POST-VERSAILLES DIPLOMACY AND THE RISE OF HITLER. Geneva - Leipzig - Prague [manuscript title on spine]. [Locarno, Geneva, and other places, 1925-33].
Square 4to. Patterned cloth, 34 original photos (various formats measuring 54 x 60 up to 132 x 82 mm), all neatly mounted on one side of stiff carton leaves with tissue guards, captioned by hand; apart from light fading of spine in very glood and clean condition.
This unique and privately produced photo album with unpublished photos of diplomatic negotiations and politicians was compiled, probably by a Geneva doctor, on 'diplomatic duty', with a keen eye for the occasion and a camera good enough to take unofficial snapshots.
The album opens with photos showing the Czechoslovak Minister of Foreign Affairs (and later President of the Republic) Edvard Beneš, his wife and members of his delegation on Isola Bella near Locarno in 1925. Others show the German counterpart, Gustav Stresemann, relaxing in a cafe, with the German Chancellor Dr Luther and other delegates, Austen Chamberlain and Aristide Briand, the Yugoslav Foreign Secretary Ninčić. Another group of photos, including certainly surreptitiously taken snapshots show scenes of negotiations and the signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (snapshots of Kellogg signing, Beneš signing, Streseman and Briand listening to Kellogg speaking, Chamberlain and Briand). One impressive portrait shows the Hungarian politician Albert Apponyi de Nagyappony. Other photos date from the last days of the Weimar Republic, a portrait of the German Chancellor (1930-1932) Brüning (whose constitutional wrangling enabled Hitler's rise to power), Hitler himself, laying the foundation stone of the Wagner Memorial in Leipzig in 1934, and another one of the dictator (a rather blurred picture of him on the move with a crowd of dignitaries). The last photo of this album shows Masaryk in Prague in 1934.
The photographer had remarkable access to a wide spectrum of diplomats and politicians. The album seems to be constructed to show the failure of inter-war peace initiatives with suited men against the völkisch ideology and the political theatre of Hitler's martial rallies in military uniform.