THE Hague Conferences
- During 1929-1930 two meetings, both focused on the Young Plan,* were held at The Hague. Germany, France, Bel-gium, Great Britain, and Italy participated. The first meeting, held 6-31 August 1929, was attended on the German side by Gustav Stresemann,* Julius Curtius,* Rudolf Hilferding,* and Joseph Wirth* (Foreign, Economics, Finance, and Oc-cupied Territories Ministers, respectively), plus three financial experts: Hjalmar Schacht,* Ludwig Kastl,* and Carl Melchior.* The mortally ill Stresemann (he died in October) participated in the political-committee sessions, which dealt with evacuation of the Rhineland.* While these arduous talks estranged Strese-mann from France's Aristide Briand, the even more onerous sessions of the financial committee were handled by Curtius. Here the British, led by Philip Snowden, adamantly opposed Young's proposed allocation of reparations.* To meet British objections, the Germans accepted an increase in the Young payment schedule—a change Schacht approved only when France agreed to evacuate the Rhineland by June 1930, five years ahead of schedule. Thus, while the meeting resulted in a lengthier reparations obligation than specified by the Young Plan (negotiated during February-June 1929), it also brought Stresemann an unqual-ified political success.Because the August sessions were consumed by efforts to assuage Snowden, a second meeting was required to arrange the technical procedures for imple-menting payments. At this meeting, held 3-30 January 1930, Germany was represented by Curtius (the new Foreign Minister), Economics Minister Robert Schmidt,* Finance Minister Paul Moldenhauer,* and Wirth. Heading the agenda was the issue of sanctions should Germany abjure reparations. Curtius diverted the issue by suggesting that if Germany failed to make its payments, the Per-manent Court of International Justice could address the question of sanctions; a procedure to this effect was added to the meeting's protocol. Schacht then caused a sensation when, in negotiations centered on the Bank for International Settlements,* he introduced political requirements as requisite to the Reichs-bank's participation. A hasty parley of the Germans prevented Schacht from ruining the meeting. Although a protocol was signed encompassing the achieve-ments of both Hague meetings, the economic depression* soon made the Young Plan moribund.REFERENCES:Eyck, History of the Weimar Republic, vol. 2; Jacobson, Locarno Diplo-macy; Kent, Spoils of War; Kimmich, Germany and the League of Nations.
A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. C. Paul Vincent.
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