German Statesman, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient. Gustav Stresemann received the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize, sharing it jointly with a Frenchman, Aristide Briand. The two men received the coveted award, according to the Nobel Prize committee, "for their crucial role in bringing about the Locarno Treaty." An Englishman, Sir Austen Chamberlain and an American, Charles G. Dawes received the Nobel Peace Prize for the same achievement. The 1925 recipients waited until the 1926 Nobel Prize presentation ceremony to receive their award; thus, all four men received their award at the same time. With him being the German representative, the Locaro Treaty resolved the post-World War I differences between France and Germany, including a new borderline between the nations and Germany agreeing not to wage war on the neighboring countries. After joining the National Liberal Party in 1903, he became the party’s leader from 1907 to 1912. During World War I, he supported Germany's war waging and annexing neighboring countries. With Germany being defeated at the war’s end, he was amazed at the harsh terms given Germany at the peace negotiations in 1919, yet he believed that disputes between nations should be settled via negotiation and diplomacy. During the Weimer Republic, he was Chancellor and Foreign Secretary from August 13th to November 23, 1923. Stresemann was Prime Minister for a short time in 1923, before, as the Foreign Minister, initiating reconciliation with France. He supported democracy during the Weimer Republic from 1919 to 1933. Besides having his role in the 1925 Lacaro Treaty, his accomplishments included the Dawes Plan in 1924; adding Germany to the League of Nations in 1926, where he was often a speaker; the Treaty of Berlin in 1926; and the Young Plan in 1929. Born the son of a prosperous restauranter and beer distributor, he was first interested in history and literature in school while attending the Universities of Berlin and Leipzig from 1897 to 1900, but left his love of history to change his major to economics, seeking professional opportunities. Of his four siblings, he was the only one to attend college. His 1900 dissertation for his doctorate degree was “The Growth of the Berlin Bottled-Beer Industry,” of which he knew first-hand. The thesis dealt with the fact that huge industries were destroying smaller family-owned businesses, which later, when he was being promoted in government, would offend huge industries. In 1901 he began at an entry level position at the Association of German Chocolate Manufacturers and advancing successfully by 1904 to a management position with his organizing talent and his persuasiveness. He started the Saxon Manufacturers’ Association by 1902 and as its legal representative until 1911, he occupied an important position in economic life at the age of 25. His political career began in 1906 when he was elected to a seat on the town council of Dresden, which he held until 1912, being the editor of a Dresden magazine. In 1907 he won the election to the Reichstag, as its youngest deputy. Starting in 1919, he supported democracy during the Weimer Republic. The up-and-coming Nazi Party considered Stresemann one of their principal enemies. He married a lady of Jewish ancestry and had two sons. Suddenly dying of a massive stroke while in office as Foreign Minister, his death in 1929 robbed the Weimar Republic of one of its greatest defenders. Recognized internationally as a great statesman, he was given a state funeral.
Bio by: Linda Davis