Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann Win the Nobel Peace Prize

He was born in Nantes, Loire-Atlantique of a bourgeois family.

He attended the Nantes Lycée, where, in 1877, he developed a close friendship with Jules Verne. He studied law, and soon went into politics, associating himself with the most advanced movements, writing articles for the anarchist journal Le Peuple, and directing the Lanterne for some time. From this he passed to the Petite République, leaving it to found L'Humanité, in collaboration with Jean Jaurès.

At the same time he was prominent in the movement for the formation of trade unions, and at the congress of working men at Nantes in 1894 he secured the adoption of the labor union idea against the adherents of Jules Guesde. From that time, Briand was one of the leaders of the French Socialist Party. In 1902, after several unsuccessful attempts, he was elected deputy. He declared himself a strong partisan of the union of the Left in what was known as the Bloc, in order to check the reactionary Deputies of the Right.

From the beginning of his career in the Chamber of Deputies, Briand was occupied with the question of the separation of church and state. He was appointed reporter of the commission charged with the preparation of the 1905 law on separation, and his masterly report at once marked him out as one of the coming leaders. He succeeded in carrying his project through with but slight modifications, and without dividing the parties upon whose support he relied.

He was the principal author of the law of separation, but, not content with preparing it, he wished to apply it as well. The ministry of Maurice Rouvier was allowing disturbances during the taking of inventories of church property, a clause of the law for which Briand was not responsible. Consequently he accepted the portfolio of Public Instruction and Worship in the Sarrien ministry (1906). So far as the Chamber was concerned his success was complete. But the acceptance of a position in a bourgeois ministry led to his exclusion from the Unified Socialist Party (March 1906). As opposed to Jaurès, he contended that the Socialists should co-operate actively with the Radicals in all matters of reform, and not stand aloof to await the complete fulfillment of their ideals.

Gustav Stresemann (May 10, 1878 – October 3, 1929) was a German liberal politician and statesman who served as Chancellor and Foreign Minister during the Weimar Republic. He was co-laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926.

Stresemann's politics defy easy categorization. Today, he is generally considered one of the most important leaders of Germany and a staunch supporter of democracy in the fragile Weimar Republic. Further, he is noted as one of the first to envisage European economic integration. Arguably, his most notable achievement was reconciliation between Germany and France, for which he and Aristide Briand received the Peace Prize.

Stresemann was born in Berlin. He came from middle class origins, as the son of a Berlin innkeeper and beer distributor. He attended the Universities of Berlin and Leipzig, studied philosophy and literature and received a doctorate in economics. He also became a spokesman for his student association.

In 1902 he founded the Saxon Manufacturers' Association. In 1903 he married Käthe Kleefeld (b.15. July 1885 in Berlin; d. 1970 in New York City), daughter of a wealthy Jewish Berlin businessman. At that time he was also a member of Friedrich Naumann's National-Social Association. In 1906 he was elected to the Dresden town council. Though he had initially worked in trade associations, Stresemann soon became a leader of the National Liberal Party in Saxony. In 1907, he was elected to the Reichstag, where he soon became a close associate of party chairman Ernst Bassermann. However, he disagreed with the most conservative party members and lost his post in the party's executive committee in 1912. Later that year he lost both his Reichstag and town council seats. He returned to business and founded the German-American Economic Association. In 1914 he returned to the Reichstag. He was exempted from war service due to poor health.

The evolution of his political ideas appears somewhat erratic. Initially, in the German Empire, Stresemann was associated with the left wing of the National Liberals. During World War I, he gradually moved to the right, expressing his support of the monarchy and Germany's expansionist goals. He was a vocal proponent of unrestricted submarine warfare.

Stresemann briefly joined the German Democratic Party after the war, but was expelled for his association with the right wing and his grudging support of the Weimar Republic. He then gathered most of the right wing of the old National Liberal Party into the German People's Party (German: Deutsche Volkspartei, DVP), with himself as chairman. Most of its support came from middle class and upper class Protestants. The DVP platform promoted Christian family values, secular education, lower tariffs, opposition to welfare spending and agrarian subsides and hostility to "Marxism" (that is, the Communists, and also the Social Democrats).

The DVP was initially seen, along with the German National People's Party, as part of the "national opposition" to the Weimar Republic, particularly for its grudging acceptance of democracy and its ambivalent attitude towards the Freikorps and the Kapp Putsch in 1920. By late 1920, Stresemann gradually moved to cooperation with the parties of the left and center — possibly in reaction to political murders like that of Walther Rathenau. However, he remained a monarchist at heart.