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

longer had reason to expect the victory of anti-democratic elements or the outbreak of civil war.

As regards the second issue -- the reorganisation of the Reich and the possible division of Prussia-- clear legal conditions were established in February and March 1919 although no final decisions were taken. On 10 February 1919 a law was passed which laid down that an internal reorganisation could only be undertaken by the National Assembly at Weimar. On 13 March 1919 the National Assembly unanimously endorsed the declaration of Reich Minister-President Scheidemann to the effect 'that any constitutional restructuring before the conclusion of peace is liable to threaten the unity of our fatherland'. The 'regulation of the relationship of the Rhenish lands to the Reich' was also described as a 'purely internal German affair'. From then on it was clear, at least in theory, that the division of Prussia -- if it happened at all -- could only be decided by the constituent assembly at Weimar.

The third issue -- the policy of the Entente powers towards the Rhineland -- was the last to be clarified. The terms of the Versailles Treaty, which were delivered to the Germans on 7 May 1919, made it clear that there was no intention to annex the Rhineland. The Entente governments were prepared to make do with a fifteen-year occupation of the bridgeheads of Cologne and Mainz and the permanent demilitarisation of the Rhineland. Prospects for revision of the treaty in Germany's favour were uncertain, but appeared poor. In May and early June 1919 it was not clear whether the Germans would accept or reject the treaty; if the latter approach was adopted, then the situation facing the Rhineland would be even worse. Even in the event of an occupation lasting fifteen years, there was surely a danger that the French would manage to separate the Rhineland from the rest of Germany.

The signing of the Versailles Treaty on 28 June 1918 at least clarified certain points. Most importantly, there was no longer any sensible reason for the Germans to advocate a 'Rhenish republic' on foreign-policy grounds in the hope of improving the peace terms. Adenauer's own Rhineland policy must, therefore, be judged in this specific chronological context.

The idea of a 'Rhenish republic' originated among the owners and editors of the Kölnische Volkszeitung, the main newspaper of the Centre Party. 'The father of the idea', according to Fritz Brüggemann, a liberal but well-informed opponent, was Dr Josef Froberger, an Alsatian living in Bonn. Until 1911 Froberger had been the head of an international order, founded in 1868 and entitled 'The Missionaries of Our Dear Lady of Africa or the White Fathers of Cardinal Lavigerie', which was based in Algiers and active mainly in the Mahgreb. Froberger was a specialist in Oriental studies, had detailed knowledge of Spain and close contacts with France. Since 1911 he had been working at the editorial desk of the

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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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