Now, evening in the cell, I have been thinking back on the regime's interest in beauty, which in fact was very marked. The ruthlessness and inhumanity of the regime went hand in hand with a remarkable feeling for beauty, for the virginal and unspoiled, although that feeling often degenerated into the sentimentality of a postcard idyll. Today I sometimes read statements to the effect that all this was merely camouflage, a calculated manoeuvre to distract the attention of the suppressed masses. But that was not so. Of course the regime's craving for beauty also had to do with Hitler's personal taste, with his hatred for the modern world, his fear of the future. But there was also an unselfish social impulse at work, an effort to reconcile the unavoidable ugliness of the technological world with familiar aesthetic forms, with beauty. Hence the ban on corrugated iron roofing for farm buildings, hence Autobahn maintenance buildings in half-timber style, hence birch woods and man-made lakes at army camps.
Albert Speer, Spandau: The Secret Diaries.