Germany Archives

BALLIN, Albert

Albert Ballin, 1967 by L. Cecil.

Albert Ballin
156 Aug 1857 - 19 Nov 1918

shipowner. From 1899 he was general director of the Hapag, which he developed into the greatest shipping company in the world. A friend of Wilhelm II, Ballin tried to reduce the naval rivalry (Flottenpolitik) between Germany and Britain. His contacts with the British banker E. Cassel led to the abortive Haldane mission of 1912. During World War I Ballin warned of the ill effects of an unlimited U-Boat Warfare. After the armistice the Zentrum and the SPD expected him to conduct the peace negotiations, but he committed suicide under the impact of the November Revolution.