1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Rathenau, Walter

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RATHENAU, WALTER (1867-), German industrialist and political economist, president of the Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft, was born Sept. 29 1867 in Berlin. He came into prominence in Aug. 1914 as the founder and director of organizations for providing raw materials, during the World War, for Prussia and the German Empire. On the formation of the Wirth ministry in May 1921 he was appointed Minister of Reconstruction, and in that capacity negotiated with the French minister, Loucheur, a convention for supplying German materials for the restoration of the devastated area in France, and thus paying in kind part of the reparation which the German Reich had undertaken to pay in gold. Rathenau published various books, pamphlets and articles, on social and economic questions, some of which attracted world-wide attention, especially his Von kommenden Dingen (1920). In Jan. 1922 he became Foreign Minister in the Wirth Ministry.