Konrad Adenauer: A German Politician and Statesman in a Period of War, Revolution, and Reconstruction - Vol. 1

By Hans-Peter Schwarz | Go to book overview

His family possesses two items which are of greater interest than these meagre sources and the thick folder which documents his scientific experiments.1 The first is a volume of poems written by Adenauer, probably between August 1899 and June 1900, and showing a man capable of personal and religious feeling. Following his unofficial engagement to Emma Weyer, Adenauer had written out a fair copy of the poems and dedicated them to his future wife on 10 September 1902. The second item was written not by Adenauer but by Emma Weyer, and takes the form of a 120-page diary written on their three week honeymoon in Switzerland, the south of France and Italy. Artistic and gifted, she embellished the diary with picture postcards and short poems of her own.

Clearly it is the public Adenauer who is of greatest interest to historians, and particularly his progression from the Prussian administration to the responsibilities of re-structuring first his city and then, after the Second World War, his country. Yet the private man is also worthy of attention during this period if we wish to understand the hidden forces which motivated him and fired his ambition and will.

Following his return to Cologne in 1897, Adenauer faced the problem of re-adjusting to the religious tone of life in his family. Though his faith was not broken, he did pass through a period of reappraisal and reflection. In later life, in conversation with his biographer Weymar, he made casual reference to a religious crisis after his examinations.2 Adenauer was to claim that the work of Carl Hilty had helped him to reach his own personal position.

Hilty was a man of some significance in the intellectual history of Switzerland. Born in 1833 in the picturesque town in Werdenberg in the canton of St Gallen, he had been a professor of national and international law in Berne from 1874 and gained an international reputation through his works on Swiss national law, Swiss studies and neutrality policy. Hilty played an active part in public life, becoming a member of the National Council in 1890, chief auditor of the army and -- towards the end of his life -- was named his country's first representative at the new International Court of Arbitration at The Hague. However, his fame in the German-speaking world rests chiefly on his authorship of a number of works outlining a practical philosophy of life. These include his observations on Happiness, which appeared between 1891 and 1899 and had sold 100,000 copies by 1910.

Two of Hilty's works, Happiness and What is Faith, had a place on a shelf in Adenauer's bedroom until the end of his life. Certain passages were underlined in pencil, as was Adenauer's custom when he found something significant and wanted to understand it fully. Since Hilty's writings were apparently important to him and we have very little information about this stage of Adenauer's life, their contents deserve closer scrutiny.

The commemorative plaque in Hilty's birthplace describes him as a 'conscientious critic of culture, moral writer and Christian lay preacher'.

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Konrad Adenauer: A German Politician and Statesman in a Period of War, Revolution, and Reconstruction - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Prologue: Cologne 3
  • I - The Young Master Adenauer 1876-1906 33
  • Student Years In Freiburg, Munich and Bonn 59
  • Justitia Coloniensis 64
  • 'A Talent Takes Shape in Stillness' 69
  • II - The First Rapid Rise 1906-1917 83
  • The First World War 93
  • The Youngest Mayor in Prussia 105
  • III - The Mayor 1917-1933 113
  • The Rhineland Movement 1918-1919 133
  • Pater Familias 152
  • Modern Cologne 156
  • Political Recognition at National Level 164
  • 1923 -- Year of Crisis 172
  • 'the Mayors of Contemporary Germany Are the Kings of Today' 195
  • In the Maelstrom Of the World Economic Crisis 210
  • IV - In the Third Reich 1933-1945 229
  • Struggle for Survival 241
  • A Pensioner in Rh"Ndorf 269
  • 'It is a Miracle of God That I Have Survived' 281
  • V - The Party Leader 1945-1949 289
  • Dismissal by the Liberators 321
  • 'Adenauer's Seizure of Power' 329
  • The Party Leader 359
  • Towards the Federal Republic of Germany 382
  • The President of the Parliamentary Council 408
  • Setting the Course 421
  • VI - First Years as Chancellor 1949-1950 433
  • The Political Tableau During Bonn's Early Days 450
  • Adenauer's Political Machine 465
  • Strenuous Beginnings of Westpolitik 476
  • 'the Most Disappointed Man in Europe' 489
  • The Schuman Plan 504
  • 'that Bully Adenauer' 517
  • In the Depths of Unpopularity 555
  • Adenauer's Daily Life 570
  • VII - European Statesman 1950-1952 587
  • Europe 608
  • Western Treaties and Soviet Initiatives 628
  • 'the Wings of World History' 642
  • Warding off the Moscow Note Offensive 650
  • The Breakthrough: The Signing of the Western Treaties 665
  • Afterword 689
  • Notes 703
  • Archival Sources 735
  • Pictorial Sources 737
  • Published Sources and Select Bibliography 739
  • Index of Persons 747
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