The cover for the second "Storm Troops" volume.
And a sample biography (of the man on the cover).
Prof. h. c. Dr.-Ing.
04.09.1891 in Pforzheim/Baden.
In an air crash at approximately 0930 hours on the morning of 08.02.1942 near Führer HQ, Rastenburg/Ostpreußen. The cause remains a mystery to this day, despite an intensive investigation- ordered by Hitler- by the Reichsluftfahrtministerium and criminal investigators of the SS and police. The report of the investigating team ended with: “The possibility of sabotage has been ruled out. Further measures are therefore neither requisite nor intended.” (Joachim C. Fest, Speer- The Final Verdict, p 130) In his memoirs, Albert Speer writes of the accident as follows:
The plane executed a normal takeoff, but while still within sight of the airport the pilot made a rapid turn which suggested that he was trying for an emergency landing. As he was coming down he steered for the landing strip without taking time to head into the wind. The accident occurred near the airport and at a low altitude. The plane was a Heinkel 111, converted for passenger flight; it had been lent to Dr. Todt by his friend Field Marshal [Hugo] Sperrle, since Todt's own plane was undergoing repairs. Hitler reasoned that this Heinkel, like all the courier planes that were used at the front, had a self-destruct mechanism on board. It could be activated by pulling a handle located between the pilot's and the copilot's seats, whereupon the plane would explode within a few minutes [subsequent investigation revealed that the plane was not equipped with such a mechanism]. The final report of the military tribunal, dated March 8, 1943 (K 1 T.L. II/42) and signed by the commanding general and the commander of Air District [Luftgau] I, Königsberg, stated: “Approximately twenty-three hundred feet from the airport and the end of the runway the pilot apparently throttled down, then opened the throttle again two or three seconds later. At that moment a long flame shot up vertically from the front of the plane, apparently caused by an explosion. The aircraft fell at once from an altitude of approximately sixty-five feet, pivoting around its right wing and hitting the ground almost perpendicularly, facing directly away from its flight direction. It caught fire at once and a series of explosions totally demolished it”. (Speer, Inside the Third Reich
, p. 197, fn.)
Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels wrote of Todt's demise in his diary entry of 09.02.1942:
In the course of the day a shattering piece of news reached me. Dr. Todt crashed and was killed on leaving the airport of Rastenburg this morning following a visit at [Führer HQ?]. The plane dropped from a height of four hundred meters and exploded on the ground. The passengers were so badly burned that it was hardly possible to gather up the corpses. This loss is absolutely overwhelming. Todt was one of the really great figures of the National Socialist regime. A product of the Party, he fulfilled a number of historic tasks, the effects of which cannot even be estimated at the moment. With the genial, spark-plug power of his personality he combined an extremely pleasing simplicity of behavior and an objectivity in his approach to his work in so compelling a form that everybody could not but esteem and love him. The ensuing months will show what we have lost in him. The Führer, too, is hard hit by this loss. We have recently had to endure such heavy personnel losses that one really begins to believe that troubles never come singly.
I spent the entire day preparing the funeral ceremony for Todt. A solemn state funeral in Berlin is to honor him before the entire world. The Führer wants to personally come to Berlin to pay him a tribute on behalf of our nation and thereby to confer the last and highest honors on him.
Throughout the day I feel numb over this loss. I hardly have time to think. There are so many people in public life who are as superfluous as a goiter. Death does not dare touch them. But when there is someone among them who has the ability to help make history, a senseless and cruel fate tears him from our ranks and he leaves a void that simply cannot be filled.
On 12.02.1942, Todt was honored with a state funeral in Berlin. Of the ceremony, Goebbels wrote in his
At 3 P.M., the state funeral for Dr. Todt was held in the Mosaik-Saal of the Reichskanzlei. It was profoundly touching. Every person of prominence in the state, Party, and Wehrmacht attended. One would weep at the thought that so valuable and indispensable a collaborator has been taken from our ranks in such a senseless way. The Führer gave most eloquent expression to this idea in his address [see text of Hitler's lengthy eulogy in the “Notes” section, below]. As he spoke the Führer was at times so deeply moved that he could hardly continue. But that made all the deeper impression upon those present and no doubt upon the public as well. We all have the distressing feeling of taking leave of a man who belonged to us as though he were a part of us... The ceremony was sad and sorrowful. When the remains of Todt were carried out of the Reichskanzlei it seemed to all of us that a brother was leaving us.
In a Führer decree of 10.02.1942, the München-based SA-Schützenstandarte 1 (of SA-Brigade 75/SA-Gruppe Hochland) was granted the honor title “Fritz Todt”.
2 465 (First joined, 05.01.1923, with Nr. 15 998; Party banned following the München-Putsch of 09.11.1923; Reenrolled with Nr. 2 465 on 21.04.1925)
00.00.1914 Wachtmeister d. R.
00.10.1914 Leutnant d. R.
26.11.1934 Reichsamtsleiter der NSDAP
00.00.1938 Hauptdienstleiter der NSDAP
18.07.1938 Chef der Organisation Todt
00.11.1938 Major d. R. (Luftwaffe) (mit Wirkung vom 01.10.1938)
16.12.1938 Hauptdienstleiter der NSDAP
19.10.1939 Charakter als Generalmajor (mit Wirkung vom 01.09.1939)
00.00.1898-ca. 1902 Attended Volksschule in Pforzheim.
ca. 1902-00.00.1910 Attended a humanistic Gymnasium in Pforzheim (passed his Abitur, 00.00.1910).
00.00.1910-00.00.1911 Military service as an Einjährig-Freiwilliger assigned to Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 14 (Karlsruhe).
00.00.1911-00.08.1914 Studied construction engineering (Tiefbau) at the Technischen Hochschule in München.
00.08.1914-00.10.1914 War service with Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 14 on the Western Front.
00.10.1914-00.10.1916 Kompanieführer in Badische Grenadier-Regiment 110 on the Western Front.
00.01.1916-00.06.1917 Assigned as a Flugzeugbeobachter to Feldflieger-Abteilung 70 on the Western Front.
00.06.1917-00.12.1918 Führer of the Reihenbildtrupp (long-range picture section) of Armeeabteilung C, based at Mars-la-Tour/Briey in France. He was wounded in aerial combat during August 1918 (and again on an as yet unknown date).
00.00.1919-00.00.1919 Werkstudent with the civil engineering firm of Grün & Bilfinger AG, Mannheim.
00.00.1919-00.02.1920 Attended the Technischen Hochschule in Karlsruhe.
00.02.1920 Certified as a Diplom-Ingenieur at the Technischen Hochschule, Karlsruhe.
00.02.1920-00.08.1921 Employed by Grün & Bilfinger AG as Bauführer für Druckluftgründungen (Constructrion Foreman for Compressed Air Foundations) in the [River] Inn near Jettenbach.
00.08.1921-00.11.1921 Worked as an assistant in the Fluβbau-Laboratorium (river engineering laboratory) at the TH Karlsruhe.
00.11.1921-00.00.1928 Bauleiter für Wasserbau (construction manager for hydraulic engineering) on the Mittel-Isar-Kanal for the civil engineering firm Sager & Wörner GmbH, München, which specialized in the construction of roads and tunnels.
05.01.1923 Joined the NSDAP/Ortsgruppe Eiting.
00.00.1924 Investigated by the Amtsgericht of München concerning his alleged continued activities on behalf of the banned NSDAP.
21.04.1925 Reenrolled in the NSDAP.
00.00.1927-00.00.1928 Oberingenieur and Leiter of the Abteilung Straβenbau for Sager & Wörner GmbH.
00.00.1928-00.07.1933 Geschäftsführer and Technischer Leiter of Sager & Wörner GmbH.
00.00.1929-00.00.1931 Directed the construction of highways in Czechoslovakia (1929-1930) and Italy (1930-1931).
00.00.1931-00.00.19__ Fachberater für Straβenbau in der Abteilung Wirtschaftstechnik und Arbeitsbeschaffung in der Reichsleitung der NSDAP (Consultant for Road Engineering in the Department of Economics and Job creation in the National Leadership of the NSDAP).
16.10.1931 Received his doctorate (Dr.-Ing.) from the Technischen Hochschule in München, with a doctoral thesis entitled Fehlerquellen beim Bau von Landstraβendecken aus Teer und Asphalt (Disadvantages of Highway Construction using Tar and Asphalt).
31.10.1931-10.08.1933(?) Joined the SA, assigend to Sturm 4 of SA-Reserve-Standarte 16 “List” (München).
00.00.1931-00.08.1934 Leiter of the Fachgruppe Bauingenieure im “Kampfbund Deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure” (KDAI, Civil Engineers’ Section of the Fighting League of German Architects and Engineers).
ca. 1931-03.06.1934 Landesleiter of the KDAI in Bayern.
00.00.1932 Member of the Siedlungsausschuβ der NSDAP.
00.09.1932- 00.08.1934 Fachberater für Straβenbau und Gutachter der Amt [later Abteilung] für Wirtschaftstechnik und Arbeitsbeschaffung der NSDAP (Consultant for Road Building and Examiner of the Office [later Department] for Economic Technology and Job Creation of the NSDAP) in the Reichsorganisationsleitung der NSDAP.
00.00.1932-00.00.1934 Leiter of the Ingenieurtechnischen Abteilung (technical engineering department) of the Reichsleitung der NSDAP.
30.01.1933-25.11.1934 Persönlicher Beauftragter des Stellvertreters des Führers für alle Fragen der Technik und deren Organisationen (Personal Representative of the Deputy to the Führer [Rudolf Hess] for all Questions of Technology and its Organizations).
28.06.1933-08.02.1942 Generalinspekteur für das deutsche Straβenwesen (Inspector General for German Roadways). On 30.11.1933, this post become a selbständigen Reichsbehörde (independent Reich Authority) with Todt holding the rank of a Staatssekretär. His most important task in this post was the development and construction of the Reichsautobahnen, a network of superhighways organized and constructed under his auspices. David Irving writes of his appointment:
On 11 February 1933, Hitler announced the Autobahn construction programme; on 28 June the cabinet passed the law, and a few days later he sent for Dr. Fritz Todt, an engineer who had written a 48-page study of the problems of road-building in 1932, and asked him if he would like the job of Inspector-General of German Road Construction. He said he had always preferred travel by road to rail, as the contact with the people was closer: “I must have driven half a million miles in my fourteen years of struggle for power.” Todt accepted the job: the interview lasted barely three minutes. On 5 July, at 9 P.M., Hitler again sent for Todt, strolled for ninety minutes with him, spoke vehemently of the autobahns of the future, told Todt what routes the first network would take, laid down the minimum width of the traffic lanes and sent Todt to begin work at once. (All this emerges from Todt’s own private papers.)” (Irving, The War Path, p. 44)
In a letter of 30.09.1933 to a fellow professor, Todt wrote:
The most beautiful thing about my work is the close proximity to the Führer. I’m absolutely convinced that any man coming together with the Führer for just ten minutes a week is capable of ten times his normal output. (ibid, p. 59)
10.08.1933-26.01.1934 Assigned to the Stab der Obersten SA-Führers.
00.00.1933-08.02.1942 Member of the Akademie des Bauwesen (Academy of Civil Engineering).
01.01.1934-00.00.19__ Member of the Verwaltungsrat der Deutschen Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (Board of Directors of the German National Railways Society). His assignment to the board was extended on 01.01.1936.
27.01.1934 -10.08.1939(?) Assigned as an SA-Führer z.b.V. to the Stab der Obersten SA-Führer.
00.05.1934-08.02.1942 3. Schriftführer in the Vorstandsrat of the Deutsche Museum in München.
03.06.1934-25.11.1934 Deputy to the Oberleiter of the Amt für Technik bei der Reichsleitung der NSDAP (Office of Technology with the Reich Leadership of the NSDAP).
03.06.1934-25.11.1934 Stellvertretender Vorsitzender of the NS-Bund Deutscher Technik (NSBDT, National Socialist League of German Technology).
03.06.1934-00.00.1937 Präsident of the Reichsgemeinschaft der technisch-wissenschaftlichen Arbeit (RTA, Reich Community of Technological & Scientific Work).
03.06.1934-00.05.1941 Technischer Referent und Sachbearbeiter für alle Fragen der Technik und deren Organisationen sowie für Strassenbau im Stab des Stellvertreters des Führers (Technical Advisor and Expert for all Questions of Technology and Its Organizations as well as Road Construction in the Staff of the Deputy to the Führer).
00.08.1934-00.00.19__ Member of the Hochschulkommission der NSDAP.
00.00.1934-00.00.1942 Publisher of the technical journal Die Straβe.
03.09.1934-19.09.1934 Präsident of the VII. Internationale Straβenkongress.
04.09.1934-10.09.1934 Participated in the 5. Reichsparteitag der NSDAP in Nürnberg, during which he declared- on 05.09.1934:
“The construction on the Reichsautobahn system has begun in 51 places in the Reich. Although this is just the beginning, 52,000 men are already employed on the construction of these new roads, and another 100,000 men are employed at construction sites, in supplying the building trade industry with materials, and in bridge construction.”
01.10.1934 Sachbearbeiter der für die Motorisierung des Verkehrswesens einschlägigen Fragen (Specialist for Questions Relevant to the Motorization of Transport) in the Stabe des Stellvertreters des Führers.
26.11.1934-15.12.1936 Oberleiter of the Amt für Technik der NSDAP (Upgraded to Hauptamt status, 15.12.1936).
26.11.1934-08.02.1942 Führer [redesignated Reichswalter, 05.03.1937] der NSBDT. In this capacity, he also published that organization's periodical Deutsche Technik and served as Vorsitzender of the Forschungsgesellschaft für das Straβenwesen (Research Society for Road Building).
12.05.1935 Delivered an address to representatives of the foreign press in Berlin, during which he stated:
The engineer in the National Socialist State has the task not only to see that earthworks and concrete works are carried out in the right way, but he also has the enormous responsibility for his workers being conducted rightly, that means with National Socialist loyalty. The educaton for this high and responsible position is one of he most important tasks the university has to carry out.
…. We have the obligation of seeing that the performance of the technical tasks is carried out not only with practical experience, but also with indisputable loyalty in the spirit of National Socialism. (Rolf Tell, Sound and Fuehrer, p. 142)
00.12.1935-08.02.1942 Member of the Reichsverkehrsrat (Reich Transportation Council).
29.03.1936 Unsuccessful candidate for election to the Reichstag.
00.00.1936 Member of the Ständigen Siedlungsbeirat (Permanent Settlement Advisory Board) to the Reichsarbeitsminister. The first session of the board was held on 03.06.1936.
10.08.1936-08.02.1942 Leiter of the Amt für technische Wissenschaften (AftW, Office of Technological Sciences) in the DAF.
08.09.1936-14.09.1936 Participated in the 8. Reichsparteitag der NSDAP in Nürnberg, during which he delivered his speech “Deutschen Straβenbau” (German Road Construction). The following are excerpts:
This is the third time that I have been reported on the construction of our Führer's roads to the party congress.
Two years ago I announced the beginning of work on these roads throughout the Reich.
A year ago I reported on the efforts of 250,000 German workers, who after long years of unemployment had found work in building Adolf Hitler's roads.
Today, just three years after the work began, I announce the completion of the first 1000 kilometers of Adolf Hitler's roads.
“Give me four years,” the Führer asked the German people at the beginning of 1933. None of the great tasks that the Führer's will set in motion has been neglected. After three years, unemployment has practically disappeared. The military has been restored in the third year. And I can announce that German highway construction has also become a reality. About 600 kilometers of the Reich Autobahn have been finished by German workers and engineers and opened to traffic. German motorists have welcomed the new roads. Over 14,000 vehicles use the section from München to Rosenheim each Sunday in the direction of Berchtesgaden. 6,000 to 10,000 use the other completed sections near Frankfurt, Köln, Leipzig, Hannover, Stettin, Breslau, etc. The completed sections of the Reich Autobahn have already become the most heavily used roads in the world.
The capacity of the new roads is best demonstrated by traffic statistics. 1800 vehicles, one vehicle every two seconds, smoothly travel the most heavily trafficked sections each Sunday during a two hour period. While the number of vehicles from both home and abroad rises steadily, the labor of 250,000 workers is adding yet further kilometers to the system. This past summer, ten new kilometers were completed each day….
Not only enthusiastic German drivers, but the entire world admire, this great work of German labor. Numerous foreign guests attending the Olympics noted our road construction.
A leading American said: “Tell Dr. Todt that he is building the best roads in the world.” 23 Swedes told a daily newspaper in their capital: “The Autobahns are the best automobile highways in the world.”
A French newspaper commented: “France once led the world in highway construction, but it has fallen far behind Germany.”
Members of the Swiss Automobile Club wrote: ‘Once a tourist had driven on the Autobahn, he is spoiled.’
A Danish newspaper: “They are the expression of a national energy that compels the greatest admiration.”
And the headline to an article about Adolf Hitler's roads in a British newspaper says: “England Needs Such Nazi Roads!”
Only one country and one system is unable to recognize our accomplishments: Russia. They make the lying claim that our road construction program is only on paper. That gives us the right to take a brief look at road construction in the Soviet paradise. What is its plan, its accomplishments?
Control of Russia's highways rests not as before with the experts, but with the police. That is justified, since highway construction in Russia uses forced labor exclusively. There is no free labor, or free companies. Highway labor is compulsory not only for prisoners, but also for the rural population. Each man from 18 to 45 and each woman from 18 to 40 must give a certain amount of time each year without pay for highway construction… The newspapers at present are reporting that a major military highway is to be built connecting Moscow and Minsk. 30,000 political prisoners are to do the work. Despite the massive scale of forced labor used to build Russian roads, the actual accomplishments are limited. It gives a miserable impression of the actual results of repeated five-year plans….
We do not live in the Soviet paradise, but rather in National Socialist Germany, in the Reich of Adolf Hitler. We work with free workers to carry out the Führer's tasks. On 23 September, less than 900 days from the beginning efforts, the first 1000 kilometers of Adolf Hitler's roads will be finished. They are roads unequaled anywhere else in the world in their technical excellence and beauty. Is this a work of technology? No! Like so much else, it is the work of Adolf Hitler! (Prof. Randall Bytwerk, “German Propaganda Archive”, at www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/pt36todt.htm
01.10.1936-11.10.1936 Präsident of the II. Internationalen Kongress für Brücken- und Hochbau (2nd International Congress for Bridge and Structural Engineering).
15.12.1936-08.02.1942 Leiter of the Hauptamt für Technik der NSDAP (Main Office for Engineering in the Reich Administration of the NSDAP).
00.00.1937-08.02.1942 Member of the Vorstand of the Deutschen Museum, München.
00.00.1938 Appointed as an Ehrendoktor of the TH München.
08.04.1938-08.02.1942 Honorary member of the TH Graz.
13.04.1938 Appointed as Vizepräsident of the Straβentransportausschuβes der Internationalen Handelskammer (Roadways Transportation Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce).
20.04.1938-08.02.1942 Honorary professor of the Fakultät für Bauwesen of the TH München.
28.05.1938 Charged by the Führer with construction of a Festungszone (fortified zone) on Germany's western border, formally known as the Westwall (and colloquially as the Siegfried-Linie).
28.05.1938-08.12.1938 Führer der Bauleitung für die Westbefestigungen (Westwall) (Leader of the Construction Directorate for the Western Fortifications).
01.06.1938-08.02.1942 Vorsitzender of the Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI, Association of German Engineers).
01.06.1938-00.00.1941 Vorsitzender of the Vorstand and member of the Beirat des Unternehmens Reichsautobahnen (Advisory Council of the Reich Autobahn Enterprise).
20.06.1938-26.06.1938 Head of the German delegation to the 8th International Roadways Congress in Scheveningen, The Netherlands.
18.07.1938-08.02.1942 Chef der Organisation Todt (OT). Succeeded by Albert Speer.
26.08.1938 Gesellschafter (Partner, as Vertreter des Deutschen Reiches [Representative of the German Reich]) of the Reichsautobahnen-Raststätten GmbH (Reich Superhighways-Motorway Service Areas).
00.00.1938-08.02.1942 Member of the Ständigen künstlerischer Beirat (permanent artistic council) for the monthly magazine Die Kunst im Dritten Reich.
12.09.1938-08.02.1942 1. Vorsitzender of the Verein “Haus der Deutschen Technik” (Association for the “House of German Technology”), München.
02.12.1938-08.02.1942 Vorsitzender of the Deutschen Nationalkomitee der Weltkraftkonferenz.
09.12.1938-08.02.1942 Generalbevollmächtigter für die Regelung der Bauwirtschaft (GB-Bau, General Plenipotentiary for the Regulation of the Construction Industry). The following is excerpted from Eduard Schönleben’s 1943 book Fritz Todt: Der Mensch, der Ingenieur, der Nationalsozialist:
At the beginning of his work, on the occasion of the opening of the short Autobahn built to bypass the town of Opladen, on 27. September 1933, he said:
“The new road of Adolf Hitler, the Autobahn, is in keeping with the essence of our National Socialism. We wish to fix our goal far ahead of us, we want to achieve our aims directly and in a straight line. We build bridges over crossroads; unnecessary connections are alien to us. We do not need switch tracks; we create for ourselves a road that leads only forward, since we need a road which permits us to maintain a speed that suits us. Thus do we build our roads in the Third Reich, thus do we educate our people, thus do we erect the whole National Socialist Reich.”
The second secret of Dr. Todt’s ability to accomplish great things was an unremitting hardness against his own self, which never permitted him to demand from others what he was unwilling to do himself.
“He who is privileged to live in the times of Adolf Hitler must subordinate all desire for personal comfort to the sacred obligation of accomplishing any task the Führer assigns to him.”
A few sentences, typical of Dr. Todt’s artistic views, must be repeated here:
“The master builder who builds in the stone-ocean of a great city must envision his creation amidst the forms and modes of human expression of earlier times. He must express the greatness of our time in relationship to the accomplishments of earlier periods. But the attitude of the master builder who is called upon to create in the wide-open space of the all-German landscape must be altogether different. His building site is the wide room of nature. The attempt to be even more monumental, even greater than nature, will seem arrogant and presumptuous.” (George Lachmann Mosse, ed, Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich)
26.01.1939-08.02.1942 Honorary member of the Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Prussian Academy of Sciences).
20.02.1939-01.02.1942 Member of the Deutschen Akademie der Luftfahrtforschung (German Academy for Aviation Research).
10.05.1939 Schirmherr (patron) of the HJ-Ausbildungswerk für Architektur und Technik.
10.08.1939-08.02.1942 Attached to the Stab der Obersten SA-Führung.
00.10.1939-08.02.1942 Member of the Präsidiums der Reichsforschungsrat.
07.11.1939 Member of the Beirat der Deutschen Reichsbahn (Advisory Council of the German Railways) Berlin.
23.02.1940-08.02.1942 Generalinspektor für die Sonderfragen im Vierjahresplan (Inspector General for Special Questions in the Four-Year Plan).
17.03.1940-08.02.1942 Reichsminister für Bewaffnung und Munition (Reich Minister for Armaments and Munitions). First holder of this post. Succeeded by Albert Speer, who, years later, wrote the following assessment of Todt:
My relationship to Dr. Todt had become perceptibly closer in recent years. With his death I felt that I had lost an older, prudent colleague. We had much in common. Both of us came from prosperous, upper-middle-class circumstances, both of us were Badeners and had technological backgrounds. We loved nature, life in alpine shelters, ski tours- and shared a strong dislike for Bormann. Todt had repeatedly had serious run-ins with Bormann, protesting against his despoiling the landscape around Obersalzberg. My wife and I had frequently been Todt's house guests; the Todts lived in a small unpretentious place off the beaten track on Hintersee near Berchtesgaden. No one would have guessed that the famous road builder and creator of the autobahns lived there.
Dr. Todt was one of the very few modest, unassertive personalities in the government, a man you could rely on, and who steered clear of all intrigues. With his combination of sensitivity and matter-of-factness, such as is frequently found in technicians, he fitted rather poorly into the government class of the National Socialist state. He lived a quiet, withdrawn life, having no personal contacts with party circles- and even very rarely appeared at Hitler's dinners and suppers, although he would have been welcome. This retiring attitude enhanced his prestige; whenever he did appear he became the center of interest. Hitler, too, paid him and his accomplishments a respect bordering on reverence.
Nevertheless, Todt had maintained his personal independence in his relations with Hitler, although he was a loyal party member of the early years.
In January 1941, when I was having difficulties with Bormann and [Hermann] Giesler, Todt wrote me an unusually candid letter which revealed his own resigned approach to the working methods of the National Socialist leadership:
“Perhaps my own experience and bitter disappointments with all the men with whom I should actually be cooperating might be of help to you, enabling you to regard your experience as conditioned by the times, and perhaps the point of view which I have gradually arrived at after much struggle might somewhat help you psychologically. For I have concluded that in the course of such events... every activity meets with opposition, everyone who acts has his rivals and unfortunately his opponents also. But not because people want to be opponents, rather because the tasks and relationships force different people to take different points of view. Perhaps being young, you have quickly discovered how to cut through all such bother, while I only brood over it.“ (Speer, Inside the Third Reich, pp. 193-194)
00.00.1940-08.02.1942 Vorsitzender des Aufsichtsrates of Grossglockner-Hochalpenstraβen AG, Salzburg.
27.09.1940-04.11.1940 Member of an Ausschuβes zur Ausarbeitung eines Bauprogramms für die Nachkriegszeit (Committee to Plan a Building Program for the Postwar Period).
05.11.1940 Appointed as a member of the Kuratoriums des Instituts für landwirtschaftliche Arbeitswissenschaft in Breslau.
00.07.1941-08.02.1942 Vorsitzender of a technical committee for the Erschliessung russischer Gebiete für Groβsiedlungen in the Reichsministerium für die Ostgebiete.
29.07.1941-08.02.1942 Generalinspektor für Wasser und Energie (Inspector General for Water and Energy).
04.09.1941 Founded the Dr. Fritz Todt-Stiftung zur Sicherung und Förderung des Nachwuchses wissenschaftlich und technisch Begabter.
15.11.1943 Institution by Hitler of the Dr. Fritz-Todt-Preis, described by John Angolia as follows:
[The Dr. Fritz Todt Prize] was established to recognize persons in industry who had made a significant contribution the war effort… The award was to be presented twice yearly, on 4 September, the date of Todt’s birth, and 8 February, the date of his death.
The award came in three classes, and was only the second national award to carry with it a cash payment.
The awards were as follows:
a. Gold: 50,000RM
b. Silver: 30,000RM
c. Steel: 10,000RM
The degree of the award presented was determined by the significance of the invention, improvement or general contribution to the war effort. (Angolia, For Führer and Fatherland: Political & Civil Awards of the Third Reich, pp. 101-102)
Die Fehlerquellen beim Bau von Landstrassssendecken aus Teer oder Asphalt. Ein Beitrag zur Vermeidung von Fehlerquellen (Doctoral dissertation, 1931)
Teer und Asphalt (1932)
"Strassenbau und Strassenverwaltung” (Essay, 1932)
Strassenbau und Strassenbenutzer (1935)
“Reichsautobahnen in der Wirtschaft“, in Frankfurter Volksblatt (27.02.1936)
Drei Jahre Arbeit an den Strassen Adolf Hitlers (1936)
Der Strassenbau im nationalsozialistischen Staat (1937)
Drei Jahre Arbeit an den Strassen Adolf Hitlers (1936)
Vier Jahre Arbeit an den Strassen Adolf Hitlers (Editor, 1937)
Versteppung Deutschlands? (1938)
Bauen und Kämpfen (1941)
“Die Neuordnung der deutschen Technik” in Deutsche Technik, 5 ( 1937)
Reichs-Autobahn Atlas (1938)
“Bauschaffen im Dritten Reich”, in Bauen, Siedeln, Wohnen (05.04.1938)
Decorations & Awards
10.02.1942 Der deutschen Orden für die höchsten Verdienste (posthumous award). In his diary entry of 11.02.1942, Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels wrote:
The Führer... said he had at first intended to confer the Knight's Cross upon him, but that he had abandoned this idea because the Knight's Cross, despite its high rank, did not do justice to Todt's meritorious service. He therefore conferred upon Todt, as the first to be thus honored, the highest class of the new German Order created by himself. Todt certainly deserved this. If anybody had a right to be awarded posthumously the highest honors that the Reich can confer, it was he.
07.05.1918 Ritterkreuz des Kgl. Hausordens von Hohenzollern mit Schwertern
00.00.191_ 1914 Eisernes Kreuz I. Klasse
00.00.191_ 1914 Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse
00.00.191_ Bayerischer Militär-Verdienstorden IV. Klasse mit Schwertern
00.00.1934 Goldenes Ehrenzeichen der NSDAP
20.05.1940 Goldenes Hitler-Jugend Ehrenzeichen
20.04.1940 Dienstauszeichnung der NSDAP in Silber
20.04.1940 (?) Dienstauszeichnung der NSDAP in Bronze
23.11.1939 Deutsches Schutzwall-Ehrenzeichen (first recipient of this award, personally presented to him by Hitler for his role in planning and constructing the ‘Siegfried Line’ [West Wall])
06.09.1938 Deutscher Nationalpreis für Kunst und Wissenschaft (presented to him by Hitler and Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels tor ecognize his leading role in developing the Reichsautobahnen)
12.12.1938 Preis der “Stiftung Werner-von-Siemens-Ring”
00.00.1941 Karmarsch-Gedenkmünze der Hannoverschen Hochschulgemeinschaft
00.02.1934 (?) Ehrendolch der SA
00.00.1934 Ehrenwinkel für alte Kämpfer
15.09.1940 Ehrenbürgerrecht der Stadt Saarbrücken
22.09.1938 Grand Cross of the Royal St. Sava Order (Yugoslavia)
* Only child of the small jewelry factory owner Emil Todt and his wife, Elise.
* Married, 00.06.1921, to Elsbeth, née Müller (born 07.09.1883 in Coburg), daughter of a physician, and a widow with the former married name of Kramer. One son (Fritz, born 02.03.1924, killed in action as an Oberfähnrich and Luftwaffe fighter pilot, 00.02.1944) and two daughters (Ingrid and Ilsebil) were born to this marriage. The following is a United Press article of 02.09.1947:
Frau Todt Convicted
MUNICH, Sept. 2-(UP)- Frau Elsbeth Todt, widow of Fritz Todt, who built Germany’s West Wall and autobahns, was convicted of Nazi activity and profiteering yesterday by a Berchtesgaden denazification tribunal. She was sentenced to two years at whatever special work the Labor Office might decide. The court ordered confiscation of all but 10,000 marks ($1,000) of her property estimated to be worth $33,000.
* Hitler’s eulogy to Dr.-Ing. Todt, delivered in the Mosaik-Saal of the Reichskanzlei (Berlin) on 12.02.1942:
Dear Mourners! Dear Frau Todt!
It is very difficult for me to honor a man whose deeds speak more clearly and more powerfully for him than words ever could. When we received the terrible news of the accident in which our dear party comrade Dr. Todt had become a victim many millions of Germans
In this sad hour.... it is very hard for me to think of a man whose deeds speak louder and more impressively than words can do. When we received the terrible news of the misfortune, to which our dear Master Builder Dr. Todt had fallen victim, many million Germans had the same feeling of emptiness which always occurs when an irreplaceable man is taken from his fellow men.
However, the whole German nation knows that the death of this man means an irreplaceable loss for us. It is not only the creative personality which was taken from us, but it is also the loyal man and unforgettable comrade, whose departure touches us so deeply.
Dr. Todt was a National Socialist. He was that not only intellectually…. but also with his whole heart.
The first contact with the Party in the year 1922, the first encounter with me personally had not only drawn this man inwardly to me, but also bound him outwardly to adhere to what he envisioned as the only possibility for a German renaissance….
As early as 1922 this man saw clearly that the aim of German revival had to be, not a restoration of shattered old forms, but a revolutionizing of the German spirit, of German thought, and hence of the German people in its inner social order.
When Dr. Todt first threw himself whole-heartedly into our movement, he was 31 years old. Behind him was a life which included an education from grade school to college of liberal arts. From 1910 to 1911 he served a year as a volunteer enlisted man ... in Karlsruhe. From 1911 to August 1914, he studied again, as a graduate civil engineer at the School for Advanced Technical Studies in Munich and in Karlsruhe. As early as 1913 he passed his first preliminary examination at School for Advanced Technical Studies in Munich. At the outbreak of war he joined the fourth regiment of field artillery and first saw action on the western front. In October, 1914, he was named Lieutenant of the Reserve and assigned to the 110th Regiment. With this outfit he fought up to January, 1916. Then he joined the air force, became an aerial observer, and was finally leader of an independent flight squadron up to war's end on the Western Front. He was also wounded in an air battle.
In 1919 he completes his studies and in the winter of 1920 passes his final examination at the School for Advanced Technical Studies in Munich. It is interesting to note that the subject of his doctor's thesis at the School for Advanced Technical Studies in Munich is the following: “Disadvantages of Highway Construction using Tar and Asphalt.”
On the 5th of January, 1923, Dr.-Ing. Fritz Todt of Pforzheim finally entered in [the Party], namely … the Ortsgruppe of Oetting in Bayern.
Immediately after the ban against the Party was lifted in November, 1923, he again becomes a member and remains one until January, 1925. In the meantime he is unswervingly active in the Party and it is not until 1924 that the various charges against him are finally quashed.
In 1931 he joins the SA and to be sure as a real National Socialist, starting as an ordinary Storm-Trooper. He then becomes a Sturmführer; in the same year is advanced to Standartenführer and by 1938 he has risen to Oberführer, Brigadeführer, Gruppenführer, and finally Obergruppenführer. Only his activity in the Party is not all expended in the service of the Storm Troopers. In the beginning he is an associate of the Progressive League of German Architects and Engineers in Munich. And in addition he is Technical Consultant of highway construction in the then existent office for Economic coordination and Work Procurement of the NSDAP. In 1932 ... is expanded ... of the construction Engineers and Countrymen (sic!) of the Progressive League of German Architects and Engineers. During that period occurred the amalgamation of the division presided over by him with that of the Progressive League of German Architects and Engineers, and with the Technical Bureau, resulting finally in the National Socialist German Technical Union under his leadership.
In 1936 the Technical Bureau was raised to the Central Technical Bureau in recognition of its meritorious service. In the meantime this man enters that field of activity, where for the first time not only the German people but in addition a large part of the rest of the world was to become acquainted with him.
In connection with the opening of the Automobile Exposition, which took place in 1933, I tried to realize the principles proclaimed at that time in the field, not only of the improvement of the German road network already in existence, but also in the field of the construction of new special auto roads. This was a general plan which essentially only embraced the general principles. In Dr. Todt, after long trials and deliberations, I believed I had found a man who was suited to transform a theoretical intention into practical reality. A brochure published by him about new ways of road construction was submitted to me and especially strengthened me in this hope.
After long discussions I entrusted him, on June 30, 1933, with the task of building the new Reich's auto roads, and in connection with this, the general reform of the whole German highway construction system, as general director of construction for the German highway construction system. With that, this man had found a frame which he began to fill in a truly incomparable and imperishable way.
The German Reich's Autobahnen are, in the planning of their layout and the execution, the work of this quite unique technical- and in addition, also artistic- talent. We can no longer think of the German Reich without these roads. In the future also they will find their continuation as natural great communication lines in the whole European transportation region. But what has in addition been done in Germany in this same time in the broadening and improvement of roads, in the elimination of bad curves, in the construction of bridges is so incomprehensible in its scope, that only an exhaustive study will permit a comprehensive and just conception of the accomplishment in its entirety. All of you, my dear party comrades, will still remember those impressive minutes, during which our Road Construction Inspector in Chief, Dr. Todt, at the Party Congress in Nuremberg, demonstrated briefly and clearly how his task came into being, and how it began to grow far beyond the scope of any previous construction problems anywhere in the world. It was therefore only a matter of course, that this man was finally made chief administrator in all fields of construction.
Thus, it was only natural that this man was appointed chief administrator, first, for the regulation of all construction, and that then, in the Four Year Plan, he was given a special position as Inspector General for special projects….
I had conceived the plan of erecting a fortification opposite the Maginot Line, but from different points of view, which was to protect the vitally important western portion of the Reich against any attack, under any circumstances, even in the event that quite large German forces ... in the East. There was only one man who was in a position to solve this technical engineering problem, unique in the history of the world, and to solve it, indeed, in the shortest possible time.
When, on 28 May 1938, I made known my resolve to the army and the air force, I entrusted the Inspector General for Construction, Dr. Todt, at the same time with the responsibility and supervision of the construction of the largest part by far of this gigantic new work, in cooperation with the proper military authorities, with the provision that as early as September, 1938, at the latest, at least 5,000 concrete and steel positions would have to be ready or usable.
The present war experiences have confirmed our conviction, that no power in the world could succeed in breaking through this most gigantic defense zone of all time. This marvel is, in its technical plan of construction, in the purely organizational measures of its construction, as well as in the technical building itself for all time associated with the name of Dr. Todt.
The war which broke out presented new ... problems to this greatest organizer of modern times. A system of great roads for deploying troops had to be built up in those regions of the Reich in the shortest possible time, which previously had been very much neglected. Thousands and more thousands of kilometers of roads were either newly built or widened, provided with a hard surface and made dust proof. When the fighting finally began, units called into being by this unique talent for organization marched behind and forward with the troops, removed obstacles, ... destroyed bridges, improved roads, erected everywhere new Juncture over valleys, ravines, rivers, canals, and thus complemented in an indispensable way the engineering troops who were of many 2..., identified themselves closely with the forward-pressing front, and thereby could enter more actively into the fighting, in which otherwise they could not have had complete ... The victory in Norway, the victory in the West brought new tasks. After former party comrade Todt had been named to the Reich's Ministership for Armaments and Munitions, and thereby had to organize and lead a new, truly formidable sphere, there came in addition the task of protecting ... against enemy attacks through the construction of new, powerful fortifications….
The ... work, however, including his service as Reich's Minister for Armaments and Munitions, this man accomplished with a minimum of assistance. He was without doubt in this field the greatest organizer whom Germany, whom the German people, has produced up to now. He managed with the smallest conceivable staff of his own, and without any bureaucracy, to utilize all the agencies and forces which appeared useful either for ... the solution of his problems sooner, or in any other way.
Much of what the man has done can be made known to the German people or brought to the amazed attention of the world, only after the war. What this man has created is so unique that we all can not thank him enough for it.
If, however, I spoke just now about the technician and organizer, Fritz Todt, I must also bear in mind the man, who has stood so near to us all. It is not possible to give any better characterization of his personality than in determining that this great director of work never has had an enemy either in the movement or among his coworkers.
I myself must especially thank him for the fact that he has never lost or abandoned the ideological heritage of National Socialism, the aims of the movement, in the excess of his responsibilities, but on the contrary has been a co-creator of our world of ideas. And this applies particularly to his attitude toward social problems in life. The man, who himself has directed millions of workers, was not only understanding but above all in his heart a true Socialist.
There was a time when fate forced him, the greatest construction engineer of all times, to earn his daily bread as a simple laborer, just as this has happened in my own case. Never for a moment was he ashamed of that fact. On the contrary, in later years it was for him a source of proud and satisfying memories, when he, the greatest construction chief the world has ever known, had occasion to look at or to show to others a photograph of himself depicting him in his sober working attire, working on the road, covered with dust and dirt, or in front of a seething vat of tar. For this reason he especially took to his heart his German “road builders,” as he called them.
It was his continuous desire to improve their social and often so trying living conditions, to replace their former miserable tents with modern ... and shelters, to take away from the road worker's camps the character of stagnant mass quarters, and especially to create within the laborer the feeling that road building, yes, the entire field of construction is a field of work of which anyone can always be proud, because it creates documents not only of the highest importance to mankind, but also of the greatest durability.
Before Dr. Todt the work of the road worker was not regarded very highly. Today the 10,000 road builders are a proud fraternity fully aware of their great usefulness. In this way be has accomplished a basic national socialistic educational work, and for this we are today especially indebted to him. Just as every human progress has had its model, so the “Organisation Todt” has created permanent social models, and it was on its way to develop them still further.
Gradually not only a social injustice, but also a human, thoughtless folly, was to be eliminated, and eliminated, indeed, forever.
Thus, whether this man had dealings with a workingman, a Minister or a general, he always remained the same. An equally confident leader and solicitous friend of all decent national comrades. It was no wonder that this man, who so loved his people, was passionately attached to his family, his wife and his children. The creator of the greatest technical enterprises spent every free hour, whenever he could, among the great creations of Nature, in the little house beside the lake, in the midst of his beloved Bavarian peasants.
When under the fire of enemy guns the West Wall was completed, while in Poland the columns of the Organisation Todt for the first time joined the advancing armies and gave them assured supply lines, I had it in my mind to award him the Knight's Cross, as one of the leading creators of German resistance... and of the German will for self-expression in the war. However, I changed my mind.
Because this distinction, famous though it is, could never have done justice to the importance of this unique man. I had already made the decision some time previously to establish such a decoration, which, founded on the principles of our movement, is to honor, in several classes, the most valuable services that a German can perform for his people.
After the conclusion of the campaign against France, I said to Dr. Todt that I proposed for him some day, as God wills, the recognition of his unique service, that he will be the first to whom I shall award the highest class of the order. In his modesty at that time he did not want to know anything about it. As now the National Order for Art and Science was awarded first to Dr. Todt- no, to the deceased Prof. Troost- so now today I confer for the first time, in the name of the German people and its National Socialist movement, the new order on our dear and unforgettable party comrade, Dr. Todt, the general inspector of our roads and builder of the West Wall, the organizer of armaments and munitions in the greatest battle of our people for their freedom and their future.
I myself can add only a few words for myself. I have lost in this man one of my most faithful coworkers and friends. I regard his death as a contribution to the National Socialist movement, to the fight for freedom of our people.
Fest, Joachim C.: Speer- The Final Verdict.
Lilla, Joachim; Döring, Martin; & Schulz Andreas: Statisten in Uniform. Die Mitglieder des Reichstags 1933-1945. Droste Verlag,
Mosse, George Lachmann: Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich. University of Wisconsin Press,
Schönleben, Eduard: Fritz Todt. Der Mensch. Der Ingenieur. Der Nationalsozialist. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, 1943.
Seidler, Franz W.: Fritz Todt. Baumeister des Dritten Reiches. Herbig, 1986.
Sereny, Gitta: Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth.
Speer, Albert: Inside the Third Reich. Macmillan, 1970.
Taylor, Blaine: Hitler’s Engineers: Fritz Todt and Albert Speer-Master Builders of the Third Reich. Casemate, 2010.
Tell, Rolf: Sound and Fuehrer. Hurst & Blackett Ltd., 1939.
Vahrenkamp, Richard: The German Autobahn 1920-1945: Hafraba Visions and Mega Projects. Books on Demand, 2010.