- Chairman of the Board of AEG (General Electricity Company)
- Foreign Minister in Wirth’s cabinet
- Murdered by right-wing extremists in 1922
Walther Rathenau grew up in a Jewish family of entrepreneurs. His father founded AEG. He followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming one of Germany’s leading businessmen, with membership on about 50 supervisory boards. He shared his expertise with Germany’s government during World War I in areas such as raw materials procurement. His views moved more and more towards the pursuit of an expansionary war and in 1918, he opposed an armistice. He had a very hard time adapting to the post-war era. After having joined the DDP (German Democratic Party), he became Minister for Reconstruction in 1921. At the start of 1922, he became Foreign Minister because he was held in high regard internationally and known for his excellent negotiation skills. Although he did not manage to successfully solve the reparations issue, he did conclude the Treaty of Rapallo with Soviet Russia, which helped Germany out of its isolation. Despite this, he was attacked by ferocious enemies as a Jew and an advocate of Erfüllungspolitik. In the end, he was murdered in broad daylight in June 1922.