Stresemann's 'Golden Years'?

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What problems did Stresemann inherit?

• Versailles: its economic (Reparations), international and ‘mental’ impact.

Germany’s humiliation and current position in Europe

The ‘stab in the back’

Fear of foreign invasions

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Internal Action as Chancellor (His 100 days)

  • The introduction of a new currency (the Rentenmark) and national bank. This actually helped draw the Allies into agreeing to meet over the reparations (resulting in the Dawes Plan)
  • He calls for passive resistance in 1923 in the Ruhr and resumed paying the reparations – this showed the world that the Germans were willing to be co operative and evoked some sympathy
  • Cutting of expenditure: 700,000 government employees were sacked

 

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Internal action as Chancellor: Historical opinions

  • Some historians have argued that he saved the republic and set up the ‘Golden Age’ with these measures because he took the sting out of the extremists and diverted their aggression towards the French
  • Some businessmen and entrepreneurs did well
  • Hostility had not ended but it had not become unbearable like it did in the early 1930s
  • It is also worth noting that there was no alternative to Weimar for many people and that the extreme left and right were divided
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Actions: The Dawes Plan

  • Calls off passive resistance and resume paying the reparations. The result of this was the Dawes Plan.
  • It was US-backed. It was accepted in 1924, although it was opposed by the right-wing and provided ample propaganda for the right
  • The amount owed remained the same but the monthly instalments were more realistic and they received loans from the US
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Success of the Dawes Plan?

  • In the short term there was success - there was more money coming into the economy than was leaving it.
  • It improved relations with the US and, more importantly, France.

 

  • However, Germany's economy was now hugely dependent on foreign fortunes.
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Action: The Locano Pact

  • A series of treaties were signed which recognised Germany’s western boarders and the demilitarised Rhineland.
  • It was important because it ended German isolation and unlike at Versailles, Germany was encouraged to take an active role in the talks.
  • It also stopped any potential French annexation of the Rhine and Ruhr
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The Kellogg-Briand Pact and the League of Nations

  • Germany was given a permanent position within the League of Nations; an important step for her as she was now recognised as an important nation again.
  • Also, it outlawed war as an instrument of National Policy. No real practical outcome, only that Germany was now working with 68 other nations.

The Kellogg–Briand Pact (or Pact of Paris, officially General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy) was a 1928 international agreement in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve "disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them".Parties failing to abide by this promise "should be denied the benefits furnished by this treaty". It was signed by Germany, France and the United States on August 27, 1928, and by most other nations soon after. Sponsored by France and the U.S., the Pact renounced the use of war and called for the peaceful settlement of disputes. Similar provisions were incorporated into the UN Charter and other treaties and it became a stepping stone to a more activist American policy. It is named after its authors: United States Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and French foreign minister Aristide Briand.

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Action: The Young Plan

  • It further revised the payments of the Reparations – they now only had to pay a quarter of what was agreed in 1921.
  • It was still a huge amount: £1850 million
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Action: The Treaty of Berlin 1926

  • It aimed to keep relations positive with the Russians.
  • Again, it showed that Germany was prepared to work with other nations and that Germany was beginning to break free from its position as the poor man of Europe by ignoring requests from the West to break off ties from the East.
  • It also enabled them to open up commerical expansion in the East.
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Problems which were ignored

  • Food prices fell in 1922, which ultimately led to widespread poverty in the rural areas.
  • The number out of work stood at 3 million or 15% of the workforce in 1928.
  • Employers wanted to claw back the initiative they had before the war and attacked labour rights. The unions demanded higher wages and employers fought it. The DVP increasingly took the side of the industrailists, while the SPD took the workers' sides.
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Did he succeed?

  • He achieved a lot through democracy, when the idea of diplomacy, especially when it concerned Germany, was unheard of.
  • However he did not tackle the biggest problem in securing Weimar's future and making sure that it was supported by all (Hindenburg, the army, the judiciary) and he never silenced the ever vocal extreme right.
  • Also he presented them with a rallying point in the form of the Young Plan.
  • Although...is this a lot for just one man?
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Stresemann's Aims

Stresemann’s aim: To make Germany great through:

  • Freeing Germany from the limitations of the Versailles Treaty
  • Improving Franco-German relations
  • Attracting US investment
  • Maintaining good relations with the USSR but avoid a full-scale alliance
  • Encouraging peace and co-operation with the Western Powers
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The Locarno Pact 1925: Problem 1) French Occupatio

  • A mutual guarantee agreement (not an alliance) accepted the Franco-German and Belgian-German boarders. These terms were guaranteed by Britain and Italy. All five countries renounced the use of force, except in self-defence.
  • The demilitarisation of the Rhineland was recognised as permanent.
  • The arbitration treaties (an agreement to accept the decision by a third party to settle a conflict) between Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia agreed to settle future disputes peacefully – but the existing frontiers were not accepted as final.
  • Germany was freed from its isolation by the Allies and was again treated as an equal partner. Stresemann had achieved a great deal at Locano at very little cost.

He had confirmed the existing frontiers in the west, since G could not change it; He had limited France’s freedom of action since the occupation of the Ruhr or the possible annexation of the Rhineland was no longer possible.

S had lessened France’s need to find allies in Europe b/c of solid G-F understanding.

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The League of Nations: Problem 2) Germany's exclus

  • Germany had originally been excluded from the League of Nations, but on 8 September 1926, Germany was invited to join the League and was immediately recognised as a permanent member of the Council of the League.
  • Free from the military obligations laid out in Article 16 (to reassure USSR)
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Franco-German agreements: Problem 3) Restrictions

  • April 1926 Treaty of Berlin signed between the Soviet Union and Germany, each country confirming the terms of the Treaty of Rapallo and both stressing neutrality in the event of an attack of a third power.
  • Relations between Germany and the Allies continued to improve. In late 1926, the allied occupation forces in Germany were reduced by a further 60,000 and in January 1927 the Allies withdrew the Inter-Allied Military Control Commission (IMCC), which had been set up to oversee German disarmament as demanded by the Treaty of Versailles.
  • There were economic side effects to the improvement in diplomatic relations; eg, a commercial treaty was signed between France and Germany in August 1927.
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