Walter Stresemann (1878-1929) was a German chancellor in 1923, and is widely believed to be responsible for the short period of stability in the Wiemar Republic during the mid to late 1920's. He served as foreign minister for six years, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926.

Before the war, he was a nationalist, monarchist, and extreme conservative. He opposed the peace efforts in Germany in 1917 (Layton 75), and supported the military leadership immediately following World War I. After the establishment of the republic in Germany, his political views changed, and he became a supporter of the republic. He founded his own party, the
Picture of Gustav Stresemann
Picture of Gustav Stresemann
DVP (German People's Party), after the DDP (German Democratic Party) had excluded him. He became responsible for foreign affairs in 1923, and his years as foreign minister are marked by successes in protecting a much weaker German nation. He negotiated treaties with both East and West, and secured Germany from its neighbors.

His focus throughout remained on protecting Germany and her interests. Negotiations with France allowed for the removal of French troops from the Ruhr in 1925, and he continued to play off of "Germany's vital importance to world trade in order to earn the... co-operation of Britain and the USA"(Layton 86). His conciliatory policies reflected a need to secure the survival of a weakened Germany. The Dawes Plan let Germany pay as much as it was able, rather than funneling the excess into the national deficit, and thus saved Germany from much of the pain of reparations in the late 1920's. In addition to the Dawes Plan negotiations, the Locarno pact stopped the possibility of an Anglo-French alliance, the League of Nations accepted Germany in 1926, and the Treaty of Berlin secured the co-operation of Russia.

However successful his efforts to keep the German nation afloat, Germany still had many weaknesses under his watch. The economy became increasingly foreign-based, and thus was out of German control when the stock market crash of 1929 swept the world. There were also significant class divisions, and tensions were arising from religion and regional differences. Some argue that it was not Stresemann's policies that saved Germany, but the conditions in the 1920's, but the affect he had on the German foreign policy cannot be ignored.

Key Dates in his life:
1878 - Born in Berlin, the son of a publican and brewer.
1900 - Graduated from Berlin University in Political Economy and went into business.
1907 - Elected as a National Liberal -- youngest member of Reichstag.
1914-18 - Unconditional nationalist and supporter of the war. Worked politically closely with Hindenburg and Ludendorff.
1919 - Formed the DVP and became its leader, 1919-29.
1921 - Decided to work with the Weimar Republic and became a Vernunftrepublikaner, a republican by reason.
1923 - Chancellor of Germany
1923-9 - Foreign Minister in all governments
1924 - Dawes Plan
1925 - Locarno Pact
1926 - Treaty of Berlin
- German entry into the League of Nations.
- Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
1928 - Kellogg-Briand Pact
1929 - Young Plan
- Death at the age of 51

Works cited-
Layton, Geoff. Weimar and the Rise of Nazi Germany.
3rd edition. London. Hodder, 2005