The German Problem from the Death of Stresemann to the Opening of the Customs Union Crisis, 1929–1931

  • David Carlton


The outcome of the first Hague Conference marked a watershed in the history of Weimar Germany The Hague agreements on reparations and the Rhineland were the greatest achievements of the advocates of the policies of fulfilment and seemed to offer hope that international tensions, and especially the long-standing Franco-German feud, might finally be dying away. The last months of 1929, however, saw a sudden deterioration in the prospects for peace, and indeed it might be argued that at this time the situation ceased to deserve the label ‘post-war’ and merited instead the appellation ‘pre-war’.


Foreign Minister Foreign Loan Draft Convention German Minority World Depression 
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  1. 1.
    On Stresemann’s foreign policy, see Henry L. Bretton, Stresemann and the Revision of Versailles: A Fight for Reason (Stanford, Cal., 1953 ).Google Scholar
  2. Hans W. Gatzke, Stresemann and the Rearmament of Germany (Baltimore, 1954 ).A moving tribute to Stresemann by the British ambassador in Berlin appears in Rumbold to Henderson, telegram no. 693, 3 Oct 1929, F.O., 408/54.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    For the Wall Street affair and its repercussions, especially in the United States, see John Kenneth Galbraith, The Great Crash, 1929 (London, 1955).Google Scholar
  4. For a more general treatment see Lionel Robbins, The Great Depression (London, 1934).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Hjalmar Schacht, Memorandum zum Youngplan (Berlin, 1929); Harold Nicolson (Berlin) to Henderson, telegram no. 862, 6 Dec 1929, F.O., 408/54.Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    For the inside story of the ‘Lex Schacht’, see diary entry for 20 Dec in Hermann Pünder, Politik in der Reichskanzlei: Aufzeichnungen aus den Jahren 1929–1932 (Stuttgart, 1961) pp. 32–37.Google Scholar
  7. 1.
    Perhaps the most important of these meetings was the one at Baden-Baden which led to the setting up of the B.I.S. See Henry H. Schloss, The Bank for International Settlements: An Experiment in Central Bank Co-operation (Amsterdam, 1958 ).Google Scholar
  8. 2.
    Part of the letter appears in K. R. Bopp, Hjalmar Schacht: Central Banker ( Columbia, Mo., 1939 ) pp. 55–6. For details of the concessions demanded in January, see Peterson, Hjalmar Schacht, p. 95.Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    See Pander, Politik in der Reichskanzlei, pp. 45–6, and K. D. Bracher, Die Auflösung der Weimarer Republik: eine Studie zum Problem des Machtverfalls in der Demokratie 2nd ed. (Stuttgart and Düsseldorf, 1957) pp. 296–303.Google Scholar
  10. 2.
    On the support of the Army for Brüning, see J. W. Wheeler-Bennett, The Nemesis of Power: The German Army in Politics,1918–1945 (London, 1953)pp. 201, 204.Google Scholar
  11. 1.
    E. L. Woodward and Rohan Butler (eds.), Documents on British Foreign Policy,1919–1939 (hereafter abbreviated to B.D.), 2nd series (London, 1946 ff.), I, no. 303 (Rumbold to Henderson, 2 May 1930 ).Google Scholar
  12. 1.
    Pander, Politik in der Reichskanzlei, p. 57, was convinced of the need to dissolve. G. A. Craig, From Bismarck to Adenauer: Aspects of German Statecraft (Baltimore, 1958 ) p. 86, takes the opposite view.Google Scholar
  13. 5.
    There is some doubt as to why Mgr Ludwig Kaas went to Geneva and whether he had any influence on Curtius. On this, see Edward W. Bennett, Germany and the Diplomacy of the Financial Crisis, 1931 ( Cambridge, Mass., 1962 ) p. 13, and Curtius, Sechs Jahre Minister der Deutschen Republik, pp. 171–2.Google Scholar
  14. 2.
    Wolfgang J. Helbich, ‘Between Stresemann and Hitler: The Foreign Policy of the Brüning Government’, World Politics XII (1959–60) 24–44.Google Scholar

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© David Carlton 1970

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  • David Carlton

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