Stresemann and the Revision of Versailles: A Fight for Reason

Stresemann and the Revision of Versailles: A Fight for Reason

Stresemann and the Revision of Versailles: A Fight for Reason

Stresemann and the Revision of Versailles: A Fight for Reason

Excerpt

This study is concerned with the peaceful revision of a major treaty, the Treaty of Versailles. In general, it addresses itself to the political and diplomatic phases of the process of revisionism through which that treaty passed in the first decade following World War I. In particular, the study is concerned with one policy maker, and is limited to the examination of the role which he personally played in the making and conduct of a revisionist foreign policy.

While there are undoubtedly other aspects of German revisionism, this study is restricted to those features which are directly and indisputably traceable to Gustav Stresemann, German foreign minister from 1923 to 1929. As Stresemann showed an inclination to concentrate on political issues, and to leave such highly technical matters as the financial aspects of the reparation settlement to other ministers, the latter and similar technical matters have not been covered in this work in any detail. They are considered, however, if their political significance came to Stresemann's attention, and if they constituted a significant part of his revisionist policy. In such cases, the study analyzes only their political contents.

The study aims at the discovery of a pattern in international relations. From the beginning of the research the effort was made to ascertain whether Stresemann, in charge of German foreign policy for six consecutive years, had applied a set pattern in his revisionism and, if so, what that pattern was. Furthermore, there was reason to believe that, once a pattern had been discovered, certain basic diplomatic and political analogies could be drawn with respect to present-day Germany and her international position. Specifically, this study seeks to discover the sequence in which the several attacks against the peace treaty -- and against the political order resulting from it -- were launched. An attempt is made to examine the national and international background of the strategy applied and the particular objectives which Stresemann had in mind. In addition, an attempt is made to analyze the methods employed by Stresemann in his struggle to modify the political and legal order imposed upon Germany by the Treaty of Versailles.

With respect to organization and treatment, it was believed that a chronological presentation of the materials would not have permitted . . .

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