|Birth Day:||May 10, 1878|
|Death Date:||3 October 1929(1929-10-03) (aged 51)
|Birth Place:||Berlin, Germany|
As per our current Database, Gustav Stresemann died on 3 October 1929(1929-10-03) (aged 51)
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Stresemann was born on 10 May 1878 in 66 Köpenicker Straße in Southeast Berlin, the youngest of seven children. His father worked as a beer bottler and distributor, and also ran a small bar out of the family home, as well as renting rooms for extra money. The family was lower middle class, but relatively well-off for the neighbourhood, and had sufficient funds to provide Gustav with a high-quality education. Stresemann was an excellent student, particularly excelling in German literature and poetry. At the age of 16, he joined the Andreas Gymnasium to study. His parents brought him to have an interest in books - He was especially passionate about history, with his teacher, Mr. Wolff, commenting that he had an "almost sickly taste in history". He took an interest in Napoleon and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whom he later wrote about in his work 1924: Goethe und Napoleon: ein Vortrag. His mother, Mathilde, died in 1895. From December 1895, he wrote "Berlin letters" for the Dresdener Volks-Zeitung, often talking about politics and targeting Prussian conservatives. In an essay written when he left school, he noted that he would have enjoyed becoming a teacher, but he would only have been qualified to teach languages or the natural sciences, which were not his primary areas of interest. Due to this, he enrolled in University.
In April 1897, Stresemann enrolled in the University of Berlin, where he was convinced by a businessman to study political economy instead of literature. During his university years, Stresemann also became active in Burschenschaften movement of student fraternities, and became editor, in April 1898, of the Allgemeine Deutsche Universitäts-Zeitung, a newspaper run by Konrad Kuster, a leader in the liberal portion of the Burschenschaften. His editorials for the paper were often political, and dismissed most of the contemporary political parties as broken in one way or another. In these early writings, he set out views that combined liberalism with strident nationalism, a combination that would dominate his views for the rest of his life. In 1898, Stresemann left the University of Berlin, transferring to the University of Leipzig so that he could pursue a doctorate. He studied History, International Law, and took literature courses. Influenced by Dr. Martin Kriele, he also took courses in Economics. In March 1899, he stopped becoming an editor for the Allgemeine Deutsche Universitäts-Zeitung. He completed his studies in January 1901, submitting a thesis on the bottled beer industry in Berlin, which received a relatively high grade, but was a subject of mockery from colleagues. Stresemann's doctoral supervisor was the economist Karl Bücher.
In 1902 he founded the Saxon Manufacturers' Association. In 1903 he married Käte Kleefeld (1883–1970), daughter of a wealthy Jewish Berlin businessman, and the sister of Kurt von Kleefeld, the last person in Germany to be ennobled (in 1918). At that time he was also a member of Friedrich Naumann's National-Social Association. In 1906 he was elected to the Dresden town council. Though he had initially worked in trade associations, Stresemann soon became a leader of the National Liberal Party in Saxony. In 1907, he was elected to the Reichstag, where he soon became a close associate of party chairman Ernst Bassermann. However, his support of expanded social-welfare programs did not sit well with some of the party's more conservative members, and he lost his post in the party's executive committee in 1912. Later that year he lost both his Reichstag and town council seats. He returned to business and founded the German-American Economic Association. In 1914 he returned to the Reichstag. He was exempted from war service due to poor health. With Bassermann kept away from the Reichstag by either illness or military service, Stresemann soon became the National Liberals' de facto leader. After Bassermann's death in 1917, Stresemann succeeded him as the party leader.
The DVP was initially seen, along with the German National People's Party, as part of the "national opposition" to the Weimar Republic, particularly for its grudging acceptance of democracy and its ambivalent attitude towards the Freikorps and the Kapp Putsch in 1920. By late 1920, Stresemann gradually moved to cooperation with the parties of the left and centre — possibly in reaction to political murders like that of Walther Rathenau. However, he remained a monarchist at heart.
On 13 August 1923, Stresemann was appointed chancellor and foreign minister of a grand coalition government in the so-called year of crises (1923). In social policy, a new system of binding arbitration was introduced in October 1923 in which an outside arbitrator had the final say in industrial disputes.
On the 26 September 1923, Stresemann announced the end to the passive resistance against the Occupation of the Ruhr by the French and Belgians, in tandem with an Article 48 (of the Weimar Constitution) state of emergency proclamation by President Ebert that lasted until February 1924. In October 1923, the Stresemann government used Article 48 to replace the legally elected SPD-Communist coalition government of Saxony on 29 October, and that of Thuringia on 6 November, by commissioners. By this time, Stresemann was convinced that accepting the republic and reaching an understanding with the Allies on the reparations issue was the only way for Germany to gain the breathing room it needed to rebuild its battered economy. He also wished to recover the Rhineland, as he wrote to the Crown Prince on 23 July 1923: "The most important objective of German politics is the liberation of German territory from French and Belgian occupation. First, we must remove the strangler from our throat".
Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic reached its peak in November 1923. Since Germany was no longer able to pay the striking workers, more and more money was printed, which finally led to hyperinflation. Stresemann introduced a new currency, the Rentenmark, to end hyperinflation. He also persuaded the French to pull back from the Ruhr in return for a promise that reparations payments would resume. That was part of his larger strategy of "fulfillment." Although he, like nearly every other German politician, cursed the Treaty of Versailles as a Diktat, he had come to believe that Germany would never win relief from its terms unless it made a good-faith effort to fulfill them. To his mind, this would convince the Allies that the reparations bill was truly beyond Germany's capacity .The effort paid off; the Allies began to take a look at reforming the reparations scheme.
In early November 1923, partly because of the reaction to the overthrowing of the SPD/KPD governments in Saxony and Thuringia, the Social Democrats withdrew from his reshuffled government and after a motion of confidence was voted down on 23 November 1923 Stresemann and his cabinet resigned.
Gustav Stresemann was a freemason initiated in the masonic lodge Frederick the Great (in German, Friedrich der Große) in Berlin in 1923. His masonic membership was generally known to his contemporaries and he was criticized by German nationalists as a "lodge politician".
Stresemann conceived the idea that Germany would guarantee her western borders and pledged never to invade Belgium and France again, along with a guarantee from Britain that they would come to Germany's aid if attacked by France. Germany was in no position at the time to attack, as Stresemann wrote to the Crown Prince: "The renunciation of a military conflict with France has only a theoretical significance, in so far as there is no possibility of a war with France". Stresemann negotiated the Locarno Treaties with Britain, France, Italy, and Belgium. On the third day of negotiations Stresemann explained Germany's demands to the French Foreign Secretary, Aristide Briand. As Stresemann recorded, Briand "almost fell off his sofa, when he heard my explanations". Stresemann said that Germany alone should not make sacrifices for peace; European countries should cede colonies to Germany; the disarmament control commission should leave Germany; the Anglo-French occupation of the Rhineland should be ended; and Britain and France should disarm as Germany had done. The Treaties were signed in October 1925 at Locarno. Germany officially recognized the post-World War I western border for the first time, and was guaranteed peace with France, and promised admission to the League of Nations and evacuation of the last Allied occupation troops from the Rhineland.
After this reconciliation with the Versailles powers, Stresemann moved to allay the growing suspicion of the Soviet Union. He said to Nikolay Krestinsky in June 1925, as recorded in his diary: "I had said I would not come to conclude a treaty with Russia so long as our political situation in the other direction was not cleared up, as I wanted to answer the question whether we had a treaty with Russia in the negative". The Treaty of Berlin signed in April 1926 reaffirmed and strengthened the Rapallo Treaty of 1922. In September 1926, Germany was admitted to the League of Nations as permanent member of the Security Council. This was a sign that Germany was quickly becoming a normal state, and assured the Soviet Union of Germany's sincerity in the Treaty of Berlin.
In 1925, when he first proposed an agreement with France, he made it clear that in doing so he intended to "gain a free hand to secure a peaceful change of the borders in the East and [...] concentrate on a later incorporation of German territories in the East". In the same year, while Poland was in a state of political and economic crisis, Stresemann began a trade war against the country. Stresemann hoped for an escalation of the Polish crisis, which would enable Germany to regain territories ceded to Poland after World War I, and he wanted Germany to gain a larger market for its products there. So Stresemann refused to engage in any international cooperation that would have "prematurely" restabilized the Polish economy. In response to a British proposal, Stresemann wrote to the German ambassador in London: "[A] final and lasting recapitalization of Poland must be delayed until the country is ripe for a settlement of the border according to our wishes and until our own position is sufficiently strong". According to Stresemann's letter, there should be no settlement "until [Poland's] economic and financial distress has reached an extreme stage and reduced the entire Polish body politic to a state of powerlessness". Stresemann hoped to annex Polish territories in Greater Poland, take over whole eastern Upper Silesia and parts of Central Silesia and the entire so called Polish Corridor. Besides waging economic war on Poland, Streseman funded extensive propaganda efforts and plotted to collaborate with Soviet Union against Polish statehood.
Stresemann was co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926 for these achievements.
Germany signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact in August 1928. It renounced the use of violence to resolve international conflicts. Although Stresemann did not propose the pact, Germany's adherence convinced many people that Weimar Germany was a Germany that could be reasoned with. This new insight was instrumental in the Young Plan of February 1929 which led to more reductions in German reparations payment.
Gustav Stresemann died of a stroke on 3 October 1929 at the age of 51. His gravesite is situated in the Luisenstadt Cemetery at Südstern in Berlin Kreuzberg, and includes work by the German sculptor Hugo Lederer.
Currently, Gustav Stresemann is 144 years, 4 months and 18 days old. Gustav Stresemann will celebrate 145th birthday on a Wednesday 10th of May 2023.
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