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German History in Documents and Images
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Foreign Ministers' Meeting in the Foyer of the Hotel "Splendide" in Lugano (December 1928)
In Germany, politicians were unable to reconcile public demands for the evacuation of the Rhineland with French and British insistence on the prior settlement of reparations. The situation led to widespread German disillusionment with Stresemann’s Locarno policy. As a result, relations between treaty signatories Stresemann (center), Briand (left), and Chamberlain (right) suffered as well. In consideration of Stresemann’s deteriorating health, the three foreign ministers chose Lugano, Switzerland, as the venue for continuing discussions of the Rhineland evacuation and Germany’s final reparations settlement. Faced with mounting criticism at home, Stresemann tried to use German opposition to his policy to his advantage. In Lugano, he told Briand and Chamberlain that the continuation of his policies (and of the Müller government in which he served) depended on immediate concessions and assurances from the Allies. In the end, he received none of the concessions or assurances he asked for. The photograph shows Stresemann reviewing photos taken by Erich Salomon (1886-1944), a pioneering news photographer credited with inventing the “photo op.” Briand referred to Salomon as “the king of indiscretion” [Le roi de indescrets].