Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Fatal Political Outing, 1902-Style

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German arms dealer Friedrich Alfred Krupp couldn't slay his own demons
This is a sad story that repeats itself all too often. But the fact is it took place at the dawn of the 20th century, not the 21st.

Born February 17, 1854, Friedrich Alfred Krupp was the heir to what was then, and remains, one of Germany’s most powerful families, the steel and arms tycoons The Krupps (you may be most familiar with their coffee machines, but it's much larger empire than that). He was the heir apparent and had the best of everything: schools, clothes, homes, vacations, friends. It should have been perfect, except that the junior Krupp lived under his father Alfred Krupp’s draconian thumb—and in the closet.

Young Krupp happily joined the family business and unhappily waited for his overbearing father to die, an event he knew would allow him more freedom to pursue his extramarital dalliances. With his father dead, the only person Krupp had to worry about was his wife, Margarethe, and she, like most of German society, looked the other way to avoid seeing Krupp’s flagrant affairs.

Finally in 1887, when Friedrich Alfred Krupp was 33, he got his wish: He was the head of the Krupp company and one of the most influential men in the world. He and Kaiser Wilhelm II were thick as thieves, thanks to their fathers’s longtime friendships. This friendship, without a doubt, led to what would happen next.  (more...)

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Hard to imagine, today

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