Walther Rathenau

Walther Rathenau (1867–1922) was born in Berlin as the son of Emil Rathenau, a future pioneer in the German electricity industry who would go on to found the Allgemeine Elektrizitätsgesellschaft (AEG), and his wife Mathilde. By the turn of the century, Walter Rathenau had himself become one of the most influential industrialists and bankers in Europe. He was also an author with more than 160 publications in the fields of philosophy, cultural criticism, politics, and literature to his name. He made his first foray into politics when, at the beginning of the First World War, he took charge of the Raw Materials Department of the Prussian War Ministry of the German Reich, an honorary post. Long a “gray eminence”, Rathenau became Minister for Reconstruction in 1921 and, a year later, was appointed Foreign Minister. His assassination in 1922 by an ultra-nationalist unleashed a wave of outrage across the world.


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