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Part C: The Stressemann Era in Foreign Affairs

From 1924 to 1929 Stressemann dominated German foreign policy-making. His formidable skills brought Germany a whole range of benefits in terms of her status and helpful to bring a reduction in her reparations bill. His death in October 1929 was a serious blow to the Republic. Historians have been careful to point out that Stressemann was very much a German Nationalist, however.
Notes will be required on the following aspects:


Gustav Stressemann

This involves considering:


His personality, beliefs and skills


His early career


The aims of his foreign policy.


His Circumstances

This involves considering:


British foreign policy aims


French foreign policy aims


Russian foreign policy aims


His attitude to eastern frontiers.


A Deal in the West, 1925

This involves considering:


The Geneva Protocol


Negotiations with Britain and France


The Treaty of Locarno


His attitude to eastern frontiers.


Skilful Progress

This involves considering:


The evacuation of the Ruhr


Partial evacuation of the Rhineland


Entry to the League of Nations


The Treaty of Berlin


The Kellogg Briand Pact


The evacuation of the rest of the Rhineland


The Young Plan and the removal of further Allied controls.

Issues to consider

There has been considerable debate about Stressemann, his motives, his aims, his skill in building an image as a diplomat in search of a peaceful settlement of German frontiers. In 1926 he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • How accurate is this image?

  • What can be said against it?

  • Does he deserve to be known as ‘a good European’?

  • What contacts and connections did he build up with German minorities living in other lands?

  • How seriously did he regard the Treaty of Locarno? Was it just a tactic?

theme 3: the collapse of weimar

The third area of the course requires the study of:

Between 1930 and 1933 the Weimar Republic was hit by the economic depression that had a severed impact on many countries of the world. This section of the course deals with the Republican Governments’ attempts to deal with the crisis and with the political consequences of the events of the period. By spring of 1933, parliamentary government had effectively ended, swept aside by the country’s recently appointed Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, the leader of the National Socialist Party. Nazi beliefs differed sharply from those of the parliamentary parties; Nazi strategies fed down from the authority of their leader.

In this section of the course; therefore, the three key concepts are all central to understanding i.e.

  • Ideology

  • Authority

  • Revolution.

Issues to consider / investigate / discuss

A great deal is concentrated in this short period including:

  • Could the Weimar Republic have avoided the collapse of parliamentary government?

  • What made it possible for Hitler to rise so rapidly to the post of chancellor?

  • Who supported the Nazi Party?

  • Was it primarily the economic crisis that destroyed the Weimar Republic?

  • What was the role of the Army in the events of these years?

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