Nothing They Wouldn’t Do
Richard J. Evans
- Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm by Harold James
Princeton, 360 pp, £24.95, March 2012, ISBN 978 0 691 15340 7
‘Of all the names which have become associated with the Nuremberg Trials,’ declared the prosecutor at the proceedings intended to bring the surviving Nazi leaders to justice at the end of the Second World War, ‘I suppose that none has been a household name for so many decades – indeed for nearly a century – as that of Krupp.’ Its history, the indictment continued, had made the firm ‘the focus, the symbol and the beneficiary of the most sinister forces engaged in menacing the peace of Europe’. Krupp was very much a family enterprise: ‘Four generations of the Krupp family,’ the indictment noted, ‘have owned and operated the great armament and munitions plants which have been the chief source of Germany’s war supplies.’ The tradition of the Krupp firm, and the ‘social-political’ attitude for which it stood, were exactly suited to the moral climate of the Third Reich. There was no crime such a state could commit – whether war, plunder or slavery – in which this firm would not participate. Long before the Nazis came to power, Krupp was a ‘National Socialist model plant’.