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German History in Documents and Images
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Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau after Signing the Treaty of Rapallo (April 16, 1922)
The Treaty of Rapallo, whereby Germany and Soviet Russia renounced all territorial and financial claims and normalized their relations, was signed by German foreign minister Walter Rathenau and his Russian counterpart Georgy Chicherin on April 16, 1922. The treaty, which Rathenau viewed as a step toward expanding Germany’s foreign policy options, infuriated German nationalists and was seen as an affront by Britain and the other Western powers. In a letter dated April 28, 1922, Rathenau wrote: “I am convinced that we did what we had to. It could not have been done without inflicting some wounds, and the storm is not yet over.” [Ich bin überzeugt, daß wir gehandelt haben, wie wir müßten. Ohne Wunden geht das nicht ab, und der Sturm ist noch nicht vorüber.] Two months later, on June 24, 1922, he was assassinated by ultra-nationalist army officers with links to the Organization Consul, a right-wing paramilitary group that formed after the Kapp Putsch.