Successful start-ups: our role models
From Carl Linde’s trailblazing invention for technical cooling to high-tech start-ups valued in the billions: successful entrepreneurs from the annals of TUM inspire the founders of tomorrow.
In an earlier version of this website, Wilhelm Messerschmidt and Claude Dornier were designated as founding pioneers of this university due to their engineering achievements. During the Second World War, their companies built fighter aircraft also using forced labor and concentration camp internees, many of whom died in the process.
In May 2023, TUM tasked a commission with developing recommendations for the future treatment of individuals from the era of National Socialism.
More on the history of TH München in the Third Reich
Wilhelm Messerschmitt was born in Frankfurt am Main on June 26, 1898. He completed his degree in mechanical engineering at Technical University of Munich (then THM) in 1923 with a thesis project on the S14 glider. That same year he founded “Flugzeugbau-Messerschmitt GmbH” in Bamberg, which was incorporated into Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (BFW) in 1933 and renamed Messerschmitt AG in 1938.
A full professorship for aviation was established at THM in 1929, but the university was unable to fill the position for budgetary reasons. Instead, W. Messerschmitt accepted a lectureship in 1930 and was named an honorary professor in 1937. He was granted an honorary doctorate by THM in 1938. During the Second World War, the company he had founded produced combat aircraft using forced laborers and prisoners from concentration camps, many of whom died in the process.
He returned to building airplanes under licensed production for the German Luftwaffe and NATO after the Second World War (from 1955 onwards). Messerschmitt AG merged with the Bölkow Group in 1968, then the Aviation Division of Blohm, a Hamburg-based company, to become the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm-Gruppe (MBB) with Prof. Messerschmitt serving as a joint partner and honorary advisory board chair into old age.
World-renowned airplane builder Claude Dornier studied mechanical engineering at Technical University of Munich between 1903 and 1907. He rapidly earned his degree and worked for machine construction, bridge building and steel construction companies. In 1910 Claude Dornier took up a position at Luftschiffbau Zeppelin in Friedrichshafen. While his initial focus was airships, he later turned his focus toward airplanes. Technical University of Munich made him an Honorary Senator of the University in 1931.
During the Second World War, the companies he had founded produced combat aircraft using forced laborers and prisoners from concentration camps, many of whom died in the process.