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Alfred Hugenberg

Alfred Hugenberg (June 19, 1865 - March 12, 1951) was an influential German businessman and politician.

Born as the son of Karl Hugenberg, a member of the Prussian parliament, he studied Law in Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Berlin, as well as Economics in Strassburg.

In 1900, Hugenberg married his second-degree cousin, Gertrud Adickens.

After holding various positions in the administration, banking, and steel industry, from 1916 on, Hugenberg began building the later famous Hugenberg-Konzern, a conglomeration of publishing, film, and newspaper companies, including news and advertising agencies. At the beginning of the 1920s, Hugenberg exerted substantial influence on the right-wing press in Germany.

In 1918, Hugenberg joined the Deutschnationale Volkspartei (DNVP[?], German National People's Party), which he represented in the National Assembly (that would produce the 1919 constitution of the Weimar Republic) and later in the Reichstag, the Republic's parliament. He remained a member of parliament until 1945, even after the DNVP was dissolved together with all other parties in 1933, as a "guest" of the NSDAP. He became chairman of the DNVP after a desastrous defeat in the 1928 general elections.

In the last years of the Weimar Republic until the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Reichskanzler (Chancellor) in 1933, the DNVP (under the lead of Hugenberg) cooperated with the NSDAP to oppose the cabinet of Heinrich Brüning and, to an extent, the Republic as a whole. However, after the NSDAP became increasingly powerful, Hugenberg instead chose to support Franz von Papen in 1932; he also became Minister for Economy, Agriculture, and Alimentation in Hitler's first cabinet in 1933, hoping that Hitler's rise to power would not last long.

In June however, he was forced to resign from all offices; in the years from 1933 to 1944, he was successively coerced into selling his media companies piece by piece to the Nazis.

After the war, Hugenberg was detained by the British. He died on March 12, 1951, near Rinteln.

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