Now, to many people reading this review, that will seem like a complete non sequitur. Let me explain.
Albert Speer was Hitler's Minister of Armaments from 1942 onwards, and for much of the 1930s and early 1940s was the closest thing that Hitler had to a friend. He was tried at Nuremberg in 1945 - 1946 for various war crimes and crimes against humanity. Speer was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, though he was acquitted on the other two counts (participating in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace, and planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace), and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment at Spandau, which he served.
At his trial, Speer was the one Nazi leader who admitted at least a sense of general responsibility for the crimes of the Nazi regime. However, he was always very careful to deny direct knowledge (and therefore personal responsibility) for the greatest crime of all - the Holocaust. If it had been shown that he knew, he surely would have been hanged, like Fritz Sauckel, the man who rounded up the labour that Speer used to keep the factories running.
These seconds 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.However, his claims to not have known became more controversial as the years went along, and new information surfaced, particularly about his presence at the Posen Conference on October 6, 1943, at which Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler gave a speech in which he detailed 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 was mentioned several times in the speech, and Himmler seemed to address him directly.
Speer died in 1981 whilst on a visit to London. To the end of his life, he maintained that he did not know about the Holocaust, and that he was not at Posen for Himmler's speech. Almost nobody accepts the former contention anymore. Historian Gitta Sereny, in her book Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth, concluded that Speer must have known about the Final Solution at least by the time of the Posen conference, whether or not he was actually present at Himmler's speech. She based this judgment on extensive conversations with Speer, analysis of his published and unpublished writings, and interviews with Speer's family and colleagues. In Sereny's view, Speer's acknowledgment of his guilt as a Nazi and his complicity in crimes of which he claimed to be unaware was part of a complex process by which he evaded acknowledgment of the full truth.
But that wasn't the verdict at Nuremberg, and it wasn't the verdict of many mainstream historians for many years. Further, we still can't say with absolute certainty that Speer was at Posen when Himmler delivered his speech that afternoon (although, as Sereny makes clear, Speer's presence was not determinative of his knowledge of the Holocaust).
The reality is that history is not always cut and dry. Even official records can leave questions. The unofficial records, and accounts from people who were "there," can often lead to more questions than they answer. Questions such as: "what did Albert Speer know?" You could go one further, using Speer as an avatar, and ask, "what did the average German know?"
That reality is absolutely critical to understanding both the strengths and weaknesses of Dolan's UFOs and the National Security State, Vol. II (and his other work). History isn't always about absolute rights and wrongs (although those things do exist) - often it's about making the best case that you can with respect to a subject where, for any one of a number of reasons, more than one case is possible. The question of the UFO phenomenon and the government is one of those subjects.
Take the 1957 RB47 case, for example. No sufficient explanation has ever been offered by those people who would have you believe that there is nothing to the UFO phenomenon. Not only that, but there were other RB47 encounters, including the one experienced by Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Bailey and his crew during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bailey, as so many other military witnesses before and after have done, described a de-briefing process that made it absolutely clear that they "didn't see anything."
That leaves one of two possible conclusions: either Bailey, a decorated veteran who flew on the most sensitive surveillance aircraft the USAF had at the time, is a liar - as are many others who tell similar stories - or there is more to the government's knowledge of and involvement with the UFO phenomenon than the official history would have you believe.
So, if what Bailey and others say is true - that they are sworn to secrecy - then how can we ever know the truth, when the official policy of the government is to hide the truth?
Richard Dolan believes more than I do. That much is obvious from reading his book. He is convinced that not only is the UFO phenomenon real, but that it represents an extraterrestrial intelligence that has interacted with humans for years, and that our governments have knowledge of this interaction, and have covered it up - indeed, they may well have facilitated it.
On the face of it, those conclusions seem absurd. Indeed, I suspect that if he offered them in most university history classrooms, Dolan would be politely shown the door. Many of his sources are anonymous, which raises all kinds of red flags for historians. Further, while he cites some official documents, he fails to offer a verifiable document in the record which he can point to as indisputable proof of his conclusions. Nor can he offer any witnesses, on the record, who can prove what he says is true.
Accordingly, I cannot accept what he says to be true. But that doesn't mean that I've concluded that it's not.
As I said above, history is not always certain, particularly when the official record may not in fact be the actual record. While Dolan may be willing to travel further down the rabbit hole than I am, I'm convinced that there is a rabbit hole worth looking into.
In a world where you have Kelly Johnson and his top engineers and test pilots saying in 1953 they saw something that could not have been made by us, and then you have the United States Air Force explaining it away as a "lenticular cloud," how can one not accept that there are rabbit holes in our field of knowledge?
In a world where on the one hand you have the Condon Report concluding that there is no scientific merit to the study of the UFO phenomenon, and then government after government saying that there is no defence significance to UFOs, and on the other hand you have a case like the 1976 Tehran incident, where the US Defence Intelligence Agency concluded that the value of the information garnered from the case was of "high, timely and of major significance," how could you not at least question the official history?
If you're familiar with what I've written since, or pay attention to what I may say in the future, you'll see some of what I've discovered, if you know where to look... and if you're willing to ask the right questions.
A final note of caution, however. At the end of my conversation in 2007 with my "source," I jokingly asked him why no-one had ever contacted me about becoming an intelligence asset.
"How do you know they haven't, and how do you know that you aren't?"
Which leads me back to Albert Speer.
Perhaps the correct question isn't to ask what he knew, or even what he wanted to know, but what he didn't want to know.
Perhaps that's the question that, in our own way, we all need to ask, each and every day.