Aristide Briand, Gustav Stresemann

Nobel Peace Prize 1926

Aristide Briand


For Franco-German reconciliation

The French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand shared the Peace Prize for 1926 with the German Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann. They were awarded the Prize for reconciliation between Germany and France after World War I.

Aristide Briand pursued a career in the French Socialist Party after having read law at the Sorbonne. He entered the government in 1906 and spearheaded the devolution of France's state church. From 1909 on, he was Prime Minister for various periods, including during the war.

The war convinced Briand that a peace treaty must not lay the foundations for a revanchist war. He accordingly opposed the harsh treatment meted out to Germany after the war. Briand was also critical of the French occupation of parts of Germany as a means of obtaining war indemnity. In 1925 he signed a reconciliation agreement with Germany in the Swiss town of Locarno. Briand later made unsuccessful attempts to persuade the USA to guarantee France's security.


Gustav Stresemann


For Franco-German reconciliation

The German Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann shared the Peace Prize for 1926 with the French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand. They were honored for having signed an agreement of reconciliation between their two countries in the Swiss town of Locarno in 1925.

Before entering politics and becoming Foreign Minister, Stresemann had studied literature, history and economics and worked in business. In 1907 he was elected to the German Reichstag. In the field of foreign policy, he stood out as an eager imperialist who demanded "a place in the sun" for Germany.

During World War I, he supported Germany's annexation of territories from neighboring countries. But with the war going badly, he believed that Germany should sue for peace. He was shocked at the harsh terms accorded Germany at the peace negotiations in 1919, but opposed the idea that Germany should sabotage the peace treaty. Stresemann was Prime Minister for a short time in 1923, before as Foreign Minister initiating reconciliation with France.