Current research project “Alfried Krupp and National Socialism”
The Krupp Foundation is committed to throw light on the history of the Krupp company and family. It continues to follow the path taken by Berthold Beitz, the long-term Chairman of the Board of Trustees, who initiated scientific projects and publications which were then put into practice by renowned historians. Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach’s entrepreneurial actions under National Socialism have already been discussed in the context of the Krupp trial and in later academic studies. However, a comprehensive study of his relationship to National Socialism has not yet been conducted. To date, a scientific, biographical deepening of this subject does not exist either.
It is for this reason that in February 2022 the Krupp Foundation got an independent scientific project off the ground, aiming to find out more about Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach’s relationship with National Socialism. The Foundation considers it its responsibility and mission to once again deal with the biography of its founder from the perspectives of current issues and new research.
About the project
The Foundation has commissioned the historian Prof. Dr. Eckart Conze to steer the project. Professor Conze has been granted unrestricted access to the sources in the Krupp Historical Archive.
Initially, the project will involve screening and analysing available sources on Alfried Krupp and his position towards National Socialism from the 1920s beyond his death in 1967. The project will therefore deliberately extend the 1933-1945 period of the “Third Reich” in order to include both Alfried Krupp’s position towards National Socialism during the Weimar Republic and his dealings with the Nazi past in the Federal Republic. Alfried Krupp's actions between 1933 and 1945 have been widely documented within the scope of the Krupp trial at Nuremberg. New insights may emerge here as well.
The research focus will be on sources – which have either been unrevealed or have so far received scant attention only – from the Krupp Historical Archive as well as other archives, including international ones. After the completion of the research project, the Foundation will discuss the findings with external experts and decide whether to move on to a comprehensive biography in a second step. These findings are then expected to be presented to the public in early 2023.
Aims of the project
The Foundation would like to learn more about its founder and his position towards National Socialism. We see it as our responsibility and mission to look into our founder’s biography time and again, as research perspectives broaden, with each period posing its own new questions about the past.
In this scientifically accompanied project we see the opportunity to get a more accurate image of our founder. We would also like to make our contribution to scientific and social discourse.
Previous projects of the Krupp Foundation
The Krupp Foundation has been committed to a both critical and differentiated examination of Krupp history for decades.
With Lothar Gall’s publication, the Foundation has thrown light on the history of the Krupp company with renowned historians. The book also contains an extensive chapter on the National Socialist period (Krupp im 20. Jahrhundert. Vom Ersten Weltkrieg bis zur Gründung der Stiftung, Siedler 2002 (Krupp in the 20th century. From World War I to the Establishment of the Foundation).
At the Foundation's headquarters, a room in the Krupp historical exhibition at the Kleines Haus of Villa Hügel provides information on the role of Krupp in the “Third Reich”, also addressing the person of Alfried Krupp.
Holding substantial material on Alfried Krupp, the Krupp Historical Archive is open to all interested parties and regularly supports scientific and other projects dealing with the history of the Krupp company and family.
Harold James: Krupp. A History of the Legendary German Firm, Princeton/Oxford 2011
Lothar Gall (Hrsg.): Krupp im 20. Jahrhundert. Die Geschichte des Unternehmens vom Ersten Weltkrieg bis zur Gründung der Stiftung, Berlin 2002
Harold James: Krupp – Deutsche Legende und globales Unternehmen, München 2011
Frank Stenglein: Krupp. Höhen und Tiefen eines Industrieunternehmens, 2. überarb. Auflage, Essen 2011
Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung (Hrsg.): Krupp. Fotografien aus zwei Jahrhunderten, Berlin / München 2011
Lothar Gall: Krupp. Der Aufstieg eines Industrieimperiums, Berlin 2000
Michael Epkenhans, Ralf Stremmel (Hg.): Friedrich Alfred Krupp. Ein Unternehmer im Kaiserreich, München 2010.
Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach
Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach was born on 13 August 1907, the eldest of Bertha and Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach’s eight children. After completing his secondary education in Essen he commenced his metallurgy studies to become a graduate engineer in 1934. In October 1936 he joined Krupp and was appointed to the Board of Directors two years later. In 1943 he took over the management of the company and became the sole owner of the company.
On 11 April 1945, shortly before the end of World War II, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach was detained by American troops, charged by an American military tribunal in Nuremberg in 1947 and, on 31 July 1948, sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment and confiscation of his assets for “plundering” territories occupied by Germany and crimes related to forced labor. On the charges of “preparation of a war of aggression” and “conspiracy against peace”, the court acquitted the defendant. In 1951 and as part of a general review of Nuremberg sentences, the then U.S. High Commissioner to Germany, John Jay McCloy, bestowed a pardon on the convict, repealing the confiscation of assets.
In 1953 Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach returned to the helm of his company. He appointed Berthold Beitz as his personal Vice Chief Executive in November of the same year. The mission was to rebuild the group, the substance of which was threatened by war damage, dismantling and the restructuring of the coal and steel industry according to Allied plans. This rebuilding could be achieved within a few years thanks to a shift to new production focuses and the successful return to international markets, making Krupp one of the strongest-selling companies in the Federal Republic of Germany at the end of the 1950s.
In his private life Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach was an avid sailor and photographer. He celebrated his greatest sporting success as a bronze medalist at the 1936 Olympic Games with his sailing yacht “Germania III”, continuing the sailing tradition of the Krupp family. He travelled the world as a photographer, bequeathing a photo collection which is now kept in the Krupp Historical Archive.
Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung
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Historisches Archiv Krupp
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