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Krupp (kro͝op), 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, to from thyssenkrupp AG, which has become a diversified multinational manufacturing company.


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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Fried. K. Hüttenwerke AG), one of the biggest indus-trial monopolies of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), a large-capacity metallurgical and machine-building concern with an integrated production program covering, among much else, mining; steel casting; metalworking; general machine building; automobile, ship, and aircraft building; electric-power production; the design and construction of multipurpose enterprises; and trade.

Krupp has enterprises in 20 countries and exports from 20 to 30 percent of its output. The concern developed along with the growth of German imperialism. Krupp plants supplied armament to the Prussian Army in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, and the Krupp concern actively participated in building up the war potential of German imperialism before and during World War I (1914–18). The managers of the concern had close ties with the chiefs of German fascism and facilitated their rise to power. In World War II (1939–45) the “cannon king” Krupp was a major arms supplier of fascist Germany. In the 1960’s the concern resumed war production for the Bundeswehr.

For more than a century and a half (1811–1967), the Krupp family owned the concern. In 1968, the Krupp concern was on the verge of bankruptcy and was forced to ask the government and the country’s leading banks for financial help. The banks granted it credit, but representatives of other finance and indus-trial groups were placed on the boards of the concern, thus destroying its status as a family enterprise. In 1971 the concern included about 30 machine-building enterprises, four metallurgical and two mining complexes, and two big wharfs. Its turnover was 7.4 billion West German marks, its net profit was 16 million marks, its assets were 6 billion marks, steel production totaled 3.6 million tons, and the number of people employed was 79,700.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a German family of steel and armaments manufacturers, including Alfred, 1812--87, his son Friedrich Alfred, 1854--1902, and the latter's son-in-law, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, 1870--1950
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In the 1850s, Alfred Krupp began traveling in search of markets beyond Germany's borders.