1931 – Born in Barmen Wuppertalv on the 16th of January.
1949 – Rau left school and worked as a journalist and publisher, especially with the Protestant Youth Publishing House.
1958 – He and his political mentor Gustav Heinemann joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
1964 – He served as deputy chairman of the SDP party of Wuppertal, and was elected later on to the City Council.
– He served as chairman of the SDP Group.
1967 – He became chairman of the SPD fraction in the Landtag.
1969 – Lord mayor of Wuppertal.
1970 – Minister of Science and Education in the cabinet of Minister President Heinz Kühn.
1977 – Rau became Chairman of the North Rhine-Westphalia SPD.
1978 – Minister President of the state.
1987 – Rau tried to become chancellor of Germany for the SPD.
1994 – Rau tried for the first time to become Federal President, but lost to Roman Herzog.
1998 – Rau stepped down from his positions as SPD Chairman and Minister President.
1999 – On the 23rd of May, was elected Federal President by the Federal Assembly of Germany to succeed Roman Herzog.
2000 – Rau was the first German head of state since the Holocaust to address the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in German.
2006 – Died on the 27th of January in Berlin.
On July 1, 2004, he was succeeded by Horst Köhler.