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Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach
Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, "Taffi", (August 7, 1870 - January 16, 1950) ran the German Freidrich Krupp AG heavy industry conglomerate from 1909 until 1941. He was indicted for prosecution at the 1945 Nuremberg trials, but the charges were dropped because of his failing health.
He was born Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach, the son of a German diplomat (also called Gustav) working in the Hague. He became a diplomat too, serving in Washington, Peking and the Vatican City. He married Bertha Krupp in October 1906. Bertha had inherited the company in 1902 at age 16 when her father, Friederich Krupp had committed suicide. The marriage had been arranged as it was unthinkable at the time for a large company to be run by a woman. The Kaiser announced at the wedding that Gustav would now use the name Krupp. Gustav became company chairman in 1909.
By the First World War, the company had a near monopoly in heavy arms manufacture in Germany. At the start of the war, the company lost access to most of its overseas markets, but this was more than offset by increased demand for weapons from Germany and her allies. One of the company's products was a 94-ton howitzer named Big Bertha after his wife.
After the war, Krupp was widely criticised within Germany for the profits he had made from it. The Versailles Treaty prevented the company from making armaments, and it diversified to agricultural equipment, vehicles and consumer goods. However, it secretly continued to work on artillery through subsidiaries in the Netherlands and Sweden. In the 1930s it restarted manufacture of tanks and submarines, again using foreign subsidiaries.
Krupp was a member of the Prussian State Council from 1921 to 1933. He opposed the Nazis until 1933, when he was persuaded that they would help his company by destroying the trade unions and by increasing the size of the armed forces. Krupp subsequently became the chairman of the Association of German Industrialists, and the Adolf Hitler Spende, a political fundraising organisation for the Nazis.
During the Second World War Krupps used large numbers of slaves from occupied countries and concentration camps, and treated them brutally - it has been estimated that 70,000 concentration camp victims died as a result. They had, for example, a fuse factory near the camp at Auschwitz.
Krupp suffered failing health from 1939 onwards, and a stroke left him partially paralysed in 1941. He became a figurehead until he formally handed over the running of the business to his son, Alfried Krupp in 1943. Following the Allied victory, plans to prosecute Gustav Krupp as a war criminal at the 1945 Nuremberg Trials were dropped because by then he was bed-ridden and senile. He died in Blühnbach , Austria.
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