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Schoenfeld, Clay (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 48, Number 8 (May 1947)

Badgers you should know,   pp. 30-31

Page 30

  native of Madison, Wis., Secre-
  tary of the Interior, Washing-
  ton, D. C.
  Unquestionably Wisconsin's
No. 1 headline alumnus today is
Julius A. Krug. "Cap," as he is
remembered on the campus, has
just finished winning hands down
a fight with John L. Lewis of the
coal miners' union and has been
mentioned as a possible running
mate with President Harry S.
Truman in the 1948 elections.
  The 39-year-old Krug is the 'youngest
member of the President's cabinet. In
fact, his whole history has been one of
learning things, doing things, running
things at an age from five to 20 years
younger than most men.
  He abandoned football at the Univer-
sity of Wisconsin when he was a fresh-
man, not a senior. He married his
attractive childhood sweetheart at 19,
when he was a sophomore, not a grad-
uate. 'He recognized and rejected busi-
ness red-tape when he was 24 and
cheap government politics when he was
29. He became what amounted to a one-
man state public utilities commission at
30 and a year or so later came out first-
best in a mammoth utility struggle
with the sharpest utility operator then
in the business, a fellow named Wendell
Willkie. He was the nation's absolute
power czar at 33, its war production
czar at 37. Finally, at 38, he became
the youngest Cabinet officer of the
Twentieth Century.
  At Wisconsin University, Krug-who
was born November 23, 1907, at Madi-
son, Wis.--had the problem of financ-
ing himself, his wife and his education.
He solved it by stints as a ditch-digger,
   This is the first of a
   regular series of pages
   in your Wisconsin Alum-
   nus about "Badgers You
   Should Know." Contri-
   butions and suggestions
   are welcomed.
*,. 1ac4e44
roundhouse wiper and filling station
manager. He was graduated in 1929
and a year later received his master's
degree as a power engineer, which is a
combination of economist, accountant,
rate expert, and utility operator.
For the next two years, Krug worked-
as research statistician for the Wiscon-
sin Telephone Co., then went with the
State Public Service Commission. He
was in Washington as a rate and public
utilities expert for a Federal Communi-
cations Commission investigation of
telephone "long lines" in 1936-37. But
when he decided that the inquiry was
motivated more by political considera-
tions than by economic ones, he left
with a vow never to return to the
- As technical director of the Kentucky
Public Service Commission in 1937 he
was for all practical purposes, the
works. His accomplishments were such
that David R Lilienthal, top man in
TVA, angled for him and caught him
next year. As chief power engineer for
TVA, he plunged immediately into a
multi-cornered fight with Willkie and
his utility empire, the Crump political
machine of Memphis and the' citizens
of the Tennessee Valley.
  He broke his pledge about staying
away from Washington a few months
before Pearl Harbor. He came back as
head of the War 'Production Board's
power division, on loan from TVA.
  Krug played his role right down the
middle between the public and private
power interests. At the same time, he
did such a superlative job of providing
power for war needs that WPB boss,
Donald Nelson turned to him to do the
same thing in a much bigger field-the
setting of priorities and material allo-
cations -for all of American industry.
  He stayed as director of WPB Pri-
orities Control until April, 1944, when
he refused to let Nelson apply for a
deferment of his draft. He trained in
the Navy-he was to be damage control
officer on a cruiser-until in August,
1944, the White House told him to lay
away his blues in moth balls. Nelson'
and his deputy in WPB, General Elec-
tric's Charles E. Wilson, bad become
involved in a row for which the only
solution was the removal of both. Krug
was drafted by President Roosevelt as
war production boss, with a staff of
officials all old enough to be his father.
  There ensued the most controversial
phase of Krug's career. He had been
the choice of the New Deal liberals to
head WPB, but by the end of the war
he Was the butt of their bitterest criti-
cism, on the grounds that, yielding to
business pressure, he removed indus-
trial controls much too soon and with
an entirely too expansive hand. Whether
Krug was the wise champion of free
enterprise or a major contributor to
postwar economic difficulties is one of
those arguments which will not be
settled until historians of the future
put the problem into perspective.
  Krug resigned from WPB a couple of
months after V-J Day and for a while
flirted with an offer from Eric John-
ston, head of the motion picture indus-
try. He finally turned down the job and
the $75,000 a year which went with it.
He was available, and was grabbed in
a flash by Mr. Truman to replace Secre-
tary Ickes.
  Krug took office as head of the In-
terior Department's 45,000 employes on
March 18, 1946.

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