June 1938 a civilian workforce under the leadership of Doctor
Fritz Todt was established by the German government. Its
purpose was to provide construction labor and technical
assistance to a number of engineering projects that helped
develop Germany’s basic infrastructure.
The Organization Todt (OT) was responsible for a
variety of projects including military buildings and
fortifications, railroad bridges, roadways, and civilian air
raid shelters just to name a few.
of the OT consisted of engineers, bricklayers,
carpenters, and industrial machinists all of whom wore
standard uniforms specifically designed to denote OT
affiliation. Construction projects of notable interest
included Germany’s famed “West Wall” located along
the French border, the concrete bunkers scattered across
the Atlantic coast, and a good percentage of the
underground bunkers designed to protect Germany’s
civilian population during bombing raids.
Some foreign nationals were also drafted into the OT to
include both Dutch and French citizens. These were
skilled laborers who worked under German authority.
September 1939 the Organization Todt (OT) workforce
consisted mainly of civilian contractors who wore
standard construction clothing and equipment.
Leadership in the field was provided by a
combination of uniformed military personnel which
included members of the Sturmabteilung (SA),
depending on the nature of the construction project.
Following the invasion of Poland OT members were
militarized and given special uniforms to denote their
status within the National Socialist system.
March 1940 Fritz Todt was appointed Reichsminister for
armaments and munitions while continuing his role as
head of the OT. In
effect, his appointment was an effort to increase the
flow of arms and equipment to the Wehrmacht through
improved industrial coordination.
Members of the OT continued to serve in
construction related projects but were now involved in
the engineering and construction support of weapons
a meeting with Adolf Hitler, Fritz Todt was killed in
February 1942 when his plane crashed on takeoff in East
Todt’s death Adolf Hitler appointed Albert Speer head
of all industrial manufacturing within Germany to
include leadership of the OT.
Under Albert Speer’s guidance the German
industrial system was completely overhauled resulting in
a more efficient distribution of arms and material to