Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk

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Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk
Official Portrait, 1932
Chancellor of Germany
In office
1 May 1945 – 23 May 1945
Preceded byJoseph Goebbels
Succeeded byAllied military occupation 1945-1949
Konrad Adenauer (West Germany)
Otto Grotewohl (East Germany) (as Chairman of the Council of Ministers (GDR))
Personal details
Born(1887-08-22)22 August 1887
Rathmannsdorf, German Empire
Died4 March 1977(1977-03-04) (aged 89)
Essen, West Germany
Political partyNazi Party (since 1937)
OccupationSoldier (Officer), Nobleman

Johann Ludwig "Lutz" Graf Schwerin von Krosigk (22 August 1887 – 4 March 1977) was a German politician.

Early life[change | change source]

Johann Ludwig von Krosigk was born in Rathmannsdorf, in the Kingdom of Saxony. His father was from a noble family in Anhalt, his mother was a daughter of one of the Counts ("Graf") von Schwerin. He studied law and politics in Halle, in Lausanne and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at the University of Oxford.

He became a Lieutenant in the German Army during World War I, and he won the Iron Cross. In 1918, Krosigk married Baroness Ehrengard von Plettenberg. They had four sons and five daughters.

Nazi years[change | change source]

Pre-World War II[change | change source]

Schwerin von Krosigkut was a conservative, but not a member of any political party when was appointed Minister of Finance by Franz von Papen in 1932. President Paul von Hindenburg asked him to stay in office under Kurt von Schleicher. Hitler kept him as finance minister throughout the period of Nazi Party rule, even though several members of his family took part in attempts to kill Hitler.

World War II[change | change source]

On 1 May 1945, Schwerin von Krosigk was asked to be the Chancellor (Reichskanzler) of the Flensburg cabinet by the new President (Reichspräsident) Karl Dönitz.

On 7 May 1945, Dönitz allowed the German Army to surrender at Rheims before General Eisenhower.

Winston Churchill recognised the Flensburg Government de facto because he said the surrender was allowed by "Grand Admiral Dönitz the designated Head of State". The government was dissolved when its members were captured by British forces on 23 May 1945, at Flensburg.

Schwerin von Krosigk was tried at the Ministries Trial at Nuremberg along with other leading members of the Nazi Government. Schwerin von Krosigk was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment but was released during an amnesty in 1951.

After World War II[change | change source]

In later years Schwerin von Krosigk wrote several books about economics policy and two versions of his memoirs.

He was one of the first to talk about an "Iron Curtain" coming down across Europe, in a broadcast to the German people on 2 May 1945, a phrase which he had picked up from an article by Joseph Goebbels,[1] and later used by Winston Churchill in a speech that made the phrase famous.

Schwerin von Krosigk died in 1977 in the town of Essen, Germany, aged 89.

Works[change | change source]

  • Es geschah in Deutschland, 1951
  • Die große Zeit des Feuers - Der Weg der deutschen Industrie, 3 volumes, 1959
  • Alles auf Wagnis - der Kaufmann gestern, heute und morgen, 1963
  • Persönliche Erinnerungen, memoirs, 3 volumes, 1974
  • Staatsbankrott (Studie über die deutsche Finanzpolitik von 1920 bis 1945), 1975
  • Memoiren (short version of Persönliche Erinnerungen), 1977

References[change | change source]

  1. (Joseph Goebbels, 'Das Jahr 2000,' Das Reich, 25 February 1945, pp. 1-2)

Other websites[change | change source]