Alfred Hugenberg - Early Years

Early Years

Born in Hanover to Carl Hugenberg, a royal Hanoverian official who in 1867 entered the Prussian Landtag as a member of the National Liberal Party, he studied law in Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Berlin, as well as economics in Strassburg. In 1891, Hugenberg co-founded, along with Karl Peters, the ultra-nationalist General German League and in 1894 its successor movement the Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband). In 1900 Hugenberg married his second cousin, Gertrud Adickes. At the same time he was also involved in a scheme in the Province of Posen where the Prussian Settlement Commission bought up land from Poles in order to settle ethnic Germans there.

Hugenberg initially took a role organising agricultural societies before entering the civil service in the Prussian Ministry of Finance in 1903. He left the public sector to pursue a career in business and in 1909 he was appointed chairman of the supervisory board of Krupp Steel and built up a close personal and political relationship with Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. As well as administering Krupps finance (with considerable success) Hugenberg also set about developing personal business interests from 1916 onwards, including a controlling interest in the national newsmagazine Die Gartenlaube He remained at Krupp until 1918 when he set out to build his own business and during the Great Depression he was able to buy up dozens of local newspapers. These became the basis of his publishing firm Scherl House and, after he added controlling interests in Universum Film AG, Ala-Anzeiger AG, Vera Verlag and the Telegraphen Union, he had a near monopoly on the media which he used to agitate against the Weimar Republic amongst Germany's middle classes.

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