German Boys Clothes: The Krupps

The Krupp family will for ever be associated with the manufacture of munitions in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Krupps were a major supplier of the Prussian, Imperial, and NAZI armed forces. But more than supply the NAZIs they helped bring them to power and during the War profited from the horrendous exploitation of slave labor. The Krupp saga is a case study in 19th century industial development. Some of the most important members of the family are listed below.

Friedrch Krupp (1787-1826) founded the Krupp family corporate empire. He was a German iromaster who established a small forge at Essen in 1810 and experimented with the making of a cast steel. Later he built a small plant of eight smelling furnaces.

Alfred Krupp (1812-87) son of Friedrich. He developed the process of making cast steel begun by his father. In 1847 he made a 3-pounder muzzle-loading gun of cast steel, and in 1851 he exhibited at the Great Exhibition in London a solid, flawless ingot of cast steel, weighing more than 2 tons, which brought him international renown. Krupp artillery and breach-loading rifles, adopted by the Prussian Army in 1861, proved their superiority to conventional weapons in the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War in

Figure 1.--Bertha Krupp in 1909 with 2-year old Alfred.
1871. In the 1860's he began construction of the famous workmen's villages for Krupp workers.

Frederich Alfred Krupp (1854-1902), son of Alfred. He devoted himself to the financial side of the business and expanded the Krupp interests tremendously. He acquired other steel plants, coal and iron mines, and the great Germania shipyard at Kiel.

Bertha Krupp (1886- ) the daughter of Friedrich Albert. She inherited the Krupp holdings from her father. In 1906 she married Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach.

Gustav Von Boulek und Halbach (1870- ), husband of Bertha Krupp. He took the name Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, and became head of the Krupp firm. During the years before World War I the Krupp works supplied armor plate and guns for new ships in the rapidly expanding German highseas fleet, and became internationally famous for the manufacture of heavy siege mortars and long-range cannon. He was one

Figure 2.--Bertha, 5-year old Alfried, and Gustav rehearsing for the Krupp centennial tournamet in 1912.
of the supporters of Adolf Hitler's rearmament program when the NAZIs came to power, and after Germany's defeat in World War II he was indicted as a war criminal but was not tried by the International Military Tribunal because of his poor health.

Alfred Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, son of Gustav Von Boulek und Halbach, succeeded his father as head of the business in 1942. He was also indicted. Alfred was convicted of plundering occupied

Figure 3.--Bertha and Gustav with their children in 1931. The two younger children are Waldtraut and Eckbert.
countries and using slave labor, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The entire Krupp properties, valued at more than $0.5 billion in 1946 were confiscated.

Christopher Wagner

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Last updated: June 6, 1998