Founding director of the Kiel Institute
February 1914 - May/September 1933
* March 30, 1876, † Sept. 21, 1939
After an apprenticeship as a bookbinder, Harms studied political science in the tradition of the so-called historical school. After receiving his doctorate and habilitation, he worked as a private lecturer in Tübingen until he was offered a full professorship in Kiel in 1908. Supported by the Prussian Ministry of Culture, by municipal merchants and by the Imperial Navy, industry and colonial circles, Harms founded the Royal Institute of Shipping and World Economics at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel in February 1914. Kaiser Wilhelm Foundation.
Under his direction, the institute was an important source of information on the war economy during the First World War, and he himself distinguished himself as an advocate of the totalization of economic warfare. From 1919 onwards, he was committed to international understanding and free world trade, and as a rational republican he supported the Weimar Republic. As an innovative science manager, he created the prerequisites for the establishment of a modern economic archive and Europe's largest social science library, and for the gathering of a non-discriminatory group of outstanding economists.
When the National Socialists came to power, Harms was ousted from his position and replaced by Jens Jessen from May (officially from September) 1933, but remained an honorary professor in Berlin from 1935 until his death.