Wilhelm Keppler
Wilhelm Karl Keppler was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 businessman and one of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's early financial backers. Introduced to Hitler by Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

, Keppler helped to finance the Nazi Party.

Keppler attended Karlsruhe Technical School
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is a German academic research and education institution with university status resulting from a merger of the university and the research center of the city of Karlsruhe. The university, also known as Fridericiana, was founded in 1825...

 from 1901 to 1905. He then served in the army between 1903 and 1904 before attending Gdansk Technical University
Gdansk University of Technology
The Gdańsk University of Technology is a technical university in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz, and one of the oldest universities in Poland. It has nine faculties and more than 24 thousand undergraduate, as well as about 400 doctoral students...

 from 1905 to 1910, where he earned his degree in engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

. He was commissioned by the army as a reserve second lieutenant in 1910. Keppler became an engineer in the chemical industry starting in 1911. He fought in the First World War.

Keppler was an engineer and chemical manufacturer at the time that he joined the NSDAP in February 1927 as member #62,424. He co-owned Odin Works, a small photographic gelatin factory, and was chairman of the I. G. Farben subsidiary Braunkohle-Benzin AG. Hitler appointed him as the Nazi Party's economics adviser in December 1931. He was elected to the Reichstag
Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

 on 5 March 1933, representing Baden, a position which he held to 1945. In July of 1933 he was appointed Reich Commissioner for Economic Affairs . This position granted Keppler charge of all party organizations involved with economic policy. After 1934, Keppler faced the problem of securing and utilizing raw materials.

To strengthen the Nazi Party's ties with business and industry, Keppler founded the Circle of Friends of the Economy (Freundeskreis der Wirtschaft
Freundeskreis der Wirtschaft
The Freundeskreis der Wirtschaft, or Circle of Friends of the Economy was a group of German industrialists whose aim was to raise funds for racial research within the Third Reich...

, which is sometimes referred to as the "Keppler Circle").

Keppler joined the SS (#50,816) in August 1932 and founded the Circle of Friends of Heinrich Himmler, which was a continuation of the Keppler Circle.

Considered weak and slow, Keppler's role was supplanted in 1936 by the Four Year Plan
Four year plan
The Four Year Plan was a series of economic reforms created by the Nazi Party. The main aim of the four year plan was to prepare Germany for war in four years...

. He served as a personal adviser to Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 on the Four Year Plan. He was given a new title of "general expert of German raw and industrial materials".

He went to Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 in 1938 to prepare the ground for Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

. He served as Secretary at the German Embassy in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 in 1938, Reich Commissioner in Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 from March to June of 1938, then Reich Commissioner in Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 in 1939, and finally Reich Commissioner in Danzig in August 1939. Keppler became Secretary of State with special duties in the Foreign Office during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, during which he administered SS confiscated industries in Poland and Russia. On 30 January 1942 he became an honorary Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1932 as a rank of the SA and until 1942 it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS...

(Lieutenant General) of the SS
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...


Keppler was sentenced to ten years in prison during the Ministries Trial
Ministries Trial
The Ministries Trial was the eleventh of the twelve trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before U.S...

on 14 April 1949. He was released from prison on 1 February 1951. Wilhelm Keppler died on 13 June 1960.
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