Walther Rathenau (1867-1922) was a German industrialist, politician, writer, and statesman who served as Foreign Minister of Germany during the Weimar Republic. 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. He is thought to be the basis for the German industrialist character "Arnheim" in Robert Musil's novel The Man Without Qualities. He was a leading proponent of a policy of assimilation for German Jews. In 1921, he was appointed Minister of Reconstruction, and in 1922 he became Foreign Minister. His insistence that Germany should fulfill its obligations under the Treaty of Versailles, while working for a revision of its terms, infuriated German nationalists.
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