Walther Rathenau: Weimar’s Fallen Statesman

Richard J. Evans writes:

On the morning of 24 June 1922, Walther Rathenau, the German foreign minister, set off for work from his villa in the Berlin suburb of Grunewald. The weather was fine, so he instructed his chauffeur to use the open-top limousine. The minister sat alone in the back. He took no security precautions, used the same route every day, and had dismissed the police protection he had been offered. As the car slowed down to negotiate a bend just before joining the main road, another car, an open-top tourer, came out of a side street and started to overtake it. Two men were sitting in the back, clad somewhat oddly in long leather coats and leather driving helmets.

(LRB 22 November 2012)