- Diplomat and entrepreneur
Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach was the son of a Prussian diplomat. Like his father, Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach took to diplomacy. During his career, he was stationed in German embassies in Washington D.C., Beijing, and elsewhere. Kaiser Wilhelm II arranged for a marriage between Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach and Bertha Krupp, who had inherited a business, in 1906. This liaison, along with a Prussian royal decree, allowed him to add his new spouse’s last name to his own. In 1908, he joined the business’s leadership, shaping its policies from then on. He stayed at the helm of Friedrich Krupp Corporation during World War I, the Weimar Republic, and the Third Reich up to 1942. During the 1920s, his company had to face several crises, particularly in connection with the aftermath of the war and the global economic crisis. Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach’s political views were conservative, in keeping with his background as a Prussian nobleman. However, he was loyal to the republic. Yet after the Nazis seized power, he started working closely with Hitler’s regime, which accorded his company major economic advantages. Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach participated in the armament policy, exploiting a large number of forced workers at his sites. Due to his bad health, he was declared unable to stand trial in Nuremberg. This allowed him to escape prosecution.