson's story unfold in the way that it did.

Explanatory notes


  • Swanson, Ryan A., “Andrew Johnson and His Governors: An Examination of Failed Reconstruction Leadership,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly (2012), 71#1 pp 16–45.

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Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer (German: [ˈʃpeːɐ̯] (); March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981) was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office. As "the Nazi who said sorry", he accepted moral responsibility at the Nuremberg trials and in his memoirs for complicity in crimes of the Nazi regime. His level of involvement in the persecution of the Jews and his level of knowledge of the Holocaust remain matters of dispute.

Speer joined the Nazi Party in 1931, launching him on a political and governmental career which lasted fourteen years. His architectural skills made him increasingly prominent within the Party and he became a member of Hitler's inner circle. Hitler instructed him to design and construct a number of structures, including the Reich Chancellery and the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg where Party rallies were held. Speer also made plans to reconstruct Berlin on a grand scale, with huge buildings, wide boulevards, and a reorganized transportation system.

In February 1942, Hitler appointed Speer Minister of Armaments and War Production. Under his leadership, Germany's war production continued to increase despite considerable Allied bombing. After the war, he was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the Nazi regime, principally for the use of forced labor. He served his full sentence, most of it at Spandau Prison in West Berlin.

Following his release from Spandau in 1966, Speer published two bestselling autobiographical works, Inside the Third Reich and Spandau: The Secret Diaries, detailing his often close personal relationship with Hitler, and providing readers and historians with a unique perspective on the workings of the Nazi regime. He later wrote a third book, Infiltration, about the SS. Speer died of natural causes in 1981 while on a visit to London.

Speer was born in Mannheim, into an upper-middle-class family. He was the second of three sons of Albert and Luise Speer. In 1918, the family moved permanently to their summer home Villa Speer on Schloss-Wolfsbrunnenweg, Heidelberg. According to Henry T. King, deputy prosecutor at Nuremberg who later wrote a book about Speer, "Love and warmth were lacking in the household of Speer's youth." Speer was active in sports, taking up skiing and mountaineering. Speer's Heidelberg school offered rugby football, unusual for Germany, and Speer was a participant. He wanted to become a mathematician, but his father said if Speer chose this occupation he would "lead a life without money, without a position and without a future". Instead, Speer followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and studied architecture.

Speer began his architectural studies at the University of Karlsruhe instead of a more highly acclaimed institution because the hyperinflation crisis of 1923 limited his parents' income. In 1924 when the crisis had abated, he transferred to the "much more reputable" Technical University of Munich. In 1925 he transferred again, this time to the Technical University of Berlin where he studied under Heinrich Tessenow, whom Speer greatly admired. After passing his exams in 1927, Speer became Tessenow's assistant, a high honor for a man of 22. As such, Speer taught some of Tessenow's classes while continuing his own postgraduate studies. In Munich, and continuing in Berlin, Speer began a close friendship, ultimately spanning over 50 years, with Rudolf Wolters, who also studied under Tessenow.

In mid-1922, Speer began courting Margarete (Margret) Weber (1905–1987), the daughter of a successful craftsman who employed 50 workers. The relationship was frowned upon by Speer's class-conscious mother, who felt that the Webers were socially inferior. Despite this opposition, the two married in Berlin on 28 August 1928; seven years were to elapse before Margarete Speer was invited to stay at her in-laws' home.

Speer stated he was apolitical when he was a young man, and that he attended a Berlin Nazi rally in December 1930 at the urging of some of his students. He was surprised to find Hitler dressed in a neat blue suit, rather than the brown uniform seen on Nazi Party posters, and was greatly impressed, not only with Hitler's proposals, but also with the man himself. Several weeks later he attended another rally: this one was presided over by Joseph Goebbels. Speer was disturbed by the way Goebbels whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Despite this unease, Speer could not shake the impression Hitler had made on him. On March 1, 1931, he applied to join the Nazi Party and became member number 474,481.

Speer's first Nazi Party position was as head of the Party's motorist association for the Berlin suburb of Wannsee; he was the only Nazi in the town with a car. Speer reported to the Party's leader for the West End of Berlin, Karl Hanke, who hired Speer—without fee—to redecorate a villa he had just rented. Hanke was enthusiastic about the resulting work.

In 1931, Speer surrendered his position as Tessenow's assistant because of pay cuts and moved to Mannheim, hoping to use his father's connections to get commissions. He had little success, and his father gave him a job as manager of the elder Speer's properties. In July 1932, the Speers visited Berlin to help out the Party prior to the Reichstag elections. While they were there, Hanke recommended the young architect to Goebbels to help renovate the Party's Berlin headquarters. Speer, who had been about to leave with his wife for a vacation in East Prussia, agreed to do the work. When the commission was completed, Speer returned to Mannheim and remained there as Hitler took office in January 1933.

After the Nazis took control, Hanke recalled Speer to Berlin. Goebbels, the new Propaganda Minister, commissioned Speer to renovate his Ministry's building on Wilhelmplatz. Speer also designed the 1933 May Day commemoration in Berlin. In Inside the Third Reich, he wrote that, on seeing the original design for the Berlin rally on Hanke's desk, he remarked that the site would resemble a Schützenfest – a rifle club meet. Hanke, now Goebbels' State Secretary, challenged him to create a better design. As Speer learned later, Hitler was enthusiastic about Speer's design (which used giant flags), though Goebbels took credit for it. Tessenow was dismissive: "Do you think you have created something? It's showy, that's all."

The organizers of the 1933 Nürnberg Nazi Party rally asked Speer to submit designs for the rally, bringing him into contact with Hitler for the first time. Neither the organizers nor Rudolf Hess were willing to decide whether to approve the plans, and Hess sent Speer to Hitler's Munich apartment to seek his approval. When Speer entered, the new Chancellor was busy cleaning a pistol, which he briefly laid aside to cast a short, interested glance at the plans, approving them without even looking at the young architect. This work won Speer his first national post, as Nazi Party "Commissioner for the Artistic and Technical Presentation of Party Rallies and Demonstrations".

Speer's next major assignment was as liaison to the Berlin building trades for Paul Troost's renovation of the Chancellery. As Chancellor, Hitler had a residence in the building and came by every day to be briefed by Speer and the building supervisor on the progress of the renovations. After one of these briefings, Hitler invited Speer to lunch, to the architect's great excitement. Hitler evinced considerable interest in Speer during the luncheon, and later told Speer that he had been looking for a young architect capable of carrying out his architectural dreams for the new Germany. Speer quickly became part of Hitler's inner circle; he was expected to call on Hitler in the morning for a walk or chat, to provide consultation on architectural matters, and to discuss Hitler's ideas. Most days he was invited to dinner.

The two men found much in common: Hitler spoke of Speer as a "kindred spirit" for whom he had always maintained "the warmest human feelings". The young, ambitious architect was dazzled by his rapid rise and close proximity to Hitler, which guaranteed him a flood of commissions from the government and from the highest ranks of the Party. Speer testified at Nuremberg, "I belonged to a circle which consisted of other artists and his personal staff. If Hitler had had any friends at all, I certainly would have been one of his close friends."

The Cathedral of light above the Zeppelintribune

When Troost died on January 21, 1934, Speer effectively replaced him as the Party's chief architect. Hitler appointed Speer as head of the Chief Office for Construction, which placed him nominally on Hess's staff.

One of Speer's first commissions after Troost's death was the Zeppelinfeld stadium—the Nürnberg parade grounds seen in Leni Riefenstahl's propaganda masterpiece Triumph of the Will. This huge work was able to hold 340,000 people. The tribune was influenced by the Pergamon Altar in Anatolia, but was magnified to an enormous scale. Speer insisted that as many events as possible be held at night, both to give greater prominence to his lighting effects and to hide the individual Nazis, many of whom were overweight. Speer surrounded the site with 130 anti-aircraft searchlights. This created the effect of a "cathedral of light" or, as it was called by British Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson, a "cathedral of ice". Speer described this as his most beautiful work, and as the only one that stood the test of time.

Nürnberg was to be the site of many more official Nazi buildings, most of which were never built; for example, the German Stadium would have accommodated 400,000 spectators, while an even larger rally ground would have held half a million people. While planning these structures, Speer conceived the concept of "ruin value": that major buildings should be constructed in such a way they would leave aesthetically pleasing ruins for thousands of years into the future. Such ruins would be a testament to the greatness of the Third Reich, just as ancient Greek or Roman ruins were symbols of the greatness of those civilizations. Hitler enthusiastically embraced this concept, and ordered that all the Reich's important buildings be constructed in accord with it.

Speer's German pavilion (left) facing the Soviet pavilion (right), 1937 World's Fair, Paris

Speer could not avoid seeing the brutal excesses of the Nazi regime. Shortly after Hitler consolidated power in the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler ordered Speer to take workmen and go to the building housing the offices of Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen to begin its conversion into a security headquarters, even though it was still occupied by von Papen's officials. Speer and his group entered the building, to be confronted with a pool of blood, apparently from the body of Herbert von Bose, von Papen's secretary, who had been killed there. Speer related that the sight had no effect on him, other than to cause him to avoid that room.

When Hitler deprecated Werner March's design for the Olympic Stadium for the 1936 Summer Olympics as too modern, Speer modified the plans by adding a stone exterior. Speer designed the German Pavilion for the 1937 international exposition in Paris. The German and Soviet pavilion sites were opposite each other. On learning (through a clandestine look at the Soviet plans) that the Soviet design included two colossal figures seemingly about to overrun the German site, Speer modified his design to include a cubic mass which would check their advance, with a huge eagle on top looking down on the Soviet figures. Both pavilions were awarded gold medals for their designs. Speer also received, from Hitler Youth Leader and later fellow Spandau prisoner Baldur von Schirach, the Golden Hitler Youth Honor Badge with oak leaves.

In 1937, Hitler appointed Speer as General Building Inspector for the Reich Capital with the rank of undersecretary of state in the Reich government. The position carried with it extraordinary powers over the Berlin city government and made Speer answerable to Hitler alone. It also made Speer a member of the Reichstag, though the body by then had little effective power. Hitler ordered Speer to develop plans to rebuild Berlin. The plans centered on a three-mile long grand boulevard running from north to south, which Speer called the Prachtstrasse, or Street of Magnificence; he also referred to it as the "North-South Axis". At the northern end of the boulevard, Speer planned to build the Volkshalle, a huge assembly hall with a dome which would have been over 700 feet (210 m) high, with floor space for 180,000 people. At the southern end of the avenue a great triumphal arch would rise; it would be almost 400 feet (120 m) high, and able to fit the Arc de Triomphe inside its opening. The outbreak of World War II in 1939 led to the postponement, and later the abandonment, of these plans. Part of the land for the boulevard was to be obtained by consolidating Berlin's railway system. Speer hired Wolters as part of his design team, with special responsibility for the Prachtstrasse. When Speer's father saw the model for the new Berlin, he said to his son, "You've all gone completely insane."

Marble Gallery of the New Reich Chancellery

In January 1938, Hitler asked Speer to build a new Reich Chancellery on the same site as the existing structure, and said he needed it for urgent foreign policy reasons no later than his next New Year's reception for diplomats on January 10, 1939. This was a huge undertaking, especially as the existing Chancellery was in full operation. After consultation with his assistants, Speer agreed. Although the site could not be cleared until April, Speer was successful in building the large, impressive structure in nine months. The structure included a "Marble Gallery" 146 metres long, almost twice the length of the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. Speer employed thousands of workers in two shifts. Hitler, who had remained away from the project, was overwhelmed when Speer presented it, fully furnished, two days early. In appreciation for the architect's work on the Chancellery, Hitler awarded Speer the Nazi Golden Party Badge. Tessenow was less impressed, suggesting to Speer that he should have taken nine years over the project. The second Chancellery was damaged in the Battle of Berlin in 1945 and was eventually dismantled by the Soviets, its stone used for a war memorial.

During the Chancellery project, the pogrom of Kristallnacht took place. Speer made no mention of it in the first draft of Inside the Third Reich, and it was only on the urgent advice of his publisher that he added a mention of seeing the ruins of the Central Synagogue in Berlin from his car.

Speer was under significant psychological pressure during this period of his life. He would later remember:

 Soon after Hitler had given me the first large architectural commissions, I began to suffer from anxiety in long tunnels, in airplanes, or in small rooms. My heart would begin to race, I would become breathless, the diaphragm would seem to grow heavy, and I would get the impression that my blood pressure was rising tremendously ... Anxiety amidst all my freedom and power!

Hitler visits Paris in 1940 with Speer (left) and sculptor Arno Breker

Speer supported the German invasion of Poland and subsequent war, though he recognized that it would lead to the postponement, at the least, of his architectural dreams. In his later years, Speer, talking with his biographer-to-be Gitta Sereny, explained how he felt in 1939: "Of course I was perfectly aware that [Hitler] sought world domination ... [A]t that time I asked for nothing better. That was the whole point of my buildings. They would have looked grotesque if Hitler had sat still in Germany. All I wanted was for this great man to dominate the globe."

Speer placed his department at the disposal of the Wehrmacht. When Hitler remonstrated, and said it was not for Speer to decide how his workers should be used, Speer simply ignored him. Among Speer's innovations were quick-reaction squads to construct roads or clear away debris; before long, these units would be used to clear bomb sites. As the war progressed, initially to great German success, Speer continued preliminary work on the Berlin and Nürnberg plans, at Hitler's insistence, but failed to convince him of the need to suspend peacetime construction projects. Speer also oversaw the construction of buildings for the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe, and developed a considerable organization to deal with this work.

In 1940, Joseph Stalin proposed that Speer pay a visit to Moscow. Stalin had been particularly impressed by Speer's work in Paris, and wished to meet the "Architect of the Reich". Hitler, alternating between amusement and anger, did not allow Speer to go, fearing that Stalin would put Speer in a "rat hole" until a new Moscow arose. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Speer came to doubt, despite Hitler's reassurances, that his projects for Berlin would ever be completed.

Speer (right) awarded an Org.Todt ring by Hitler – May 1943
On February 8, 1942, Minister of Armaments Fritz Todt died in a plane crash shortly after taking off from Hitler's eastern headquarters at Rastenburg. Speer, who had arrived in Rastenburg the previous evening, had accepted Todt's offer to fly with him to Berlin, but had canceled some hours before takeoff (Speer stated in his memoirs that the cancellation was because of exhaustion from travel and a late-night meeting with Hitler). Later that day, Hitler appointed Speer as Todt's successor to all of his posts. In Inside the Third Reich, Speer recounts his meeting with Hitler and his reluctance to take ministerial office, only doing so because Hitler commanded it. Speer also states that Hermann Göring raced to Hitler's headquarters on hearing of Todt's death, hoping to claim Todt's powers. Hitler instead presented Göring with the fait accompli of Speer's appointment.

At the time of Speer's accession to the office, the German economy, unlike the British one, was not fully geared for war production. Consumer goods were still being produced at nearly as high a level as during peacetime. No fewer than five "Supreme Authorities" had jurisdiction over armament production—one of which, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, had declared in November 1941 that conditions did not permit an increase in armament production. Few women were employed in the factories, which were running only one shift. One evening soon after his appointment, Speer went to visit a Berlin armament factory; he found no one on the premises.

Speer inspects a Panzer V tank, 1942 

Speer overcame these difficulties by centralizing power over the war economy in himself. Factories were given autonomy, or as Speer put it, "self-responsibility", and each factory concentrated on a single product. Backed by Hitler's strong support (the dictator stated, "Speer, I'll sign anything that comes from you"), he divided the armament field according to weapon system, with experts rather than civil servants overseeing each department. No department head could be older than 55—anyone older being susceptible to "routine and arrogance"—and no deputy older than 40. Over these departments was a central planning committee headed by Speer, which took increasing responsibility for war production, and as time went by, for the German economy itself. According to the minutes of a conference at Wehrmacht High Command in March 1942, "It is only Speer's word that counts nowadays. He can interfere in all departments. Already he overrides all departments ... On the whole, Speer's attitude is to the point." Goebbels would note in his diary in June 1943, "Speer is still tops with the Führer. He is truly a genius with organization." Speer was so successful in his position that by late 1943, he was widely regarded among the Nazi elite as a possible successor to Hitler.

While Speer had tremendous power, he was of course subordinate to Hitler. Nazi officials sometimes went around Speer by seeking direct orders from the dictator. When Speer ordered peacetime building work suspended, the Gauleiters (Nazi Party district leaders) obtained an exemption for their pet projects. When Speer sought the appointment of Hanke as a labor czar to optimize the use of German labor, Hitler, under the influence of Martin Bormann, instead appointed Fritz Sauckel. Rather than increasing female labor and taking other steps to better organize German labor, as Speer favored, Sauckel advocated importing labor from the occupied nations – and did so, obtaining workers for (among other things) Speer's armament factories, using the most brutal methods.

On December 10, 1943, Speer visited the underground Mittelwerk V-2 rocket factory that used concentration camp labor. Shocked by the conditions there (5.7 percent of the work force died that month), and to ensure the workers were in good enough shape to perform the labor, Speer ordered improved conditions for the workers and the construction of the above-ground Dora camp. In spite of these changes, half of the workers at Mittelwerk eventually died. Speer later commented, "[t]he conditions for these prisoners were in fact barbarous, and a sense of profound involvement and personal guilt seizes me whenever I think of them."

Speer (right, with arms folded and swastika armband) looks on with Field Marshal Erhard Milch (left) during weapons testing.

By 1943, the Allies had gained air superiority over Germany, and bombings of German cities and industry had become commonplace. However, the Allies in their strategic bombing campaign did not concentrate on industry, and Speer, with his improvisational skill, was able to overcome bombing losses. In spite of these losses, German production of tanks more than doubled in 1943, production of planes increased by 80 percent, and production time for Kriegsmarine's submarines was reduced from one year to two months. Production would continue to increase until the second half of 1944, by which time enough equipment to supply 270 army divisions was being produced—although the Wehrmacht had only 150 divisions in the field.

In January 1944, Speer fell ill with complications from an inflamed knee, and was away from the office for three months. During his absence, his political rivals (mainly Göring, and Martin Bormann), attempted to have some of his powers permanently transferred to them. According to Speer, SS chief Heinrich Himmler tried to have him physically isolated by having Himmler's personal physician Karl Gebhardt treat him, though his "care" did not improve his health. Speer's wife and friends managed to have his case transferred to his friend Dr. Karl Brandt, and he slowly recovered. In April, Speer's rivals for power succeeded in having him deprived of responsibility for construction, and Speer promptly sent Hitler a bitter letter, concluding with an offer of his resignation. Judging Speer indispensable to the war effort, Field Marshal Erhard Milch persuaded Hitler to try to get his minister to reconsider. Hitler sent Milch to Speer with a message not addressing the dispute but instead stating that he still regarded Speer as highly as ever. According to Milch, upon hearing the message, Speer burst out, "The Führer can kiss my ass!" After a lengthy argument, Milch persuaded Speer to withdraw his offer of resignation, on the condition his powers were restored. On April 23, 1944, Speer went to see Hitler who agreed that "everything [will] stay as it was, [Speer will] remain the head of all German construction". According to Speer, while he was successful in this debate, Hitler had also won, "because he wanted and needed me back in his corner, and he got me".

Reichsminister Speer rests on a doorstep

Speer's name was included on the list of members of a post-Hitler government drawn up by the conspirators behind the July 1944 assassination plot to kill Hitler. The list had a question mark and the annotation "to be won over" by his name, which likely saved him from the extensive purges that followed the scheme's failure.

By February 1945, Speer, who had long concluded that the war was lost, was working to supply areas about to be occupied with food and materials to get them through the hard times ahead. On March 19, 1945, Hitler issued his Nero Decree, ordering a scorched earth policy in both Germany and the occupied territories. Hitler's order, by its terms, deprived Speer of any power to interfere with the decree, and Speer went to confront Hitler, telling him the war was lost. Hitler gave Speer 24 hours to reconsider his position, and when the two met the following day, Speer answered, "I stand unconditionally behind you." However, he demanded the exclusive power to implement the Nero Decree, and Hitler signed an order to that effect. Using this order, Speer worked to persuade generals and Gauleiters to circumvent the Nero Decree and avoid needless sacrifice of personnel and destruction of industry that would be needed after the war.

Speer managed to reach a relatively safe area near Hamburg as the Nazi regime finally collapsed, but decided on a final, risky visit to Berlin to see Hitler one more time. Speer stated at Nuremberg, "I felt that it was my duty not to run away like a coward, but to stand up to him again." Speer visited the Führerbunker on April 22. Hitler seemed calm and somewhat distracted, and the two had a long, disjointed conversation in which the dictator defended his actions and informed Speer of his intent to commit suicide and have his body burned. In the published edition of Inside the Third Reich, Speer relates that he confessed to Hitler that he had defied the Nero Decree, but then assured Hitler of his personal loyalty, bringing tears to the dictator's eyes. Speer biographer Gitta Sereny argued, "Psychologically, it is possible that this is the way he remembered the occasion, because it was how he would have liked to behave, and the way he would have liked Hitler to react. But the fact is that none of it happened; our witness to this is Speer himself." Sereny notes that Speer's original draft of his memoirs lacks the confession and Hitler's tearful reaction, and contains an explicit denial that any confession or emotional exchange took place, as had been alleged in a French magazine article.

The following morning, Speer left the Führerbunker; Hitler curtly bade him farewell. Speer toured the damaged Chancellery one last time before leaving Berlin to return to Hamburg. On April 29, the day before committing suicide, Hitler dictated a final political testament which dropped Speer from the successor government. Speer was to be replaced by his own subordinate, Karl-Otto Saur.

Leading members of the Flensburg Government after their arrest. Karl Dönitz (centre, in long, dark coat) is followed by Speer (bareheaded) and Alfred Jodl (to the left of Speer).

After Hitler's death, Speer offered his services to the so-called Flensburg Government, headed by Hitler's successor, Karl Dönitz, and took a significant role in that short-lived regime. On May 15, the Americans arrived and asked Speer if he would be willing to provide information on the effects of the air war. Speer agreed, and over the next several days, provided information on a broad range of subjects. On May 23, two weeks after the surrender of German troops, the British arrested the members of the Flensburg Government and brought Nazi Germany to a formal end.

Speer was taken to several internment centres for Nazi officials and interrogated. In September 1945, he was told that he would be tried for war crimes, and several days later, he was taken to Nuremberg and incarcerated there. Speer was indicted on all four possible counts: first, participating in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace, second, planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace, third, war crimes, and lastly, crimes against humanity.

The Nuremberg defendants listen to the proceedings (Speer, top seated row, fifth from right)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, the chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg, alleged, "Speer joined in planning and executing the program to dragoon prisoners of war and foreign workers into German war industries, which waxed in output while the workers waned in starvation." Speer's attorney, Dr. Hans Flächsner, presented Speer as an artist thrust into political life, who had always remained a non-ideologue and who had been promised by Hitler that he could return to architecture after the war. During his testimony, Speer accepted responsibility for the Nazi regime's actions:

 In political life, there is a responsibility for a man's own sector. For that he is of course fully responsible. But beyond that there is a collective responsibility when he has been one of the leaders. Who else is to be held responsible for the course of events, if not the closest associates around the Chief of State?

An observer at the trial, journalist and author William L. Shirer, wrote that, compared to his codefendants, Speer "made the most straightforward impression of all and ... during the long trial spoke honestly and with no attempt to shirk his responsibility and his guilt". Speer also testified that he had planned to kill Hitler in early 1945 by introducing tabun poison gas into the Führerbunker ventilation shaft. He said his efforts were frustrated by the impracticability of tabun and his lack of ready access to a replacement nerve agent, and also by the unexpected construction of a tall chimney that put the air intake out of reach. Speer stated his motive was despair at realising that Hitler intended to take the German people down with him. Speer's supposed assassination plan subsequently met with some scepticism, with Speer's architectural rival Hermann Giesler sneering, "the second most powerful man in the state did not have a ladder."

17 October 1946 newsreel of Nuremberg Trials sentencing

Speer was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, though he was acquitted on the other two counts. On 1 October 1946, he was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. While three of the eight judges (two Soviet and one American) initially advocated the death penalty for Speer, the other judges did not, and a compromise sentence was reached "after two days' discussion and some rather bitter horse-trading".

The court's judgment stated that:

 ... in the closing stages of the war [Speer] was one of the few men who had the courage to tell Hitler that the war was lost and to take steps to prevent the senseless destruction of production facilities, both in occupied territories and in Germany. He carried out his opposition to Hitler's scorched earth programme ... by deliberately sabotaging it at considerable personal risk.

Twelve of the defendants were sentenced to death (including Bormann, in absentia) and three acquitted; only seven of the defendants were sentenced to imprisonment. They remained in the cells at Nuremberg as the Allies debated where, and under what conditions, they should be incarcerated.

 For additional detail on Speer's time at Spandau Prison, see Rudolf Wolters#Spandau years
Speer spent most of his sentence at Spandau Prison.

On July 18, 1947, Speer and his six fellow prisoners, all former high officials of the Nazi regime, were flown from Nuremberg to Berlin under heavy guard. The prisoners were taken to Spandau Prison in the British Sector of what would become West Berlin, where they would be designated by number, with Speer given Number Five. Initially, the prisoners were kept in solitary confinement for all but half an hour a day, and were not permitted to address each other or their guards. As time passed, the strict regimen was relaxed, especially during the three months in four that the three Western powers were in control; the four occupying powers took overall control on a monthly rotation. Speer considered himself an outcast among his fellow prisoners for his acceptance of responsibility at Nuremberg.

Speer made a deliberate effort to make as productive a use of his time as possible. He wrote, "I am obsessed with the idea of using this time of confinement for writing a book of major importance ... That could mean transforming prison cell into scholar's den." The prisoners were forbidden to write memoirs, and mail was severely limited and censored. However, as a result of an offer from a sympathetic orderly, Speer was able to have his writings, which eventually amounted to 20,000 sheets, sent to Wolters. By 1954, Speer had completed his memoirs, which became the basis of Inside the Third Reich, and which Wolters arranged to have transcribed onto 1,100 typewritten pages. He was also able to send letters and financial instructions, and to obtain writing paper and letters from the outside. His many letters to his children, all secretly transmitted, eventually formed the basis for Spandau: The Secret Diaries.

With the draft memoir complete and clandestinely transmitted, Speer sought a new project. He found one while taking his daily exercise, walking in circles around the prison yard. Measuring the path's distance carefully, Speer set out to walk the distance from Berlin to Heidelberg. He then expanded his idea into a worldwide journey, visualizing the places he was "traveling" through while walking the path around the prison yard. Speer ordered guidebooks and other materials about the nations through which he imagined he was passing, so as to envisage as accurate a picture as possible. Meticulously calculating every meter traveled, and mapping distances to the real-world geography, he began in northern Germany, passed through Asia by a southern route before entering Siberia, then crossed the Bering Strait and continued southwards, finally ending his sentence 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Guadalajara, Mexico.

Speer devoted much of his time and energy to reading. Though the prisoners brought some books with them in their personal property, Spandau Prison had no library so books were sent from Spandau's municipal library. From 1952 the prisoners were also able to order books from the Berlin central library in Wilmersdorf. Speer was a voracious reader and he completed well over 500 books in the first three years at Spandau alone. He read classic novels, travelogues, books on ancient Egypt, and biographies of such figures as Lucas Cranach, Édouard Manet, and Genghis Khan. Speer took to the prison garden for enjoyment and work, at first to do something constructive while afflicted with writer's block. He was allowed to build an ambitious garden, transforming what he initially described as a "wilderness" into what the American commander at Spandau described as "Speer's Garden of Eden".

Speer's supporters maintained a continual call for his release. Among those who pledged support for Speer's sentence to be commuted were Charles de Gaulle, U.S. diplomat George Ball, former U.S. High Commissioner John J. McCloy, and former Nuremberg prosecutor Hartley Shawcross. Willy Brandt was a strong advocate of Speer's, supporting his release, sending flowers to his daughter on the day of his release, and putting an end to the de-Nazification proceedings against Speer, which could have caused his property to be confiscated. A reduced sentence required the consent of all four of the occupying powers, and the Soviets adamantly opposed any such proposal. Speer served his full sentence, and was released on the stroke of midnight as October 1, 1966 began.

Entrance Villa Speer, Schloss-Wolfsbrunnenweg, Heidelberg, in December 2011
Speer's grave in Heidelberg

Speer's release from prison was a worldwide media event, as reporters and photographers crowded both the street outside Spandau and the lobby of the Berlin hotel where Speer spent his first hours of freedom in over 20 years. He said little, reserving most comments for a major interview published in Der Spiegel in November 1966, in which he again took personal responsibility for crimes of the Nazi regime. Abandoning plans to return to architecture (two proposed partners died shortly before his release), he revised his Spandau writings into two autobiographical books, and later researched and published a third work, about Himmler and the SS. His books, most notably Inside the Third Reich (in German, Erinnerungen, or Reminiscences) and Spandau: The Secret Diaries, provide a unique and personal look into the personalities of the Nazi era, and have become much valued by historians. Speer was aided in shaping the works by Joachim Fest and Wolf Jobst Siedler from the publishing house Ullstein. Speer found himself unable to re-establish his relationship with his children, even with his son Albert, who had also become an architect. According to Speer's daughter Hilde, "One by one my sister and brothers gave up. There was no communication."

Following the publication of his bestselling books, Speer donated a considerable amount of money to Jewish charities. According to Siedler, these donations were as high as 80% of his royalties. Speer kept the donations anonymous, both for fear of rejection, and for fear of being called a hypocrite.

As early as 1953, when Wolters strongly objected to Speer referring to Hitler in the memoirs draft as a criminal, Speer had predicted that were the writings to be published, he would lose a "good many friends". This came to pass, as following the publication of Inside the Third Reich, close friends, such as Wolters and sculptor Arno Breker, distanced themselves from him. Hans Baur, Hitler's personal pilot, suggested, "Speer must have taken leave of his senses." Wolters wondered that Speer did not now "walk through life in a hair shirt, distributing his fortune among the victims of National Socialism, forswear all the vanities and pleasures of life and live on locusts and wild honey".

Speer made himself widely available to historians and other enquirers. He did an extensive, in-depth interview for the June 1971 issue of Playboy magazine, in which he stated, "If I didn't see it, then it was because I didn't want to see it." In October 1973, Speer made his first trip to Britain, flying to London under an assumed name to be interviewed on the BBC Midweek programme by Ludovic Kennedy. Upon arrival, he was detained for almost eight hours at Heathrow Airport when British immigration authorities discovered his true identity. The Home Secretary, Robert Carr, allowed Speer into the country for 48 hours. In the same year he appeared in the The World at War television program. While in London eight years later to participate in the BBC Newsnight programme, Speer suffered a stroke and died on September 1, 1981. Speer had formed a relationship with a German-born Englishwoman, and was with her at the time of his death.

Even to the end of his life, Speer continued to question his actions under Hitler. In his final book, Infiltration, he asks, "What would have happened if Hitler had asked me to make decisions that required the utmost hardness? ... How far would I have gone? ... If I had occupied a different position, to what extent would I have ordered atrocities if Hitler had told me to do so?" Speer leaves the questions unanswered.

The view of Speer as an unpolitical "miracle man" is challenged by Yale historian Adam Tooze. In his 2006 book, The Wages of Destruction, Tooze, following Gitta Sereny, argues that Speer's ideological commitment to the Nazi cause was greater than he claimed. Tooze further contends that an insufficiently challenged Speer "mythology" (partly fostered by Speer himself through politically motivated, tendentious use of statistics and other propaganda) had led many historians to assign Speer far more credit for the increases in armaments production than was warranted and give insufficient consideration to the "highly political" function of the so-called armaments miracle.

The Soviet War Memorial, constructed using marble from Speer's Chancellery
Little remains of Speer's personal architectural works, other than the plans and photographs. No buildings designed by Speer in the Nazi era remain in Berlin; a double row of lampposts along the Strasse des 17. Juni designed by Speer still stands. The tribune of the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg, though partly demolished, may also be seen. Speer's work may also be seen in London, where he redesigned the interior of the German Embassy to the United Kingdom, then located at 7–9 Carlton House Terrace. Since 1967, it has served as the offices of the Royal Society. His work there, stripped of its Nazi fixtures and partially covered by carpets, survives in part.

Another legacy was the Arbeitsstab Wiederaufbau zerstörter Städte (Working group on Reconstruction of destroyed cities), authorized by Speer in 1943 to rebuild bombed German cities to make them more livable in the age of the automobile. Headed by Wolters, the working group took a possible military defeat into their calculations. The Arbeitsstab's recommendations served as the basis of the postwar redevelopment plans in many cities, and Arbeitsstab members became prominent in the rebuilding.

As General Building Inspector, Speer was responsible for the Central Department for Resettlement. From 1939 onward, the Department used the Nuremberg Laws to evict Jewish tenants of non-Jewish landlords in Berlin, to make way for non-Jewish tenants displaced by redevelopment or bombing. Eventually, 75,000 Jews were displaced by these measures. Speer was aware of these activities, and inquired as to their progress. At least one original memo from Speer so inquiring still exists, as does the Chronicle of the Department's activities, kept by Wolters.

Following his release from Spandau, Speer presented to the German Federal Archives an edited version of the Chronicle, stripped by Wolters of any mention of the Jews. When David Irving discovered discrepancies between the edited Chronicle and other documents, Wolters explained the situation to Speer, who responded by suggesting to Wolters that the relevant pages of the original Chronicle should "cease to exist". Wolters did not destroy the Chronicle, and, as his friendship with Speer deteriorated, allowed access to the original Chronicle to doctoral student Matthias Schmidt (who, after obtaining his doctorate, developed his thesis into a book, Albert Speer: The End of a Myth). Speer considered Wolters' actions to be a "betrayal" and a "stab in the back". The original Chronicle reached the Archives in 1983, after both Speer and Wolters had died.

Speer maintained at Nuremberg and in his memoirs that he had no knowledge of the Holocaust. In Inside the Third Reich, he wrote that in mid-1944, he was told by Hanke (by then Gauleiter of Lower Silesia) that the minister should never accept an invitation to inspect a concentration camp in neighbouring Upper Silesia, as "he had seen something there which he was not permitted to describe and moreover could not describe". Speer later concluded that Hanke must have been speaking of Auschwitz, and blamed himself for not inquiring further of Hanke or seeking information from Himmler or Hitler:

 These seconds [when Hanke told Speer this, and Speer did not inquire] were uppermost in my mind when I stated to the international court at the Nuremberg Trial that, as an important member of the leadership of the Reich, I had to share the total responsibility for all that had happened. For from that moment on I was inescapably contaminated morally; from fear of discovering something which might have made me turn from my course, I had closed my eyes ... Because I failed at that time, I still feel, to this day, responsible for Auschwitz in a wholly personal sense.

Much of the controversy over Speer's knowledge of the Holocaust has centered on his presence at the Posen Conference on 6 October 1943, at which Himmler gave a speech detailing the ongoing Holocaust to Nazi leaders. Himmler said, "The grave decision had to be taken to cause this people to vanish from the earth ... In the lands we occupy, the Jewish question will be dealt with by the end of the year." Speer is mentioned several times in the speech, and Himmler seems to address him directly. In Inside the Third Reich, Speer mentions his own address to the officials (which took place earlier in the day) but does not mention Himmler's speech.

Bronze eagle from Speer's Chancellery, now in the Imperial War Museum

In 1971, American historian Erich Goldhagen published an article arguing that Speer was present for Himmler's speech. According to Fest in his biography of Speer, "Goldhagen's accusation certainly would have been more convincing" had he not placed supposed incriminating statements linking Speer with the Holocaust in quotation marks, attributed to Himmler, which were in fact invented by Goldhagen. In response, after considerable research in the German Federal Archives in Koblenz, Speer said he had left Posen around noon (long before Himmler's speech) to journey to Hitler's headquarters at Rastenburg. In Inside the Third Reich, published before the Goldhagen article, Speer recalled that on the evening after the conference, many Nazi officials were so drunk that they needed help boarding the special train which was to take them to a meeting with Hitler. One of his biographers, Dan van der Vat, suggests this necessarily implies he must have still been present at Posen then, and must have heard Himmler's speech. In response to Goldhagen's article, Speer had alleged that in writing Inside the Third Reich, he erred in reporting an incident that happened at another conference at Posen a year later, as happening in 1943. In 2007, the Guardian reported that a letter from Speer dated December 23, 1971, had been found in Britain in a collection of his correspondence to Hélène Jeanty, widow of a Belgian resistance fighter. In the letter, Speer states that he had been present for Himmler's presentation in Posen. Speer wrote: "There is no doubt – I was present as Himmler announced on October 6, 1943 that all Jews would be killed."

In 2005, the Daily Telegraph reported that documents had surfaced indicating that Speer had approved the allocation of materials for the expansion of Auschwitz after two of his assistants toured the facility on a day when almost a thousand Jews were murdered. The documents supposedly bore annotations in Speer's own handwriting. Speer biographer Gitta Sereny stated that, due to his workload, Speer would not have been personally aware of such activities.

The debate over Speer's knowledge of, or complicity in, the Holocaust made him a symbol for people who were involved with the Nazi regime yet did not have (or claimed not to have had) an active part in the regime's atrocities. As film director Heinrich Breloer remarked, "[Speer created] a market for people who said, 'Believe me, I didn't know anything about [the Holocaust]. Just look at the Führer's friend, he didn't know about it either.'"

Joined NSDAP: March 1, 1931
Party Number: 474,481

 Member, National Socialist Motor Corps: 1931
 Commissioner for the Artistic and Technical Presentation of Party Rallies and Demonstrations: 1933
 Department Chief, German Labor Front: 1934
 Chief, NSDAP Directorate for Technical Matters: 1942

From 1934 to 1939, Speer was often referred to as "First Architect of the Reich", however this was mainly a title given to him by Hitler and not an actual political position within the Nazi Party or German government.

 General Building Inspector for the Reich Capitol: 1937
 Reich Minister for Weapons, Munitions, and Armaments: 1942

In 1943, under his authority as Reich Minister of Armaments, Speer also became the Director of Organisation Todt. The standard uniform Speer wore during the later half of World War II was an insignia-less Nazi Party brown jacket, with an "Org Todt" armband.

 Mitglieder: 1931
 Amtsleiter des Reichsleitung (later replaced by Einsatzleiter; equivalent to Leutnant or Second Lieutenant): 1934
 Hauptamtsleiter des Reichsleitung (later replaced by Haupteinsatzleiter; equivalent to Captain): 1935
 Dienstleiter (no equivalent, but senior to Colonel) : 1939
 Hauptdienstleiter (no equivalent, but senior to Colonel): 1941
 Befehlsleiter (equivalent to Generalmajor or Brigadier-General): 1942
 Oberbefehlsleiter (equivalent to Generalleutnant or Major-General): 1944

 Golden Party Badge
 Golden Hitler Youth Badge (with Oak Leaves)
 Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross
 NSDAP Long Service Award (Silver – 15 Years)
 Honour Chevron for the Old Guard

 Glossary of Nazi Germany
 List of Nazi Party leaders and officials

Explanatory notes

The Nazi Who Said Sorry.
Fest 1999, p. 296. "Wenn Hitler überhaupt Freunde gehabt hätte, wäre ich bestimmt einer seiner engen Freunde gewesen."
Speer 1975, p. 217.  Diary entry made on Nov, 20, 1949.
Tooze 2007, p. 577. "The simple story spun by Speer, that the German war economy up to 1941 was an inefficient sink for labour and raw materials and that it was only after December 1941, by means of the Fuehrer's decree and Speer's inspired leadership, that it was awakened to the need for efficiency, is clearly a myth [and] the statistics usually invoked to support this description of the pre-Speer era simply do not stand up to detailed scrutiny."
Tooze 2007, p. 556. "[G]iven the highly political function of the 'armaments miracle' the historical record of the Speer Ministry must be approached with a very wary eye. Too many historians have been far too uncritical in the acceptance of Speer's rhetoric of rationalization, efficiency and productivism. . . . And this critique is more than mere nit-picking. It goes to the very heart of Speer's ideological vision of the war economy, as a limitless flow of output released by energetic leadership and technological genius."


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 Angolia, John (1978), For Fuhrer and Fatherland: Political and Civil Awards of the Third Reich, R. James Bender Publishing, ISBN 978-0-912138-16-9 
 Conot, Robert (1983), Justice at Nuremberg, New York: Harper & Row, ISBN 978-0-88184-032-2 
 Durth, Werner; Gutschow, Niels (1988), Träume in Trümmern, ("Dreams in rumbles"), Vieweg Friedr. + Sohn Ver, ISBN 978-3-528-08706-7 
 Fest, Joachim (1999), Speer: The Final Verdict, translated by Ewald Osers and Alexandra Dring, Harcourt, ISBN 978-0-15-100556-7 
 Fest, Joachim (2007), Albert Speer: Conversations with Hitler's Architect, translated by Patrick Camiller, Polity Press, ISBN 978-0-7456-3918-5 
 Fishman, Jack (1986), Long Knives and Short Memories: The Spandau Prison Story, Breakwater Books, ISBN 0-920911-00-5 
 King, Henry T. (1997), The Two Worlds of Albert Speer: Reflections of a Nuremberg Prosecutor, University Press of America, ISBN 978-0-7618-0872-5 
 Leigh, David (October 24, 1973), "Delay, then Albert Speer is allowed in", The Times (UK), retrieved December 17, 2008 
 Schmidt, Matthias (1984), Albert Speer: The End of a Myth, St Martins Press, ISBN 978-0-312-01709-5 
 Sereny, Gitta (1995), Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth, Knopf, ISBN 978-0-394-52915-8 
 Shirer, William (1990), The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (30th anniversary (original publication 1960) ed.), New York: Touchstone Books, ISBN 978-0-671-72868-7 
 Speer, Albert (1976), Spandau: The Secret Diaries [Translated by Richard and Clara Winston], New York and Toronto: Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-02-612810-0 
 (Original German edition: Speer, Albert (1975), Spandauer Tagebücher [Spandau Diaries], Berlin and Frankfurt am Main: Propyläen/Ullstein Verlag, ISBN 978-3-549-17316-9, OCLC 185306869 )
 Speer, Albert (1981), Infiltration: How Heinrich Himmler Schemed to Build an SS Industrial Empire, Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-02-612800-1 
 (Original German edition: Speer, Albert (1981), Der Sklavenstaat : meine Auseinandersetzungen mit der SS [The Slave State: My Battles with the SS], Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, ISBN 978-3-421-06059-4, OCLC 7610230 )
 Tooze, Adam (2007) [2006], The Wages of Destruction: The Making & Breaking of the Nazi Economy, London: Penguin, ISBN 978-0-14-100348-1 
 van der Vat, Dan (1997), The Good Nazi: The Life and Lies of Albert Speer, George Weidenfeld & Nicolson, ISBN 978-0-297-81721-5 

Online sources

 Connolly, Kate (May 11, 2005), "Wartime reports debunk Speer as the good Nazi", The Daily Telegraph (UK), retrieved January 11, 2014 
 Connolly, Kate (March 13, 2007), "Letter proves Speer knew of Holocaust plan", The Guardian (Guardian News and Media), retrieved January 11, 2014 
 "A Nazi Funeral in London", (Iconic Photos), November 3, 2009, retrieved January 8, 2012 
 "Albert Speer: The Nazi Who Said Sorry", (British Film Institute), 1996, retrieved January 8, 2012 
 "The Paris World Exposition 1937: Monuments to dictatorship – the German and Soviet Pavilions", (Website of Expo 2000, Hanover), retrieved January 8, 2012 
 "Speer cross-examination", (University of Missouri, Kansas City), retrieved January 8, 2012 
 Official website of Nuremberg City Museum, Museen der Stadt Nürnberg, retrieved October 17, 2008 

 Edgar, David (2000), Albert Speer: Based on the Book Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth by Gitta Sereny (a play), Nick Hern Books, ISBN 978-1-85459-485-3 
 Krier, Léon (1985), Albert Speer: Architecture, 1932–1942, Archives D'Architecture Moderne, ISBN 2871430063 
 Speer, Albert (1970), Inside the Third Reich [Translated by Richard and Clara Winston], New York and Toronto: Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-297-00015-0, LCCN 70119132 . Republished in paperback in 1997 by Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0-684-82949-4
 (Original German edition: Speer, Albert (1969), Erinnerungen [Reminiscences], Berlin and Frankfurt am Main: Propyläen/Ullstein Verlag, OCLC 639475 )
 Speer, Albert; Arndt, Karl; Koch, Georg Friedrich; Larsson, Lars Olof (1995), Architektur. Arbeiten 1933–1942, Propyläen, ISBN 978-3-549-05446-8 

 "BBC Four – Audio Interviews". 29 December 1979. Archived from the original on 20 February 2003. 
 Audio interviews with Andrew Birkin, 1971
 : Interactive maps and 3D reconstructions of Speer's buildings in Berlin
 Review of Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth in Foreign Affairs
 "Speer und Er" (in German). Archived from the original on 23 March 2005. 
 Affidavit of Albert Speer: affidavit, sworn and signed at Munich on June 15, 1977, translated from the German original.


 Speer, Albert

 Alternative names 
 Speer, Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert (birth name)

 Short description
 German architect and minister for armaments

 Date of birth

 Place of birth 
 Mannheim, Germany

 Date of death

 Place of death
 London, England



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