Siemens, Carl Friedrich von

(1872-1941)
   industrialist; promoted cooperation between management and labor through the Central Working Association* (ZAG). The youngest son of Werner von Siemens, founder of the Siemens- und Halske-Werke (Siemens Brothers from 1867, the firm made tele-graphic and electrical equipment), he was born in Berlin.* In 1899, following engineering studies, he took a position at the family firm (his father had died in 1892). Sent to London in 1901 to oversee Siemens's English-based electric dynamo plant, he remained for about ten years. Because of the failing health of Wilhelm, his older brother, he became chairman in 1912 of the firm's managing board (Vorstandsrat); Wilhelm died in 1919. Carl served briefly in World War I; he left the Vorstandsrat in 1919 to become supervisory board (Aufsichtsrat) chairman. By 1930 he sat on the boards of numerous German firms.
   In March 1918 Siemens launched the Central Association of the German Electrotechnical Industry (Zentralverband der deutschen Elektrotechnischen In-dustrie or Zendei), a belated attempt at industrial cooperation in the war. A champion of laissez-faire economics in the international arena, he favored con-centration of domestic industry, especially broad vertical cooperation among overlapping industries. Such ideas were anathema to Walther Rathenau,* Sie-mens s principal competitor, who favored the horizontal segregation of heavy industry from finished-products manufacturing. In 1920 Siemens helped form an Interessengemeinschaft by combining with the steel and coal concerns of Hugo Stinnes* and Emil Kirdorf*; known as the Siemens-Rheinelbe-Schuckert-Union, the IG lasted five years. Siemens was engaged from 1921 with the Re-public s Economic Council and became its president in 1923, the year he was elected deputy chairman of the RdI.
   Siemens viewed Stinnes s November 1918 efforts at founding the ZAG as a means of steering Germany through its postwar political and economic crises; even after it was unpopular with fellow industrialists, he supported the labor-management cooperation central to ZAG. To raise industrial funds for electoral campaigns, he helped found a Kuratorium in December 1918 for the reconstruc-tion of German economic life; the fund, earmarked for the DDP, aimed at elect-ing deputies opposed to socialization. Driven by noblesse oblige, he held a DDP Reichstag* seat from 1920 until his 1924 selection as chairman of the railroad s (Reichsbahn) supervisory board. A patron of Eugen Schiffer's* abortive Lib-erale Vereinigung (Liberal Association), he was heartened by the 1925 Locarno Treaties* and represented German industry at the International Trade Council in Paris. In 1927 he led the German delegation at the World Economic Confer-ence.
   As late as 1931 Siemens discounted the NSDAP. Staggered by the July 1932 Reichstag elections, he helped found a business lobby dedicated to Franz von Papen.* He vainly tried to reestablish ZAG after Hitler* became Chancellor and maintained his distance from the Nazis until his death.
   REFERENCES:Feldman, Great Disorder; Larry Jones, German Liberalism; Siemens, Carl Friedrich von Siemens.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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