Stresemann, Gustav

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Stresemann, Gustav

(go͝os`täf shtrā`zəmän), 1878–1929, German statesman. A founder (1902) and director (until 1918) of the Association of Saxon Industrialists, Stresemann entered the Reichstag in 1907 as a deputy of the National Liberal party and represented the interests of big business. During World War I, he supported the monarchy and an annexationist policy, but after the proclamation of a German republic in 1918 he founded the conservative German People's party and turned to a conciliatory policy in harmony with the weak position of his country. As chancellor (1923) and foreign minister of the Weimar Republic from 1923 until his death, he made it his task to reconcile former enemy nations to Germany, to remove the harsh clauses of the Treaty of Versailles, and to regain for Germany a respected place in the world. His policy, although it alienated Germany's nationalist and monarchist elements, was remarkably successful.

Although Stresemann knew of efforts by Hans von SeecktSeeckt, Hans von
, 1866–1936, German general. He fought in Poland, Serbia, Romania, and Turkey during World War I. In 1920 he was made chief of the Reichswehr—the German army, which was limited to 100,000 men under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
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 to evade the disarmament clauses of the Treaty of Versailles, he won the confidence of the Allies. He ended (1923) the passive resistance in the RuhrRuhr
, region, c.1,300 sq mi (3,370 sq km), North Rhine–Westphalia, W Germany; a principal manufacturing center of Germany. The Ruhr lies along, and north of, the Ruhr River (145 mi/233 km long), which rises in the hills of central Germany and flows generally west to the
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 district against French and Belgian occupation and obtained the evacuation of the Ruhr in 1924; he accepted the Dawes PlanDawes Plan,
presented in 1924 by the committee headed (1923–24) by Charles G. Dawes to the Reparations Commission of the Allied nations. It was accepted the same year by Germany and the Allies.
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 (1924) and the Young PlanYoung Plan,
program for settlement of German reparations debts after World War I. It was presented by the committee headed (1929–30) by Owen D. Young. After the Dawes Plan was put into operation (1924), it became apparent that Germany could not meet the huge annual
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 (1929) for reparations; he raised the hope for peace by his part in the Locarno PactLocarno Pact,
1925, concluded at a conference held at Locarno, Switzerland, by representatives of Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.
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 (1925); he renewed (1926) the Rapallo treaty with the USSR; and he had Germany admitted (1926) into the League of Nations with the rank of a great power. His harmonious relation with France's Aristide BriandBriand, Aristide
, 1862–1932, French statesman. A lawyer and a Socialist, he entered (1902) the chamber of deputies and helped to draft and pass the law (1905) for separation of church and state.
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 became one of personal friendship. In 1928, Stresemann signed the Kellogg-Briand PactKellogg-Briand Pact
, agreement, signed Aug. 27, 1928, condemning "recourse to war for the solution of international controversies." It is more properly known as the Pact of Paris. In June, 1927, Aristide Briand, foreign minister of France, proposed to the U.S.
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. Soon after obtaining his last success, the evacuation of the Rhineland, Stresemann died of the consequences of overwork. His death was, prophetically, considered a calamity by all but the extremist elements in Germany. Stresemann shared the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize with Briand.


See his Essays and Speeches (tr. 1930, repr. 1968); E. Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann: His Diaries, Letters, and Papers (3 vol., 1935–40); biography by J. Wright (2003); studies by H. L. Bretton (1953), H. A. Turner (1963), D. Warren (1964), F. E. Hirsch (1964), and C. M. Kimmich (1968).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stresemann, Gustav


Born May 10, 1878, in Berlin; died there Oct. 3, 1929. German political figure.

From 1903 to 1918, Stresemann was deputy chairman of the League of Saxon Manufacturers. In 1903 he joined the National Liberal Party of Germany, and in 1907 he was elected for the first of several times to the Reichstag. During World War I, Stresemann was an active supporter of annexation. After the war he was one of the organizers and leaders of the German People’s Party. During this period he shunned the extreme right groupings of the bourgeoisie and cooperated with Social Democratic leaders. From August to November 1923, Stresemann as chancellor headed the so-called Great Coalition (including representatives ranging from the German People’s Party to the Social Democrats), which helped the German bourgeoisie deal with a severe political crisis. In August 1923, Stresemann became foreign minister. Strengthening German imperialism under cover of peacemaking rhetoric, Stresemann concluded international agreements (Dawes Plan, Locarno Treaties of 1925) and arranged for Germany’s entry into the League of Nations (1926)—all of which constituted a revision of the Versailles Treaty of 1919. Strese-mann carried out a policy of rapprochement with the Western countries while advocating development of relations with the USSR (the Berlin Treaty concerning neutrality of 1926).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.