Albert Ballin was one of Imperial Germany's most successful business leaders. He early recognized the impact and possibilities of the expansion and integration of global markets. Within little more than a decade after he had joined the management of the Hamburg-Amerikanische-Paketfahrt-Aktien- Gesellschaft (HAPAG) in 1886, he turned an already significant enterprise into the world's largest steamship line. As a leading manager and later as HAPAG director general, Ballin was a major force behind Hamburg's rise to Imperial Germany's second largest city. Due in no small part to HAPAG's spectacular growth, Hamburg emerged as a key global port for passengers and freight by the turn of the century. But Ballin was not just a gifted business leader in a highly innovative economic sector; he also had access to some of the highest figures in Berlin. Ballin repeatedly met with the Kaiser and government members, and he used his long-standing contacts in England on several diplomatic missions to ease rising tensions between the two powers, albeit without lasting success.
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