Bunker at Cap Gris Nez in France, part of the ‘Atlantic Wall’ built by the Todt Organisation [Bundesarchiv, wiki]
This week in the war, on Sunday 8 February 1942, Reichsminister Fritz Todt was killed when the plane flying him back to Berlin crashed while taking off from the airstrip at Hitler’s Wolfsschanze
headquarters in East Prussia. Todt had been visiting the Fuehrer.
Fritz Todt was Reichsminister of Armaments & Ammunition and had headed the so-called Todt Organisation (a name coined by Hitler in 1933), a giant construction consortium that had built the autobahns before the war. During World War II, the Todt Organisation built bunkers, U-boat pens, launch pads for Hitler’s V-weapons and undertook major projects, such as the building of the Atlantic Wall.
Reichsminister Dr. Fritz Todt [Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1969-146-01 /Rohn/ CC-BY-SA, wiki]
, Hitler’s much favoured architect who had designed the new Reich Chancellery, had been with Todt at the Wolfsschanze and had accepted a ride back to Berlin in Todt’s plane.
In the end, following a long and exhausting meeting with the Fuehrer, Speer changed his mind and decided to take a later plane.
Fortune smiled on Speer twice that week: He escaped a narrow brush with death and then Hitler appointed Speer as Todt’s successor. At the age of thirty-six, Albert Speer controlled all war production and construction throughout the Greater German Reich and in all of the occupied territories of Europe. (Goering had had ambitions on Todt’s portfolio. The Reichsmarschall was not pleased).