Carl Duisberg

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Carl Duisberg
Nicola Perscheid - Carl Duisberg vor 1930.jpg
Carl Duisberg
Born (1861-09-29)29 September 1861
Barmen, Rhine Province, Prussia
Died 19 March 1935(1935-03-19) (aged 83)
Leverkusen, Germany
Nationality German
Alma mater University of Göttingen, University of Jena
Doctoral advisor Anton Geuther

Friedrich Carl Duisberg (29 September 1861 – 19 March 1935) was a German chemist and industrialist.


He was born in Barmen, Germany and from 1879 until 1882 he studied at the "Georg-August-Universität (Göttingen)" and Friedrich Schiller University of Jena and received his doctorate. After military service in Munich, which he combined with research in the laboratory of Adolf von Baeyer, in 1883 he was hired at the Farbenwerke (dye company) of Friedr. Bayer & Co. that later became Bayer AG. In his career he became confidential clerk (authorised signatory) and head of research. In 1900 he became CEO of Bayer. Inspired by Standard Oil on a US tour, Bayer became part of IG Farben, a conglomerate of German chemical industries.

Carl Duisberg memorial plate, Floratempel Leverkusen

Duisberg was head of Supervisory board for IG Farben. 1935 Duisberg died in Leverkusen.


During WWI, the German army faced a great threat, ammunition-shortage. Indeed, the nitrates that were crucial for the production of gunpowder could not be imported anymore due to the blockade by British navy. As a result, the German chemical firms (BASF and Bayer among others) were pushed to successfully synthetise nitrates. However, because of the war, shortage in manpower arose and Carl Druisberg advised Max Bauer a new solution. In November 1916, on advice from Carl Druisberg, kaiser's troops began the deportation of more than 60 thousands of people from occupied Belgium : taken from their homes at gunpoint, they were put in trains for transport to German mines and factories. Complaints from influential neutral countries, especially the USA, put an end to it. Also, in 1916, General Wilhelm Groener was appointed by General Ludendorff to reduce inflation. He proposed that increases in costs could be absorbed by the chemical community. When Duisberg heard the proposition, he successfully influenced the German government for Groener's removal.

In the 1920s, dye industry leaders, led by Carl Duisberg of Bayer and Carl Bosch of BASF, successfully pushed for the merger of the dye makers into a single company. In 1925, the companies merged into the Interessengemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG or IG Farben. This huge corporation, which soon included related industries such as explosives and fibers, was the biggest enterprise in all of Europe and the fourth largest in the world, behind General Motors, United States Steel and Standard Oil of New Jersey.

Duisberg forced the use of chemical weapons in the WWI.[1]

Carl Duisberg Society[edit]

The Carl Duisberg Society (Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft) was founded in 1949 and was helping Development aid with education programmes for people, especially from developing countries. From 1949 until its merger with the German Society for international Development (Deutschen Stiftung für internationale Entwicklung) in 2002 to form the InWEnt (Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklung gGmbH) 300000 people took part in the programs of the society.


  1. ^ Kordula Kühlem (Hrsg): Carl Duisberg (1861-1935): Briefe eines Industriellen. Band 68 von Deutsche Geschichtsquellen des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts, Oldenbourg Verlag, 2012, ISBN 978-3-486-71283-4

External links[edit]