The Journal of Economic History

Papers Presented at the Forty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the Economic History Association

Carl Bosch and Carl Krauch: Chemistry and the Political Economy of Germany, 1925–1945

Peter Hayesa1

a1 Professor of History, Northwestern University, Harris Hall, Evanston, IL 60201.


Carl Bosch and Carl Krauch, accomplished scientists and prominent executives in the BASF and IG Farben chemical corporations, were drawn together by mutual admiration and common technical interests. In the Nazi era, however, they came to embody competing liberal and nationalist conceptions of German political economy. This article examines their relationship, the reasons for their divergent stances, and their individual contributions to the economic and productive power of the Third Reich. Ironically, Bosch's understanding of his industry, his nation, and scientific progress led him to oppose the Nazis, but also to lay the basis for their recruitment of Krauch and the German chemical industry for their expansionist purposes.