The key features of the Stresemann era from 1923 to 1929

One of the first things that Stresemann did, and perhaps the most important, was abolishing the old currency and creating a new one, the Rentenmark. The previous currency had suffered from rampant inflation, to the extent that many countries were refusing to trade with Germany as they knew that within minutes the money they had received could have had dramatically changed in value (for the worse). This new currency was supposed to combat this problem, and make sure that money could be something that people had faith in. In 1924, as a partial result of this, Stresemann created a new independent national band, the Reichsbank, which had control of the new currency and aimed to make sure that this sort of problems wouldn’t happen again.

However, the issue of reparations being paid was still a large problem for Germany as currently the payments were really at a level that Germany could not cope with. Under the Dawes Plan, devised mainly by Charles G. Dawes (American Banker), the reparations were lowered to a more manageable level, and also it was agreed that American banks would invest in German industry, which meant that not only would German businesses would get a cash boost, but also it would possibly show the rest of the world that they should have more confidence in how Germany would recover, as surely if the American banks could trust in it they could.

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All in all this package reassured the Allies that the reparation payments would be satisfied, and also, for the Germans, the French agreed to leave the Ruhr as they thought that they could now trust they could receive their payments. This plan greatly boosted Germany’s economy, with Employment, Imports and Exports, and also the Government income from taxation all improving. Most people were very content with how it went, but there were however some extremists that thought this was just an annoying admission that Germany was having to pay reparations when they didn’t believe it was their right to.

Later on, Stresemann made further progress with the issue of reparations when the Young Plan was setup in 1929. This plan reduced the total reparations from £6.6 Billion to £2 Billion, and also gave Germany an extra 59 years to pay the total sum, as they believed forcing them to pay it in such a short time was unrealistic and would stunt economic growth. These measures made it possible to lower taxes, which firstly made people happier, but also allowed German people to spend more which drove the economy up. However, like the Dawes Plan, some people did not agree with the method of dealing with the problem. Some thought that this extension was just passing on the problem to a generation that hadn’t even been born yet, which incensed people like Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party.

In 1925 Stresemann also sought to make international relations better, by signing the Locarno/Rhineland Pact. In essence, this was a treaty between Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Belgium that cleared up where the border between Germany & France and Belgium was. In return for a slight sacrifice from Germany the last Allied troops left the Rhineland, France promised peace with Germany and the major countries started considering letting Germany into the League of Nations. This was the first real sign that Germany was being let to actually have a say in these agreements, and wasn’t just being dictated to, even if they did lose a bit of land on the borders.

After consideration, in September 1926 Stresemann managed to get Germany accepted into the League of Nations. Previously Germany had been excluded from membership, even since it was founded by the Allies at the End of the First World War. The League of Nations was essentially an International Body that tried to find ways to solve major problems. Germany’s acceptance into the League of Nations Council was a major deal and showed that Germany actually had power again, so much so that in 1926 Stresemann was actually awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his accomplishments.

Finally, in August 1928 Germany, along with 65 other countries, signed an international agreement that said they wouldn’t use war to achieve their foreign policy aims, the Kellogg–Briand Pact. This was a sign that Germany was now seen as a respectable member of the international community, and really showed normal people that the Weimar Republic was working and was regaining Germany’s place on the world stage.

All of these measures, either helped or wholly done by Gustav Stresemann, allowed Germany to restore economic (and also political) stability. Unlike many others, Stresemann had largely managed to keep the support of parties on the left and right, and up until his death on the 3rd of October 1929 he allowed Germany to start regaining its position in the world.