International relations

After losing World War One, being forced to take the blame for the conflict and the subsequent issues surrounding payment of reparations, Germany was an international outcast. Germans were still incredibly bitter about their treatment in the Treaty of Versailles, where they also lost territory on all sides. As Foreign Minister Stresemann oversaw a dramatic improvement in Germany’s relationship with the rest of Europe between 1925 and 1928. This is best illustrated by three events:

The three events leading Germany back to acceptance within the international community: Locarno Treaties 1925, League of Nations 1926, and Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928
  • Locarno Treaties 1925. In October 1925 Germany, France and Belgium agreed to respect their post-Versailles borders, whilst Germany agreed with Poland and Czechoslovakia to settle any border disputes peacefully. Germany had previously complained bitterly about their loss of territory.
  • League of Nations 1926. When the League of Nations was set up as part of the Versailles agreement Germany was initially excluded. By signing the Locarno Treaties Germany showed that it was accepting the Versailles settlement and so a year later was accepted as a permanent member of the Council of League, making it one of the most powerful countries in the League.
  • Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928. Germany was one of 62 countries that signed up to this agreement, which committed its signatories to settling disputes between all members peacefully.

These developments meant that Germany was accepted into the emerging ‘international community’ that sought to work together during the 1920s to avoid another destructive war. This ethos of collaboration and peaceful cooperation only lasted until the onset of the Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash of October 1929.

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