Gustav Stresemann (10 May 1878 – 3 October 1929) was a German politician and statesman who served as Chancellor in 1923 (for a brief period of 102 days) and Foreign Minister 1923 – 1929, during the Weimar Republic. He was co-laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926.
- The world is listening with bated breath to the struggle which to-day is rending the peoples of Europe to pieces. The knowledge that England is our chief enemy in this struggle is altogether good. 'On thine island, envious England, thou art the fundamental enemy.' The present world war may, in future, be described as the most gigantic economic struggle of all time. Economic in its origin, through British jealousy of the amazing development of German national and world economy, it has essentially also become a struggle waged with economic weapons and will be continued in the economic field even when the military weapons are silenced.
- Das deutsche Wirtschaftsleben im Krieg (Leipzig, 1915), p. 3, quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), pp. 174-175
- Despite all the obscuration of history and all the incomplete diplomatic documents...and despite all the recent systematic endeavours to represent Russia as the incendiary of the world war, those who have carefully followed the economic struggle between Britain and Germany for a long time will not in the least depart from the view that this war is in the first place an economic war between Germany and Britain and that—even though the external cause of the outbreak of war may have lain in St. Petersburg—the inward cause was Britain's jealousy of Germany's world economy.
- Das deutsche Wirtschaftsleben im Krieg (Leipzig, 1915), p. 40, quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 175
- From Antwerp to Baghdad there lies before us a large economic field in which German enterprise can develop. If we succeed in translating into reality the idea of a Central European customs agreement, which is in the air, and to which at one time Friedrich List in Germany and a man like Schäffle in Vienna devoted their energies, then the way to an understanding may be left open—and a large economic area opposed to Chamberlain's Greater Britain and the power of the United States, which would afford sufficient space for the co-existence and co-operation of the German and Austro-Hungarian national economies through the exchange of goods and through an advance towards Asia Minor, which the policy of Emperor William II has indicated and upon which German enterprise has already started through the grandiose project of the Baghdad Railway.
- Das deutsche Wirtschaftsleben im Krieg (Leipzig, 1915), pp. 58-59, quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 274
- We must become so strong and must so ruthlessly weaken our opponents that no enemy will ever dare to attack us again. To achieve this a modification of frontiers in the west as in the east is essential.
- Speech at a joint meeting of the National Liberal Party and the National Liberal Central Committee (15 July 1915), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 274
- We see the strongest guarantee of peace for Europe in a policy of expansion. When have we exploited the embarrassments of other peoples? When Russia was at war with Japan, the Tsar was able to take his last regiment away from our frontier. We did not regard Morocco as an object of war, we looked on while East Africa was divided, while France was creating a great colonial empire of Tunis, Algiers and Morocco, while Italy occupied Tripolis, while Persia was divided between Britain and Russia into two spheres of interest—the world could always rely on the German Kaisers and the German people's love of peace. And what thanks have we had? A world of enemies...When one awakens in this way from a beautiful dream one must not follow that dream again, must not in future believe that renunciation of a world policy will be a guarantee of permanent freedom. They grudged us the right to economic development. We thank the Chancellor for what he said yesterday concerning our security in the East and West.
- Speech in the Reichstag (6 April 1916), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 75
- We also concur with the Reich Chancellor's program as regards the Flemish people. However, the Belgian question also has an important political aspect. If Belgium is not to become a glacis for our enemies again, then not only must the status quo ante be precluded, but Germany's military, political and economic supremacy must be guaranteed.
- Speech in the Reichstag (6 April 1916), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), pp. 274-275
- Napoleon once compared England with Carthage. Carthage sank down from her height. England also can sink and will sink. For on our side is the true right and on our side the might to strike the blow at her heart, if we understand how to exploit the hour.
- 'Napoleon und Wir' (29 January 1917), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 175
- The restoration of German vitality is not guaranteed by the status quo ante. It will also be necessary to make territorial changes; don't let us hamper our statesmen with assertions to the effect that the German people do not want this.
- Speech in the Reichstag (1 March 1917), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 135
- The conquest of Riga is of the greatest importance not only from the military, but also form the political point of view... Our military situation was never more glorious than it is at present. Meanwhile, there is also the U-boat war, which is taking its course. The destruction of enemy tonnage that was expected of it on the basis of official predictions, has not only been achieved, but partly exceeded by more than half...Time is working for us. Britain to-day is fighting the war with a watch in her hand, and it is in this that I see the fundamentally decisive effect of the U-boat weapon for us and the approach of peace...If we are to achieve anything through compromise and understanding, then the Government must not be forced to make any statements renouncing something from the outset. For this reason the tactics by which it has been and is still being tried to make the Government declare its disinterestedness in Belgium, are wrong. Even those who share the attitude of Herr Scheidemann ought to fight for the last stone in Belgium, in order to exploit to the utmost that which possession has made into a dead pledge...However, the fact that we are going to have peace—and, we hope, soon—will in my conviction be due, apart from our military achievements, to the effects of unrestricted U-boat warfare, of which I have repeatedly said before the Main Committee that while I reject the formula that it will force Britain to her knees, I believe as firmly in the formula that it will force Britain to the conference table.
- Speech in the Reichstag (October 1917), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 121
- There is much sentimentality in the fourteen Points of Wilson's peace program. As far as we are concerned the question of Alsace-Lorraine is one that we cannot discuss and it cannot even be raised at any international conference. The territorial integrity of Turkey must be maintained. The Reich Chancellor has declared that we do not seek the annexation of Belgium. However, the Flemish movement is working for independence. The Reich Government should make it its task to support this movement. With regard to the question of self-determination...it must be remembered that there is no political education in Lithuania and that from seventy to eighty per cent. of the population there is illiterate...[Poland does] not need freedom.
- Speech in the Reichstag (24 January 1918), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 138.
- In the West our hand of peace has reached out into empty air. The responsibility there falls on our enemies. If we have to continue the struggle, then the hearts of the people will be where the flags of the country are flying, and we hope and pray for a German victory that will bring us the peace that has been denied to us...We thank Secretary of State von Kuehlmann and his collaborators for the tenacity and diplomatic skill with which they represented our German interests at the negotiations in Brest...I now come to the question of the strategic demarcation of frontiers, the possible allocation of Polish territories to Germany and Prussia. My political friends are of the opinion that in the question of the strategic safeguarding of frontiers decisive importance should be attached to the voice of the Supreme Command. From our own national point of view we are not at all interested in having Polish territory added to Germany in any way...It will be a matter for our military leaders to examine the question to what extent strategic security of our frontiers is a vital necessity to Germany. If so, we shall accept it because there is a national need for it.
- Speech in the Reichstag (19 February 1918), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), pp. 149-150.
- The question poses itself whether we should look on with folded arms while those Germans of the Baltic countries who, despite all the persecution, all the misery and all the difficulties have stuck to the German language and German culture, are being slaughtered...It would be incomprehensible if we, who have exerted ourselves for the freedom of ethnically foreign nations, failed to let our hearts beat first of all for the Balts, who are our own flesh and blood...If to-day you go to Riga or Mitau, you will be confronted by such a pure, unadulterated Germanism that sometimes you would wish it could be united with Germany...When, in addition to Courland, we have also occupied Latvia and Estonia, then I hope that the day will also come when this old German soil will lie under the protection of the great Reich...This does not mean annexation of these territories. But it does mean a free Baltic in close dependence on Germany, under our military, moral, political, and cultural protection. I think it would be one of the finest aims of this world war if we could merge this piece of loyal Germanism with ourselves as intimately as it desires to be merged...The Baltic Germans have completely preserved their German culture: a shining example for the Americanized grandchildren of German grandfathers.
- Speech in the Reichstag (19 February 1918), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), pp. 149-150.
- We...would nevertheless make it clear that entirely independent political structures are impossible here [in the Baltic]...They cannot lead an isolated existence between the colossi of West and East. We hope that they will seek and find this support with us. The German occupation will have to continue for a long time, lest the anarchy we have just been combating should arise again. We shall have to safeguard the position of the Germans, a position consistent with their economic and cultural achievements...Herr Scheiddemann, said that we have made ourselves new enemies in the world through our push in the East...Had we continued the negotiations, we should still be sitting with Herr Trotski in Brest Litovsk. As it is, the advance has brought us peace in a few days and I think we should recognise this and not delude ourselves, particularly as regards the East, that if by resolutions made here in the Reichstag or through our Government's acceptance of the entirely welcome initiative of His Holiness the Pope, we had agreed to a peace without indemnities and annexations, we should have had peace in the East. In view of our situation as a whole, I should regard a fresh peace offer as an evil. My chief objection is against the detachment of the Belgian question from the whole complex of the question of peace. It is precisely if Belgium is not to be annexed that Belgium is the best dead pledge we hold, notably as regards England. The restoration of Belgium before we conclude peace with England seems to me an utter political and diplomatic impossibility...There is a great difference between the first set of terms at Brest-Litovsk and the ultimatum that we have now presented, and the blame for this change rests with those who refused to come to an agreement with Germany and who, consequently, must now feel her power. We are just as free to choose between understanding and the exploitation of victory in the case of the West, and I hope that these eight or fourteen days that have elapsed between the first set of peace terms in Brest-Litovsk and the second set, may also have an educational effect in that direction.
- Speech in the Reichstag (25 February 1918), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), pp. 159-160
- The question of Belgium must not be detached from the complex of the Western questions as a whole. Belgium is a most valuable pledge in our hands.
- Speech in the Reichstag (27 February 1918), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 210
- Nearly the entire Reichstag, including the Social Democrats, agrees that we must not allow ourselves to be deprived of the weapon of the U-boat war.
- Speech in the Reichstag (11 May 1918), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 315
- We are not continuing the war for the sake of theoretical plans of conquest. It will and must bring the necessary guarantees for Germany's future, which cannot consist in a League of Nations by the grace of Wilson, but only in real guarantees. I close with the words of Hindenburg: “The times are hard, but victory is certain.”
- Speech in the Reichstag (25 June 1918), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 328
- I hope that you will be in agreement with me when I beg you to do everything possible to prevent Hindenburg's retirement. We must under no circumstances bear the responsibility before the bar of history for having overthrown Hindenburg. I feel that even the abdication of the Kaiser would be easier to bear than the retirement of Hindenburg.
- Letter to the Chief of the National Liberal Party in Prussia, quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 208, n. 2
- Great Germany can only be created on a republican basis.
- Speech (13 April 1919), quoted in Jonathan Wright, Gustav Stresemann: Weimar's Greatest Statesman (Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 135
- This Alsace and vast tracts of Lorraine are German regions, and their inhabitants are of German blood. The tricolour may float above Strasbourg cathedral, but that imposing edifice was born of the German spirit, it has nothing in common with the French spirit; it was there that one of the greatest geniuses Germany has given the world first felt the great breath of German architecture. It all bears the impress of the German character and is animated by the German spirit. That is why we shall never forget that Alsace-Lorraine is German, that it will always belong to us in spirit and that our task will be to preserve for Germany this spiritual patrimony.
- Speech to the Congress of the People's Party in Jena (17 April 1919), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 331
- For the old great, mighty Germany, which was the epitome of the yearning of our ancestors and our pride when one could still hold one's head high at being a German, is going under. One cannot say: it is long gone because it is not long at all but already it sounds to our ears like a fairy tale from a distant time.
- Letter to his sons (21 June 1919), quoted in Jonathan Wright, Gustav Stresemann: Weimar's Greatest Statesman (Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 135-136
- The Government must not insist too much on the fact that Germany will integrally fulfil the conditions of the peace treaty. For all parties have been unanimous in considering that the treaty is unfulfillable.
- Speech to the National Assembly (8 October 1919), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 331
Speech in the Reichstag, 18 March 1918
Speech in the Reichstag (18 March 1918), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), pp. 165-167.
- Our whole policy since August 1, 1914, has been directed with a view to sparing the neutrals during the world war...I cannot yet put it down as a fact or as a result of this world war that our policy of sparing neutrals has extended the circle of our friends. Nor is it right to present it as a dogma that annexation or the detachment of territories creates hostility and hatred, while understanding and solicitude results in friendship.
- We agree to recognise Lithuanian independence on condition that the desire of the Lithuanians for a military convention and a customs, monetary and postal union with Germany, communicated to us some time ago by a Lithuanian delegation, still remains. For to be candid, the idea of full independence for these peripheral countries seems to me to be purely theoretical and impracticable...The whole development of world politics shows that we have not only great and powerful individual countries like Germany on the one hand and Britain and France on the other, but associations of States fighting against each other...I do not believe in Wilson's universal League of Nations, I think that after the peace it will burst like a soap bubble. Great and powerful complexes of nations with hundreds of millions of inhabitants, armies of millions of men and exports amounting to thousands of millions, will be confronting each other. In the circumstances such small fractional nationalities will not be able to exist in complete independence, without seeking to lean on one side or the other. Just as there is no independent Belgium in the sense that it gravitates towards one side or the other, so it is not possible to conceive of a completely independent Lithuania, Balticum or Poland without that provisio.
- The renunciation of war indemnities, which has been greatly lauded in some quarters here, does not appear to me only in the shining light of the conciliation it will lead to, but, as a citizen, I also see it in the light of the colossal burdens to which Germany will be exposed if this struggle ends without war indemnities.
- The more clearly we express it that the whole weight of our future victories will lie on our enemies, the more, in my opinion, will it tend to shorten the war. We have covered a considerable distance towards peace. The Entente no longer has any possibility of beating us economically. Do they think they can beat us militarily, now that our position in the West has become better that it ever was? If the statesmen of the Entente wanted understanding, they ought to have taken advantage of the situation now, when the Reich Chancellor has offered them the hand of understanding. They are playing a wanton game with their misguided peoples. Let the example of Russia be a warning to them. Russia, which offered us the hand of understanding, could have obtained a good peace of understanding if she had not risked this peace through the arrogance of Trotsky. May this struggle bring us victory, but may it also bring the benefits of this victory for Germany's future.
Speech in the Reichstag, 21 June 1918
Speech in the Reichstag (21 June 1918), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 175, p. 179
- We welcome the peace with the militarily and politically entirely collapsed Rumania as a world judgment in world history...Is there anyone to-day who, after the overthrow of the whole of the East, would still doubt a German victory?...Anyone who visualises the collapse of Rumania, this military collapse in three months, this complete political crash of the State that saw itself compelled to sue for peace, must feel that something like a world judgment in world history is taking place...Then there is the question of the war indemnity. In the debate on the Treaty of Brest Litovsk I said that, surely it could not be contradicted from any part of this House that a war indemnity must be demanded from Rumania If Germany receives an indemnity, then it is a matter of indifference to me what it is called, either in the case of the present Treaty or any further ones.
- p. 175
- I must say a few words here concerning the solution of the Polish problem...Groeber has posed the question: Do I not overestimate the value of the military guarantees? Are not political guarantees in connection with good relations between Poland and Germany far better and more durable than it is possible fo military guarantees to be? ...The past conduct of the Polish fraction in the Reichstag and the House of Deputies, and the attempts to have the German Ostmark question discussed as a question of international importance at world peace congresses, do not give my political friends a sufficient guarantee to think that future relations between Poland and Germany can be based solely on a formal paper friendship.
- p. 175
- We very deeply deplore that sentence should have been pronounced that allows of the interpretation as though our military successes were not of a kind which alone present the possibility of attained peace...What was it that brought peace in the East? Not the talk of statesmen, not diplomatic negotiations, not diplomatic notes, not Reichstag resolutions, but 'Ludendorffs hammer,' as Lloyd George has called it. The force of our army, the force of our power.
- p. 179.
- It was with deep emotion that we read the announcement issued by the Council of Flanders at its plenary meeting of June 20, 1918, because it give expression to the fact that considerable and important sections of the Belgian people are advocating Germany's right to figure in the Belgian question, and that the voice of agitation over that which they have suffered is overtopped by the voice of consanguinity with the Teutonic race.
- p. 179.
- It is absolutely necessary to strengthen the Government. We must have a Government that in case of necessity will shoot. Germany cannot stand Bolshevism fomenting mischief. There must be shooting. Perhaps we shall bring Noske back—he was a good man, and shot in case of necessity. Even the Majority Socialists agree that order has go to be maintained with vigour. ... The truth is the German people cannot stand a President in a high hat. They think he looks peculiar at a review. They must have a military uniform with plenty of orders.
- Remarks to Lord D'Abernon (17 October 1922), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 327
- I am delighted to inform you that in yesterday's sitting of the Cabinet it was unanimously agreed that your application of last August for authority to return to Germany should be sanctioned in principle...While acquainting Your Imperial Highness of the Cabinet's decision, I cannot forbear expressing my own personal pleasure that this decision was given by the Cabinet on my proposal, and, as I may permit myself to add, as reached unanimously and without objection or criticism, after my statement had been heard.
- Letter to the ex-Crown Prince (24 October 1923), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), pp. 328-329
- A few days ago in a Berlin theatre the audience burst into spontaneous applause merely because the orchestra began to play an old military march—not a German march, either, but an Austrian one, the Radetzky march. Do not think that this meant a demonstration in favour of a war of revenge—not a bit of it. But the army and all that goes with it has been in the tradition of the German people for a hundred years and it would betray a very poor knowledge of men to believe that such a tradition could be uprooted when people is bidden by the terms of a treaty to give up compulsory military service.
- Remarks to representatives of the foreign press in Berlin (23 November 1923), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 341
- Even General Ludendorff would know that on all occasions when an appeal is made to the people, an appeal that concerns the vital interests of this land, the 'Socialist Marxists' feel and vote as Germans.
- Article (2 March 1924), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 318
- If one wants to avoid war in Europe for a long time, then one must remove the things which are unsettling to a certain extent, and they include the separation of Germany from East Prussia which in my opinion is unpolitical and is seen as oppressive. But it is not at all an immediate question and certainly not a question of war.
- Letter to Rauscher (8 March 1924), quoted in Jonathan Wright, Gustav Stresemann: Weimar's Greatest Statesman (Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 269
- The spirit of the National Assembly was not our spirit...On that account we stood for and still stand for the old flag of the Reich. On that account we hold fast to the memory of our glorious army and our fleet that we have now passed away, and of the pioneers of German colonisation, whose civilising influence was greater than that of other nations that now dispute our right to any colonial activity.
- Speech to the Congress of the People's Party in Hanover (March 1924), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), pp. 346-347
- We regard the ultimate aim of our efforts as the establishment of a German popular monarchy.
- Interview with The New York Times (4 April 1924), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 347
- International indebtedness involves not only the usual slavery of debt, but the interest of the creditor nations in the debtor country.
- Article for Zeit (20 April 1924), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 348
- Ah, gentlemen, if we had only been a little more dependent on this capital during the war, perhaps the world would have had different ideas as to how the war must end!
- Speech in the Reichstag (6 June 1924) on foreign loans to Germany, quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 348
- When it is a matter of deciding what amount of work might be demanded of the individual, this question concerns not only the people affected, but must be settled for the benefit of the State and on the basis of moral considerations. The admirable thing about the old Germany was that she considered herself as a mediator and held it to be her duty to take into account the interest of the State first of all. The new Germany must have no other task! ... We are stripped of power and we must try to regain, little by little and by means of compromises, our rank as a Great Power.
- Speech to the People's Party Congress (11 October 1924), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 352
- It is the policy of force which finally will always triumph. But when one has not got the force, one can also combat by the idea.
- Speech in Berlin (29 November 1924), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 330
- The most important thing...is the liberation of German territory from foreign occupation. We must first get the strangler from our neck. Therefore German policy, as Metternich said of Austria—it must be after 1809—must in this respect consist first in showing finesse [finassieren] and avoiding fundamental decisions.
- Letter to the Crown Prince (7 September 1925), quoted in Jonathan Wright, Gustav Stresemann: Weimar's Greatest Statesman (Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 327
- I refused at Thoiry to discuss the question of our Eastern frontier and that of our colonies. One can only advance step by step. When the day arrives when, in one way or another, the question of our Eastern frontier will come up for discussion, the atmosphere between us and France must already be such that we can broach this new problem.
- Remarks to the Reichstag Committee of Foreign Affairs (7 October 1926), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 389
- There are States with which we are at odds, and which could not be in any case our natural allies...It is thus my opinion that the interests of Germany do not coincide with those of the small Powers.
- Diary entry (October 1927), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 412
- Let us celebrate Bismarck's memory by making the great idea of his life, devotion to the Fatherland, the guiding star of our own lives. Each of us in the place where he can do his best work. Each of us is responsible for helping the country rise again to that greatness for which Bismarck, who also knew an Olmuetz, prepared the way.
- Speech (1 April 1928), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 417
- If the allies had obliged me just one single time, I would have brought the German people behind me, yes; even today, I could still get them to support me. However, they (the allies) gave me nothing and the minor concessions they made, always came too late. Thus, nothing else remains for us but brutal force. The future lies in the hands of the new generation. Moreover, they, the German youth, who we could have won for peace and reconstruction, we have lost. Herein lies my tragedy and there, the allies' crime.
- Stresemann to diplomat Sir Albert Bruce Lockhart in 1928
- Do you think (leaning towards the German Nationals) that any member of the Reich Government regards the Young Plan as something ideal? Do you think that anyone in the whole world expects a guarantee from us in relation to it? It was even said among the experts that it was only possible to look ahead for the next decade (Interruption from the Right: 'Yet you signed for fifty-one years').
- Speech in the Reichstag (24 June 1929), quoted in W. M. Knight-Patterson, Germany. From Defeat to Conquest 1913-1933 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945), p. 438
Quotes about Gustav Stresemann
- For him the only thing that mattered was the interest of the Reich.
- Baron von Rheinbaben, Stresemann (1928), p. 284.
- He presented the world with a living, a struggling but also a friendly Germany; and when he enthusiastically quoted Goethe everyone felt that he was thinking of Bismarck, and felt the courage and ambition to become the Bismarck of a defeated nation...He was Germany at the moment at which she cast aside the confusion of defeat and invested herself with the pride of a great nation.
- Max Beer, The League on Trial: A Journey to Geneva (London: Allen & Unwin,1933). p. 381.