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Walther Rathenau

Walther Rathenau (September 29, 1867 – June 24, 1922) was German Jewish industrialist, politician, writer, and statesman who served as Foreign Minister of Germany during the Weimar Republic. He was assassinated on June 24, 1922, two months after the signing of the Treaty of Rapallo, 1922. Rathenau was born in Berlin, the son of a daughter of Benjamin Liebermann and Emil Rathenau, a prominent Jewish businessman and founder of the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), an electrical-engineering company. He studied physics, chemistry, and philosophy in Berlin and Strasbourg. His German Jewish heritage and his wealth were both factors in establishing his deeply divisive reputation in German politics, at a time of anti-Semitism. He worked as an engineer before joining the AEG board in 1899, becoming a leading industrialist in the late German Empire and early Weimar Republic periods. Rathenau is generally acknowledged to be the basis for the German industrialist character "Arnheim" in Robert Musil's novel The Man Without Qualities.


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