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Egon Ferdinand Ranshofen-Wertheimer was born as the son of the Catholic land owner and member of the Upper Austrian parliament Julius Wertheimer in Ranshofen near Braunau. His family had Jewish roots, so they fled Austria in 1938 because of the growing threat of the Nazi government.
During World War I, he was introduced to Marxist ideology and studied in Vienna, Munich, and Heidelberg after the war. He later developed a more and more pragmatic mental attitude and changed into a social democrat. He started to work as an editor in Hamburg and until 1930 as a foreign correspondent for the social-democratic news paper Forward in London. In this period, he wrote his first book Portrait of the British Labour Party that became a bestseller and he made first contact with Leopold Kohr, a young journalist and economist from Salzburg, later author of The Breakdown of Nations.
His book raised the awareness of the British government, which had an important influence on the League of Nations. Therefore, he was able to work as a diplomat and supervisor of the League of Nations for 10 years in Geneva, beginning in 1930.
United States of America
Because of the incidents in Europe, he emigrated to America, where he worked at the American University in Washington as a professor. In addition, he was employed as a consultant of the United States State Department and supported the US government in the struggle against Hitler. There, he and his younger colleague Leopold Kohr began to criticize the National Socialist Germany through venues such as the New York Times.
Shortly after the Second World War, Egon Ranshofen began to work as executive, supervisor, and diplomat for the UNO. His book A Great Experiment in International Administration had a substantial influence on the developing of the UN.
Ranshofen-Wertheimer and Kohr also lobbied for an independent Austria. That the young second republic of Austria became a member of the UN rather fast can be attributed to the engagement of Ranshofen-Wertheimer.
Egon Ranshofen-Wertheimer is buried in the cemetery of the castle Ranshofen in his family grave.
- Egon Ranshofen-Wertheimer, Victory is not enough. The strategy for a lasting peace. W.W. Norton & Company Publishers W.w. norton, New York,1942.
- Egon Ranshofen-Wertheimer, The International Secretariat - A Great Experiment in International Administration. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington 1945