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

nine and seven years old. Furthermore, the Zinssers were Protestant, which created another potential obstacle to the marriage; Adenauer insisted that Gussie must convert to Catholicism. However, the situation was eased by the fact that the two families had known each other for some time. The Zinssers lived next door to Adenauer's house on Max- Bruch-Straße. Good relations had already been established between the families during Emma Adenauer's lifetime, when the Adenauer children were welcome visitors to the Zinsser home. These ties of friendship were deepened by music evenings of the kind Adenauer loved, containing pieces for piano, violin, and cello, as well as two-part folk-songs.

The enduring popular image of the private Adenauer is as a gardener and rose-grower. However, in addition to this life-long interest, which he shared with his new wife, the two were brought together by a love of music. Although Adenauer played no instrument, all of his family made music -- good bourgeois music at home -- of the kind that was common in Germany throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth.

Gussie Adenauer was an attractive young woman from a hospitable and happy family. She re-introduced her husband to the social life he had neglected, encouraged him to attend concerts and the theatre, and was an admirable partner at official events. Even more importantly, she shared Adenauer's view of the central importance of Christian family life. In 1922, at Munich, Adenauer had made a keynote speech to the Katholikentag convention regarding the need to overcome materialism: 'As for ourselves, we intend to make a start, each person for himself and his family. That is our first duty. Not until we ourselves live as Christians, and Christian life rules in our own families, will we have the right to argue for the validity of these principles in public life.'1 After their marriage the couple attempted to organise their own family life according to these principles.

Gussie Adenauer, an unselfish and accommodating woman, seemed to adjust without difficulty to her new religious affiliation. She soon established a close and loving relationship with the children of the first marriage. Their education continued to be strict, owing largely to the patriarchal attitudes of Adenauer himself: the children's reading matter was strictly controlled, their acquaintances were closely supervised, and the whole family regularly attended nine o'clock Mass on Sunday mornings. The requirement to fast was strictly observed, and special religious holidays and saints' days were observed with care.

For a short time at the beginning of the marriage, it seemed that the tragedy of Emma Adenauer's illness and death would be repeated. During her first pregnancy in 1921, Gussie fell ill with a kidney disease, and the baby lived only four days. Fortunately the illness was short-lived. The Adenauers' family life thereafter developed happily: Paul Adenauer -- later to be a priest -- was born in 1923, Lotte in 1925, her sister Libet in 1928, and the baby of the family, Georg, in 1931.

-152-

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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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