The largest arms manufacturer in Europe from the second half of the nineteenth century to 1945. Alfred Krupp (b. 1812, d. 1887) transformed the indebted steel works which he inherited into Europe's largest steel enterprise and the world's largest arms producer. The company continued to flourish under his son Friedrich Alfred (b. 1854, d. 1902) until it passed on to his daughter, who married Gustav Krupp von Bohlen (b. 1869, d. 1950) in 1906, who in turn became its effective head. Gustav constantly lobbied political parties and pressure groups during the Empire to support an aggressive foreign policy which would increase his sales. Forced by the Versailles Treaty to manufacture tractors instead of tanks, he staunchly supported Hitler, whose accession to power allowed him to make arms again. After World War II, Gustav was too frail to stand trial at Nuremberg. Instead, his son was sentenced to twelve years' imprisonment as a major war criminal for maltreating foreign labour and for using forced labour at Auschwitz, though he was released early in 1951. The firm was restructured, but continued to operate successfully until it passed out of family control in 1968.
Subjects: Economic History — Contemporary History (Post 1945).