The Stresemann Memoirs Scandal and Wounds that Failed to Heal
As the Berlin Accord unravelled and became a point of disagreement rather than Franco-German rapprochement, the old wounds reopened, particularly those surrounding reparations and disarmament. The political right gained ground in Germany, undermining French confidence in Berlin’s bona fides while French politics were also gripped by a sense of febrile instability on the eve of fresh elections. Furthermore, French leaders confused a home-grown Alsatian autonomist movement with German-inspired subversion which, despite the best efforts of German diplomacy, triggered one minor upset after another. A greater blow was delivered by the botched publication of the late Stresemann’s private papers alongside sensitive official material. Selective editing in the media left the impression that Stresemann had sought to dupe Briand and that his protestations of friendship were bogus at best. Sporadic efforts continued through 1932 to retrieve the situation, but an impasse at the international disarmament conference simply deepened the sense of estrangement.
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