Revisionism and the Search for Stability HI136, History of Germany Lecture 8
From a lower-class Berlin family. • Studied economics and was a successful businessman before entering politics in 1907. • The youngest Deputy in the Reichstag when first elected. • 1917: Became parliamentary leader of the National Liberal Party. • 1918: Founder member of the DVP. • 1923: Served as Chancellor at the height of the Inflation Crisis. • 1923-29: Served as Reich Foreign Minister in successive coalitions. • 1926: Received the Nobel Peace Prize. • ‘Weimar’s greatest statesman’? Gustav Stresemann (1878-1929)
Source: Mark Mazower, The Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century (1998)
The German Army to be reduced to 100,000 men by March 1920 and the German General Staff abolished (Article 160). • Germany forced to accept full responsibility for the war (Article 231). • Germany to compensate the Allies for all damage and financial losses incurred during the war by paying an indeterminate sum in reparations. A Commission is established to decide on the final amount by May 1921 (Article 232). • France given control of the coalmines in the Saar basin (Article 45). • Germany to cede West Prussia and Posen to the new Polish republic (Article 87). • Germany also loses Alsace and Lorraine to France, Eupen and Melmedy to Belgium, Northern Schleswig to Denmark, Upper Silesia to Poland and Memel to Lithuania. • Germany forced to cede her colonies to the Allies (Article 119). • To ensure that Germany abides by the terms of the Treaty, the territory west of the Rhine and the bridgeheads at Cologne, Mainz and Koblenz are to be occupied by Allied troops for up to 15 years (Article 428) The Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles Source: G. Layton, From Bismarck to Hitler1890-1933 (1993)
“The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.” The War Guilt Clause(Article 231)
The Rhineland to be occupied for 15 years as a guarantee of reparations payments and French security. • The area divided into 4 zones, each occupied by a different allied army. • From June 1919 the occupation was presided over by a civilian body, the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission (IARHC). • The relationship between occupiers and occupied varied in the different zones, but generally the Germans resented the presence of foreign troops on their soil. The Occupation of the Rhineland Soucre: R. Overy, The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Third Reich (1996)
The Allies needed reparations to cover the costs of the war. • Disagreement over how much Germany should pay and what percentage should be given to each of the Allies. • It was agreed that a Reparations Commission should be established to decide on a final figure by May 1921 – in the meantime Germany was required to pay a lump sum of 20 billion gold marks and raise a further 60 billion through the sale of bonds. • Jan. 1921: the Allies present Germany with a bill for 226,000 billion marks to be paid over 42 years. The Germans suggest the alternative figure of 30 billion marks. • April 1921: The Reparations Commission sets the total amount to be paid at 152,000 billion marks and Germany is given a month to agree to this figure. Reparations
Opposition to the Treaty of Versailles was about the only issue on which most Germans could agree during the Weimar period. • But division over how to overturn the Treaty: • ‘Hardliners’ – any concession to the Allies should be avoided: reparations should not be paid, disarmament flouted and the territorial clauses overturned. • ‘Moderates’ – recognised that Germany’s domestic instability and diplomatic isolation hampered freedom of movement in foreign policy. The only way to achieve revision of the treaty was through negotiation. • Erfüllungspolitik (‘Fulfillment Policy’): an attempt to fulfill as many of the clauses of the Treaty as possible, in the hope that this display of goodwill would encourage the Allies to grant concessions. Revisionism
Treaty signed between Germany and the Soviet Union in April 1922. • Re-established full diplomatic relations between Germany and Russia – Germany the first nation in the world to formally recognize the USSR. • Both countries renounced claims to war debts and reparations, and agreed to co-operate over economic matters. • Secret clauses of the Treaty allowed Germany to circumvent the military clauses of the Treaty of Versailles by training troops and developing forbidden weapons (tanks, an airforce etc.) on Russian soil. The Rapallo Treaty (1922) Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau (1867-1922)
On 11 January 1923 French and Belgian troops entered the Ruhr. • Germany responded by pursuing a policy of ‘passive resistance’, but this placed strain on the already weak German economy and led to hyperinflation. • Stresemann was appointed Chancellor on 13 August 1923, a state of emergency was proclaimed and passive resistance called off. • But the occupation had weakened the French economy as well and in January 1924 they were forced to agree to the establishment of a commission to investigate the problem of reparations. • The Dawes Plan (1924) did not alter the total sum to be repaid, but drew up a more realistic repayment plan and provided a large American loan to help finance German economic recovery. The Ruhr Crisis, 1923-24
The Locarno Treaties (1925) After signing the Locarno Treaties, London, 16 Nov. 1925. French Premier Aristide Briand is in the centre, Gustav Streseman stands behind him. British Foreign Secretary Austin Chamberliain is on the left.
“Locarno…is the achievement of lasting peace on the Rhine, guaranteed by the formal renunciation of force by the two great neighbouring nations and also by the commitment of other states to come to the aid of the victim of an act of aggression in violation of this treaty…It can and it ought to be the basis for a general cooperative effort among these nations to spread peace wherever their material power and moral influence reach.” Gustav Stresemann, 1926
1926: Germany allowed to join the League of Nations. • 1926: Treaty of Berlin with USSR reaffirms the agreements made at Rapallo in 1922. • 1928: Germany signs the Kellog-Briand Pact, thereby renouncing the use of force and committing herself to disarmament. • 1929: The Young Plan – a revised scheme for repaying Reparations. The allies agree to evacuate the Rhineland early. Rehabilitation
1930: Withdrawal of Allied troops from the Rhineland. • Change of gear after Stresemann: more assertive foreign policy under Curtius and Brüning. • 1931: Proposed customs union with Austria. • June 1932: One year moratorium on reparations. • July 1932: Withdrawal from International Disarmament Commission. • 1932: Lusanne Agreement – ends reparations. Foreign Policy After Stresemann
No Economic pressure on Poland. Germany as advocate of rights of German minorities in Eastern Europe. Letter to Crown Prince: readjustment of Eastern borders and liberation of Germany from foreign domination. Illegal military cooperation with Soviet Russia. Yes • Conciliatory cooperative policy towards France and Britain. • Germany joins League of Nations. • International recognition Nobel Peace Prize (together with Aristide Briand). Stresemann – a good European?
Effects on domestic policy German public opinion violently against amount and length of payments. German financial system dependent on American money. Public opinion: Germany gained too little by renouncing claim to Alsace-Lorraine. Disappointment. Foreign Policy • Reparation payments now clear. • American investment. • Beginning of reconciliation with France and integration into European policies. • Early withdrawal of French troops from Ruhr and later from Rhineland. • No territorial revisions in the East. Was Stresemann successful? Without doubt constructive and successful foreign policy in longer term perspective, in short-term perspective was not supported by German public opinion – was not able to give additional legitimacy to Weimar democracy.
Due: Monday in Lecture, Week 1, Term 2 • You may choose any book that is at least 200 pages and has been published since the year 2000. • The purpose of a book review is to provide a summary of the work, evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, and, most importantly, present your overall assessment of the work. • Towards this assessment, you should discuss one or more of the following: the book’s audience, its usefulness (for scholars, students, the general public), and its contribution to the field. Book Review
Available on Jstor: Hannah Schissler, “Review: Rebuilding West German Society: A Gendered View”, Reviewed work: Protecting Motherhood: Women and the Family in the Politics of Postwar West Germany by Robert G. Moeller Central European History, Vol. 26, No. 3 (1993), pp. 326-334 http://www.jstor.org/stable/4546350 Linda Gordon, “Review: Nazi Feminists?”, Reviewed work: Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics by Claudia Koonz Feminist Review, No. 27 (Autumn, 1987), pp. 97-105 http://www.jstor.org/stable/1394813?&Search=yes&term=feminists&term=gordon&term=linda&term=nazi&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoAdvancedSearch%3Fq0%3Dlinda%2Bgordon%2Bnazi%2Bfeminists%26f0%3Dall%26c1%3DAND%26q1%3D%26f1%3Dall%26acc%3Don%26wc%3Don%26Search%3DSearch%26sd%3D%26ed%3D%26la%3D%26jo%3D&item=2&ttl=321&returnArticleService=showFullText Robert Gellately, “Review: [untitled]”, Reviewed work: Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Mar., 1997), pp. 187-191 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2953473?&Search=yes&term=gellately&term=hitler%27s&term=executioners&term=willing&term=robert&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoAdvancedSearch%3Fq0%3Drobert%2Bgellately%2Bhitler%2527s%2Bwilling%2Bexecutioners%26f0%3Dall%26c1%3DAND%26q1%3D%26f1%3Dall%26acc%3Don%26wc%3Don%26Search%3DSearch%26sd%3D%26ed%3D%26la%3D%26jo%3D&item=1&ttl=28&returnArticleService=showFullText Sample Book Review