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Krupp

Krupp (krŏp) [key], family of German armament manufacturers. The family settled in Essen in the 16th cent. The core of the great Krupp industrial empire was started by Friedrich Krupp, 1787–1826, who built a small steel plant c.1810. His son, Alfred Krupp, 1812–87, known as the "Cannon King," introduced new methods for producing large quantities of cast steel. After the Franco-Prussian War he specialized more and more in armaments and acquired mines all over Germany. Under his son, Friedrich Alfred Krupp (Fritz Krupp), 1854–1902, who was interested in the financial rather than the technical aspects of the enterprise, the Krupp family vastly extended its operations. His daughter, Bertha Krupp (after whom the Big Berthas were named), married Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach, who assumed the name Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, 1870–1950. He took over the management of the firm, which had become a public company in 1903. After 1933 the Krupp works became the center of German rearmament. In 1943, by a special order from Hitler, the company was again converted into a family holding and Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, 1907–67, son of Gustav and Bertha, took over the management. After Germany's defeat, he was tried as a war criminal and sentenced (1948) to imprisonment for 12 years. In 1951 he was released, and in 1953 he resumed control of the firm with the stipulation that he sell his major interests in iron, steel, and coal. The condition was not fulfilled, however. Shortly before his death in July, 1967, the firm's indebtedness caused Alfried to announce that the Krupp concern would become a public corporation. His son Arndt von Bohlen und Halbach, 1938–86, relinquished his inheritance rights as well as the Krupp name, and in 1968 the Krupp family ceased to control the firm. In 1999 the Krupp Group merged with its largest competitor, Thyssen AG; the combined company is one of the largest steel producers in the world.

See G. von Klass, Krupps: The Story of an Industrial Empire (1953, tr. 1954); N. Mühlen, The Incredible Krupps (1959); W. Manchester, The Arms of Krupp, 1587–1968 (1968).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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