Alfred Krupp

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categorie: Istorie

nota: 9.09

nivel: Liceu

Krupp's exhibit caused a sensation in the engineering world, and the Essen works at once became famous. In 1851, another successful invention, one for the making of railway tyres, made a profit, which Alfred Krupp devoted partly to enlarging and equipping the factory, and partly to his long-cherished scheme - the construction of a breech-loading cannon of cast steel.

Krupp himself [...]
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Krupp's exhibit caused a sensation in the engineering world, and the Essen works at once became famous. In 1851, another successful invention, one for the making of railway tyres, made a profit, which Alfred Krupp devoted partly to enlarging and equipping the factory, and partly to his long-cherished scheme - the construction of a breech-loading cannon of cast steel.

Krupp himself strongly believed in the superiority of breech-loaders over muzzle-loaders, on account of the greater accuracy of firing and the saving of time, but this view did not win general acceptance in Germany till after the Franco-Prussian war, Krupp supplied his perfected field-pieces throughout Europe and wished to fulfill an order of guns to the Habsburg empire on the eve of the Prusso-Austrian war, much to Bismarck's fury.

His greatest grievence against the French was that the French high command had refused to purchase his guns despite Napoleon's support. Following the French defeat he did sell them his guns. Once the quality of this product gained recognition, the factory developed very rapidly. At the time of Alfred Krupp's death in 1887 he employed 20,200 men; and including those in works outside Essen, his rule extended over 75,000 people.

A curious incident took place before the Franco-German war. at the time that war was approaching Alfred was in the process of building his palatial new home, for which he needed French granite. Bowing to his demand, both the French and the Prussian monarchs agreed to have a special shipment of granite delivered to him from France despite the mutual trade embargo.

Krupp constructed special "colonies" for the employees and their families - with parks, schools and recreation grounds - while the widows' and orphans' and other benefit schemes insured the men and their families against anxiety in case of illness or death. He tried to control most aspects of his worker's lives: he demanded loyalty oaths, required workers to obtain written permission from their foremen when they needed to stop working to use the toilet, and issued proclamations explicitly telling his workers not to concern themselves with national politics.

A furious reactionary, Alfred frequently proclaimed he wished to have "a man come and start a counter-revolution" against jews, socialists and liberals. In some of his odder moods, he considered taking the role himself. According to William Manchester, his great grandson Alfried would interpret these outbursts as a prophecy fulfilled by the coming of Hitler.

Friedrich Alfred's Era

Friedrich Alfred Krupp, 1900.After Alfred's death in 1887 his only son, Friedrich Alfred (born February 17, 1854, died November 22, 1902), carried on the Work. His father had been a hard man, known as "Herr Krupp" since his early teens. His son was "Fritz" all his life, and was strikingly dissimilar to his father in terms of personality. He was a philanthropist, a rare commodity amongst the Ruhr industrial leaders; though part of his philanthropy went towards supporting the study of eugenics.

He did, however, possess an industrial genius, though of a different sort from his father. Fritz was a master of the subtle sell, and cultivated a close rapport with the Kaiser, Wilhelm II. Under Fritz's management, the firm's business blossomed further and further afield, spreading across the globe. It was under him as well that many new products that would do much to change history were authorized.

Hiram Maxim peddled his machine gun, and Rudolf Diesel brought his new engine to Krupp to construct. Fritz was, therefore, the first to bring Europe diesel engines. The program that eventually resulted in the German U-Boat fleet was also begun during his tenure.

During his lifetime, Fritz married and had two daughters. He also enjoyed living on the island of Capri, where he built a villa and did biological research. In 1902 he, and also the painter Christian Wilhelm Allers, were caught up in a pederastic scandal involving youths Fritz had "procured" in Capri and transported to the Bristol hotel in Berlin (after even the corrupt Capri authorities had had enough of his pederacy). A tumultuous few weeks ensued, which ended in the death of Fritz, ostensibly of a stroke, though suicide is a more probable answer.

Upon his death, his daughter Bertha became the inheritor of his empire.

Gustav's Era

Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, born August 7, 1870, died in Austria on January 16, 1950. A minor career diplomat, Gustav was not born a Krupp. He was, however, selected by Kaiser Wilhelm II to marry Bertha Krupp, daughter of Friedrich Alfred. In such a way, the company could continue on under male leadership, and also heirs could be produced. With the Kaiser as matchmaker, the couple were married, and eventually would have many children, including the final Krupp to bear the title of "Sole Proprietor", Alfried.

Gustav was initially skeptical towards Nazism and Hitler; bitterly criticising his son Alfried, his future successor for taking up with them. Gustav soon experienced a conversion and became enamoured with the party, to a degree his wife and subordinates found bizarre. Gustav was nonetheless alarmed at Hitler's aggressive foreign policy after the Munich accord but by then he was fast succumbing to senility and was effectively displaced by Alfried. He was indicted at the Nuremberg Trials but never tried, due to his advanced dementia.

Alfried's Era

Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Born August 13, 1907, died West Germany, on July 30, 1967. He, like his father Gustav, helped rearm Nazi Germany and was tried at the Krupp Trial held after World War II in Nuremberg in parallel to the main Nuremberg trials. He was convicted for the use and murderous abuse of forced labor, marked by brutality, which the judges found to be exceptional even under Nazism. His conviction was overturned along with that of his co-defendants by John J. McCloy, High Commissioner of the American zone of occupation, who, today, is bitterly criticised for his wholesale quashing of verdicts and sentences of Nazi offenders.
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