Stresemann typified the Weimar Vernunftrepublikaner
(commonsense republican); a former National Liberal and
annexationist, he supported the republic for pragmatic reasons.
During his brief chancellorship (August-November 1923), he headed
the "great coalition," an alliance that included the SPD, Center
Party, DDP, and DVP. After his chancellorship ended because of
combined opposition from the right and left, Stresemann served as
German foreign minister until his death in 1929. The Stresemann
era (1923-29) was a period of rapprochement with the West during
which passive resistance in the Ruhr was ended. As foreign
minister, Stresemann pursued negotiation rather than
confrontation with the Allies. His policy, however, was strongly
opposed by members of both the DNVP and the KPD.
In 1924 the German government adopted a plan for German
economic recovery prepared by the American financier Charles G.
Dawes. The Dawes Plan attempted to coordinate German reparations
payments with a program of economic recovery whereby Germany was
required to make only limited payments until 1929. To assist with
the recovery, the Reichsbank was founded, and foreign credit,
mainly from the United States, was filtered into Germany. As a
result, between 1924 and 1929 German industry and commerce made
unprecedented progress, and both the standard of living and real
wages rose steadily. The Dawes Plan also provided for the
withdrawal of French and Belgian troops from the Ruhr district.
In 1925 President Ebert died, and the German people elected their
national hero, Paul von Hindenburg, who supported the policies
inaugurated by Stresemann until 1929, the year of Stresemann's
The Locarno treaties, signed in 1925 by Germany and the
Allies, were part of Stresemann's attempt at rapprochement with
the West. A prerequisite for Germany's admission to the League of
Nations in 1926, the treaties accepted the demilitarization of
the Rhineland and guaranteed the western frontier as defined by
the Treaty of Versailles. Both Britain and Germany preferred to
leave the question of the eastern frontier open. In 1925-26 the
Allies withdrew their troops from the right bank of the Rhine. In
1926 the German and Soviet governments signed the Treaty of
Berlin, which pledged Germany and the Soviet Union to neutrality
in the event of an attack on either country by foreign powers.
The Locarno treaties, the Treaty of Berlin, and Germany's
membership in the League of Nations were the successes that
earned Stresemann world renown. The Young Plan of 1929, which was
also introduced during the Stresemann era, formulated the final
reparations settlement. Germany agreed to a 59-year schedule of
payments averaging approximately 2 billion Deutsche marks
annually. The Bank of International Settlement was established to
facilitate transactions. The Allies, in turn, promised to
complete the evacuation of the Rhineland.
Data as of July 1987