Gustav Stresemann – Biography of Gustav Stresemann

Gustav Stresemann (1879-1929) was a deputy of the National Liberal Party in the Reichstag from 1907 and an enthusiastic supporter of ambitious German war goals. After the armistice he served in increasingly influential government positions, serving for a brief period as German chancellor.

Born May 10, 1878, the son of a restaurant and tavern owner, Stresemann He studied literature, philosophy, and political economy in Berlin and Leipzig before entering commerce in 1901 at the age of 22.

Initially employed by the German Chocolate Manufacturers Association in Dresden, he took over as business manager of the local branch of the Manufacturers Alliance, an association of local entrepreneurs the following year, in 1902. Even at this stage Stresemann, representing capitalism, understood the need to recognize unions in the workplace.

Taking political possession Stresemann he was elected to the Dresden city council in 1906 (a seat he held until 1912) and in 1907 he was elected to the Reichstag as a member of the National Liberal Party.

A passionate supporter of the strongest German armed services, he spoke out publicly in favor of increasing naval production in 1907, and remained a keen supporter of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz’s policy of enhancing the role of the German navy in wartime.

Consequently, he spoke in support of Tirpitz’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in 1916 – ultimately a disastrous policy that ultimately drew the United States into war with the Central Powers.

Ernst Bassermann’s close colleague succeeded him as leader of the National Liberal Party in 1917. Despite his conviction that constitutional reform was a necessity, he was nevertheless a confirmed monarchist and remained convinced of the benefits of colonial expansion.

Therefore, he was an admirer of the policies of the Third Supreme Command, the effective military dictatorship led by Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. He conspired with both in planning the downfall of Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg as Chancellor, with the consequent installation of puppet Chancellors, dominated by the military high command.

In January 1918, the NLP split from the Socialists over the latter’s support for the munitions strikes in Berlin. Later that year, the party disintegrated when the revolution dominated the German political scene. Consequently, the return of Stresemann to the Reichstag in 1919 was produced by heading his own party, the German People’s Party.

His postwar views were stridently right-wing. Like almost all Germans, he despised the Versailles treaty and believed that the financial reparations it imposed on Germany were unreasonable. He was also concerned with the removal of foreign troops from German soil, and advocated political union with Austria and the restoration of Germany’s eastern borders.

Being in the political opposition until 1923, he was briefly Chancellor of the coalition from August 13 to November 23 of that year. His successor as Chancellor appointed him Minister of Foreign Affairs, a position he held until his death in 1929.

During this period he successfully negotiated the Locarno Pact with Russia in 1925 and secured German membership in the League of Nations in 1926, the same year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

November 3, 1929 Stresemann suffered a stroke and died in Berlin at the age of 51.